Posts

Photo of Fort Macon: a North Carolina Historical sites

A History Lover’s Guide to North Carolina Historical Sites

Photo of Fort Macon: a North Carolina Historical sites

A History Lover’s Guide to North Carolina Historical Sites

The Crystal Coast may be known for beach getaways and epic fishing adventures, but the coast also boasts a fascinating history. From a restored Civil War fort to the infamous legends of Blackbeard, the pirate, there is a wealth of unique history waiting to be discovered. Visit these North Carolina historical sites during your Crystal Coast vacation and travel back in time.

Fort Macon State Park

Are you fascinated by Civil War History? Then a visit to Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach is a must. Fort Macon’s history goes back to the 1700s when hostile nations and pirates threatened the inlet. Fast forward one hundred years to the construction of Fort Macon during the Civil War. Afterward, control of the fort was tumultuous, and both Confederate and Union soldiers were stationed here throughout the war. Today, you can learn all about this fascinating, and varied history of Fort Macon with these activities: 

  • Embark on a self-guided tour with a printed guide from the visitor center. Or join the daily guided tours at 11 am.
  • Visit the museum and learn about the artifacts that display Fort Macon’s history. 
  • Check the scheduled programs and events and plan your visit around reenactments or demonstrations.

North Carolina Historical Sites in Beaufort NC

Historic Beaufort

Beaufort is the third oldest town in the state and is home to over a dozen North Carolina historical sites. Beaufort started as a fishing village and port for pirates and shipping vessels. These merchants built houses and public buildings that continue to remind us of the town’s layered past. Here are a few ways to explore and learn all about historic Beaufort.

  • Join a guided tour through Beaufort’s landmark buildings, including Victorian homes and the historic jail and courthouse. 
  • Stop at the Old Burial Grounds, a 300-year-old cemetery established in the early 1700s. 
  • Visit the Hammock House, which is the oldest home in Beaufort. The house is also rumored to have been a headquarters for Blackbeard, back in the day.
  • With over 300 years of history, Beaufort is home to many legends and ghost stories. Join the Beaufort Ghost Walk and listen to stories of ghost ships, haunted houses, and Civil War spirits. 

Historic Museums

History buffs can see artifacts and learn all about North Carolina history at the museums on the Crystal Coast. The History Museum of Carteret County features an extensive collection of textiles, period clothing, furniture, military memorabilia, artwork, and thousands of books. This museum provides an interesting introduction to our varied history in addition to fascinating artifacts.

The Maritime Museum displays the history and coastal lifestyle with artifacts and exhibits. Learn about our maritime culture with the exhibits on lighthouses, lifesaving stations, the seafood industry, motorboats, shipwrecks, and also underwater archaeology. For example, the Harvey Smith Watercraft Center offers an opportunity to learn about the art and skill of traditional boat building.

Photo of Alec Moore House: A North Carolina Historical Sites

Historic Homes with Bluewater Vacation Rentals

Visit these incredible North Carolina historical sites on the Crystal Coast and choose Bluewater Vacation Rentals to host your getaway. We currently have two historic homes you can stay in Beaufort and Swansboro. The Sabiston House is on historic Front Street in Beaufort and next to the Maritime Museum. Furthermore, the Alex Moore House is situated in the Swansboro Historic District and offers over 100 years of history on the Crystal Coast. Finally, if our historic homes are already booked, then browse over 600 vacation rentals to find the perfect accommodations for your getaway.

Lighthouse photo of the Crystal coast

A Guide to Crystal Coast Activities and Attractions

Lighthouse photo of the Crystal coast

A Guide to Crystal Coast Activities and Attractions

Whether you’re looking to buy real estate or invest in a vacation rental on the Crystal Coast, you might be wondering what attractions and activities are available in the area. There are endless Crystal Coast activities; that’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top attractions and restaurants to get you started.

Popular Things to Do on the Crystal Coast

North Carolina Aquarium

The North Carolina Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores features the largest saltwater aquarium in the state. The aquarium has replicated a sunken submarine to create a unique environment. The 300,000-gallon tank is home to various fish, sharks, and turtles. Several tours and activities are available that allow you to get behind the scenes and learn more about incredible marine life and conservation efforts.

Fort Macon State Park

This state park has something for everyone on the Crystal Coast. The site includes a 19th century Civil War fort that you can explore on your own along with guided tours. Fort Macon State Park also has several beautiful hiking trails, fishing spots, and fun on the water for the avid paddlers. 

Graveyard of the Atlantic

The North Carolina Coast has often been dubbed “The Graveyard of the Atlantic” since thousands of ships have sunk in this area over hundreds of years. These historic wrecks are a top destination for scuba divers and adventurers on the Crystal Coast. Embark on an unforgettable diving charter with Discovery Diving or Olympus Dive Center

Cape Lookout National Seashore

Three miles off-shore is Cape Lookout National Seashore that is accessible by a short boat ride from Atlantic Beach. This is the best place to experience some of the top outdoor activities in one place. Learn about the importance of Cape Lookout Lighthouse or walk through historic villages. You can also find some of the best fishing on the Atlantic Coast from the beach at Cape Lookout National Seashore.

Our Favorite Crystal Coast Restaurants

34 Degrees North

For fresh seafood, local produce, and incredible waterfront views, check out this historic Beaufort restaurant. The menu includes local mahi-mahi, pan-seared grouper, shrimp, and grits, along with an expansive selection of wine. Perfect for a romantic dinner on the coast!

Ruddy Duck Tavern

This Morehead City restaurant features locally caught seafood made with high-quality ingredients at an affordable price. Ruddy Duck Tavern is an excellent choice for lunch as you gaze out at stunning ocean views.

