Welcome to the Crystal Coast!
The Crystal Coast is located in Carteret County, North Carolina – covering over 100 miles of shoreline! Our coast is know for its rich history, pristine beaches, nationally recognized fishing tournaments, incredible fresh seafood and restaurants and local southern charm. The Crystal Coast is made up of larger mainland towns, Bogue Banks beach towns and the “Down East” community that still holds deep roots with our fishing culture.
Bogue Banks is comprised of five townships – Emerald Isle at the western end of the island, followed by Indian Beach, Salter Path, Pine Knoll Shores and Atlantic Beach at the eastern end of the island. Located just east of Bogue Banks is the Cape Lookout National Seashore and Shackleford Banks, where you can catch a glimpse of the wild island ponies, explore and collect shells and even climb the Cape Lookout Lighthouse!
Take a glimpse into our most visited towns and the small townships of Bogue Banks!
The home of Hammocks Beach State Park, the “Friendly City by the Sea” offers a historic downtown district overlooking the water. The quaint village atmosphere and historic downtown area offers shopping in an area alive with restaurants, boutiques, gift shops and waterside parks. Host to the Arts by the Sea Festival, the Mullet Festival and multiple fishing tournaments – Swansboro offers some of the best hospitality on the North Carolina coast.
The outdoorsy adventurous guests to Emerald Isle are in heaven with activities like surfing, kayaking, kiteboarding and paddleboarding . Families can enjoy miles of walking, jogging and bike paths and several nature trails that allow you to enjoy the natural pristine environment with a variety of birds, waterfowl and families of white tail deer. The Point in Emerald Isle is not to be missed when visiting the western shores of Bogue Banks; the sunsets are breathtaking!
Known for its history as an old fishing village, Salter Path is different because it is home to a large dune system, excellent beaches, breathtaking soundfront views and even a small maritime forest. Family beach cottages are easy to spot as you cruise through Salter Path. Be sure to stop and look at Bogue Sound; as it sparkles a magnificent blue on a bright sunny day.
Indian Beach is conveniently located in the middle of Bogue Banks. Its location allows easy access to the sights and sounds of Morehead City and Emerald Isle, as well as restaurants & shopping. But above all, you’ll enjoy the quiet calming expanse of soft sands and lush maritime forest. Its location allows easy access to the sights and sounds of Morehead City and Emerald Isle, as well as restaurants & shopping. But above all, you’ll enjoy the quiet calming expanse of soft sands and lush maritime forest.
Pine Knoll Shores
The wide beaches and sound side access make it easy to swim, go shelling, clamming or kayaking along this beautiful stretch of island. The North Carolina Aquarium is located in Pine Knoll Shores and offers a variety of marine species including fish, crabs, seahorses, lionfish and sharks. The sea turtle nursery features an albino turtle named Nimbus! Nature trails offer a walk above a tidal marsh where marine creatures live and shore birds wade looking for food. All in all, it’s a tranquil way to spend the afternoon.
Atlantic Beach has a retro “beach-town” feel of days past and has been North Carolina’s “go to” beach since the 1930’s. Located at the eastern end of Bogue Banks, Atlantic Beach features a laid back friendly feel with wide sandy beaches, a boardwalk and a commercial district with plenty of dining and shopping options. Nature trails, public parks and beach accesses will draw you in. Atlantic Beach is also home to Fort Macon State Park, an historic Civil War fort, which is the most visited state park in North Carolina.
Downtown Morehead City has alluring waterfront appeal lined with charter boats, legendary seafood restaurants, charming shops all overlooking Sugarloaf Island. The Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament is held annually in June with crowds , Beaufort, NC gathering daily at the weigh station to see which boat will bring in the biggest blue! Also home of the North Carolina Seafood Festival, held every year the first weekend in October. Vendors line the waterfront with all types of seafood & arts and crafts, along with kid’s rides and activities! Families can also enjoy watching the Morehead City Marlins play baseball at Big Rock Stadium. With multiple shopping centers throughout Morehead City, there’s something for everyone!
Beaufort, the 3rd oldest town in North Carolina, is known for its Bahamian and West Indian style architecture and its close ties with a notorious pirate. It offers a beautiful sandy shore as well as stunning waterfront views and many specialty shops and delicious restaurants downtown . You can watch the feral horses from the banks of Beaufort or board a ferry to see them in their unspoiled habitat. Hop atop the English Double-Decker bus for a tour around this historic fishing village to see Blackbeard’s home and the mysterious Old Burial Ground. You’ll see exactly what makes this coastal community so special and why it was voted Best Small Town in the USA in 2012.