You’ve Finally Arrived – Here’s Your Crystal Coast Guide!

Congratulations on finally making it to the beautiful shores of the Crystal Coast. We’ve been waiting for you! There are endless activities for everyone — combing the beach for shells, exploring historic Fort Macon, shopping boutiques and antiques galore, or even just sitting in the sand and soaking up the sunset. Take a few moments to peruse your options to keep your family as busy (or not!) as you want while you’re here.

Top 10  |  Beacon Guest Guide  |  Beach Access  |  Bike Path  |  Beach Safety  |  Public Boat Launch  |  Departure Duties  |  Trash & Recycling

Check out our Top 10 things to accomplish on your Crystal Coast vacation:

baby relax

explore water

fish savor

fish reel it in

scuba look down

kayak paddle

Public Beach Access Points

  • Channel Dr. and Inlet Dr. *Handicap Accessible
  • Coast Guard Rd. and Inlet Dr.
  • Inlet Dr. (east) *Handicap Accessible
  • Ocean Drive and Page Place (E) *Handicap Accessible
  • Ocean Oaks Dr.and Ocean Dr.
  • Ocean Dr. and Conch Ct./Pinewood Place
  • Ocean Dr. and Seadunes Dr.
  • Ocean Dr. and Sandcastle/Doe Dr.
  • Ocean Dr. and Deer Horn Dr.
  • Ocean Dr. and Fawn Dr.
  • Hwy 58 and Islander Dr. (Western Regional Access) *Handicap Accessible
  • Reed Dr. and Janell Ln.
  • Reed Dr. and Heverly Dr.
  • Lamroc Dr.
  • Ocean Dr. and Seagull Road
  • Ocean Dr. and Blackskimmer Rd.
  • Ocean Dr. and Lee Ave.
  • Ocean Dr. and Stuart Ave./Purdie Dr.
  • Ocean Dr. and James Dr.
  • Ocean Dr. and Tracy Dr.
  • Ocean Dr. and Craig Dr.
  • Ocean Dr. and Arthur Dr.
  • Ocean Dr. and Bluewater Dr. *Handicap Accessible only to observation deck
  • Ocean Dr. and Azure Dr.
  • Ocean Dr. and Pinta Dr.
  • Ocean Dr. and Ebb Tide Dr.
  • Ocean Dr. and Periwinkle Dr.
  • Ocean Dr. and Rip Tide Ct.
  • Ocean Dr. and Whitewater Dr. *Handicap Accessible only to observation deck
  • Ocean Dr. and Whitewater Dr/West Summer Dr.
  • Ocean Dr. and Beachview Rd.
  • Ocean Dr. and East Landing Dr.
  • Ocean Dr. and Hurst Rd.
  • Ocean Dr. and Cedar Tree Ln.
  • Ocean Dr. and Fairfax Rd.
  • Ocean Dr. and Fairfax Rd./Elizabeth St.
  • Ocean Dr. and William/Edna St.
  • Ocean Dr. and Lawrence/Bryan St.
  • Ocean Dr. and Carolyn St./Alex Ct.
  • Ocean Dr. and Howe St.
  • Ocean Dr. and Georgia St.
  • Ocean Dr. and Hubert St.
  • Ocean Dr. and Tammy St.
  • Ocean Dr. and Gregg St.
  • Ocean Dr. and Hwy 58/3000 block (Eastern Regional Access) *Handicap Accessible
  • Ocean Dr. and 25th St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 24th St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 23rd St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 23rd/21st St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 21st St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 20th St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 19th St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 18th St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 17th St.
  • Ocean Dr. and16th St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 15th St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 14th St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 13th St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 12th St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 11th St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 10th St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 9th St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 8th St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 5th St.
  • Ocean Dr. and 3rd St. *Handicap Accessible only to observation deck
  • Ocean Dr. and 2nd Street.
  • Ocean Dr. and 1st St.
  • Milepost 12 (1831 Salter Path Road)
  • Milepost 11.5 (1701 Salter Path Road)
  • Indian Beach Regional Access (1425 Salter Path Road) *Handicap Accessible
  • Salter Path Regional Access (1050 Salter Path Road)
  • Milepost 10 (770 Salter Path Road)
  • Milepost 9.5 (walkway adjacent to Ocean Glen Condominiums)
  • Trinity Center Public Access (Milepost 9.5)
  • Clamdigger Inn Public Access (Milepost 8.5)
  • Iron Steamer Public Beach Access (Milepost 7.5) *Handicap Accessible
  • Memorial Park (Milepost 6)
  • Oakleaf Drive Access
  • West Atlantic at The Circle *Handicap Accessible
  • The Circle
  • New Bern Avenue *Handicap Accessible
  • Henderson Boulevard *Handicap Accessible
  • Fort Macon **Handicap Accessible

This beach access offers parking and a bath house with outdoor showers, and a wooden beach walkway.

