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An Itinerary for Thrill-Seekers on the Crystal Coast

banner image of a surfer standing at the shoreline

An Itinerary for Thrill-Seekers on the Crystal Coast

Beach vacations for most of us can be summed up in one word: Relaxation. But a few thrill-seekers on the Crystal Coast look for an itinerary that’s a bit more adventurous. If that sounds like you, or someone you know, we’ve got some great suggestions for a vacation that’s a pure adrenaline rush.

1 – Hike or Bike the Crystal Coast

For thrill-seekers on the Crystal Coast looking for more than our sandy shores, there’s plenty to do. Maritime forests run wild through our coast, offering hiking and biking trails for you to discover. Fort Macon Nation Park has a wonderful trail along the beach and through the trees offering a great place to get your muscles burning while you enjoy the outdoors.

Welcome sign, map and Weetock Trail sign with forest trees in the background

Hikers in Western Carteret County might want to try the 5.5-mile segment of the beautiful Weetock Trail near Haywood Landing Boating Access Area off Highway 58 North of Cedar Point. This is a great trail for beginners or seasoned hikers.

2 – Dive the Crystal Coast

If you prefer an underwater adventure, take an excursion with a local dive company and scuba dive one of the hundreds of wrecks along our Crystal Coast. Explore the secrets the ocean floor has been holding onto for all these years. Marine life runs wild below sea level, so plan to discover marine life up-close that you never thought you would experience in your lifetime.

There is plenty to see, too. The NC Coast is known as The Graveyard of the Atlantic. Its historic shipwrecks make it a top destination for scuba divers, from beginners to advanced.

 

3 – Play on the Water

If exploring the depths of the ocean isn’t up your alley, don’t let that stop you from enjoying the ocean. The breaks of the waves at the surface can be your playground!  Choose from stand-up paddleboards, surfboards, kiteboards, skimboards, and bodyboards to play in the waves or at the shoreline – just choose your favorite board.

a surfer at sunset catching waves with a pink, blue and purple sky in the background

If you didn’t travel with your own board, no need to fret. There are plenty of surf shops and rental companies where you can rent one during your vacation. If you prefer not to venture out on your own – there are tours with guides that will show you our coast and give you a real local’s view of the waterways.

4 – Skydive the Crystal Coast

Looking for the ultimate thrill? How about breathtaking views of the Crystal Coast from above? Crystal Coast Skydiving will take you up to an altitude of 9,000 feet, and while you’re ascending you may have the opportunity to see large schools of fish, dolphins, sharks, and the wild horses on Shackleford Banks.

tandem skydivers on the ground celebrating their skydive

If 30 seconds of freefall sounds exhilarating then add this to your vacation itinerary while you’re staying with us on the southern Outer Banks.

Here are a few more ideas for Crystal Coast thrill-seekers:

Interested in a few more vacation activities while you’re on the southern Outer Banks? Check out the following blog posts:

Are you more of a thrill-seeker or someone who’d rather relax on the beach? Which of the activities we mentioned would you try first? Let us know in the comment below! 

man swinging a golf club on the crystal coast of nc

Love Golf? Plan a Crystal Coast Golf Vacation!

man swinging a golf club on the crystal coast of nc

Love Golf? Plan a Crystal Coast Golf Vacation!

If you love golf, I bet when you think of a golf vacation, places like California or Florida are probably the first places that come to mind. But, if you haven’t considered North Carolina’s Crystal Coast as a golf destination, put it on your list, now.

North Carolina has been a golf destination since the 1890s, and the legendary Pinehurst course has been dubbed the “Home of American Golf.” There are hundreds of golf courses in the state, but one of the most underrated places to play is on the Crystal Coast. The breathtaking coastal landscapes combined with the excellent beaches and mild weather truly make it a golfer’s paradise.

Golf vacations have become a popular way for tourists to unwind and experience new places. And, golf is much more than just a fun activity; it has excellent mental and physical health benefits. These benefits include reducing stress, maintaining mental alertness, and exercise. We’re sharing a few reasons why you should plan a golf vacation in North Carolina, specifically on the Crystal Coast.

Crystal Coast Golf Courses

man dressed in blue golfing on a beautiful, lush, green golf course with vivid green trees in the background.

Golf lovers, put the Crystal Coast on your radar. There are dozens of golf courses, both on the coast and within short driving distance, you can choose from, ranging from beginner to championship courses. We invite you to explore our scenic courses and experience everything our slice of paradise has to offer. So why not start planning a Crystal Coast golf vacation? It’s good for your health!

Crystal Coast Country Club

The Crystal Coast Country Club is an 18-hole championship golf course in Pine Knoll Shores. The beautiful rolling terrain here provides a picturesque background for your day at the course. You can play on the newly renovated championship golf course, fit with new tee boxes, fairways, bunkers, and more. And when you’re ready to play, you can book your tee time at Crystal Coast Country Club here.

Star Hill Golf Club

The fairways of Star Hill Golf Club have been a favorite spot to golf on the Crystal Coast for over 50 years. This challenging golf course in Cape Carteret features 27 holes on beautiful greens. All rates include a golf cart, and the course is open, rain or shine. Call (252) 393-8111 to reserve your tee time at Star Hill Golf Club, a favorite among locals. 

Brandywine Bay Golf Club

Golfers of any skill level will love playing a round of golf at Brandywine Bay Golf Club. There are even junior holes perfect for beginners or young children, so you could even make your golf vacation a family golf vacation! The newly renovated greens recently reopened so now you can play the entire course once again. If you’re interested, you can find the Brandywine Bay Golf Club rates here. 