Front Street Grill

Visit Front Street Grill for a delicious dinner on the Crystal Coast and take in a panoramic sunset while you eat. The menu includes a variety of coastal food with a southern soul that will soon have you coming back for more.

Amos Mosquitos

Amos Mosquitos is a local favorite and offers a unique coastal dining experience in Atlantic Beach. Choose from a variety of excellent seafood dishes or try out Amos’s famous meatloaf topped with bacon and a brown sugar glaze. 

Table 9

If you are looking for the perfect restaurant for a romantic dinner on the coast, look no further than Table 9. Couples will love the relaxing atmosphere as you dine on fresh oysters, lobster ravioli, or crab-stuffed Mahi. And if you aren’t craving seafood, you can find lamb chops, ribeye, and filet mignon on the menu as well.

Red Fish Grill

Admire the Morehead City waterfront in a casual and friendly atmosphere at Red Fish Grill. One of the most popular items at the restaurant is the crab-stuffed Mahi, but you can’t go wrong with any of the redfish features or dinner entrees.

Photo of the beach and a gazebo on the Crystal Coast

Learn More About Crystal Coast Activities

These Crystal Coast activities, attractions, and restaurants only scratch the surface of things to do in the area. Each town on the coast offers something different and a wealth of attractions waiting to be explored. If you want to learn everything our slice of paradise has to offer, then visit our Vacation Rental Blog to keep up to date with the best things to do on the coast.

What attractions and restaurants would you have included in your Crystal Coast bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!

banner image of clouds and sky for the 6 Crystal Coast Vacation Itinerary Options post

6 Crystal Coast Vacation Itinerary Options

banner image of clouds and sky for the 6 Crystal Coast Vacation Itinerary Options post

6 Crystal Coast Vacation Itinerary Options

Planning a vacation can be a bit of a daunting task. We thought we’d take some of the guesswork out of what to do and give you 6 different Crystal Coast vacation itinerary options to choose from. There’s certainly no shortage of things to do. You just need to decide how to get in all in. Mix and match or use one of our suggested itineraries. Whatever you choose, have fun! 

  1.  Keep Them Occupied: A schedule to wear out the most enthusiastic kids

    • Day 1 – Catch a Marlins Baseball game in Morehead 
    • Day 2 – Go Geo Cashing around town. It’s like a giant treasure hunt. See www.geocaching.com/play. When you’re done, grab some pizza at Pizza Inn! 
    • Day 3 – Have the little ones compete to see who can find the biggest seashell or shark’s tooth on the beach.
    • Day 4 – Take the kids to one of our many parks and let them burn off some energy! See: Jean Preston Memorial Park Playground and Emerald Woods 
    • Day 5 – Ride a Banana Boat with the whole gang at Island Water Sports
    • Day 6 – Take the kids to MacDaddy’s for bowling, skeeball, pinball, and a video game room full of fun!
    • Day 7 – Ride the ferry to Ocracoke and take the kids to see the Ocracoke Banker Ponies
  2.  A Little Romance: A list of activities that are sure to put a spark in your vacation
  3.  Adventure Enthusiasts: Accept the challenge of these adrenaline-filled activities
    • Day 1 – Rent bikes and go on a bike ride in the Croatan Forest
    • Day 2 – Try your hand at hang gliding with Kitty Hawk Kites 
    • Day 3 – Go on a paddleboarding adventure with Paddle NC!
    • Day 4 – Try scuba diving NC off the coast of Beaufort where our world-famous shipwreck graveyard leaves lots to explore 
    • Day 5 – Go kayaking on Hammocks Beach and Bear Island
    • Day 6 Go skydiving
    • Day 7 – Go deep sea fishing with Capt. Stacy
  4.  Rainy Days: In the chance of inclement weather here are a few ideas to keep you occupied
  5.  Adults Only: A list just for the grown-ups 
  6.  History Buffs: This Crystal Coast itinerary is for History lovers 

These 6 simple itinerary ideas are just a start! We hope they’ll help you find something that everyone will enjoy. Let us know if you decide to try some of these suggestions out. We’d love to hear from you! 

Banner Image 2021 October Events on the Crystal Coast

Spotlight: October Events on the Crystal Coast

Banner Image 2021 October Events on the Crystal Coast

Spotlight: October Events on the Crystal Coast

Whether you’re vacationing with us or you’re a local, There’s always something to look forward to and always fun to be had. Don’t miss any of these October events on the Crystal Coast.

MILL CREEK’S HAUNTED WOOD

Every Friday and Saturday in October – Dusk until 10:30 PM

Eerie looking bird in a leafless tree at night during a full moon during spooky October Events on the Crystal Coast

2365 Miller Creek Road, Newport, NC 28570

Take a walk through Mill Creek’s Haunted Woods that features a blood cemetery, Noose Creek Bridge, Johnny’s Maze, The Butcher Shop Open Air Meat Market, Mill Creek Chemical Corp, smoke-filled tunnels, lots of monsters, ghouls, and candy for the kids.


5th ANNUAL ATLANTIC BEACH KING MACKEREL TOURNAMENT

Recurring daily from October 2, 2021 – October 23,  2021

Man surrounded by deep sea fishing poles on a boat

Out of all the October events on the Crystal Coast, this is an annual favorite! The Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Fishing Tournament is a non-profit fundraiser supported entirely by volunteers with the mission of purchasing lifesaving equipment for the AB Fire department.  All money donated is tax-deductible due to the 501(c)(3) status of the Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Fishing Tournament, Inc.


SIP AND SEA BEAUFORT WINE AND FOOD 2021

champagne flutes on a table with appetizers

October 7, 2021 – October 10, 2021 

beaufortwineandfood@gmail.com – (252) 515-0708

A wine and food weekend experience that pays homage to our rich maritime roots by pairing fine wine and spirits with the culinary talents of Carteret County.

