Lighthouse photo of the Crystal coast

A Guide to Crystal Coast Activities and Attractions

Lighthouse photo of the Crystal coast

A Guide to Crystal Coast Activities and Attractions

Whether you’re looking to buy real estate or invest in a vacation rental on the Crystal Coast, you might be wondering what attractions and activities are available in the area. There are endless Crystal Coast activities; that’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top attractions and restaurants to get you started.

Popular Things to Do on the Crystal Coast

North Carolina Aquarium

The North Carolina Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores features the largest saltwater aquarium in the state. The aquarium has replicated a sunken submarine to create a unique environment. The 300,000-gallon tank is home to various fish, sharks, and turtles. Several tours and activities are available that allow you to get behind the scenes and learn more about incredible marine life and conservation efforts.

Fort Macon State Park

This state park has something for everyone on the Crystal Coast. The site includes a 19th century Civil War fort that you can explore on your own along with guided tours. Fort Macon State Park also has several beautiful hiking trails, fishing spots, and fun on the water for the avid paddlers. 

Graveyard of the Atlantic

The North Carolina Coast has often been dubbed “The Graveyard of the Atlantic” since thousands of ships have sunk in this area over hundreds of years. These historic wrecks are a top destination for scuba divers and adventurers on the Crystal Coast. Embark on an unforgettable diving charter with Discovery Diving or Olympus Dive Center

Cape Lookout National Seashore

Three miles off-shore is Cape Lookout National Seashore that is accessible by a short boat ride from Atlantic Beach. This is the best place to experience some of the top outdoor activities in one place. Learn about the importance of Cape Lookout Lighthouse or walk through historic villages. You can also find some of the best fishing on the Atlantic Coast from the beach at Cape Lookout National Seashore.

Our Favorite Crystal Coast Restaurants

34 Degrees North

For fresh seafood, local produce, and incredible waterfront views, check out this historic Beaufort restaurant. The menu includes local mahi-mahi, pan-seared grouper, shrimp, and grits, along with an expansive selection of wine. Perfect for a romantic dinner on the coast!

Ruddy Duck Tavern

This Morehead City restaurant features locally caught seafood made with high-quality ingredients at an affordable price. Ruddy Duck Tavern is an excellent choice for lunch as you gaze out at stunning ocean views.

Front Street Grill

Visit Front Street Grill for a delicious dinner on the Crystal Coast and take in a panoramic sunset while you eat. The menu includes a variety of coastal food with a southern soul that will soon have you coming back for more.

Amos Mosquitos

Amos Mosquitos is a local favorite and offers a unique coastal dining experience in Atlantic Beach. Choose from a variety of excellent seafood dishes or try out Amos’s famous meatloaf topped with bacon and a brown sugar glaze. 

Table 9

If you are looking for the perfect restaurant for a romantic dinner on the coast, look no further than Table 9. Couples will love the relaxing atmosphere as you dine on fresh oysters, lobster ravioli, or crab-stuffed Mahi. And if you aren’t craving seafood, you can find lamb chops, ribeye, and filet mignon on the menu as well.

Red Fish Grill

Admire the Morehead City waterfront in a casual and friendly atmosphere at Red Fish Grill. One of the most popular items at the restaurant is the crab-stuffed Mahi, but you can’t go wrong with any of the redfish features or dinner entrees.

Photo of the beach and a gazebo on the Crystal Coast

Learn More About Crystal Coast Activities

These Crystal Coast activities, attractions, and restaurants only scratch the surface of things to do in the area. Each town on the coast offers something different and a wealth of attractions waiting to be explored. If you want to learn everything our slice of paradise has to offer, then visit our Vacation Rental Blog to keep up to date with the best things to do on the coast.

