Carteret County Tax Re-Evaluation

A Quick Look Inside the Carteret County Tax Re-Evaluation Process


What to Expect


Property owners in Carteret County will soon receive a re-evaluation of their assets from the County Tax Office.

The re-evaluation process was pushed back one year due to the widespread damage due to Hurricane Florence in the Fall of 2018 and is the first adjustment since 2015.

Property appraisals will be calculated as close to their current status as of January 1st, 2020 as possible- and value letters will be sent out sometime within the first or second week in February.

The appeal process will then begin, with tax bills being mailed mid-fall once the rates are established by the County Commissioners.


Did you know? For 2019, Carteret County residents enjoyed the lowest property tax rate in the state of North Carolina. The rate of .31% was unchanged from 2018.

* Image above is courtesy of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners

Duties of the Assessor


The Assessor evaluates all property subject to taxation. The Assessor is required by North Carolina law to list, appraise and assess all property within the county at 100% of market value. In addition to the over 58,000 parcels of real property (land, homes, commercial buildings), the Assessor must value business personal property (approximately 7,000 businesses, ranging from multi‐million dollar enterprises to one-person operations). There are over 7,549 manufactured homes, over 77 aircraft, and over 26,129 boats, motors, and jet skis, and any other personal property which is taxable. There are over 6,500 motor vehicles that are billed monthly.

The Carteret County Tax Assessor’s Office creates over 150,000 tax notices annually. Because there is such a volatile real estate market, reappraisal for Carteret County is done every four years. The revaluation will include the use of county maps, aerial photography, street-level images, sales analysis, field visits, and other tools to gather data used in determining fair market value. Carteret County appraisers will review and analyze the information including comparable sales within your neighborhood.

Market Value is the most probable or most likely price that the property would sell for. It is not the highest, lowest, or average price. It requires a willing buyer and a willing seller with neither under any pressure to buy or sell. It implies that the buyer and the seller are fully informed of all the purposes to which the property is best adapted and is capable of being used. It recognizes the property’s current use as well as its potential use.

Appeal Process

If you agree with the Market Value stated in the Notice of Assessed Value, no further action is required.

If you wish to request an informal appeal, please chose from one of the three methods below:
1. An online appeal can be completed and submitted on the Carteret County Tax website
2. Email a scanned informal appeal form and any supporting documentation to taxinformation@carteretcountync.gov.
3. Mail the completed Informal Appeal Form and supporting documentation to:

Carteret County Tax Department
2020 Revaluation Appeal
302 Courthouse Square
Beaufort, NC 28516

*Online and emailed appeals will receive a confirmation email that the appeal was received by the Tax Department. All appeals will be reviewed by staff appraisers in the order that they are received. Your right to appeal to the Board of Equalization and Review is protected during the time the Tax Office is processing your Informal Appeal.

A REVIEW OF YOUR ASSESSMENT MAY RESULT IN YOUR VALUE BEING: UNCHANGED, REDUCED, OR INCREASED.

Valid Reasons to Appeal the Assessed Value
1. The market value substantially exceeds the actual market value of the property.
2. The market value is inconsistent with the market value of similar properties within your
neighborhood.

Invalid Reasons to Appeal the Assessed Value
1. The market value increased too much compared to the previous market value.
2. The market value is more than the insurance value.
3. The market value is just too high.
4. The owner does not have the financial ability to pay the taxes.

*All information courtesy of the Carteret County Tax Office. Please contact them if you have any questions, or are interested in beginning the appeal process.


Tax Office Divisions
Appraisal
252-728-8485
Business Personal 252-728-8486
Collections 252-728-8525
Land Records / Mapping 252-728-8490
Personal Property 252-728-8486
Western Tax Office 252-222-5833
Fax 252-732-2064

USMC Marching Band

Veteran’s Day Tribute

As a military wife of over 15 years, I have seen far too much of what our Veterans and their families experience.  Veteran’s Day (originally called Armistice day) was proclaimed on November 11, 1919, by Woodrow Wilson to celebrate the ending of World War 1. This National Holiday pays tribute to all who have served in America’s Armed forces.

