December 2023 Events on the Crystal Coast

nc coast december events

NC Coast December Events 2023

December is a month full of festivities and celebrations, and the NC Coast has no shortage of exciting events to ring in the holiday season. From dazzling Christmas parades to lively New Year’s Eve parties, there is something for everyone to enjoy on this picturesque coastal stretch.

Whether you are a local or a visitor, the Crystal Coast offers a perfect opportunity to get into the holiday spirit and create unforgettable memories with your loved ones that last a lifetime. So, without further ado, let’s explore the top December events on the Crystal Coast and get ready to have some fun!

NC Coast December Events

Christmas Parades on the Crystal Coast

Light Up The Night Christmas Parade December 1st-

Join the town of Atlantic Beach as they light up the night with a spectacular parade of lights starting at 6 PM. As the parade ends, be sure to visit the Fire Department so the kids can meet Santa and enjoy cookies, hot chocolate & photos, all free of charge!


Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla December 2nd-

Get ready for the annual Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla! Everything from Yachts to kayaks will be decorated and lighting up the Morehead City waterfront at 5:30 PM and the Beaufort waterfront at 6:15 PM. It’s a lovely evening event to spend with family, enjoying the kaleidoscope of colors reflecting off our beautiful waters!

NC Coast December Events

48th Annual Newport Christmas Parade December 3rd-

This year’s Newport Christmas Parade theme is “Christmas on the Farm,” so let’s kick off the holiday season at 3 PM with a Newport, NC country parade of fun!


2023 Morehead City Christmas Parade December 9th-

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the annual Morehead City Christmas Parade – a festive tradition that brings together people of all ages! This year’s parade will be held on Saturday, December 9th, starting at 11:00 AM. It will run along Arendell Street, eastbound, from 17th to 6th Street. So, get ready to bundle up, grab a seat, and enjoy the creative floats from local businesses, community groups, and performances from nearby school marching bands and dance teams. And the parade’s highlight will be Santa himself making an appearance – a sight sure to delight children and adults alike!

NC Coast December Events

December 1st:

Town of Newport Tree Lighting Celebration 2PM- 4PM-

Santa is coming to the Town of Newport for the tree-lighting celebration! There will be hot chocolate and cookies, and Santa will give candy canes to all the children. This event is free to attend, so bring the family for a festive and fun holiday event!


Christmas Tree Lighting@ Katherine Davis Park 5:30PM-

Hosted by the Town of Morehead City, this event is perfect for folks of all ages. Bring the whole family to enjoy music, games, hot chocolate, and even some holiday magic. You might even get a chance to meet Mr. & Mrs. Claus! The festivities start at 5:30 pm, with Mayor Jerry Jones leading the crowd in lighting the tree promptly at 6:00 pm. Be sure to dress your best and enter the best-dressed contest, and, of course, don’t forget your smartphone or camera to capture the perfect photo opportunity in front of the beautiful tree!

NC Coast December Events

December 2nd:

Emerald Isle Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair 9 AM-

The Emerald Isle Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair is the perfect event for those who want to get a jump start on their holiday shopping and support our local businesses! With more than 30 vendors, you will surely find the perfect coastal treasure for that special someone. The fair is free, open to the public, and held in the heart of Emerald Isle at the Emerald Isle Parks & Recreation Dept.


Breakfast with Santa! 6 AM-

Breakfast with Santa at the Bridge Downeast is a fun and festive event for the whole family! Kick off the holiday season with a pancake breakfast and a visit from Santa. 

NC Coast December Events

Island Santa Bar Crawl 10 AM-

Dress in your best Christmas costumes, and let’s crawl for a cause! There will be games and a costume contest, and the whole crawl will benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation!


Elf in the Woods 7 AM-9 AM-

Join us for a magical morning with your toddler! Rise and shine for a morning of holiday crafts and reading “Elf on the Shelf.” As the morning goes, there will be a holiday scavenger hunt and a late morning warm-up of hot chocolate, treats, and a short ” Elf on the Shelf” movie!