10/7 | 5:30 – 9:30 pm: Featuring six talented chefs, craft cocktails, fine wine pairings, and an unforgettable setting. Join us for a five-course dinner and cocktail hour on Beaufort’s scenic waterfront.

10/8 | 3 – 6 pm: The fashion event of the season featuring the latest trends, signature cocktails, delicious appetizers, and an exciting shopping experience!

10/9 | 2 – 5 pm: Shucking Good Time – Experience a one-of-a-kind seafood event, featuring local oysters, shrimp, and clam farmers paired with the best Chefs in town! Spirit tastings, local artisans, and live music will set the scene while overlooking the views of a down east waterfront oasis. The event will take place at Beau Coast Development

10/10 | 11 am – 2 pm: Blues, Bubble and Brunch – Featuring the talented Michael Lee behind acclaimed M Sushi, M Kokko, and M Tempura. Chef Lee will bring his big city taste to the town of Beaufort. Don’t miss this event that will bring local seafood to a new level. The event will take place at Beaufort Hotel.


2ND ANNUAL VFW POST 9960 OPEN CAR SHOW

October 9, 2021 – 9 AM – 3 PM

Beautiful classic cars lined up

Mac Daddy’s Entertainment Center – 130 Golfin Dolphin Drive, Cape Carteret, NC 28584 – Call: 252.393.6565

FREE – Registration will begin at 9 AM. Contact Dolly Witt at 919.922.9409 for details.

You could be one of these lucky winners: 

  • Best in Show 2021-1988
  • Best in Show 1987 – Older
  • Best in Bike
  • Sponsor’s Choice
  • Best Ford, General Motors, Mopar, Import, Engine, Interior, or Paint
  • Children’s Hot Wheels Race
  • 50/50 Raffle

Fun for the whole family! 


INTRODUCTION TO WOODEN BOAT BUILDING COURSE

October 9, 2021 – October 10, 2021 – 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Boat Building Course In October Events on the Crystal Coast

North Carolina Maritime Museum – 315 Front Street, Beaufort, NC 28516 – Call: 252.504.7758

Intro to Wooden Boat Building – Students explore the art of boatbuilding in this two-day hands-on course, beginning with lofting, and moving on to the setup, steam bending, and different methods of creating the backbone of small boats. They also learn planking methods, both carvel and lapstrake, and the use of appropriate fasteners. After two days, students will have the knowledge, skill, and confidence to choose a design and style of boat to build on their own. (12 hours).


OLYMPUS DOUBLE INSHORE DIVE

October 10, 2021 – 8:00 AM – 3PM

2 scuba divers in the water with the light above them

Olympus Dive Center – 713 Shepard Street, Morehead City, NC 28557 – Call: 252.726.9432

Price: $145

Take a 2-tank trip with Olympus Dive Center. This is an Inshore trip with a short boat ride and a max depth of 65 feet. There are several excellent wrecks to explore. This is a great way to get your first NC ocean dive under your belt. Meet at the dock at 8 am. Tanks are not included.

Minimum Requirements for In-shore dive trip:

  • A minimum of 10 logged dives.
  • At least 1 logged boat ocean dive.
  • At least 2 dives in the last 12 months.
  • The minimum age for an In-Shore dive charter is 12 years of age.
  • Minimum safety equipment-recommendation is a surface marker buoy suitable for diving in the ocean. Neon yellow is best for our area.
  • In addition to the basic scuba equipment, our Off-Shore charters require that each diver dive with a computer. Please be aware of how the computer functions as well as how to set the computer for the appropriate mix. In addition, having the computer manual with you on the dive boat is always advised.
  • For divers who are close to but do not meet all of the requirements to dive on the In-Shore dive, charter arrangements for a guide can be made through the shop.  Please contact us for more information at info@olympusdiving.com.

ALIVE AT 5 OUTDOOR CONCERT- THE EMBERS

October 14, 2021 – 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

The Embers musical group standing together

Jaycee Park- 807 Shepard Street, Morehead City, NC 28557 – Call: 252.808.0440

Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and join them for music and dancing. Beer, wine, and sodas are available for purchase at the event. Jaycee Docks are available for boats to dock for free throughout the concert on most Alive at Five days. RSVP Here


BEAUFORT FILM FESTIVAL

October 21, 2021 – October 31, 2021 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

A festival crowd of people in the street

The Beaufort Picture Show is pleased to present the first annual Beaufort Film Festival! We’re looking to treat and inspire an otherwise under-served (festival-wise) and appreciative audience of movie-lovers all along the so-called Crystal Coast — it’s beautiful here at the beach, and we’ve got our boats and our books and our beers all lined up, but what we’re looking for now is “boffo box-office, bay-bee.” 

We sought submissions of all stripes: student films, experimental films, shorts, feature-length, you name it. And now we’re selecting the “coolest” flicks to screen at one of our (honestly) cool movie venues — we’ve got a retro-hip Drive-In (made out of shipping containers!) at Gallant’s Channel, plus we’ve got a more intimate indoor venue (right next door to a micro-brewery!) – Mill Whistle Brewing, and there’s all manner of “great lawns” about town where we can celebrate both the art of film and the practice of maintaining social distance (if need be).


CRYSTAL COAST HIGHLAND GAMES

October 23, 2021 – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

men in kilts walking on grass

Gallant’s Channel Event Space- 293 W. Beaufort Road Extension, Beaufort, NC 28516 – Call: 603.496.4546

Price: $12 in advance and $20 at the gate.

