Water Activities on The Crystal Coast

crystal coast watersports and activities

Water Activities on The Crystal Coast

How about a little vitamin sea? If you’re looking for some fun water activities on the Crystal Coast we got some great suggestions for you!

Bogue Banks comprises 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 are 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!

You’ll find an endless variety of water activities while you’re here; surfing, body boarding and skimboarding, kayaking, parasailing, and scuba diving – you name it, you can do it on the Crystal Coast!

Consider These Fun Water Activities on The Crystal Coast


Surfing the Crystal Coast is a popular pastime for locals and vacationers.  Pick a day with light winds and find a secluded spot on the beach to test the waters.  Using a longer surfboard and practicing standing up on the beach will make learning more straightforward if it’s your first time riding the waves.  If you’re a more experienced surfer, try the waves at The Point.  The currents tend to be stronger, and paddling out is more challenging.  Need a board or surfing lessons?  Call our office or visit a local surf shop.

Bodyboarding is also a great alternative to surfing for kids to try.  Kids will want to look for a soft board for safety.  Take the board out into the breakers and when a wave comes, paddle with it under your body, using it to ride the wave without standing up.


The Intracoastal Waterways and rivers that empty into it make for excellent kayaking.  You can start anywhere on the island and explore the barrier island system.  Swansboro is a great spot to start if you’re new, as there are several kayak companies that will not only rent you the gear but also do guided kayak tours.  Kayaking is great for beginners at water sports and generally doesn’t involve deep waters.  Double kayaks are great for parents and kids or couples to ride together!


Bodyboarding and skimboarding are great for beginners.  For either, just grab the board and head out over the waves to try your hand at surfing back in.  Skimboarding takes a bit more practice and coordination to master.  Catch the shoreline near low tide, so that you have a wider expanse of flat, sandy beach to work with.  Toss the board onto a shallow part of the tide and take a running leap to catch the board in motion and “skim” over the water.  Skimboards are thinner than bodyboards, allowing you to glide over the shallow water as it recedes with each incoming wave.

Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) offers an enjoyable and peaceful way to explore the waters of the Crystal Coast.  This sport has become a popular coastal activity as well as a great workout.  One advantage to SUPing, as opposed to other water sports, is standing at full height – you are inclined to see many sea creatures during your travels and can easily hop off to explore.  This sport is also a great way to incorporate the kids and even your dog!  


For the more adventurous explorer, try parasailing! Flying high across the coastline, you will see breathtaking views of the coast like never before.  You can fly single or double, and kids as young as six can go up! It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see our island from a “birds-eye” perspective, and is something your family will remember for years to come.  It’s also a remarkably safe adrenaline rush on your family’s summer vacation!

Scuba Diving

Our coastline is considered one of the country’s finest collections of shipwrecks to dive and explore sharks, stingrays, dolphins, sea turtles, and an endless variety of fish and plants.  We are blessed with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, allowing summertime water temperatures near 80 degrees and winter temperatures near 60 degrees.

Although there are hundreds of sunken vessels to explore while you’re scuba diving, our most visited underwater spot is the German submarine “U-352”.  It was sunk in April 1942 as it patrolled the eastern seaboard during World War II.  There are several dive companies on the eastern end of the coast, all of which offer beginner’s scuba diving classes and various chartered tours.