What Veteran’s Day Means to Me

When I think of Veteran’s Day a wave of emotions, memories, and flashbacks come to mind. I think of ceremonies, promotions, Marine Corps Balls… I think of the heaviness of deployments.  I think of the brokenness in my boys’ eyes when they hug their Daddy before getting “on that bus.” I think of the sadness each military service member feels when they leave their loved ones behind- often missing holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, their children’s “firsts” etc.  I think of children growing up without a parent, and often even their extended family. I think of the joy, anticipation, preparation, and arrival of those who come home. I think of the heartache for those whose loved ones come home scarred..or not at all… You see, Veteran’s Day is far more than a day off of work or school.

What You Can Do to Honor a Local Veteran

What special meaning does Veterans Day hold for you? What emotions are evoked in you when you hear the word “Veteran”.  Below are just a few meaningful ways of how you can show your love and support:

1. Accompany a Veteran to a Veteran’s Day Parade

2. Seek out a Veteran to spend time with

3. Visit a senior Veteran in a nursing home or senior housing area

4. Help a Veteran check with the Veteran’s Benefits Administration for any unclaimed

benefits

5. Take a warm meal or dessert to someone you know is a Veteran

6 Offer to watch the children of a Veteran so the parents can have a nice date

7. Donate to a Veteran charity/organization

8. If time or distance makes it hard for you to spend time with your Veteran loved one you can reach out via phone, email, text, mail, etc.

 

Do you have any special way you honor our past and present military? Please feel free to share!

Many Blessings, and to those who have served or are currently serving… Thank You.

Crystal Shaw- Broker/Realtor at Bluewater Real Estate in Emerald Isle, NC

This blog post was written and prepared by Crystal Shaw, a Broker/REALTOR® at Bluewater Real Estate and proud Military spouse. She and her husband have relocated frequently due to new orders, but have been blessed to call The Crystal Coast their home for the last 9 years.

Cell Phone | (740) 973-6693

Email | CrystalS@BluewaterNC.com


Local events for Veteran’s Day:

The Carteret County Veterans Day Parade will be held in Morehead City on Saturday, November 9, and will start at 11 a.m. No invitation is required to enter – everyone is invited! The parade committee will no longer be sending out written invitations but is shifting to social media for notification/information. If you or your organization would like to participate in this patriotic event or for more information, please visit https://www.americanlegionmhc.org/veterans-day-parade, email ccveteransdayparade@gmail.com, or contact the Carteret County Veterans Services Office at 252-728-8440 for more information. If you do not have access to the internet, please contact the number above and we will assist you in completing your entry form.

A small group of re-enactors will be in the fort Saturday afternoon and Sunday showing what Fort Macon would have looked like during WWII.  Uniform talks, weapons demonstrations, and other short talks and presentations will be given throughout the day. November 9th: 2-5 PM & November 10th: 10 AM- 4 PM

From Carteret County Speedway: We are proud and committed to carrying out Bobby Watson’s legacy and dream here at Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway. Providing the Crystal Coast with the region’s finest short track facility and entertainment park. In the final race we will be honoring our active military and veterans. Join us for the final race on Saturday, Nov. 16, for a family military night of fun and entertainment. Located right off Highway 58 in Peletier. Visit Carteretspeedway.com or call 252-436-7223 for more information.

Bluewater Sales Awards Dinner

Bluewater Real Estate Sales Awards Dinner


We had a lot to celebrate and be thankful for during our annual Bluewater Real Estate Sales Awards Dinner. Every year, we gather our Sales Team together and it’s always a great opportunity to look back on the progress of not only each of our individual agents but our company as a whole. With almost all of our Bluewater Real Estate Agents and staff members in attendance, we shared many laughs and memories over a delicious dinner and delectable drinks. Thank you to the wonderful staff at Kathryn’s Bistro & Martini Bar for the great food and amazing service!



Bluewater Real Estate Sales Awards Dinner

Congratulations to Our Top Producer Award Winners!

Jim Bailey was our top producing agent throughout all of our offices in 2019. Way to go Jim!


Bluewater Real Estate Sales Awards Dinner

The Copeland & Bernauer Team took home the Top Producing Sales Team Award. Keep up the great work!


