Live Local Entertainment: EmeraldFest Concert Series
We’re finally getting back to our “new” normal and enjoying outdoor activities in our communities. Tonight kicks off Emerald Isle’s 2021 EmeraldFest Concert Series which takes place at 6:30 pm at the Western Ocean Regional Beach Access.
This fun Summer concert series is always enjoyable so pick your favorite dates, bring your favorite date, your lawn chairs, or blanket, and get ready to enjoy some great music outdoors!
These free outdoor concerts will be held each Thursday evening throughout the Summer on Emerald Isle. Come on out and enjoy some great music with locals and visitors alike! No alcohol, please.
EmeraldFest Concert Series – 2021 Lineup
Thursdays 6:30-8 pm at the Western Ocean Regional Access
- June 24 – Pamlico Joe and Clean Water Flow (The Sound of Coastal Carolina)
- July 1 – 4EverAll (Americana/Rock/Folk/Pop)
- July 8 – The Mad Fiddler (Heartbeat of Music)
- July 15 – Pure T Mommicked (Rock Alternative)
- July 22 – Wicked Shimmies (Variety)
- July 29 – Big Drink (Pop/Rock/Variety)
- August 5 – Justin Castellano (Eclectic)
- August 12 – Scearce and Ketner (Seagrass)
- August 19 – Naked Knees (What a Party Sounds Like)
About Emerald Isle
Named the best beach in North Carolina by USA Today, Emerald Isle is a little slice of heaven for guests with an adventurous spirit. With choices like surfing, kayaking, kiteboarding, or paddleboarding there’s plenty to do. Families can take delight in miles of walking, jogging, and bike paths plus nature trails which are yours to enjoy in this pristine natural environment. You can spot white-tailed deer, a variety of birds, and waterfowl throughout the island. Visit “The Point” to watch the absolutely breathtaking sunsets!
Live Local Entertainment Updates
For all the latest updates on live local entertainment on Emerald Isle and the EmeraldFest 2021 Concert Series, visit 2021 EmeraldFest Concert Series. Most importantly, have fun!
Spring on the Crystal Coast
Spring on the Crystal Coast is the perfect way to have fun in the sun on an early getaway!
Are you planning a trip to the Crystal Coast during Spring? Here are a few reasons why the Spring on the Crystal Coast is a great time to visit!
- Warmer Temps Mean An Abundance of Wildlife – As the water and the salty air warms up, the local birds and dolphins return to our coast. Pods of dolphins arrive and even a whale or two are known to skirt the coast in the spring. You may also see fawns on Coast Guard Road.
- Warmer Temps Also Mean More Fun Outside – Warmer weather and waters mean comfortable weather for fishing. If you enjoy laying out in the sun with a nice cool breeze running across you, this is the time of year for you! Kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are finally reasonable activities for those of us who like a little sun on an outing. Walking along the waterfronts of Beaufort, Swansboro, and Morehead City becomes a relaxing way to spend a day of sunshine in the Spring.
- Everything Is Open – All the shops, stores, and restaurants that closed for the Winter are back open in the Spring. The piers open, flowers bloom, and you can beat the Summer rush of crowds during a spring trip!
Which town is your favorite to visit in the Spring?
- Atlantic Beach
- Emerald Isle
- Indian Beach
- Morehead City
- Pine Knoll Shores
- Salter Path
Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
Be sure to check out the many budget friendly activities to do this Spring while visiting the Crystal Coast.
Ready to create your Crystal Coast Bucket List? You’re in for a treat! From the locals, and our frequent visitors who we’ll dub “honorary locals”, here is a list of things you MUST do while you’re here on The Crystal Coast!
Add These to Your Crystal Coast Bucket List
There is such thing as “beach time”, and you’ll know it when you get here. Things go a little slower when you’re at the beach and your priorities change a bit. Take advantage of the opportunity and turn off your phone, turn off the TV and computer, and really just relax and enjoy yourself. With the fast-paced hectic lifestyle we all lead, this can be hard to do. But you’ll be glad that you did when you look back at the memories and feel totally rejuvenated and reconnected.
North Carolina’s coastal culinary experience is unlike any other. With a deep sense of tradition, local fare, and coastal atmosphere, your palate is taken to new heights. Dine on some of the freshest seafood you will ever taste from the famous shrimp burger and barbecue at Big Oak Drive-In to the fresh-caught seafood prepared in imaginative ways at some of the top restaurants along the coast. The crystal Coast offers the finest in Southern Coastal dining. Join us in October as we celebrate our seafood at the Annual North Carolina Seafood Festival in Morehead City.
3. DIVE IN
The Crystal Coast has been named one of the 10 top diving locations in North America. The ocean floor is alive at the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” with over 2,000 shipwreck sites along the coastline including many World War I and II ships, the historic U-352 submarine, and a breathtaking variety of sharks, exotic Gulf Stream fish, and colorful shellfish. Not your style? You can still get up close and personal with thousands of sea creatures at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Touch a stingray, watch the otters glide through the water, and stare a shark in the eye during their twice-daily feedings in the 306,000 gallon Living Shipwreck.
