The Bluewater Vacation Rental Blog has everything you need to know for your Crystal Coast vacation, plus so much more that you’ll want to know, too! You get it all straight from the locals at Bluewater Vacation Rentals who live and play here along the coast.

We’re covering Emerald Isle to Beaufort and everything in between to ensure you make the most out of the time you spend with us right here in coastal North Carolina. Can’t find what you’re looking for? No worries, just reach out to our Guest Relations team by phone or send us a message on social media. We’re always happy to help!

Hang Glider banner image for ride the wind with kitty hawk kites

Ride the Wind with Kitty Hawk Kites

Hang Glider banner image for ride the wind with kitty hawk kites

Ride the Wind with Kitty Hawk Kites

Hello! My name is Mimi and I’m a 37-year-old mother of 2, a loving wife to Benji, and a Crystal Coast local. Join me as I ride the wind with Kitty Hawk Kites.

I lead a pretty uneventful life. The days of wild adventures and long weekends are few and far between. Most weekends of the summer are spent looking for ways to keep my family entertained and activities to keep my children’s minds wide open to the possibilities life can present to them. When I was given the opportunity to experience something new courtesy of Kitty Hawk Kites, I accepted. Not only for the break in the norm, but to set an example for my kids to get out there and LIVE! You have to take risks to get rewards.

This is the first year Kitty Hawk Kites offered Hang Gliding in Beaufort. The flagship center on the Outer Banks has been “teaching the world to fly since 1974.” Boasting that students from ages 4-92, both male and female have participated in some form of flight, from hang gliding, kiteboarding, parasailing to paragliding. From the physically fit to physically challenged, all it takes is the desire to learn and fly. This opportunity ties in well with Ride the Wind Day.

Ride the Wind Day is an unofficial national holiday in the US, celebrated on August 23rd, that commemorates the anniversary of the first human-powered flight to win the Kremer prize. Established in 1959 by industrialist, Henry Kremer, for pioneers of human-powered flight, the first of which was given to Dr. Paul MacCready when his Gossamer Condor, piloted by Bryan Allen was the first aircraft to fly a figure eight around two markers a half-mile apart and a least 10 feet above the ground. But I’ve decided I’m going to think of it as commemorating Kitty Hawk and the first flight of The Wright Brothers, even though that was December 17, 1903. Just go with it! Ha!

I’m celebrating the holiday early and in my own way – Come with me … Here’s my day.

7:45 I’m awake, I need coffee. What do I wear for this? Yoga pants and a t-shirt … sure, sounds good. Everyone in my house is still asleep, um bye guys!

9:00 Arrive at Michael J. Smith Airfield, Beaufort. Oh gosh, I hope I’m in the right place. Why have I never been down here before? Oh, there’s a sign for hang gliding; that was easy.

9:02 I walked through the office to a picnic table under a shaded tree. My first thought … are all these people hang gliding today? Answer: YES! Even that 11-year-old: YES! Second thought these people are so cool, laid back, excited, and not even a little scared. This is the perfect scenario for my nerves. They’ve been sky diving too? YES!

Ok, I’ve got this.

9:18 A voice comes over the walkie that sits at the end of the picnic table. “Hey, is anyone there? If so, pick up the pink walkie with the seashell” We reply, “Yes, there are people here, over.” Moments later we meet James, a super high-spirited guy from Chattanooga, TN. We go over paperwork, sign waivers, get basic information about the flight as well as receive our US Hang Gliding & Paragliding Assn., Student / Affiliate Membership.

9:25 Golf cart escort with James to the center of the field where to gear up for the flight. I get to go first? Oh my gosh, I’m so excited at this point.

9:28 Gearing up and introductions from Richard and Chris. Chris is the pilot of the Bailey-Moyes Dragonfly aircraft. This thing is so basic-looking compared to planes I’ve seen before. It has an open cockpit and looked like it had pretty basic controls and this will pull the North Wing Freedom 220 hang glider up to 2,000 feet and let us go.

Richard, oh sweet kind Richard. He is amazing. This guy’s job is to allow people to experience a bird’s eye view of Beaufort and Beyond. Amazing, where do I sign up?

9:33 You ready, Mimi? Let’s GO!