Bluewater Real Estate Sales Awards Dinner

This year was certainly special, as we were able to celebrate Kitch Ayre as a Top-Producing agent for the 20th consecutive year during our sales awards dinner! We are so proud of all of Kitch’s accomplishments and so excited to see what the future holds for her. Congratulations, Kitch, and thanks again for all the memories!

Bluewater Real Estate Sales Awards Dinner

Bluewater Real Estate Sales Awards Dinner

Take a look at some more photos of the great time that was had by all!


voted best beach in north carolina header image

Emerald Isle Voted Best Beach in North Carolina!

Celebrating Emerald Isle – Voted Best Beach in North Carolina

In a recent poll from USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice Awards – Emerald Isle was voted best beach in North Carolina. This is a great achievement and recognizes the beauty and serenity that our coastal town offers. It’s clear to see that locals take pride in keeping their beach clean, with organizations like the Surfrider Foundation organizing monthly ‘Beach Sweeps’ to pick up litter and spread the word to visitors about ‘Leaving Only Footprints.’

Points of Interest While Visiting Emerald Isle

The beach is obviously a hot spot for travelers and residents alike, but there are plenty of other amenities to take advantage of – whether you’re here for a week or a lifetime.

The 12-mile Multi-Use Path is a great way for families to get around town without loading up the car. For those dedicated individuals who can’t miss a run- it’s also a great way to burn some calories.  Even if you’re just cruising on a bike to a local restaurant, or walking to your favorite bar- there’s always a reason to take advantage of the bike path!

The multiple access points to the marshlands and Intracoastal Waterway also make Emerald Isle a great destination for water-sports enthusiasts. With the largest public boat ramp in the state- boaters can spend a relaxing day on the water, without the hassle of wondering if a parking spot will be available for their trailer. If you prefer a more laid-back experience on the water- kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding are very popular and easy to rent. You can even schedule a guided tour if you’d prefer to be joined by someone with some local knowledge and experience.

For those searching for kid-friendly options, the Jean Preston Memorial Playground is adjacent to the NC Wildlife Boat Ramp at 6800 Emerald Drive. As an all-inclusive playground, there is specialized equipment designed for all types of children, including those with disabilities.

Atlantic Beach Ranked Fourth Best Beach

EI isn’t the only Crystal Coast community recognized for its beauty, Atlantic Beach was ranked fourth best beach in the same poll. With a town-sanctioned skate park, mini-golf course, and children’s splash pad, Atlantic Beach has an abundance of fun offerings for the whole family! You can also check out the new hot spots at The Circle, or explore the history and walking trials at Fort Macon.

We’re proud to have an office presence in both of these beautiful North Carolina beach communities – Atlantic Beach and Emerald Isle. If you’re interested in relocating to or investing in a property at one of the top beaches in North Carolina, or a surrounding area- come see us and we’ll be happy to work with you!

To see who else made the list, you can view the Top 10 rankings at: Best North Carolina Beach 2018  

What’s your favorite Crystal Coast Beach? Let us know in the comments.

curb appeal, capitalize on curb appeal, curb appeal for your home

Capitalizing on Curb Appeal

curb appeal, capitalize on curb appeal, curb appeal for your home

If you’re looking to add some real wow factor to your home, consider capitalizing on curb appeal. Spending time making the outside of your home more appealing will take your home’s curb appeal to a whole other level. Your home will turn heads and be the envy of the neighborhood. 

In this blog post, we’ll share some tips on how you can start capitalizing on curb appeal.

Start With The Big Picture Vision

If you’ve been planning any major renovations to your outdoor areas, now is a great time to get started. With warmer weather on the horizon, you’ll be motivated to get it done before the heat of the Summer comes around. Whether you’re looking to add a retaining wall, clean up your driveway, or just add a few flower beds- there’s no better time than the Spring to get started on these outdoor projects.

When we say focus on the big stuff, these are projects that can take at least a day to complete, and anything you might need a few extra hands to help out with. When it comes to a few certain areas, you’re much better off consulting with a professional who has the skills and tools required to get the job done right. These include large tree removal, a custom driveway or paved walkway installation, and landscape lighting. Although you may find yourself paying a little more for these services, the return on your investment can go a long way when it comes time to sell your home- not to mention the cost of having something go wrong if you were to handle it yourself.