4. NEW ADVENTURES
Whether it’s trying your hand at surfing, getting up the courage to strap yourself into a parasailing harness, or taking your first breath from a scuba tank, our coast is FULL of new things to try. From jet skis to banana boats, Fly Boarding to kite surfing; there are endless options for new adventures on the coast.
5. REEL IT IN
With the Gulf Stream pushing warm waters to our shores, the Crystal Coast offers the longest fishing season on the Atlantic coast. Spend the day with a local crew on a charter boat and see what fish you can reel in. Some of the most popular catches along our coast are Mahi, Blue, and Yellowfin Tuna, Red Drum, Cobia, Sailfish, Striped Bass, False Albacore, and Wahoo. Get a glimpse of the giants of the sea during the Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament as the pros weigh their daily catch on the Morehead City Waterfront.
Launch a kayak or stand-up paddleboard and take in the sights and sounds of the coast as you cruise through Bogue Sound. There are many small islands just waiting to be explored and miles of smooth Intracoastal and river waterways to choose from. Whether you spend a half-day or pack a lunch and take your family out for the whole day, there is no better way to experience the beauty and charm of our coast than from water level.
Hop on a boat and observe the natural beauty of the wild horses along Shackleford Banks and Carrot Island. Ferries are located in Morehead City, Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Harkers Island, and Davis. This is a favorite for both frequent visitors and first-time guests. PLUS: This is a great spot to find fabulous seashells and other treasures swept in by the tide. Take a trip and explore the Cape Lookout National Seashore and climb the 163-foot tall Cape Lookout Lighthouse — once you reach the top, the view will surely take your breath away!
The coast is just as lively after an unforgettable sunset! Brush off the sand and order a classic cocktail from our award-winning bartenders or hit the water for a moonlit dinner cruise out of Beaufort or Morehead City. If you want to stay closer to home, try a walk on the beach under the stars! Take a flashlight with you and see if you find any Ghost Crabs roaming the beach. The tangy, salt air and roar of the ocean after dark are a whole new experience.
9. CREATE NEW TRADITIONS
There’s no better way to make memories together than by starting a new tradition. Whether it’s a family photo, a favorite restaurant, or an adventure you take together every year, traditions are the best part of family vacations. One of our Facebook fans, Wendy Eastman, shared her family tradition: “Aunt Wendy’s policy is as soon as we arrive — all children PLUS Aunty Wendy must find their way to the beach and jump in fully-dressed. This has become a tradition for our family.” So come together and find a new tradition while you’re here, one that’s fun and meaningful to your family!
What would you add to this Crystal Coast bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!
Fishing on the Crystal Coast is a popular pastime for both locals and visitors. From the White Oak River, creeks, and inlets to the surf – there is ample opportunity and fun to be had. No matter what time of the year it is, there are always fish to be caught, so bring your fishing rods because you just might land a big one!
Cast a Line Off a Pier or in the Surf
The most popular time of the year for fishing is during the Fall months. The water temperature is starting to cool down and the days are pleasant. You can fish in the surf, off a pier, or on one of the popular charters.
You don’t have to be a skilled angler to find remarkable fishing along our coastline. Our sound, surf, and piers offer every fisherman or woman an opportunity to reel in a prize fish!
To get an incredible view of our coastline while waiting for the fish to bite – these rare wooden fishing piers are the place to be. The Bogue Inlet Pier in the heart of Emerald Isle as well as the Oceana Pier in Atlantic Beach offer unique fishing experiences. To fish from our 1000 foot piers you don’t even need a fishing license or even a fishing pole! These one-stop fishing spots have rods available for rent and bait waiting for your big catch.
Going Out to Sea
For the Crystal Coast, charter fishing is not just a leisure sport – it’s a lifestyle. With the bevy of tournaments held here, our sparkling waters are a playground to many sport fishers around the world.
With the Gulf Stream currents less than 40 miles from many parts of our coast, underwater beauties such as Yellowfin tuna, Mahi Mahi, Giant Blue Fin Tuna, King Mackerel, Marlin, Sailfish, and Wahoo are popular trophies. Smaller fish that are caught in deeper waters include Red Snapper, Grouper, Triggerfish, and Sea Bass. There are many charter services on the eastern end of the county that will offer half-day, full-day, and specialty fishing adventures.
“Head boats” offer larger excursions that can take up to 50 anglers out to sea while smaller vessels accommodate private parties both offering unique fishing experiences. Specialty charters can include Sportsfishing, Shark Fishing, and even Mahi-Mahi. Spending the day miles away from shore, just waiting for that “big one” to take a bite… is an escape you won’t soon forget! Try a charter fishing expedition while you’re here for an exhilarating unmatched experience.
September, October, and November
Surf fishermen can expect to catch Red Drum, Flounder, Pompano, Sea Mullet, and Bluefish. Live bait is best for catching Red Drum and Flounder. Shrimp and Sand Fleas are fantastic for Pompano and Mullet.
Larger fish such as Spanish and King Mackerel can be caught from the pier during September, and as we move through October, Bluefish, Black Drum and the famous Spots are present and plentiful.