What attractions and restaurants would you have included in your Crystal Coast bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!

banner image of clouds and sky for the 6 Crystal Coast Vacation Itinerary Options post

6 Crystal Coast Vacation Itinerary Options

banner image of clouds and sky for the 6 Crystal Coast Vacation Itinerary Options post

6 Crystal Coast Vacation Itinerary Options

Planning a vacation can be a bit of a daunting task. We thought we’d take some of the guesswork out of what to do and give you 6 different Crystal Coast vacation itinerary options to choose from. There’s certainly no shortage of things to do. You just need to decide how to get in all in. Mix and match or use one of our suggested itineraries. Whatever you choose, have fun! 

  1.  Keep Them Occupied: A schedule to wear out the most enthusiastic kids

    • Day 1 – Catch a Marlins Baseball game in Morehead 
    • Day 2 – Go Geo Cashing around town. It’s like a giant treasure hunt. See www.geocaching.com/play. When you’re done, grab some pizza at Pizza Inn! 
    • Day 3 – Have the little ones compete to see who can find the biggest seashell or shark’s tooth on the beach.
    • Day 4 – Take the kids to one of our many parks and let them burn off some energy! See: Jean Preston Memorial Park Playground and Emerald Woods 
    • Day 5 – Ride a Banana Boat with the whole gang at Island Water Sports
    • Day 6 – Take the kids to MacDaddy’s for bowling, skeeball, pinball, and a video game room full of fun!
    • Day 7 – Ride the ferry to Ocracoke and take the kids to see the Ocracoke Banker Ponies
  2.  A Little Romance: A list of activities that are sure to put a spark in your vacation
  3.  Adventure Enthusiasts: Accept the challenge of these adrenaline-filled activities
    • Day 1 – Rent bikes and go on a bike ride in the Croatan Forest
    • Day 2 – Try your hand at hang gliding with Kitty Hawk Kites 
    • Day 3 – Go on a paddleboarding adventure with Paddle NC!
    • Day 4 – Try scuba diving NC off the coast of Beaufort where our world-famous shipwreck graveyard leaves lots to explore 
    • Day 5 – Go kayaking on Hammocks Beach and Bear Island
    • Day 6 Go skydiving
    • Day 7 – Go deep sea fishing with Capt. Stacy
  4.  Rainy Days: In the chance of inclement weather here are a few ideas to keep you occupied
  5.  Adults Only: A list just for the grown-ups 
  6.  History Buffs: This Crystal Coast itinerary is for History lovers 

These 6 simple itinerary ideas are just a start! We hope they’ll help you find something that everyone will enjoy. Let us know if you decide to try some of these suggestions out. We’d love to hear from you! 

Bluewater's Calendar of Events Banner for December

December Calendar of Events

Bluewater's Calendar of Events Banner for December

December 2021 Events

Whether you’re vacationing with us or you’re a local, There’s always something to look forward to and always fun to be had. Don’t miss any of these December 2022 events on the Crystal Coast.

9th Annual Gingerbread Festival

December 3rd – 5th, 2021

Time: 7 AM-5 PM

Crystal Coast Civic Center: 3505 Arendell Street | Morehead

The 9th Annual Gingerbread Festival includes something for everyone. Those who attend will be in awe of the winter wonderland and holiday-themed crab pot Christmas trees as well as the sweet aroma of gingerbread creations. All gingerbread creations are created by local designers, artists, businesses, individuals, schools, and community groups. Additional attractions will include a visit from Santa, crafts, games, and holiday entertainment. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.


Morehead City Christmas Tree Lighting

December 3, 2021

Time: 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM

Morehead City Parks & Recreation: 601 Arendell Street | Morehead

Join Morehead City in the lighting of the Christmas tree in the center of Downtown Morehead. Calico Creek Bluegrass Band will be playing and there will be food and fun!


Breakfast with Santa

December 4, 2021

Time: 8:30 AM -11 AM

Floyd’s 1921: 400 Bridges Street | Morehead

Enjoy Breakfast with Santa! Seating is limited so please call 252.727.1921 to make your reservation!