Sometimes, a routine day in the yard is all you need to spruce up the outside of your home. Before you get started, make sure you have all your materials squared away and in proper working condition. If you’re in need of any tools or machines, in particular, make a list of what’s needed and then inventory your gardening supplies (flowers, fertilizer, pine straw, mulch, etc..) It’s easier to grab everything you need at once at the end of the day than get frustrated and have to head out into town right during the middle of your project. Also, make sure you have plenty of cold drinks to last you through the day, and of course, a few adult beverages to enjoy when you finish up and enjoy the rewards of the work you just put in.

Don’t Be Afraid To Get Down and Dirty

It should be fully expected that when cleaning up your yard, you’re going to work up a sweat, but you also might need to dress accordingly for your clothes to accumulate some dirt. Start your focus with any flower beds you might have where weeds have built up over the months, or plants are just not living their best life. Think about what type of plants would be best designed for space, and what fits your budget at the time to make the best decision for your flower beds. Palm trees are a pretty common occurrence among high-end homes throughout The Crystal Coast and can make for a great low-maintenance addition to an empty yard.

Pine straw is a popular feature in most flower beds along the coast- it’s cheap, easy to lay down, and lasts a decent amount of time. Depending on your existing structure, mulch could always be an option- and rocks may not be the cheapest option, but probably is the easiest to maintain. Anything you can do to avoid exposed sand/dirt will go a long way in keeping your property clean and presentable at first glance. Grass can be difficult and expensive to grow right along the beach, but a healthy mixture of dirt, sod, and consistent water can help do the trick.

This is also a great time to focus on any pests you might have lingering around your homestead. Fire ants and moles are two of the most annoying and damaging animals to most yards in our area, but the local hardware stores are usually stocked with plenty of ways to prevent these nuisances from calling your home theirs as well. Deer are pretty prevalent in our coastal community as well, and can wreak havoc on your freshly planted flower beds- For that reason, it’s usually recommended to keep potted flowers on your porch or deck (Hanging plants is also a great option if you’re front entrance allows it). You can also choose the plants that help to deter deer.

Finding the Right Way to Deter Deer

Perennial “Deer Deterrent” Plants

  • Aster
  • Fern
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Iris
  • Lamb’s ears
  • Lavender
  • Lupine
  • Mint
  • Phlox
  • Oleander
  • Fountaingrass
  • Rosemary
  • Salvia
  • Thyme
  • Verbena
  • Veronica

Deer Deterring Trees

  • Cedar
  • False Cypress
  • Hackberry
  • Hawthorn
  • Japanese Maple
  • Magnolia
  • Oak
  • Palm trees

Deer Deterring Items for Your Yard

  • Thorny branches
  • Floodlights
  • Hidden fishing lines
  • Sprinklers
  • Reflective surfaces
  • Fences
  • Netting

Apply Some Pressure and Maybe Some Paint

One of the most visually satisfying things in the world is seeing all of the dirt and grime that has accumulated over the years vanished from your front porch, steps, and driveway. Pressure Washing is by far the quickest and easiest way to get this dirty job done. Not all power washers are built the same, but chances are – they’ll get the job done. Whether you’re using electric or gas, it’s very important to exercise caution throughout this process. Depending on how comfortable you feel doing it yourself, it might be in your best interest to pay a professional to take care of this dirty job for you. Most crews usually have their own portable tank, with plenty of hose length for any job. If your whole house is looking a completely different color than its original paint job- it might be time to bite the bullet and have the whole thing done. (If you do choose to take care of it yourself, make sure you’re protecting your feet, eyes, and hands from any misfires). Pro-Tip* The recommended PSI for decks and home exteriors is around 1500, while around 3000 PSI is necessary to get your driveway sparkling again.

If your front porch is mainly made of wood, chances are you’ll have already made your mind up in the paint vs. stain debate. Re-evaluate your decision to make sure it’s showing the home in its best light, and still in line with your budget. Regardless of what you choose, chances are that you’ll need to redo the process every few years to keep it looking fresh. White paint is great but will show the effects of wear and tear before almost anything else. If your wooden porch is uncovered, adding a stain is probably your best option to keep you and your guests safe in bad weather conditions.

