100 Free Things To Do on the Crystal Coast

dolphin swimming in the waters of the crystal coast

100 Free Things To Do on the Crystal Coast

Spend your vacation on the Crystal Coast and explore the entire area without spending a dime! Bluewater Vacation Rental’s list of free things to do on the Crystal Coast will keep everyone in the family entertained without breaking the budget. You will find the one and only Free Things to Do List right here – so glad some ideas for your Crystal Coast vacation!

From Emerald Isle to Beaufort, North Carolina there are tons of attractions, activities, and events that your family can enjoy and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Ready to start having fun? Then get your vacation started with these 100 Free things to do on the Crystal Coast

  1. Watch the wild horses run on Shackleford Banks and Carrot Island
  2. Search for the largest shark tooth
  3. Fly a kite on the cool ocean breeze
  4. Watch the dolphins play in the surf
  5. Build a sandcastle
  6. Explore historic Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach
  7. Look for the biggest seashell at low tide
  8. Visit scenic downtown Beaufort and window shop
  9. Watch the 4th of July fireworks in any one of our Crystal Coast towns
  10. Soak up the sun on our white sandy beaches
  11. Start your own body surfing competition and put your skills to the test
  12. Have a free taste of Ice Cream or a free piece of Salt Water Taffy at Sweet Spot in Emerald Isle
  13. Watch the boats weigh their catch at the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
  14. Walk through the NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort
  15. Pack a lunch and have a picnic at Fort Macon State Park
  16. Wander through the Carteret County Curb Market in Morehead City
  17. Watch the 4th of July parade and feast at the Community Picnic in Beaufort
  18. Enjoy the Summer Concert Series at Fort Macon
  19. Watch the OWLS Sand Sculpting contest at Pine Knoll Shores
  20. Take a trip and explore the Cape Lookout National Seashore and see the Lighthouse
  21. Catch the FREE climb day at the Cape Lookout Lighthouse
  22. In the mood for ghost stories? Visit Blackbeard’s House in Beaufort to hear some spooky tales
  23. Watch the surfers at the Buddy Pelletier Longboard Competition in July
  24. Create your own sand dollar picture frame to remember your wonderful vacation
  25. Learn about Down East culture and traditions at Community Night with Rodney Kemp at the Core Sound Water Fowl museum
  26. Take part in the traditional cannon firing at Fort Macon State Park
  27. Burn some extra vacation calories riding your bike on the Emerald Isle Bike Trail
  28. Watch the fishing charters unload the daily catch on the Morehead City waterfront
  29. Attend the Free Friday flick in Emerald Isle
  30. Watch the local boat builders create masterpieces at the Water Craft Center in Beaufort
  31. Explore Down East heritage at the Core Sound Museum in Harkers Island
  32. Dance the night away at the Beach Jive After Five in Emerald Isle
  33. Walk to the end of the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier for a wonderful view (and snap some selfies)
  34. Experience the Emerald Isle Christmas Parade for some holiday cheer
  35. Volunteer with the EI Sea Turtle Patrol to help with baby sea turtles 
  36. Enjoy the sights and Gaelic sounds of the Annual St. Patrick’s Festival in Emerald Isle
  37. Surf Fish off the beach and see what you can catch (make sure you have your fishing license)
  38. Camp out at Hammocks Beach State Park
  39. Play corn hole and dance the evening away at the Sheraton Pier every Thursday during the Summer
  40. Take a step back in history on a tour of the Beaufort Historic Site
  41. Play a game of Ultimate Beach Frisbee
  42. Bring a beach chair and enjoy the Morehead Summer Concert series
  43. Hunt for sea glass along the shore, blue and purple are rare finds
  44. Stroll down the docks at the Morehead City waterfront
  45. Interact with the Marine life in tidal pools along the coast
  46. Search for sand dollars in the surf
  47. Watch the fighter planes fly up and down the coast
  48. Take a walk through the shops in historic downtown Swansboro
  49. Feed the turtles behind Rucker Johns Restaurant 
  50. Go whale watching at Cape Lookout
  51. Walk out on the Point in Emerald Isle
  52. Check out the local catch on the Bogue Inlet Pier
  53. Go bird watching in Emerald Woods
  54. Visit the 3rd Thursday Free music concert in at the Beaufort city waterfront
  55. Take a romantic walk on the beach at sunset
  56. Launch your kayak at the Emerald Isle boat ramp and explore the sound
  57. Start a game of beach football
  58. Check out what gets washed up on shore after a big storm
  59. Snap photos of the sunrises and sunsets to enter into our photo contest
  60. Watch the big ships dock at the State Port in Morehead City
  61. Chase Ghost Crabs along the shore after dark, they’re pretty fast and tricky!
  62. Play volleyball at the Atlantic Beach Circle or the Emerald Isle Beach Access
  63. Chase seagulls as they float on the ocean breeze
  64. Spend the day exploring the many islands along the Crystal Coast
  65. Launch your boat for a day of fun on the water at the Emerald Isle Boat Ramp
  66. Unwind from an exciting day to a good book outside on the porch with a cold drink
  67. Write messages in the sand and let the waves wash them away
  68. Sit and daydream about never leaving the Crystal Coast
  69. Take pictures of the ocean so you will never forget its beauty. How many shades of blue and green can you find?
  70. Scavenger hunt for different colored shells
  71. Count the seconds between waves breaking on the beach, you will notice a pattern
  72. Look for shapes in the clouds as they blow in the breeze
  73. Watch the windsurfers battle the ocean’s current
  74. Throw the baseball with family at Western Park in Cedar Point
  75. Play a game of Bocce Ball 
  76. Dig a hole and bury someone to their waist
  77. Walk under the Bogue Inlet Pier and take a family picture
  78. Bury your toes in the warm sand
  79. Take a trip to Shark Tooth Island
  80. Take a walk with the Emerald Isle walking club
  81. Play a game of Horseshoes on the beach
  82. Catch Sandfiddler crabs in the surf, before they can burry back into the sand
  83. Throw a cast net into the sound to see what you catch
  84. Walk the path through Emerald Isle and visit the shops along the way
  85. Look for starfish in the surf
  86. Kids 3 and under get into the Morehead City Marlins’ baseball game for free
  87. Wake up early and catch the sunrise
  88. Create your very own scavenger hunt
  89. Make your own unique seashell jewelry
  90. Kids under 2 yrs old get in free at the North Carolina Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores
  91. Enjoy the Carolina Kite Festival in October on Atlantic Beach and watch kites from all over the world
  92. Visit the birthplace of Pepsi in downtown New Bern
  93. Bike on Swansboro’s 25-mile bike trail along the water and through the Croatan National Forest.
  94. Learn the coastal region’s history with a visit to the History Place in downtown Morehead City
  95. Enjoy a nature tour or a boat cruise on Taylor’s Creek ending at the Carrot Island boardwalk during spring and summer
  96. Try your hand at the Morehead City Seafood Festival Flounder Fling during the festival
  97. Stroll the streets downtown to live music and find the perfect seat for the Seafood Festival Fireworks Show
  98. Visit the Beaufort waterfront in August for the annual Pirate Invasion for an authentic experience
  99. Watch a free outdoor movie in Atlantic Beach every Wednesday night starting at dusk in the Circle
  100. Plan your next vacation

collage of several free things to do on vacation at the crystal coast

Bonus Ideas

  • See local craftsmanship at the Swansboro Mullet Festival
  • Watch the experts slow cook a feast at the Newport Pig Pickin’
  • Don’t blink! You might miss the fast boat racing in the Crystal Coast Grand Prix in September
  • Check out our Calendar of Events for even more free things to do on the Crystal Coast
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