Radio Island beach is fantastic for small kids, as it is not a typical “oceanfront” style of beach. Since it is nestled in a “bay” style curve between Bogue Banks and Bird Shoals, in the Bulkhead Channel. There are very limited waves, often only when boats pass by farther out in the channel. The water is great for a relaxing swim, or just floating! It is also located next to Olde Towne Yacht Club, which has a small marina for residents and offers fun glimpses of watercraft in action.

*All fire departments on Bogue Banks offer beach-friendly wheelchairs on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact the fire department directly for availability and details.

Emerald Isle (252) 354-2445  |  Indian Beach / Salter Path (252) 247-7994  |  Pine Knoll Shores (252) 247-2268  |  Atlantic Beach (252) 726-7361

The Emerald Path

Emerald Isle’s multi-use path

Bring or rent a bike and cruise through the town of Emerald Isle in style! Thanks to years of work by the Town of Emerald Isle and various donation and fundraising efforts since 2012, the path stretches from Ring Street on Coast Guard Road, through Emerald Drive all the way to the town line at Indian Beach. On this path, you may find walkers, joggers, and bike riders of all ages.

Beach Safety Tips

Hurricane season extends from June to November. When a hurricane approaches, the Town officials will issue either a mandatory or a voluntary evacuation. During a mandatory evacuation, everyone must leave the island and go further inland. This includes both vacationers and permanent residents. After the mandatory evacuation is executed, the bridges are secured by the state police and no vehicles are allowed on the island until the evacuation is lifted. During a voluntary evacuation the individual can decide whether they leave the island or not, but they are given instructions to take in porch furniture and secure windows and doors, etc. The Weather Channel issues early warnings so there is ample time for citizens to prepare. Newspapers, radio and television stations keep the public notified about evacuations as well as re-entry information.

Be especially aware of Rip Currents. Often mistakenly called “undertows,” these powerful currents can pull the most experienced swimmer away from the shore. They are formed when water rushes out to sea in a narrow path. Rip currents can extend 1,000 feet off-shore, reach 100 feet in width and travel up to 3 mph. Some are present for a few hours; others are permanent. Rip currents are more prevalent after storms.

If you’re caught in a rip current, don’t panic or swim against the current. Swim parallel to shore until you are out of the current. Rip currents are rarely more than 30 feet wide. If you can’t break out of the current, float calmly until it dissipates, usually just beyond the breakers. Then swim diagonally to shore. If you don’t swim well, stay in wading depths and watch for sudden drop offs.

Atlantic Beach Lifeguards:
Life Guards are on duty at the “Circle” in Atlantic Beach.

Emerald Isle Lifeguards:
They are located at the Western Regional Beach Access (next to the Islander) and the Eastern Regional Beach Access (next to Pier Point), also with one lifeguard riding a ATV between the two accesses to watch the beach between the two.

Please use caution when swimming. Never swim alone! Never swim at night! Non-swimmers should either stay out of the water or wear life jackets while in the water. Always keep an eye on your children and teach them to never turn their backs on the waves. Even though you might feel invincible while on vacation, the many rescues and occasional drowning prove that the ocean is mightier than the swimmer!

Limit your time in the sun during peak hours. While these times may vary slightly depending on the season and where you live, this is normally between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Floppy hats and large umbrellas work to block the sun’s rays, in addition to sunscreen on any exposed areas. An SPF of 45+ is recommended for it allows even the fairest skinned folks to stay out in the sun for a few hours before reapplying. Remember: Putting on sun screen once isn’t enough; sweat and humidity will wear through after a couple of hours.

The coast is teeming with wildlife of all shapes and sizes. Most are a wonder to behold, and make your vacation experience unforgettable in a pleasant way.  Be aware though — Mother Nature can wield some unpleasant critters, too.


Mosquitoes are the State Bird of North Carolina. We kid, we kid. But seriously, the mosquitoes here can be numerous and hungry thanks to the warm, moist climate and frequent rainfall during summer months. Make sure to keep yourself frequently sprayed with bug spray, from head to toe. Even with the winds coming off of the water, you’ll still find yourself with a few bites after a day outside.


Unlike most people think, there is only a remote chance of being attacked by a shark. Only about 25 (more or less) people a year get bitten by sharks worldwide. About three of these attacks are fatal. When you compare this to the number of people who go in the water, this is a very small percentage.