Don’t miss the Crystal Coast Highland Games! This will be a day of family fun for all ages, there will be demonstration Scottish dancing, Heavy Athletics, Scottish vendors, kids area, clan tents and of course the sound of bagpipes. Bring the family for a look at Scottish heritage. There is no refund rain or shine. Questions? Email: NCHighlandgames@gmail.com 

Calendar of Events

Looking for more fun along the Crystal Coast? Check out our 2021 Crystal Coast Calendar of Events page! 

Photo of a dock on the water in Emerald Isle with the blog title over it

10 Emerald Isle Activities for a Fall Getaway

Photo of a dock on the water in Emerald Isle with the blog title over it

10 Emerald Isle Activities for a Fall Getaway

Although summer is technically over, the warm temperatures remain on the Crystal Coast. Are you looking to extend your summer vacation just a bit longer? Then you’ve come to the right place! 

As seasonal beachgoers pack their bags, mild fall days welcome those looking to beat the summer heat of North Carolina. Take a break from the ordinary and join us at one of our charming beach communities on the Crystal Coast. Here are 10 Emerald Isle activities you can do while you’re visiting our slice of paradise this fall. 

Check Out These Emerald Isle Activities:

1. Go For a Hike

Experience the sights and sounds of nature on a scenic hike at Emerald Isle Woods Park. This 41-acre park includes walking and natural birding trails where you can spot osprey, egrets, wading birds, woodpeckers, and other shorebirds. Or choose to play disc golf with the family on the 9-hole course at the park. 

2. Relax at the Beach

Summer lasts a bit longer on the Crystal Coast, and so does relaxing on the beach. On the westernmost section of Emerald Isle, you can find the local’s favorite beach at The Point. Relax in the sand for incredible fall sunsets or bring your camera and snap some excellent photos at the beach. 

3. Spend Time on the Water

It wouldn’t be a trip to Emerald Isle without spending time on the water. We recommend checking out Hot Wax Surf Shop if you are interested in renting a surfboard, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard. They also offer a guided excursion to Cedar Point Recreation Area, surf lessons, and kayak fishing. This surf shop is a one-stop destination for anything water-related. 

4. Activities for Kids

Emerald Isle is a popular destination for families and has several activities the kids will love. Play a round of miniature golf together at Emerald Forest Golf, and then head inside for ice cream afterward. Or see who will win a go-kart race at Fun World Motorsports

5. Fishing, Fishing, and More Fishing

The fishing heats up in Emerald Isle as temperatures cool down and anglers flock to the shores. Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier is an excellent spot for in-shore fishing when you purchase their daily fishing pass. You can also choose a guided fishing charter with Capt. Stacy Fishing Center. Adults and kids alike will love spending a day fishing when vacationing to North Carolina.

6. Stop for Delicious Seafood

North Carolina has a rich culinary tradition revolving around seafood, and the cuisine is an essential part of the Crystal Coast lifestyle. Stop for a romantic dinner and enjoy locally sourced seafood at Caribsea. Or visit Flipperz Family Bar and Grill if you are visiting Emerald Isle on a family vacation. 

7. Shop ‘Til You Drop

Are you looking for some retail therapy or a great souvenir to bring home with you? Stop by Emerald Plantation Shopping Center and browse the gift shop and homemade fudge at Elly’s Gifts. Fall in love with surfing during your trip? Bring home your very own surfboard from South Swell Surf Shop

8. Plan a Picnic in the Park

The mild temperatures this time of year provide the perfect setting for a picnic in the park. Blue Heron Park includes a picnic pavilion and gazebo for the perfect picnic setting. And after lunch, the kids can play on the playground or basketball court here. 

9. Rejuvenate at the Spa

Spend an afternoon of relaxation and rejuvenation at a local spa. Nurture your mind, body, and soul at Wellness Massage and Yoga with a therapeutic massage or relaxing yoga class. Leave your vacation feeling refreshed and ready for anything when you visit this day spa. 

10. End the Day with a Drink

Looking for a great spot to end the day? Why not check out The Growler Bar for craft beer and fine wine in Emerald Isle. Sip on a craft brew and listen to live music on Saturdays and Sundays. This bar is a great place to wrap up an afternoon of Emerald Isle activities before heading back to your Bluewater vacation rental.

Photo of the living room inside one of our Pebble Beach condos

Emerald Isle Vacation Rentals

Now that you’ve read about all of the Emerald Isle activities you can do on the Crystal Coast, it’s time to start thinking about where to stay. When you choose Bluewater Vacation Rentals to host your vacation, you will be within close proximity to the area’s shops, restaurants, and activities. 

Our Pebble Beach vacation rentals include direct access to the Atlantic Ocean and incredible views from inside the condos. Browse all of our Emerald Isle vacation rentals, and we’ll see you at the beach!

What Emerald Isle activity would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments 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 Crystal 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! 

blog post banner for 93 days of summer on the crystal coast

How to Spend Your 93 Days of Summer on the Crystal Coast

blog post banner for 93 days of summer on the crystal coast

How to Spend Your 93 Days of Summer on the Crystal Coast

Summer on the Crystal Coast is finally here and it is time to celebrate – from the various water sports in Emerald Isle, to conquering Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach the things to do are limitless! The Crystal Coast has so much to offer for your summer beach vacation and we want to make sure your days are filled, all 93 of them!

Spend the 4th of July admiring the fireworks as they burst over the open ocean waters, or sign up for one of the region’s many fishing tournaments to put your angling abilities to the test. Summer on the Crystal Coast is all about having fun with friends and family, and newcomers will quickly find that every day brings a reason to celebrate in this popular and widely acclaimed vacation destination.

