Welcome to the Crystal Coast!
We are so excited to welcome you to the Crystal Coast and are so glad you’re finally here!
The Crystal Coast is an 85-mile stretch of beaches known as the Southern Outer Banks. This collection of pristine beach communities and towns offers a unique blend of history, family fun, water sports, and natural areas, making it a dream vacation destination or even a forever home for all.
Though the pristine beaches and blue waters command attention, the Crystal Coast is also rich in history. Many different sites offer a glimpse of the nation, from the Revolutionary War and Civil War, while others showcase the maritime heritage. Fort Macon was the site of a major battle in the Civil War as the Union soldiers fought to capture the fort. Today, it stands as a reminder of our nation’s early roots and as a tourist attraction for visitors. Many outdoor concerts are held here during the sultry summer evenings.
At the southernmost tip of the Banks lies the Cape Lookout National Seashore, home to the Cape Lookout lighthouse. Construction to the lighthouse was completed in 1812 and at 163 feet tall it still provides guidance to ships on the Atlantic Ocean as well as entertainment for visitors. Travelers and historians come to see this black and white diamond patterned structure and visit the keeper’s quarters. The unspoiled islands of the Cape Lookout National Seashore are only accessible by ferry from Atlantic Beach, Harkers Island, Beaufort, Davis, and Morehead City.
Native Americans originally called the Bogue Banks home until, in the late eighteen hundreds, settlers came to the North Carolina coast. The coast remained largely a community for fishermen and sailors until developers began planning to turn the area into a resort community. Unlike other resort beaches of the time, the original developers wanted to maintain the quaint charm of the neighborhood and market it toward families. Even today, the many beaches along the Crystal Coast are known for their family-oriented atmosphere enjoyed by all types of visitors. Whether you’re looking for a family vacation or a romantic weekend getaway, you will find everything you need on the Crystal Coast.
Fishing proves both a huge source of commerce for the area, an enjoyable activity, and a competitive sport. There are numerous fishing tournaments on the Crystal Coast. Each September, Atlantic Beach hosts one of the nation’s biggest king mackerel fishing tournaments, the Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Tournament. Fishermen come to the area in spring for the King Mackerel – Bluewater Fishing Tournament hosted by the Swansboro Rotary Club every May. Yet there are many different types of fishing enjoyed off the waters of the Atlantic. In fact, many different organizations boast that Carteret County offers some of the best saltwater fly fishing in the world and the Crystal Coast offers a myriad of charter fishing boats for visitors to experience.
Some of the best fishing and scuba diving can be found in the Crystal Coast, around Atlantic Beach and Morehead City. Named one of the ten best diving locations in North America by several popular dive magazines, diving is one of the most popular water sports in the area. Many dive to explore the beautiful ocean life year-round thanks to the warm waters of the nearby Gulf Stream. Because of the historic maritime heritage, there are tons of shipwrecks off the coast, and many divers are going on wreck tours to explore the remains of these storied tragedies.
From the northern beaches of Cedar Island, Harkers Island, and Beaufort to the southern-facing beaches of Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, and Swansboro, there is always something new to discover at the Crystal Coast. Whether you are looking for the perfect beach for you and your family or are looking to spend time traveling beach by beach to explore what each unique spot has to offer, your memories will last a lifetime.
Discover the different beaches in the area and explore what fun awaits you, or let us help you choose your vacation home. Uncover the different restaurants in this area and find out about the many events and activities surrounding the Crystal Coast to plan your vacation of a lifetime!