To reduce your risk of shark bites even further you can take the following precautions: Do not swim alone, as sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual. Do not wander far from shore. Avoid the water at dawn or during twilight hours when sharks are most active. Don’t wear bright clothing and reflective jewelry that attracts the attention of sharks and other fish. Avoid thrashing about wildly – excessive splashing attract sharks. For this reason, it is advised that you not swim with pets. Do not swim near fishing stations. Stay away from inlets, fishing piers, steep drop offs and the areas between sandbars – these are favorite hangouts for sharks. If you see a shark, calmly leave the water as quickly and quietly as possible.

 Jellyfish & Portuguese Man-of-War

Watch for jellyfish floating on the surface or in the water. While some can give little more than an annoying stinging sensation, others can produce severe discomfort.

Jellyfish stings occur when the stinging cells on the jellyfish’s tentacles touch your skin then release a poison that can cause a temporary burning pain and skin rash. In serious cases, the stings may cause cramps, difficulty breathing, shock, nausea or vomiting.

If the tentacles get in your eyes, rinse them with room temperature water for at least 15 minutes. Do not use vinegar or other remedies in the eyes. If the tentacles are not in your eyes, pour vinegar on the site to help prevent the stinging cells from firing, then remove the tentacles with a cloth or stick (not your hands). Ice packs may help control pain. In severe cases, contact the doctor for further advice.

The Portuguese Man-of-War is sometimes blown onto Outer Banks beaches after storms. It can be recognized by its bluish tint balloon-like shape. Portuguese Man-of-War stings occur when the stinging cells on its tentacles touch your skin, then release a poison that can cause severe pain. In serious cases the stings may cause cramps, difficulty breathing, shock, nausea or vomiting. Anyone who is stung by the tentacles and develops breathing difficulties or generalized body swelling should be transported to the nearest emergency facility for treatment. Use Ice packs to help control the pain.

Emerald Isle Public Boat Launch

The Town of Emerald Isle and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission have partnered together to build the largest public boat launching facility on the North Carolina coast. The Emerald Isle Boat Launch Facility is located between Mile Marker 17.5 and 18 on Highway 58, adjacent to Chapel By The Sea. It offers 4 boat launching ramps and parking for 112 vehicles/trailers and 18 single-vehicle parking spaces.

Departure Duties

  • Wash all dishes, cookware, utensils, etc.
  • Empty the dishwasher and return all items to their proper place
  • Remove all food from the refrigerator
  • Return all furniture to the original location
  • Put all trash in plastic bags and place in the outside trash container
  • Check closets, dresser drawers and under beds for personal belongings*
  • Turn off all lights, set the thermostat at 78° in summer and 55° in winter
  • Close and lock all windows and doors
  • Return all keys and passes to the Bluewater office and report any damages or maintenance needs

Check-out at the Bluewater Rental office is at 10:00 A.M.  During the off-season we may be able to offer a late check-out if there are no incoming guests, but no exceptions are permitted during the in-season! Please understand that it is difficult, at best, to prepare our cottages between 10:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. for the next guests. Your assistance in promptly leaving the cottage by 10:00 A.M. and completing departure duties is greatly appreciated not only by our housekeeping and front desk team but also by the family arriving that day to start their vacation!

A drive-thru check-out service is available during the summer months. If you need to get an early start home, there is a convenient drop-off slot in the window to the right of the rental office door.

NOTE: We require the return of all keys and, in the case of condos, the return of any gate cards, pool, and parking passes that you received at arrival. These items are provided to us by the Homeowner’s Association for your property.  If these items are not returned, the cost of purchasing a replacement item from them will be charged to your card upon departure.

*We are not responsible for personal items. If you request, items turned in by housekeeping will be returned to you via COD with a $25.00 processing fee included. Unclaimed items are donated to charity after 30 days.

Trash + Recycling

Emerald Isle

Monday & Friday

Oceanside of Emerald Drive (NC 58) and Coast Guard Road, Inlet Drive and The Point

Tuesday & Thursday

Sound side of Emerald Drive and Coast Guard Road (sound side)

Recycling Pickup

Curbside pick up is on Wednesday. Additional recycling bins are available at Merchants Park, located at 8401 Emerald Drive.

Pine Knoll Shores, Salter Path and Indian Beach


All neighborhoods

Recycling Pickup

Biweekly curbside pickup occurs every other Thursday. Additional recycling bins are located at 100 Municipal Circle in the parking area behind Town Hall.

Atlantic Beach

Monday & Thursday

Oceanside of Fort Macon Road and east of Henderson Boulevard. (Monday only in the off-season)

Tuesday & Friday

Soundside of Fort Macon Road and west of Henderson Boulevard. (Tuesday only in the off-season)

Recycling Pickup

Curbside pickup is on Monday. Additional recycling bins are located near the movie theater at the western end of Atlantic Station shopping center.