Chowder & Cheer

December 4, 2021

Time: Noon-5:20 PM

Downtown Morehead: 1001 Arendell Street

Stroll through Downtown Morehead and enjoy samples of Chowder and Cheer from local participating establishments. Chowder and Cheer is part of Morehead City’s Annual Christmas in Downtown Celebration. This is a ticketed event.


Crystal Coast Christmas Floatilla

December 4, 2021

Time: 5:30 PM – 8 PM

Morehead City Waterfont & Beaufort Waterfront

The Crystal Coast Christmas Floatilla will feature yachts, boats, oars, kayaks and commercial vessels decorated for the season. 

FREE


Literary Luncheon: Christmas in Peachtree Bluffs with Kristy Woodson Harvey

December 8, 2021

Time: 12 PM-2 PM

Price: $45

Coral Bay Club: 1901 W Fort Macon Rd | Atlantic Beach

Join author Kristy Woodson Harvey and the Beaufort Historical Association for a delicious meal at the Coral Bay Club while Harvey speaks about her new book “Christmas in Peachtree Bluffs.”

Tickets are on sale at www.beauforthistoricsite.org.

Masks are required. 


Christmas in Peachtree Bluffs Double-Decker Bus Tour

December 10-11, 2021

Time: 1:20 PM-2:30 PM

Price: $15

Beaufort Historic Site: 130 Turner Street | Beaufort

Hop on Beaufort Historic Sites English Double-Decker bus for a special bus tour of Historic Beaufort led by author Kristy Woodson Harvey. Harvey will point out all prominent locations in Beaufort that are portrayed in her Peachtree Bluffs Series.

Tickets are on sale at www.beauforthistoricsite.org.

Masks are required.


Christmas Candlelight Tour

December 11, 2021

Time: 5 PM- 8 PM

Price: $20

Beaufort Historic Site: 130 Turner Street | Beaufort

Historic Beaufort homeowners, churches, and inns will open their doors so that the public can delight in their festive decor!

Tickets are on sale at www.beauforthistoricsite.org.

Masks are required.


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 @ Beaufort Drive-In

December 11, 2021

Time: 6:30 PM-8:30 PM

Price: Free

Gallant’s Channel Event Space: 293 W Beaufort Road | Beaufort

For more information visit the Beaufort Picture Show website.


Morehead City Christmas Parade

December 11, 2021

Time: 11 AM-Noon

Price: Free

Downtown Morehead City

Join in on the fun! The parade will start at 11 AM along Arendell Street in the 1700 block and ends at 8th and Arendell. There will be decorated floats, community groups, bands, entertainment, and of course Santa himself! For additional information visit DowntownMoreheadCity.com.


Introduction to Wooden Boat Building

December 11-12, 2021

Time: 9:30 AM-4:30 PM

Price: Varies

North Carolina Maritime Museum: 315 Front Street | Beaufort

Students will explore the art of boatbuilding in this two-day course. The class will begin with lofting and moving on to set up steam bending, and different methods of creating the back bone of small boats. After two days of the course, students will have the knowledge, skill, and confidence to choose a design and style of boat to build on their own.

To reserve your spot click here!


Wine Down Wednesday

December 22, 2021 ( Reoccuring every Wednesday in the month of December)

Time: 5 PM- 9PM

Price: Free, Dance Lessons $15

Carolina Home and Garden: 4778 HWY 24 | Newport

Come grab a half-priced bottle of wine and dance the night away with dance lessons and live music. 


Downtown Countdown

December 31, 2021

Time: 5 PM- 8 PM

Price: Free

Downtown Morehead City: 1001 Arendell Street

Join in on the fun beginning at 5 PM for activities of all ages. Enjoy watching the Fire Department drop the kids’ crab pot drop and kid’s activities from 5 PM – 6:30 PM. Also, local downtown businesses and restaurants will provide activities and bands throughout the evening, so please check individual websites for schedules.

 

Looking for more fun along the Crystal Coast? Check out our 2021 Crystal Coast Calendar of Events page!