The Pamlico River is mostly contained in Beaufort County, North Carolina. Hyde and Pamlico Counties lie at the mouth of the river.Washington (pop. 13,000) is the Beaufort County seat and largest city on the Pamlico.Towns along the river and its tributaries include Belhaven (pop. 2000), Bath (pop. 270), Swan Quarter (pop. 960) and Aurora (pop. 560). The river front is lined with numerous neighborhoods and villages.
The Aurora Phosphate Mine, which is wholly owned and operated by the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, is the largest integrated phosphate mining and chemical plant in the world. The mine employs over 1,000 workers and is the largest employer in Beaufort County. The mine has uncovered numerous fossils, which are enshrined in the Aurora Fossil Museum.