Tourism, especially ecotourism, is a growing part of the county's economy. Having lost many manufacturing jobs in the past 20 years, improving tourism efforts in the county could help it improve its economy, which has suffered since the Great Recession of 2008.

The impact of domestic tourism in the county increased by 5.07% from 2010 to 2011, according to figures from the NC. Department of Commerce. Domestic tourism had an impact of $70.36 million in 2011, compared to $66.97 million in 2010. That increase, in part, is attributed to attractions like the historic town of Bath, Washington's restored waterfront (including the new Festival Park), the Aurora Fossil Museum, the Belhaven Memorial Museum and Goose Creek State Park.

With its many waterways, Beaufort County has plenty of recreational fishermen, commercial fishermen, boaters, canoers and kayakers. The Pamlico River, Pungo River, Pantego Creek, Blounts Creek, Tranter's Creek, their tributaries and other creeks provide plenty of options for paddlers.