Mimi and ride the wind with kitty hawk kites

9:34 -9:43 My flight lasted 10 minutes. I moved my head the entire time. I wanted to absorb as much as I could, knowing that it would be over way too soon. I’ve always known that I was lucky to be born and raised in this area but when you see it from the air, it’s like art. I could see almost to Emerald Isle, thanks to the clouds that had lifted for better visibility, Fort Macon, Beaufort Waterfront, Shackleford Banks – all were in a second’s view of one another. The wind and air temperature were about 10-15 degrees cooler, it felt amazing! Once we reached 2000 feet, Chris released us.

In that moment, I was jarred. I’m really soaring. It was just me, Richard, and some metal and canvas. I was surprisingly ok with this fact. A moment later Richard asked, “Do you want to steer?” Um, yeah! He tells me to place my hands on both sides and pull my weight forward gently. This motion takes us slowly and steadily down. My next instruction is to shift and pull my weight to the left to steer us left then right slightly to even us out.

I did it! I flew that darn thing! Richard gives me kudos for staying calm, he said that was the hardest part, getting people to remain calm. Thanks, Richard. You were a great coach.

As we got closer to the ground, I was completely overwhelmed with emotion. Everything about this experience was positive. Every single encounter was positive. I just went hang gliding! Oh gosh, I’m going to have to do this again! And with that thought, Richard brought us safely and perfectly to the earth.

The first thing I did was lay on the ground, just lay there. The contrast between the two feelings was the ultimate high. Parting from Richard, I insisted we hug. We both laughed and he wished me good luck on my blog. My response was “don’t get too excited, I’m not much of a writer” His reply was better “Well I’m not much of a pilot” Touché, sir, touché.

For more information about hang gliding with Richard & Chris check out the website.

Me and Richard pre-flight

Savannah, age 11 and the Dragonfly aircraft

Chris Bodin, our pilot

Me getting into the gear

5th annual bites and blues blog post banner

5th Annual Bites and Blues

5th annual bites and blues blog post banner

5th Annual Bites and Blues Festival

This year’s 5th Annual Bites and Blues Festival is going to be even better than the last. Happing in Downtown Morehead City in April, this yearly event is hosted by the NC Seafood Festival. Part of the proceeds from the tickets benefit the Carteret Community College Culinary Arts Program. So eat, drink, and be merry – knowing that you’re helping our community.

bites and blues views

Views from Bites and Blues in Downtown MHC


Tickets go on sale earlier in the year and sell out very quickly because the event has become a favorite among locals and visitors alike. This event is exciting for many as they get the opportunity to enjoy some tasty food and specialty drinks, that might not ordinarily be on the menu in town, with friends and family.

Let your Bites and Blues ticket be your guide as you stroll along the Morehead City waterfront, listening to the sounds of live music while stopping at restaurants, and the hosting businesses, for a “bite”.

This year 16 restaurants participated along with an additional 6 host businesses. New from previous years were the specialty Bites and Blues drink provided at select stops along the way. At the end of the night, you get the chance to vote for your favorite “Bite of the Nite”. This is always one of the most difficult decisions. They’re all always so good. How do you choose just one? 

bites and blues festival, 5th annual bites and blues

Erica and friends

This Year’s Festival Winners Are:

  • 1st Place – Fat Fellas BBQ & Grille
  • 2nd Place – Southern Salt Seafood Company
  • 3rd Place – The Accidental Bakery

Don’t miss out on the festival next year! Follow along with NC Seafood Festival for next year’s ticket sales and mark your calendar! Will we see you there? 

Beads and Beaufort

Mardi Gras in Beaufort, NC

Since 1699, Mardi Gras has been celebrated in cities worldwide, including our own Beaufort, NC who proudly hosts the shortest parade in North Carolina February, 21 2017.

Middle Lane will come alive with quirky parade “krews” dressed in various costumes and will toss colorful beads and jewelry to the crowds, leading up to the crowning of the Mardi Gras King and queen.  Parade starts promptly at 3pm, where the sidewalks fill with crowds hoping to grab some new treasure. If you are a few minutes late, better get there early next year- really the parade is that quick!

After the procession, the party continues with live jazz/blues/swing music by Barstow & The Revamps and Blue Moon Jazz!  Kiddos also can get in on the fun, with games, face painting and mask making tents set up.

Once you enjoy the celebrations and work up an appetite, local restaurants will be serving traditional Creole style food and drink that is not to be missed. 

Dates:  Saturday, February 25, 2017

Hours:  2 p.m. – 6 p.m.  The parade starts at 3 p.m. sharp.