Crystal Coast Vacation Rentals

crystal coast golf enthusiast getting ready to tee off

Now that you’ve read about a few of the Crystal Coast’s golf courses, it’s time to start planning your North Carolina vacation. Our vacation rental properties are the perfect setting for your getaway. Whether you’re visiting the Crystal Coast on your own, as a couple, or if you’re traveling with a bigger group, you’ll find something everyone can enjoy! Browse all of our properties here, and we’ll see you on the golf course!

Have you been golfing on the Crystal Coast? Let us know your favorite courses in the comments below!

a boat sitting off the coast of cape lookout with the cape lookout lighthouse in the background

Southern Outer Banks North Carolina Things to Do

a boat sitting off the coast of cape lookout with the cape lookout lighthouse in the background

Southern Outer Banks North Carolina Things to Do

Along the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina is a stretch of 85 miles of breathtaking sandy shores. The crystalline blue water of this region is why it is often referred to as the Crystal Coast. There are several beach towns here that have distinct histories, natural areas, and activities to enjoy. No matter what beach town you’re looking to visit, we here at Bluewater Vacation Rentals offer a wide variety of vacation homes all along the Crystal Coast. 

Nature enthusiasts will fall in love with the area’s numerous state parks, kayaking, boating, biking, hiking, and beachcombing opportunities. Additionally, history buffs can spend their time on the Coast exploring museums and historic sites. There are so many things to do on the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina, so read on for the best ways to explore this beautiful slice of paradise. 

Boat Rentals and Tours on the Crystal Coast

men on a crystal coast fishing charter boat with fishing poles cast into the water

One of our favorite ways to experience the Crystal Coast is on the water. Rent a boat for the day from Crystal Coast Boat Charters and Rentals and traverse the Intracoastal Waterway and Bogue Sound near Emerald Isle, NC. Take the boat out island hopping to the uninhabited barrier islands along the Crystal Coast or spend the day fishing. 

If you want to experience the best fishing spots with a local expert, take a fishing charter with  Capt. Stacy Fishing Center in Atlantic Beach, NC. From shark fishing to full-day fishing trips, Capt. Stacy has a trip for anyone to enjoy. For a customized and private excursion, book a tour with Crystal Coast Ecotours. Take a boat tour and see salt marshes, birds, ponies, and maritime forests along the way. The other tours include dolphin watching, fishing, wild horse watching, surf fishing, and more. Check out all of the exciting trips with Crystal Coast Ecotours here.

Bike Rentals and Tours on the Crystal Coast

an assortment of pastel colored bikes with baskets along the beaufort nc waterfront

The best way to explore the Crystal Coast on land is on a bike or beach cruiser. Beachside Bikes have locations in Atlantic Beach and Emerald Isle. Rent a bicycle for the day and cycle to the best sites and things to do on the Crystal Coast. Hwy 58 Bikes offers rentals for electric and cruiser bikes on the Crystal Coast. A bike rental is an exceptional way to experience and explore the breathtaking beauty of Emerald Isle. 

You can find a unique selection of biking tours at Hungry Town Tours in Beaufort. The Beaufort culinary bike tour includes three stops for appetizers, entrees, and dessert. The tour works with restaurants that offer fresh and local products. Peddle through history on the hidden Beaufort tour. See hundreds of historic homes while learning the significant history of this port town.

Spacious Vacation Rentals with Bluewater 

the interior of a beautiful bluewater vacation rental home with a relaxing color scheme and wood floors and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen

After a day exploring the southern Outer Banks of North Carolina and the things to do, you’ll be more than ready to unwind. Our vacation rental properties are the perfect setting to relax during your getaway. Take in a spectacular sunset from the porch of one of our Emerald Cottages, ideal for families. Browse our complete collection of vacation rentals here and call us at 866-231-5892 if you have any questions!

What’s Your Favorite Thing to Do?

What was your favorite thing to do on the Crystal Coast? Have you heard the Crystal Coast referred to as the Southern Outer Banks before? We’d love to know. Kick off the conversation in the comments below! 

local concert series, emerald isle outdoor music fest

Live Local Entertainment: EmeraldFest Concert Series

local concert series, emerald isle outdoor music fest

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

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

Why Spring is a Great Time to Visit the Crystal Coast

Spring on the crystal coast

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! 
  • Small Crowds – Visiting during springtime is a great time to beat the heat and the crowds that usually swell at the start of the summer season.

Which town is your favorite to visit in the Spring? 

Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you! 

nc coast fishing
whale sighting crystal coast
coastal kayaking in nc

WATER TEMPERATURE

Average High 71F | Average Low 65F

AIR TEMPERATURE

Average High 70F | Average Low 55F

Be sure to check out the many budget friendly activities to do this Spring while visiting the Crystal Coast.


Newport Pig Cookin’ Contest


Beaufort Food & Wine Festival


100 Free Things To Do

add thrse to your crystal coast bucket list

Top To-Dos for Your Crystal Coast Bucket List

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 thrse to your crystal coast bucket list

Add These to Your Crystal Coast Bucket List

1. RELAX

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.

add relazing to your crystal coast bucket list

2. SAVOR

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.

diving on the crystal coast

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.

6. PADDLE

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.

paddleboarding

7. EXPLORE

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!

8. NIGHTLIFE

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!

Enjoy!

What would you add to this Crystal Coast bucket list? Let us know in the comments below! 

backyard tailgate party, tailgate safely in your own backyard, tailgating

Tailgate in Your Own Backyard!