NC Coast December Events

December 7th:

Christmas Night Market 3 PM-

Start your holiday shopping locally with this festive Christmas Night Market! Pair your holiday shopping with live music and the crisp, cool coastal air for a holiday shopping experience you won’t forget!


December 8th-10th:

11th Annual Crystal Coast Hospice House Gingerbread Festival-

Come experience a gingerland of holiday sights, sounds, and smells at the 11th annual Gingerbread Festival! This weekend of festive family fun will feature Santa visits, kids activities, Gingerbread Cafe and Sweet Shop, and so much more.

NC Coast December Events

December 9th:

Santa by the Sea@ The Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium-

Santa is bringing his holiday magic to all the fish and critters of the North Carolina Aquarium of Pine Knoll Shores on December 9th! Enjoy holiday crafts, treats, and fun games while exploring the decorated corridors of the Aquarium!


December 13th:

CORNER COLLAB: Holiday Extravaganza 4 PM-

Calling all movers, shakers, and makers for a holiday night market extravaganza at The Periwinkle in Beaufort, NC! Festivities include a food truck, live music, decoration swaps, and more! 


December 15th:

Astronomy Night at Fort Macon 3 PM-

Join the Crystal Coast Stargazers as they discuss the night sky with telescopes set up for guests to view the enchanting vastness of space! This event will be held in the parking lot of Fort Macon, the perfect Crystal Coast location to gaze upon the stars!

NC Coast December Events

December 16th:

Beaufort Claus Crawl 2 PM-

Get ready to spread some holiday cheer at the 2023 Beaufort Claus Crawl presented by Connect Carteret – A Young Professionals Network. The Claus Crawl is taking over downtown Beaufort this year, and you won’t want to miss it! Put on your best holiday costumes and get excited for exclusive food and drink specials at each participating establishment. Don’t forget to cast your vote for the best Claus Crawl restaurant/bar of the year. 


December 29th:

Smoke on the Water Bonfire Atlantic Beach, NC 6 PM-

Warm yourself with a roaring fire and enjoy live music by Robert Mcduffy. Plus, the Town of Atlantic Beach will sell the quintessential s’mores supplies to warm your bellies! *ADMISSION IS FREE*


New Year Celebrations on the NC Coast-

Buccaneers’ New Year’s Eve- Capt. Shack Walks the Plank December 31st-

I’m sure you’ve heard of the NYC ball drop for New Year’s Eve, but have you heard of the Beaufort New Year’s Eve Pirate Drop? Grab your lawn chairs, gather around the fire pit, and enjoy some delicious s’mores and hot cocoa while you count down to Capt. Shack’s icy walk the plank dive into Taylor’s Creek!

NC Coast December Events

New Year’s Eve Cannon Blast December 31st-

Bring in the new year with the big guns of Fort Macon! Live entertainment will kick off at 6 PM, and the cannons will boom promptly at 7 PM. (Don’t be late as the roads are closed for safety at 6:45 PM.) Feel Free to make your evening comfortable with folding chairs and picnic supplies!


Downtown Countdown @ Big Rock Landing December 31st-

It’s that time of the year again! Join the Town of Morehead City for their Downtown Countdown and NYE festivities! There will be games, music, face painting, and so much more at 5 PM at the Big Rock Landing! This event is family-friendly, with a crab pot drop at 6 PM!


 The evening continues with downtown festivities, shopping, and dining, culminating in a grand finale of fireworks and a large brightly lit crab pot drop to bring in the new year!


holidays on the coast

Have You Found Your Ideal Experience on the NC Coast for December?

The holidays are a time for family and friends, and Bluewater is here to help bring all your loved ones together to celebrate each other with a Bluewater Beach Vacation. Let us help you craft your stress-free holiday vacation today!

Pin Your Way to Fun: Save These NC Coast December 2023 Events for Later

Events on the NC coast December