The tranquil resort and residential community of Emerald Isle, North Carolina, is located about halfway between the states of South Carolina and Virginia. Emerald Isle, North Carolina is located on the western end of the Southern Outer Banks Island called Bogue Banks. Bogue Banks Island is 30 miles long, with Atlantic Beach at the easternmost end, Salter Path and Indian Beach in the center, and Emerald Isle on the westernmost end. Emerald Isle’s reputation as a “Family Beach” is well deserved and continues year after year to lure families looking for a peaceful ocean holiday to remember!
The original developers of Emerald Isle have been praised by USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post for their foresight that has protected this island from the overgrowth that plagues most beach resort areas. Emerald Isle, North Carolina is one of the few beaches left on the Outer Banks that still provides an unspoiled family atmosphere for permanent residents, absentee property owners, and vacationers.
History tells us that Bogue Banks was originally home to nomadic Native Americans until 15 families, mostly whalers, came here to settle in 1893 on the small section of the island that is now Emerald Isle. In the 1920s, a Philadelphian named Henry K. Fort bought the land that now makes up most of Emerald Isle, North Carolina with the idea of developing a large ocean resort. Mr. Fort eventually abandoned his ocean resort project and when he died the land that became Emerald Isle became the property of his daughter, Anita Fort Maulick, until she sold it in the 1950s to a developer from Red Springs, North Carolina, W.B. McLean.
At the time of the purchase by Mr. McLean, the oyster-shell roads ended at Salter Path. Tradition has it the road that later became Emerald Drive was originally built in a serpentine path to spare the old live oak trees that covered the island. “Emerald Isle By the Sea” grew slowly westward as roads were pushed and paved through the sand. The developers divided the island in fifty-four 1,100 ft blocks plus a little extra land left over for commercial development. The road-building slowly continued its way westward until it reached the end of the island known as “The Point” where the inlet connects the Atlantic Ocean to Bogue Sound.
The state of North Carolina commenced a free public ferry service from the mainland to Emerald Isle in 1962 and many local residents and long-time vacationers still remember waiting in line for hours for the brief glorious ferry rides on the Emmett Winslow, Sandy Graham, and Governor Cherry. The traffic grew to such numbers that a bridge from the mainland to Emerald Isle was commissioned and built-in 1971. Since that time growth on Emerald Isle has exploded!
Today, Emerald Isle is thriving and growing with a permanent population just below 4,000, as well as a seasonal population of 16,000 during peak tourist season. New businesses and new homes continue to spring up along the town’s beautifully landscaped greenways and neighborhoods. Its property appreciation values have made Emerald Isle one of the best resorts or second home investments in the United States and the community is often ranked with other major resort communities in terms of resort or second home investment and property value appreciation. The town’s tax base is now over $1.3 billion and the current ad-valorem tax rate per $100 valuation is one of the lowest tax rates in North Carolina and the USA.
Residents and visitors today still enjoy a relaxed ocean atmosphere with enough to do to keep from being bored on rainy days, but not so much that you get the carnival feel that exists in many larger ocean resort areas. Our sandy white beaches remain unspoiled and unpopulated! Our warm, gentle ocean waters remain unpolluted!
We look forward to seeing your family on the beach at beautiful Emerald Isle whether you are vacationing, living or building on the Southern Outer Banks with Bluewater Bluewater Real Estate & Vacation Rentals.