European settlement near the Pamlico River in the 1690s led to the founding of Bath, North Carolina's first town, in 1705. By 1708, Bath had 50 people and 12 houses, and soon became North Carolina's first port. While its early years were marked by political rivalries, Indian wars, and piracy, by 1746 Bath was considered for the colony's capital. However, when county government moved away in the late 1700s, Bath lost most of its importance and trade. Its original town limits encompass a historic district today.
At Historic Bath, you can visit three historic homes, the Exhibit Center, a 1-mile walking tour, and a 15-minute orientation film in our Visitor's Center. St. Thomas's Church is also open to the public.
The Visitor's Center, Exhibit Center, and Van der Veer House are wheelchair-accessible. The walking tour may be driven if desired.
Hours and Location
Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Sunday, Monday, and most major holidays
P.O. Box 148
207 Carteret Street
Bath, NC 27808
Admission for House Tours
Adults - $2 + tax; Students - $1 + tax
Price is "per house" for tours of Palmer-Marsh and Bonner Houses.
Tours are offered of the historic houses at 10:30am, 1pm, and 3pm. Tours are conditional based on weather and staffing.
The Palmer-Marsh House (1751) and the Bonner House (ca. 1830) and its reconstructed kitchen are restored and furnished with period pieces. The Van Der Veer House (ca. 1790) houses a self-guided exhibit on the history of Bath. Though not part of the site, St. Thomas Church (1734) may also be toured.
Guided tours originate at the visitor center. The video Bath: The First Town is shown every fifteen minutes. Restrooms are available here but not at the historic structures.
Trails, Monuments, Outdoor Exhibit
Walkways connect the visitor center, Van Der Veer House, and Palmer-Marsh House. A vegetable garden is maintained behind the Van Der Veer House. Harding’s Landing provides access to the site from Bath Creek.
The visitor center and Van Der Veer House are handicapped accessible. All of the historic homes have steps and are not fully accessible. The site orientation video is captioned for the hearing impaired.
Seven picnic tables are available at the picturesque waterfront near the Bonner House.
The gift shop, located in the visitor center, contains items related to Bath and colonial North Carolina.
Programs, Group Activities
Living history demonstrations are available to school groups with pre-registeration. Recommended group size: 30-60.