The Port of Morehead City is located on the United States' Intracoastal Waterway and on Bogue Sound in Carteret County, North Carolina. The Port of Morehead City is about 114 nautical miles (130 kilometers or 81 miles) northeast of the Port of Wilmington, North Carolina. The Port of Morehead City is almost 250 nautical miles (245 kilometers or 190 miles direct) south-southwest of the Port of Norfolk, Virginia. The 2010 US Census reported that over 8600 people lived in the Port of Morehead City.
The deep-water Port of Morehead City has facilities that support shipping, commercial fishing, and sport fishing. The economy is largely based on tourism and fishing, but there is also some light industry in the Port of Morehead City.
With the intent to take advantage of the deep channel at Beaufort Inlet, the Shepard Point Land Company bought 243 hectares at the site of the future Port of Morehead City. The investors planned to build a port that they could connect to Goldsboro via railway.
In mid-1858, rail service to the Port of Morehead City began operations. The North Carolina Senate approved incorporation of the Port of Morehead City in 1860 when it had a population over 300.
The infant town was prosperous, but the American Civil War brought growth to a stop. In 1862, Union troops occupied the Port of Morehead City. As the war continued, the Port of Morehead City the number of cargo vessels declined dramatically - with the city's population.
In the 1880s, the Atlantic Hotel was opened at the tip of the peninsula, and the railroad started promoting the Port of Morehead City as the "Summer Capital by the Sea." The marketing effort brought a rebirth of the Port of Morehead City.
In the later decades of the 19th Century, fishermen who had lived on Shackleford Banks Island moved to the Port of Morehead City, creating the base of the fishing industry that is still important to the Port of Morehead City economy.
After the Great Depression and World War II, the Port of Morehead City's downtown area deteriorated. New stores opened west of the old city center and decay quickened, leaving a seemingly desolate Port of Morehead City.
The Port of Morehead City got a Community Development Block Grant in the 1980s to pay for its aging infrastructure and to improve the waterfront area. Further grants and investments allowed the revitalization to continue. Today, the Port of Morehead City has a new seawall, new docks, an attractive waterfront, renovated houses, tree-lined streets, and a renewed downtown area.