November brings Speckled Trout and Puppy Drum to both the surf and pier. Bottom fishing offers a variety of fish throughout the Fall season including Black Drum, Bluefish, Pufferfish, Pompano, and Sea Mullet. Shrimp bait for bottom fishing seems to be the most popular bait.
December, January, and February
Fishing begins to slow down as the water becomes cooler. But when the Winter is mild and the days are sunny, there’s still fish out there willing to take the bait. Fishing off the surf can bring in Sea Mullet and Pufferfish, again, using Shrimp as bait. Whereas, Red Drum can be found near the beachfront and inlets with Gulp bait or lures.
Speckled Trout are mainly found in creeks and it’s been said they love Gulp Jerk Shads and Zoom Flakes.
March through August
Once the temperatures begin to warm up you’ll find Sea Mullet and Pufferfish moving back in. If you’re up for a little adventure, Skates and Rays can be caught by using double hooked shrimp in the surf.
Of course, Summer is a great time of year for fishing, and as the days get hotter there is always something different to be caught. During the early part of summer, surf and pier fishers can expect to land smaller Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, and maybe a Flounder or two. Red Drums have been easily in the marshes during the early Summer and in the White Oak River near oyster beds using live bait. Mid-Summer offers Sea Mullet and small Flounder as well as the possibility of catching Tarpon with live bait from the pier.
Moving through late-Summer and into early Fall you’ll see more of the Spanish Mackerel, as well as Bluefish, larger Flounder, and Speckled Trout. You can use jigs for small Spanish Mackerel and Bluefish, although Bluefish will bite at Shrimp bait as well!
Summer is also a great time of the year for bottom-fishing. There is a nice variety of fish throughout the season including Sea Mullet, Croakers, Pompano, Black Sea Bass, Gray Trout, and Gag Grouper.
Try Fishing on the Crystal Coast
Fishing is a wonderful way of passing the time and enjoying the outdoors. Fish are plentiful along our beautiful Crystal Coast and no matter what time of the year you’re here, you’ll find there is always someone fishing.
As you’re planning your vacation, be sure to add your rods to the list of items to pack along with your fishing license. If you don’t already have one, that’s okay, too. Local tackle shops provide fishing licenses as well.
We really do have it all!
Public Boat Launches
Emerald Isle Intracoastal Waterway 6800 Emerald Drive
- Morehead City Intracoastal Waterway (behind Crystal Coast Visitors Center) 3407 Arendell Street
- Cedar Point (Swansboro) Intracoastal Waterway 144 Cedar Point Boulevard
Beaufort (Taylor’s Creek) 2370 Lennoxville Road
Where to Get an NC Fishing License
Individuals 16 years of age or older using any type of bait or gear to catch finfish while fishing in North Carolina’s public waters must possess a valid North Carolina fishing license. This license requirement does not apply to private ponds. Individual residents who receive Food Stamps, Medicaid, or Work First Family Assistance may obtain a written waiver (Annual Subsistence License Waiver) from this fishing license requirement through the county Department of Social Services. A $2 transaction fee may be added to your total order (NCGS 113-270.1B).
Some licensed piers such as the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier and Oceanana Pier require you to purchase a pass to use their facilities and because of this, their pass may cover your NC-CRFL.
Where to Get Your NC Fishing License
- Purchase a license in person at one of the offices of the Division of Marine Fisheries. Fishing licenses are also available at many local bait and tackle shops as well as sporting goods stores.
- Purchase a license online on the NC Wildlife website. Once you’re on the site, just click on the green “Purchase Licenses and Permits” button.
- Call to purchase a license at (888) 248-6834 during the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Will you give fishing a try while you’re on the Crystal Coast? Let us know in the comments!
The 61st Annual Big Rock Tournament took place June 7-15, 2019 in Morehead City. This being one of largest and oldest fishing tournaments, The Big Rock brings expert deep-sea fishermen to take part in such an amazing event.
“The beauty of the Big Rock is in how it captures a snapshot of the community it thrives in. For the people of Carolina’s Crystal Coast and the greater sport fishing world in general, the Big Rock represents everything we value most, namely:
- Family – People of all ages and backgrounds enjoy the Big Rock for a variety of reasons, all of which help us realize the importance of family and the joy of spending special time with loved ones.
- Community – Morehead City and the surrounding area has supported the Big Rock for 60 years! Without the enthusiasm and effort of all community members, the tournament would not be what it is.
- Charity – Doing our part to stand by friends, family, and neighbors is rewarding and gratifying, especially when we see the positive impact it has locally. We consider it an honor to team up with some truly remarkable charities.
To all the participants and spectators who take time out of their lives to enjoy all the Big Rock has to offer, thank you! Your interest, dedication, and presence is never overlooked. We will continue working to improve the tournament you love while maintaining the historic tradition it will always carry”
“Top Dog” was the big winner of the tournament with a 914.0 lbs Blue Marlin. The prize money was $793,187.50 and major bragging rights. Second place in the blue marlin division was boat “Wolverine”, with a 588.9 lbs catch and prize money of $289,862.50. Then, in a close 3rd, was “Donna Mae” with a 569.9 lbs catch and a prize of $192,575.