Your front door should also be a topic of discussion during the curb-appealing process. A unique color can make a home stand out from the crowd and initiate a great start to home showings to potential clients. If you decide to choose something out-of-the-norm, be sure that it flows with the rest of your house in some way or another. Regardless of your decision, be sure to take your time and do the necessary prep work. A few coats should do the trick, and if there’s any leftover paint- use it to cover a few new flowerpots and continue the color trend throughout the entranceway. New doorknobs and locks can also make a big difference on the first impression, especially if they’re sticky or becoming corroded. Keyless entry has been a big trend in the housing market recently, and simply re-programming an entry code can make it that much easier for new buyers to secure their new home after the sale.

Reduce the Yard Art

A lot of people living on the coast love to display unique items around their house to showcase their various interests and random things they come across. Derelict boats, bikes, can really make a home stand out among the crowd, but there’s a pretty fine line between adding style to your lawn and creating the illusion of a junkyard.

Stick with things that have true meaning to you. If you love birds and want to have a birdhouse, feeder, or birdbath outside your front door- do it! These are things that everyone can understand, and with some simple routine maintenance, can add a sense of charm to your coastal cottage. If squirrels get the word and start snacking on your seeds, try and avoid the temptation to erect a squirrel proofing system underneath, and just remove the problem.

An old wooden boat nicely propped up with colorful flowers on the inside can be the cutest thing a potential buyer has seen throughout their buying process. On the flip-side, a rusty trailer with a mildewed boat and no motor can make a potential buyer say- would we have to pay to move this thing out of here? Keep in mind, that there is absolutely no shame in storing your boat in your driveway or designated space in your yard- it can actually be a great leeway for lookers who might start to get the wheels turning on buying a boat of their own along with your home. Just keep in mind that if you don’t use it, or keep up with it a few times a year- chances are it’s losing value and cluttering up valuable open space around your home.

Designated areas for activity (sandboxes, swing sets, gardens, cornhole boards & soccer goals) can be a great way for potential buyers to visualize their families enjoying the spaces you’ve created. Just make sure that outdoor amenities are safe and well-kept throughout the year.

Clean the Screens (and Everything Else While You’re At It)

Don’t forget to take care of the little things that can make a big difference. You’ll want your home to have a light and airy feel for yourself and guests upon arrival, and having clean windows is crucial to capture that essence. With dirty window screens, sills, and trim is a two-sided issue- it’s definitely not one that you want to overlook. Garage doors, light fixtures, gutters, and any seating areas you have around the front of your home should also be cleaned and painted if necessary.

If you happen to have a screened porch, you’ll want to make sure that the entire screen system is attached and any holes are patched if possible. The ever-popular Carolina Room windows should be thoroughly cleaned as well, even if the room isn’t visible from the front because it’s a natural gathering space for potential buyers and guests.

Bluewater Sales Awards Banquet

Celebrating a Fantastic Year


On the evening of Thursday, February 7th, our Bluewater Real Estate Sales Team gathered at Kathryn’s Bistro & Martini Bar in Emerald Isle for our annual Awards Dinner. It was a night filled with good food, great drinks, and the best company you could ask for. After a rough few months since Hurricane Florence, it was so rewarding to look back on all of the outstanding accomplishments of our team over the last year, and how we overcame adversity to have one of our best years yet. Scroll through the photo slideshow below to see all of the smiling faces from those in attendance. Award Recipients are highlighted below the photo slideshow. Congratulations to our awesome team of agents for all of their hard work and dedication to their clients!

2018 Bluewater Top Producer & Most Closed Units per Agent

Kitch Ayre


Kitch continues to be a great example of the success of our company- as this year marked her 19th year as Top Producer. With over $17.6 million in Total Sales Volume for 2018, she ranks among the top REALTORS® in Carteret County. Kitch represented over 40 clients last year, and she has sold $354,602,821 in her 21 years at Bluewater. We’d like to take this opportunity to applaud Kitch for all of her hard-work throughout her career here at Bluewater, and say congratulations again for all of her well-deserved success. If you’d like to do the same, or learn more about her, you can by clicking the button below.