Whether the wild horses, shelling, boat tours, kayaking, fishing charters, or exploring the ocean floor are the highlights of your vacation, you are bound to have a Summer on the Crystal Coast to remember.

Here are a few great ideas on how you can spend your 93 days of summer on the Crystal Coast

 

Day 1 – Play on the Water: Choose from stand-up paddleboards, surfboards, kiteboards, skimboards, and bodyboards to play in the waves or at the shoreline – just choose your favorite board.

Day 2 – Shop at Emerald Plantation: Spend a day winding through the Emerald Plantation shops.

Day 3 – Take a Ferry Ride: Catch a ferry from Morehead City, Beaufort, or Harkers Island and explore to your heart’s content

Day 4 – Soak up the Sun: Sit in a colorful chair beach and soak up the sun.

Day 5 – Go-Cart Racing: Challenge your friends and family with a friendly go-cart race.

Day 6 – Go Island Hopping: Island hopping is an excellent way to spend the day and be a little adventurous. There’s plenty to explore.

Day 7 – Follow Blackbeard’s steps in Beaufort: Take a tour of Blackbeard’s home.

Day 8Catch of the Day: Watch the catch of the day come in or just take pictures of all of the docked boats.

Day 9Shuck Some Oysters: Shuck a few oysters at a seaside restaurant.

Day 10 – Watch the Sunset: This is a perfect ending to every day on the beach.

Day 11 – Go Diving: The Crystal Coast has been named one of the 10 top diving locations in North America.

Day 12 – Bocce Ball: Challenge your family members to a round of beach bocce ball with the loser buying everyone a smoothie!

Day 13 – National ‘I Forgot Day’: July 2nd is a day to make up for all the birthdays and events you forgot during the year. Except do it with a twist, forget all of your worries, go sit by the beach and relax.

Day 14 – Play Golf: Play a round of golf at one of our many beautiful courses. You don’t have to be Bubba Watson to enjoy the game! All you need is some nice weather and a few friends to have a great day on the green.

Day 15 – 4th Of July: When the sun goes down head out to watch the fireworks with a night sky light show. With firework shows in Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Emerald Isle, and Swansboro – the sky will be lit up tonight!

Day 16 – Have an Island Picnic: If you brought your boat, jet ski or kayak head out to the sound and have a picnic on one of the many beautiful islands.

Day 17 – Enjoy a Concert: Be sure to check out all the Alive at Five Concerts in downtown Morehead City.  

Day 18 – Go Charter Boat Fishing: Schedule a half-day or full-day fishing charter and hit the big blue. You will find some great fishing on our coast and the best part is taking your catch home and dining on the freshest seafood in the area!

Day 19 – Beach Walking: Take a long walk on the beach and enjoy a beautiful sunrise or sunset while seeing what treasures you can find.

Day 20 – Enjoy Bowling: Go bowling at Mac Daddy’s in Cape Carteret. If your style of bowling includes Black Lights, Fog, Laser Show, and Music Videos you’re in for a treat.

Day 21 – Summer Mani Pedis: Treat yourself to a manicure and a pedicure at one of the many local salons. Bright and colorful is the way to go!

Day 22 – Pick some Blueberries: Stop by the local farmer’s market in Cedar Point, Morehead City, or Beaufort and pick up some fresh Blueberries for the whole family to enjoy.

Day 23 – Cruise with the Crytal Coast Lady: Want to have a pirate treasure hunt on an island roaming with wild horses? Hop onboard the Crystal Coast Lady and enjoy one of their many cruises! Reservations are required. 

Day 24 – Grab Some Ice Cream: We have a few local ice cream shops on the island. Two of the most popular are Ben and Jerry’s and The Sweet Spot.

Day 25 – Visit the Famer’s Market: Don’t miss one of the coolest farmer’s markets around. The Market at Cedar Point has local artists and local farmers sharing their goods, plus an array of fresh goodies inside the storefront.

Day 26 – Go Shelling: Collect a bunch of seashells to take home and get crafty with.

Day 27 – Enter our Photo Contest: Enter your vacation photos in our annual photo contest.

Day 28 – Ride the Bus: Hop on the red Double Decker Bus and take the guided tour around downtown Beaufort and learn about all the history.

Day 29 – Girl’s Day Out: Leave the kids with the guys and have a girl’s day (or night) out!  Grab drinks with the girls, catch some live music, or head to a movie. 

Day 30 – Fire up the Grill: Instead of cooking inside, grill out! Try grilling up some fish, burgers, lobster, or hotdogs. Enjoy!

Day 31 – Salty Pirate Water Park: Enjoy a fun-filled afternoon at the water park.

Day 32 – Annual Crab Cake Cook-Off: Not only do you get to taste amazing crab cakes you get to vote for your tasty favorite at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

Day 33 – Take a Culinary Bike Tour: The Beaufort culinary bike tour with Hungry Town Tours includes three stops for appetizers, entrees, and dessert. 

Day 34 – Try Skimboarding: Grab a skimboard and challenge yourself to glide across the water’s surface as the waves break!

Day 35 Take an Ecotour: Experience the natural beauty of the Crystal Coast with a full or half-day ecotour with Crystal Coast Ecotours.

Day 36 – Free Movies on AB Boardwalk: Once the sun sets head to “The Circle” to catch a free flick with the family! Don’t forget your blanket or lawn chairs!

Day 37 – Try Yoga: How about a private yoga session for you or you and all your friends/family? Wellness Massage and Yoga will come to you with their mobile yoga. 

Day 38 – Treat Your Mind and Body: If yoga’s not your thing, you can schedule a massage in their EI location or have them come to you. Either way, the ladies at Wellness Massage and Yoga won’t disappoint!

