Spotlight on our Favorite Parks Along The Crystal Coast

Spotlight on our Favorite Parks Along The Crystal Coast

We all know that location plays a major part in your search for the perfect home. You might think the closer you are to where you work, go to the gym, or buy your groceries would be the best option, but something else to consider is how close you are to your local parks and recreation centers. You might want to focus on things you and your family will want to use for many years to come. Parks are not only a great place to meet new neighbors, but they can also increase property value in the long run.

Cape Lookout National Seashore



There may not be any swings or playgrounds at arguably the most famous Park along our coast, but there is plenty of thrills for those who dare climb to the top of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. The Island Express Ferry Service has boats departing from Harkers Island and Beaufort that you can take to reach the destination. When you reach the island, you can pay the per person fee to venture to the top and take in the incredible views from atop the 12 story lighthouse. There are over 200 narrow steps that lead you to the light at the top of the tunnel, and some rules that you must follow in order to be allowed entrance to climb.

Even if you’re not planning on climbing the lighthouse, be sure to stop in the old lightkeeper’s house! You can learn all about how the operation was handled before electricity was available on the island. Try to pick up the oil can and imagine lugging it up those steps a few times a day!

Senator Jean Preston Playground


Photo of the Playground Equipment is Courtesy of Playworld, the designers and builders of the park.

Tucked away in the far corner of the Emerald Isle Boat Ramp Parking Lot, sits a beautiful playground designed for all kids to enjoy. The park is named after late Senator Jean Preston, an EI local, former teacher, and NC General Assembly Member. A majority of the playground equipment is designed for the accessibility of children of all abilities. This is definitely a must-stop park for families with kids who like to roam and explore, as there are tons of different activities and places to explore. The safety-surfacing allows people of all ages to walk with ease and doesn’t leave a mess behind to find in shoes and socks later. After playtime, you can walk down to the end of the pedestrian dock along the boat ramp canal for a picnic with a perfect backdrop for a family photo opportunity. Throughout the summer, the town of Atlantic Beach hosts weekly concerts and movie nights- so be sure to check the schedule and plan ahead!

Atlantic Beach Town Park


Make sure to stop for a family photo at the Custom-Painted hole in the wall mural, created by our very own Stephanie Ross

The Atlantic Beach Town Park has something for everyone in the family. Amenities at the park include an 18 hole mini-golf course, a concession stand, splash pad, playground, basketball court, and skate park. A trip here can be a great way to end or begin any beach day. The park is located right across from the Atlantic Station Shopping Center, where there’s a Move Theater, Lazer Tag Arena, Bookstore, and Toy Store, so if a sporadic summertime thunderstorm pops up, there are a few options to hunker down close by. If your family is up for some wooded adventure, the Hoop Pole Creek Nature Trail can be found on the Eastern edge of the shopping center parking lot, across from Bojangles. Mini Golf and Concessions do cost money, so save up the change in those piggy banks and cash in on some fun in the sun!

Shevans Park


Photos of Shevans Park courtesy of www.morehead.com

Located just a few blocks away from all the excitement at the Morehead City Waterfront, stands a few unique family gathering places at Shevans Park. Four full-size Tennis Courts are available for those looking to volley, and a large wooden castle-themed playground is the main attraction for children. There’s also a covered gazebo area with restrooms. The unique design of the playground area is captivating for kids used to the typical plastic/metal structures. Just make sure to watch out for splinters! Two of the tennis courts are lighted, for those looking to volley after dark to avoid the heat of the summer. Picnic Shelters can be rented out for Birthday Parties or special events, for just $25 and there are two charcoal grills on-site for easy cookouts!

Reservations are required for groups wishing to reserve the playground and picnic shelter. Picnic shelters are available for birthday parties, and events. The picnic shelter rental fee is $25. Please contact Morehead City Parks at Recreation staff at 252-726-5083, ext. 1, or the Recreation Center (1600 Fisher Street) to complete the rental application and provide rental payment.