2018 Bluewater Top Producing Team

The Star Team- Coastal Property Specialists in Atlantic Beach Logo

 

The Star Team


The Star Team of Bluewater Real Estate amassed over $15.5 million in Total Sales Volume over the course of 2018. This is an incredible achievement for one of the top real estate teams in Carteret County. We are so proud to have OK & Lugean Hogan, Angie Varner, and Louis Weil as members of Bluewater Real Estate, and are always appreciative of their helpful insight to market & industry trends. The Star Team continues to identify as a Top Producing Real Estate Team in Carteret County, and we’re looking forward to seeing them grow and excel into new heights.


2018 Bluewater Most Closed Units per Team

Copeland & Bernauer Real Estate Team Logo

 
Allison Bernauer- Broker/Realtor with Copeland & Bernauer team at Bluewater Real Estate in Atlantic Beach, NC

Copeland & Bernauer Real Estate Team


In their first year of existence, the Copeland & Bernauer Real Estate Team represented buyers and sellers in over 50 transactions, which is quite the accomplishment. Pat Copeland, Eleanor Copeland, and Allison Bernauer have formed quite a bond and we can’t wait to see where this new journey takes them. With over $11.6 million in Total Sales Volume, this team is already well on their way to becoming one of the area’s most qualified Real Estate teams. With over 40 combined years of Real Estate Sales experience, this team is destined to follow a path of continued greatness for many years to come!


2018 Outstanding Achievement Award- Atlantic Beach Office

Jim Bailey- Realtor at Bluewater Real Estate in Atlantic Beach, NC

Jim Bailey


Jim Bailey had an incredible year in 2018, and we chose to honor him with our Outstanding Achievement Award for the Atlantic Beach Office. His production nearly double from 2017 to 2018, going from almost $3.6 million to just shy of $8 million respectively. Jim has been a huge asset to our organization, with first-hand knowledge of the Atlantic Beach & Morehead City areas and a wealth of information in regards to building regulations. Jim is the go-to agent for information on the Townhomes and Duplexes at Seaside Villas and we certainly appreciate his efforts to keep the entire team involved in construction updates and timelines.


2018 Outstanding Achievement Award- Emerald Isle Office

Ron Webb


In just a few short years, Ron Webb has established himself as one of the area’s top REALTORS®. With over $8 million in Total Sales Volume, and representing more than 25 transaction sides, Ron has proven that his knowledge of the area and ability to work well with all kinds of people are huge assets to his success. Between his second and third year selling Real Estate, Ron jumped from $2.2 million to over $8 million- which is a truly remarkable feat. We love having Ron and his willingness to help anyone out around our Emerald Isle office. We wish him the best of luck as he continues down the path to success and congratulate him on his numerous accomplishments thus far!


Celebrating Success at our Annual Awards Dinner

Last Thursday night, we gathered together at Kathryn’s Bistro & Martini Bar in Emerald Isle to toast to one of our most productive years ever! It was a great evening, filled with lots of laughs- thanks to our hosts (& Brokers in Charge) Cathy Scheaffer & Pat Copeland.

Dinner was delicious, and during the meal we learned some very interesting facts about everyone while playing 2 truths & a lie. We certainly have a team with some unusual experiences throughout their lives.

Excellence Awards and gifts were distributed to all of our agents with over $1 million in Sales Production for the year. We also named our 2017 Rookies of the Year- Carolyn Blackmon for the Emerald Isle Office & Stephanie Ross from our Atlantic Beach location. Kitch Ayre was once again awarded our Top Producer for Volume & Sides.

Take a look at some photos below for a recap of all the fun.

2013 Real Estate Sales Winners and Awards

2013 Real Estate Sales Winners and Awards

2013 Top Producer Kitch Ayre


2013 Most Closed Units Bucky and Teresa Smith


Team Spirit Award – Emerald Isle Malcolm Boartfield


Team Spirit Award – Atlantic Beach Jaime Barefoot


2013 Multimillion Dollar Producers

Our hardworking real estate sales team had 23 agents whose total sales volume for 2013 reached multimillions. The agents who reached this prestigious level of sales were all awarded at our 2013 Annual Sales Award Dinner

parks we love, nc coastal parks, family-friendly parks on the crystal coast

Spotlight on our Favorite Parks Along The Crystal Coast

Spotlight on our Favorite Parks Along The Crystal Coast

Today, we’re sharing our favorite parks on the Crystal Coast.