Price:  Free

Parking:  Downtown Beaufort

Address:  114 Middle Lane, Beaufort, NC, 28516

Banner image of a person holding a skateboard with the blog post title overlaying it

Atlantic Beach Skatepark Is Now Open

Banner image of a person holding a skateboard with the blog post title overlaying it

The Atlantic Beach Skatepark Is Now Open

After a year in the works, it is with great pride we share that the Atlantic Beach Skatepark is now open to the public. The construction company was hired in late December 2015 with plans to begin construction in February 2016. As slated, construction began.

Town of Atlantic Beach Skate Park Construction

©️ Town of Atlantic Beach

A Facebook page was set up early in the process to inform the public of the progress to the park. In the beginning stages, the developers even asked for public opinion on ideas for ramps in the park. Allowing the community to get involved with the project giving locals a say in what we wanted to see happen on our Beach.

Being a local, I heard so many times “I wish there was something for kids to do around here.” It’s a trade-off, we get to live on the beach year-round, while those of you in bigger cities have plenty to keep your kids occupied. Skateboarding has always been somewhat of a rebellious sport, with kids being run-off from shopping centers and pretty much everywhere with pavement for as long as I can remember.

But not anymore, the Town of Atlantic Beach and its Mayor, Trace Cooper, have fought to bring this incredible skatepark to the beach and give Atlantic Beach (and surrounding areas) kids somewhere public where they can ride their skateboards without being harassed. I’ve spent the last two afternoons at the park and I’m so excited to see this project completed. I just wish that it had happened 20 years ago!

The park is free to the public so you can stop by for a visit.

Skateboarders Enjoying the Atlantic Beach Skatepark

BMX Bike Lovers

Skate Park Rules, AB skate park rules

The skate park will also be used as a place where BMX bike riders can practice and enjoy the ramps. There are certain hours set in place for BMX bikes so be sure to check those times if you are going to skate. Also, wear your gear. It’s for your safety and it’s a law.5 W Fort Macon Road and is free to the public. The skate park hours are daily, 8 AM to 10 PM (dawn to dusk). Riders under 10 must be accompanied by an adult. Pursuant to NC General Statute, all skaters and riders must wear helmets, elbow pads, and knee pads.

Additional Information About the Park


©️ Town of Atlantic Beach

The Town Skate Park is located at the Town Park, 915 W Fort Macon Road, and is free to the public. The skate park hours are daily, 8 AM to 10 PM (dawn to dusk). Riders under 10 must be accompanied by an adult. Pursuant to NC General Statute, all skaters and riders must wear helmets, elbow pads, and knee pads.

Parks and Recreation – 
PO Box 10
Atlantic Beach, NC 28512
Phone: 252-726-4456
Fax: 252-727-7043

If you enjoyed this blog post and would like to learn about more activities in our area, read all our blog posts tagged with “activities.”

crystal coast pizza

Pizza on the Crystal Coast

crystal coast pizza

Enjoy some Pizza on the Crystal Coast

Who doesn’t love pizza? No matter what style of pizza you enjoy the most, the Southern Outer-banks has it covered. There are many different places to grab a pizza on the Crystal Coast. 

Many locals have their go-to places and you will quickly learn the most popular ones. We think you should try them all and make your own decision. For your convenience, we’ve put together a list of the most popular places along our southern Outer Banks.

New York-style, traditional, and even gluten-free options can be found around the Crystal Coast. Many of these have other options to go along with your pizza or for those who want something different. You can find salads, wings, burgers, subs, and much more. Be sure to check out the list below and find the best pizza restaurant for you. You can never go wrong with a large hot pizza. Take out or Eat In, it is your choice! We would love to hear your favorite!

Pick your Pizza Place

Michaelangelo’s Pizza

8700 Emerald Drive, Emerald Isle & 1010 West Fort Macon Road, Atlantic Beach

Lazzara’s Pizza and Subs

9104-C Coast Guard Road, Emerald Isle

Circle Pizza

7702 Emerald Drive, Emerald Isle

No Name Pizza and Subs

5218 Highway 70 West, Morehead City

Luigi’s Pizza

 5167 US-70 #120, Morehead City

Pizza Inn

7903 Emerald Drive, Emerald Isle

Bella Pizza and Subs

311 Atlantic Beach Causeway, Atlantic Beach

Roma Pizza and Subs

100 South Charlotte Avenue, Atlantic Beach

Restaurant Options

Looking for something completely different? Don’t miss this list of some of our most popular Crystal Coast restaurants.