Day 39 – Enjoy Live Music on the Beach: Enjoy music on the beach with the EmeraldFest concert series each year.

Day 40 – Check out Brigg’s: Brigg’s General Store and Bar is a great place to pick up some local NC-made favorite snacks, have a drink or bring home a gift basket to a friend.

Day 41 – Go Clamming: Go digging for clams and steam them up for dinner.

Day 42 – Try Parasailing: Get a bird’s eye view of the beach while parasailing down the Crystal Coast. Wind in your hair has a whole different meaning when you’re sitting this high.

Day 43 – Boat Cruise: Enjoy an evening boat cruise from either Beaufort or Morehead City waterfronts. Watching the sunset from the water will give you memories that last a lifetime.

Day 44 – Make Local Crab Dip: Pick up some fresh crab at one of our fish markets and whip up some fresh local crab dip. If you don’t already have a recipe, you can find some great ones online! 

Day 45 – National Watermelon Day: Stop by one of our Farmer’s Markets on August 3rd and pick the biggest melon you can find to celebrate National Watermelon Day!

Day 46 – Consider Hang Gliding: Kitty Hawk Kites now offers hang gliding in Beaufort and it looks like fun. 

Day 47 – NC Aquarium: Head to Pine Knoll Shores to the aquarium, look at all the fish and aquatic marine life that are swimming throughout North Carolina.

Day 48 – Grab a Coffee: Enjoy a morning cup of coffee on the porch while listening to the waves crash. This is the best way to start the day!

Day 49 – Catch a Movie: Catch the latest flick at the Emerald Plantation or Atlantic Beach Cinema. A nice cool theater is always a great way to escape the summer heat!

Day 50 – Go Biking: Grab your bike and cruise the bike path on Emerald Isle; or, bike through the Croatan Forest

Day 51 – Flying A Kite: Send a Kite soaring. Didn’t bring one with you? No problem, stop into Kites Unlimited in Atlantic Beach and find a colorful.

Day 52 – Relax: Yup, that simple. Just relax and savor summer.

Day 53 – Annual Pirate Invasion: Beaufort invites you to partake in the annual sword fighting, cannon blaring, pillaging, plundering, and of course, grog swilling at the Annual Pirate Invasion in August. You will not want to miss the celebration of welcoming Blackbeard back after nearly 300 years and reenact the harrowing events of 1747!

Day 54 – Hammocks Beach State Park: A crown jewel of the North Carolina coast and Hammocks Beach State Park is Bear Island—a 4-mile-long, undeveloped barrier island accessible by the park’s passenger ferry or private ferry, or by paddling a canoe or kayak.

Day 55 – Ghost Crabs: At night take the flashlight out to the beach and try to spot a ghost crab running along the water’s edge! They’re faster than you think!

Day 56 – Tie-Dyed T-Shirts: Tie-Dye and design your own T-Shirt to remember your vacation every time you wear it back home!

Day 57 – Kite Surfing: Take kite surfing lessons, we have some of the most ideal kite surfing beaches in the world!

Day 58 – See Wild Ponies: We have plenty of them to see whether you are out on Shackelford Island or on Carrot Island in Beaufort. Don’t have a boat? Take a ferry! Don’t forget your camera.

Day 59 – Sandcastles and Sculptures: Celebrate National Build A Sandcastle And Sculpture Day. See what you can sculpt out and how high it can rise!

Day 60 – Wine Tasting: Add wine tasting to your list of activities during your summer vacation! Emerald Isle Wine Market has wine tastings and other events year-round.

Day 61 – Look for Dolphins: See if you can spot dolphins surfing in the waves or playing in the sound! 

Day 62 – Lemonade Day: Cool down with fresh lemonade to celebrate National Lemonade Day on August 20th.

Day 63 – Climb the Lighthouse: Climb the 207 steps to the top of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse! 

Day 64 – Have a Water War: Need some cooling off? Grab some water guns, water cannons, and water balloons and fill them up. Then, split into teams with your family and friends and let the water war begin! 

Day 65 – See Fort Macon: Enjoy a day at the Fort! Walk around the pentagon-shaped fortress and explore all the history Fort Macon has to offer. They often have events during the day and evenings so be sure to plan a visit.

Day 66 – Beach Reads: Enjoy a good read cuddled up in a cozy beach rental or while you listen to waves on the beach. Whether you brought the newest bestseller or find an old paperback at your rental, enjoy a relaxing day with a good book! Check out our locally-owned, independent books store, Emerald Isle Books.

Day 67 – Hunt for Treasure: Head to New Bern and check out all the antique stores. You’re bound to find something you’ll treasure.

Day 68 – Celebrate National Dog Day: Give your dog some extra love on August 26 by hitting the beach or any of the dog-friendly spots on our coast!

Day 69 – Grab Drinks with Friends: Grab a drink at one of our hot spots. You’re sure to have a good time! 

Day 70 – Salt Water Taffy: Stop into the Sweet Spot in Emerald Isle and pick out your favorite flavor of Salt Water Taffy from the 46 different flavors they have to offer! Once you have your choices challenge your friends to a challenge on who can eat the most pieces in 5 minutes!

Day 71 – Scuba Diving: Scuba Dive and explore the sunken U-boat and other shipwrecks.  See for yourself why the Crystal Coast is one of the top diving destinations in North America.

Day 72 – Photo Spot: Don’t forget to hop up on our BIG GREEN Bluewater Adirondack Chair and take a photo to remember the best vacation ever!

Day 73 – Stroll Swansboro: Take a stroll through downtown Swansboro and stop in for a bite to eat at one of the many waterfront restaurants.

Day 74 – Events Galore: Pick an event from our event calendar that suits your fancy and get out and have some fun. 