We all know that location plays a major part in your search for the perfect home. You might think the closer you are to where you work, go to the gym, or buy your groceries would be the best option, but something else to consider is how close you are to your local parks and recreation centers. You might want to focus on things you and your family will want to use for many years to come. Parks are not only a great place to meet new neighbors, but they can also increase property value in the long run.

Cape Lookout National Seashore



Of all the favorite parks, this one is THE most favorite for many.

There may not be any swings or playgrounds at arguably the most famous park along our coast, but there is plenty of thrills for those who dare climb to the top of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. The Island Express Ferry Service has boats departing from Harkers Island and Beaufort that you can take to reach the destination. When you reach the island, you can pay the per person fee to venture to the top and take in the incredible views from atop the 12 story lighthouse. There are over 200 narrow steps that lead you to the light at the top of the tunnel, and some rules that you must follow in order to be allowed entrance to climb.

Even if you’re not planning on climbing the lighthouse, be sure to stop in the old lightkeeper’s house! You can learn all about how the operation was handled before electricity was available on the island. Try to pick up the oil can and imagine lugging it up those steps a few times a day!

Senator Jean Preston Playground


Photo of the Playground Equipment is Courtesy of Playworld, the designers and builders of the park.

Tucked away in the far corner of the Emerald Isle Boat Ramp Parking Lot, sits a beautiful playground designed for all kids to enjoy. It’s the newest park to make our Favorite Parks list!

The park is named after late Senator Jean Preston, an EI local, former teacher, and NC General Assembly Member. A majority of the playground equipment is designed for the accessibility of children of all abilities. This is definitely a must-stop park for families with kids who like to roam and explore, as there are tons of different activities and places to explore.

The safety-surfacing allows people of all ages to walk with ease and doesn’t leave a mess behind to find in shoes and socks later. After playtime, you can walk down to the end of the pedestrian dock along the boat ramp canal for a picnic with a perfect backdrop for a family photo opportunity. Throughout the summer, the town of Atlantic Beach hosts weekly concerts and movie nights- so be sure to check the schedule and plan ahead!

Atlantic Beach Town Park


Make sure to stop for a family photo at the Custom-Painted hole in the wall mural, created by our very own Stephanie Ross

The Atlantic Beach Town Park has something for everyone in the family. Amenities at the park include an 18 hole mini-golf course, a concession stand, splash pad, playground, basketball court, and skate park. A trip here can be a great way to end or begin any beach day.

The park is located right across from the Atlantic Station Shopping Center, where there’s a Move Theater, Lazer Tag Arena, Bookstore, and Toy Store, so if a sporadic summertime thunderstorm pops up, there are a few options to hunker down close by.

If your family is up for some wooded adventure, the Hoop Pole Creek Nature Trail can be found on the Eastern edge of the shopping center parking lot, across from Bojangles. Mini Golf and Concessions do cost money, so save up the change in those piggy banks and cash in on some fun in the sun!

Shevans Park


Photos of Shevans Park courtesy of www.morehead.com

Located just a few blocks away from all the excitement at the Morehead City Waterfront, stands a few unique family gathering places at Shevans Park. Four full-size Tennis Courts are available for those looking to volley, and a large wooden castle-themed playground is the main attraction for children. There’s also a covered gazebo area with restrooms.

The unique design of the playground area is captivating for kids used to the typical plastic/metal structures. Just make sure to watch out for splinters! Two of the tennis courts are lighted, for those looking to volley after dark to avoid the heat of the summer. Picnic Shelters can be rented out for Birthday Parties or special events, for just $25 and there are two charcoal grills on-site for easy cookouts!

Reservations are required for groups wishing to reserve the playground and picnic shelter. Picnic shelters are available for birthday parties, and events. The picnic shelter rental fee is $25. Please contact Morehead City Parks at Recreation staff at 252-726-5083, ext. 1, or the Recreation Center (1600 Fisher Street) to complete the rental application and provide rental payment.