Welcome to the stunning Crystal Coast, located on North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks. This picturesque destination offers a plethora of activities for families with young children, making it the ideal vacation spot for those looking to create lasting memories with their little ones. From the North Carolina Seafood Festival to interactive voyages and more, let’s explore the best kid-friendly activities on the Crystal Coast for kids under 5.
Lost Treasure Golf: Miniature Golf Adventure
For some family-friendly competition, head to Lost Treasure Golf, a fantastic miniature golf course. Located in Salter Path, this attraction offers imaginative courses suitable for kids under 5. It’s a great way to introduce your little ones to the joys of golf and spending quality time together.
Join Professor Duffer A. Hacker, the famous explorer, on a thrilling adventure perfect for kids under 5. In the 1920s, he explored the Fogclift Islands off South America, discovering hidden treasures and even an old mining train. Putt your way through an exciting expedition to find gold and diamonds. Plus, enjoy go-karts, bumper boats, kiddie rides, and an arcade – all inspired by Professor Hacker’s discoveries. It’s a fantastic mini golf experience for young adventurers!
Island Express Ferry Service: A Seafaring Adventure
Embark on a seafaring adventure with Island Express Ferry Service, which offers interactive voyages that are perfect for kids. These adventures, including trips to Shackleford Banks and Cape Lookout National Seashore, provide educational insights into the local wildlife and marine environment, making it a memorable experience for young minds.
Discover unforgettable ferry excursions on the Crystal Coast that are perfect for families with kids under 5:
- Shackleford Banks Sunset Dolphin & Wild Horse Cruise: Set sail on a captivating 49-passenger catamaran for a narrated scenic cruise to Shackleford Banks. Once there, enjoy an hour of free time to spot the fascinating herd of over 110 wild Banker horses, possibly descendants of Spanish shipwrecks from centuries ago. Little ones aged 2 and under sail for free, making it an affordable family adventure.
- Harkers Island Sunset Wild Horse & Dolphin Watch Cruise: Experience the magic of a sunset catamaran ride, with dolphins playfully frolicking in the sparkling sea as your backdrop during the 30-minute Harkers Island ferry ride. Learn about local legends and lore from knowledgeable Harkers Island natives, as they share captivating tales of Diamond City, Banker horses, the Mail Boat Run, Shell Point, and more. It’s an educational and entertaining journey for the whole family.
These are just a glimpse of the exciting ferry excursions available on the Crystal Coast, where young children can embark on thrilling adventures while creating cherished family memories.
Fort Macon State Park: History and Nature Combined
Fort Macon State Park is not only a historic gem but also an incredible playground for young explorers under 5. This coastal treasure offers a myriad of activities tailored just for them on the Crystal Coast.
While the park itself is a fantastic free adventure, the excitement for kids truly begins at the visitor center. Here, little ones can immerse themselves in interactive exhibits and hands-on displays that transport them back in time to the fort’s storied past. But the real magic lies in the educational programs designed with young children in mind.
For a nominal fee, your little adventurers can join engaging ranger-led sessions that transform history into an exciting adventure. They’ll get to learn about the fort’s fascinating history and its significance in a way that captivates their imaginations and sparks their curiosity.
So, if you’re seeking kid-friendly activities on the Crystal Coast, make sure to include Fort Macon State Park on your list. It’s not just a history lesson; it’s an unforgettable journey of exploration and discovery for your little ones.
Grace Adventure Park
Grace Adventure Park is a fantastic addition to the Crystal Coast, offering an exciting experience for families with kids under 5. This park combines thrilling activities like climbing, adventure, and creative fun all in one engaging setting.
What sets Grace Adventure Park apart is its commitment to providing a unique and interactive environment for children. With climbing challenges, imaginative play areas, and a sense of adventure around every corner, it’s a place where kids can let their imaginations run wild.
We’re fortunate to have this incredible park as part of the Crystal Coast landscape, providing endless opportunities for young children to explore, have fun, and create lasting memories.
Kid-Friendly Beach Days: Emerald Isle and Atlantic Beach
Of course, no visit to the Crystal Coast is complete without spending time at the beach. Emerald Isle and Atlantic Beach are perfect for families with young children. Pack your beach gear and explore the sandy shores, collect seashells, and enjoy the gentle waves. These beaches offer kid-friendly fun at its finest.
With local ice cream around almost every corner, there’s no better way to cool off from a great beach day, then chilling out with ice cream! The little ones will love soaking up every inch of their beach vacation and you are guaranteed to love their endless laughter.
Exploring Morehead City and Beaufort
Morehead City and Beaufort are two charming towns that offer a range of activities for families. Beaufort, in particular, is known for its historic sites, including the Webb Memorial Library, which hosts children’s programs. Stroll through these towns and explore their rich history and vibrant culture. Taking in all that these local treasures have to offer make them the perfect vacation for kids under 5 activities on the crystal coast.
One mustn’t miss the Beaufort Pirate Invasion Weekend at Gallant’s Channel, an absolute treasure trove of swashbuckling entertainment. This event takes place in the historic hometown of the notorious Blackbeard, where the entire town undergoes a remarkable transformation into a pirate haven. Imagine the tales your five-year-old will regale after visiting the beach and encountering a real-life pirate!
Cape Lookout Lighthouse: A Coastal Icon
Don’t miss a visit to the iconic Cape Lookout Lighthouse, located within the Cape Lookout National Seashore. While climbing the lighthouse might not be suitable for very young children, the surrounding area is a wonderful place to explore and take in breathtaking views.
North Carolina Seafood Festival: A Feast for the Senses
The North Carolina Seafood Festival in Morehead City is a culinary delight that you won’t want to miss. While your little ones may not appreciate the finer points of seafood cuisine, they will enjoy the festival’s festive music! With delicious food, fun rides, and games, it’s a perfect family outing.
Family-Friendly Dining and Vacation Rentals
When it’s time to refuel, you’ll find numerous family-friendly dining options throughout the Crystal Coast. And for a comfortable stay, consider booking one of our many vacation rentals available in the area. Our rentals provide all the amenities your family needs for a relaxing stay.
The Crystal Coast is a treasure trove of kid-friendly activities for families with children under 5. From the North Carolina Seafood Festival to ferry adventures and historic exploration, you’ll find endless opportunities for fun and adventure. So, pack your bags, embrace the coastal lifestyle, and create unforgettable memories with your little ones on the Crystal Coast. Your family adventure awaits!