Day 76 – Home Tour: This annual tour features some of Beaufort’s beautiful private homes, glorious gardens, multiple local churches and artists’ studios throughout the town, and more!

Day 77 – Kayak for Warriors: Join a Kayak for Warriors event and help support our wounded warriors. All proceeds go to Hope for Warriors.

Day 78 – Look for Rainbows: Head out to the beach after it rains to see if you can spot a rainbow. These colorful arcs over the ocean make for some great photos!

Day 79 – Cast Netting: Head out to the beach and throw a cast net out into the waves. See what kind of marine life lives in the shallow waters of the Crystal Coast. 

Day 80 – Ladder Ball: Get together with friends on the beach and have some fun with a game of Ladder Ball, for a challenge, invite others on the beach to join and start a tournament.

Day 81 – Beach Football: Get everyone together for a friendly game of beach football! The losing team gets to cook dinner for everyone!

Day 82 – Go Rafting: If surfing is not your thing, grab a raft to help ride the waves. See how many you can ride before you are knocked overboard.

Day 83 – Visit Fun World: Race friends and family around the track at Fun World Motorsports in EI.  It’s always a good time driving mini cars to win a race!

Day 84 – Wildlife Spotting: Take a stroll and see what kind of wildlife calls the Crystal Coast home.  Keep count of how many different animals you spot, deer and turtles are pretty easy to come across.

Day 85 – Oyster Roast: Go to a local fish market and pick up some oysters to steam. Have yourself a good ole fashion oyster roast.

Day 86 – Visit Tryon Palace: Spend an afternoon touring our beautiful, historic Tryon Palace in New Bern. This 18th-century home will take your breath away with its gorgeous collection of antiques, art, and extensive gardens.

Day 87 – Learn: Learn all about the history of Carteret County by visiting The History Museum in Morehead City.

Day 88 – Strawberry Picking: Check out the local farms to find a time to go strawberry picking. Fresh berries are a treat during the Summer! 

Day 89 – Boat Watching: Marvel at all the different boats and ships that pass off of our coast. You might even see a military vessel.

Day 90 – Drive-Ins: Pick up a shrimp or oyster burger from one of our famous drive-ins! Big Oak Drive-In in Salter Path and El’s in Morehead City are known for having some of the best eats in the county. 

Day 91 – National Cheeseburger Day: Celebrate National Cheeseburger Day on September 18th by firing up the grill or grabbing a burger at one of our famous drive-ins. They make amazing burgers, too!

Day 92 – Talk Like A Pirate: ARRRRRR Mateys! International Talk Like a Pirate Day falls on September 19th. Have a full day of merriment with your fellow swashbucklers.

Day 93 – Last Day Of Summer: It’s September 21st and it’s the final day of summer, its time to head out to the beach one last time before fall hits and the weather starts to cool and the leaves begin to change and fall from the trees. Only 272 more days till its summer 2014!

National Parks Week, Celebrating National Parks Week, North Carolina's National Parks, Cryatal Coasr National Parks

National Parks Week on the Crystal Coast

National Parks Week: 4 Parks to Explore on the Crystal Coast

Join us celebrating National Park Week 2021 from April 17 to 25!

Crystal Coast Map

“National Park Week is America’s largest celebration of national heritage. It’s about making great connections, exploring amazing places, discovering open spaces, enjoying affordable vacations, and enhancing America’s best idea—the national parks!”

-National Park Service

harkers island national park

It’s almost a pleasure to get lost here with its bridges spanning sparkling waters, marshes of waving grasses, flocks of birds swirling like autumn leaves, and cool wooded sanctuaries harboring vintage residences. It is also good to know there’s a helpful soul at virtually every turn of the road, at gift shops, convenience stores, gas stations, real estate offices, boat building concerns, marinas, seafood concessions, pizza, and burger joints.


Situated in Atlantic Beach, Fort Macon is packed to the brim with southern history. When you tour, take the time to have a tour guide show you the ropes.

There are cannons galore as well as great informative videos to begin your visit. There is history on the stairs, on the walls, and even on the doors. Be sure not to miss an inch on your trip back in time.


Fort Macon Atlantic Beach NC, Fort Macon National State Park

cape lookout national park

The Cape Lookout National Seashore consists of 66 miles of beautifully undeveloped coastline stretching in barrier islands from Ocracoke to Beaufort Inlet. A short 3-mile boat ride off-shore takes you to the barrier islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore where you can enjoy activities like shelling, fishing, birding, camping, lighthouse climbing, and touring historic villages. Enjoy your time on the island searching for the famous wild horses of Shackleford Banks, across the way. The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is the perfect backdrop for a fun-filled day at the beach. You can even bring your dog!

There aren’t any restaurants, so be sure to pack a lunch, sunscreen, water, and other necessary supplies!


Find Paradise on the unspoiled sands of this barrier island and national park. Hammocks Beach State Park is one of the few locations along the coast that remain nearly completely untouched. Ride a passenger ferry over to the island and spend the day exploring or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous. Load up your gear and reserve a campsite on the sound or ocean.

The ferry operates every half hour throughout the day during the summer season, giving you the chance to spend the entire day exploring the 4-mile long island. Once the ferry docks, there is a 1/2 mile trail that leads to the beach where you can swim, shell, kayak, or camp overnight.

Bring everything you need, there isn’t anywhere on the island to purchase food and drinks.

Ferry Services:

Hammocks Beach State Park | Swansboro

(910) 326-4881


Hammocks Beach National Park

free things to do on the crystal coast

100 Free Things To Do on the Crystal Coast

dolphin swimming in the waters of the crystal coast

100 Free Things To Do on the Crystal Coast

Spend your vacation on the Crystal Coast and explore the entire area without spending a dime! Bluewater Vacation Rental’s list of free things to do on the Crystal Coast will keep everyone in the family entertained without breaking the budget. You will find the one and only Free Things to Do List right here – so glad some ideas for your Crystal Coast vacation!

From Emerald Isle to Beaufort, North Carolina there are tons of attractions, activities, and events that your family can enjoy and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Ready to start having fun? Then get your vacation started with these 100 Free things to do on the Crystal Coast

  1. Watch the wild horses run on Shackleford Banks and Carrot Island
  2. Search for the largest shark tooth
  3. Fly a kite on the cool ocean breeze
  4. Watch the dolphins play in the surf
  5. Build a sandcastle
  6. Explore historic Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach
  7. Look for the biggest seashell at low tide
  8. Visit scenic downtown Beaufort and window shop
  9. Watch the 4th of July fireworks in any one of our Crystal Coast towns
  10. Soak up the sun on our white sandy beaches
  11. Start your own body surfing competition and put your skills to the test
  12. Have a free taste of Ice Cream or a free piece of Salt Water Taffy at Sweet Spot in Emerald Isle
  13. Watch the boats weigh their catch at the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
  14. Walk through the NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort
  15. Pack a lunch and have a picnic at Fort Macon State Park
  16. Wander through the Carteret County Curb Market in Morehead City
  17. Watch the 4th of July parade and feast at the Community Picnic in Beaufort
  18. Enjoy the Summer Concert Series at Fort Macon
  19. Watch the OWLS Sand Sculpting contest at Pine Knoll Shores
  20. Take a trip and explore the Cape Lookout National Seashore and see the Lighthouse
  21. Catch the FREE climb day at the Cape Lookout Lighthouse
  22. In the mood for ghost stories? Visit Blackbeard’s House in Beaufort to hear some spooky tales
  23. Watch the surfers at the Buddy Pelletier Longboard Competition in July
  24. Create your own sand dollar picture frame to remember your wonderful vacation
  25. Learn about Down East culture and traditions at Community Night with Rodney Kemp at the Core Sound Water Fowl museum
  26. Take part in the traditional cannon firing at Fort Macon State Park
  27. Burn some extra vacation calories riding your bike on the Emerald Isle Bike Trail
  28. Watch the fishing charters unload the daily catch on the Morehead City waterfront
  29. Attend the Free Friday flick in Emerald Isle
  30. Watch the local boat builders create masterpieces at the Water Craft Center in Beaufort
  31. Explore Down East heritage at the Core Sound Museum in Harkers Island
  32. Dance the night away at the Beach Jive After Five in Emerald Isle
  33. Walk to the end of the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier for a wonderful view (and snap some selfies)
  34. Experience the Emerald Isle Christmas Parade for some holiday cheer
  35. Volunteer with the EI Sea Turtle Patrol to help with baby sea turtles 
  36. Enjoy the sights and Gaelic sounds of the Annual St. Patrick’s Festival in Emerald Isle
  37. Surf Fish off the beach and see what you can catch (make sure you have your fishing license)
  38. Camp out at Hammocks Beach State Park
  39. Play corn hole and dance the evening away at the Sheraton Pier every Thursday during the Summer
  40. Take a step back in history on a tour of the Beaufort Historic Site
  41. Play a game of Ultimate Beach Frisbee
  42. Bring a beach chair and enjoy the Morehead Summer Concert series
  43. Hunt for sea glass along the shore, blue and purple are rare finds
  44. Stroll down the docks at the Morehead City waterfront
  45. Interact with the Marine life in tidal pools along the coast
  46. Search for sand dollars in the surf
  47. Watch the fighter planes fly up and down the coast
  48. Take a walk through the shops in historic downtown Swansboro
  49. Feed the turtles behind Rucker Johns Restaurant 
  50. Go whale watching at Cape Lookout
  51. Walk out on the Point in Emerald Isle
  52. Check out the local catch on the Bogue Inlet Pier
  53. Go bird watching in Emerald Woods
  54. Visit the 3rd Thursday Free music concert in at the Beaufort city waterfront
  55. Take a romantic walk on the beach at sunset
  56. Launch your kayak at the Emerald Isle boat ramp and explore the sound
  57. Start a game of beach football
  58. Check out what gets washed up on shore after a big storm
  59. Snap photos of the sunrises and sunsets to enter into our photo contest
  60. Watch the big ships dock at the State Port in Morehead City
  61. Chase Ghost Crabs along the shore after dark, they’re pretty fast and tricky!
  62. Play volleyball at the Atlantic Beach Circle or the Emerald Isle Beach Access
  63. Chase seagulls as they float on the ocean breeze
  64. Spend the day exploring the many islands along the Crystal Coast
  65. Launch your boat for a day of fun on the water at the Emerald Isle Boat Ramp
  66. Unwind from an exciting day to a good book outside on the porch with a cold drink
  67. Write messages in the sand and let the waves wash them away
  68. Sit and daydream about never leaving the Crystal Coast
  69. Take pictures of the ocean so you will never forget its beauty. How many shades of blue and green can you find?
  70. Scavenger hunt for different colored shells
  71. Count the seconds between waves breaking on the beach, you will notice a pattern
  72. Look for shapes in the clouds as they blow in the breeze
  73. Watch the windsurfers battle the ocean’s current
  74. Throw the baseball with family at Western Park in Cedar Point
  75. Play a game of Bocce Ball 
  76. Dig a hole and bury someone to their waist
  77. Walk under the Bogue Inlet Pier and take a family picture
  78. Bury your toes in the warm sand
  79. Take a trip to Shark Tooth Island
  80. Take a walk with the Emerald Isle walking club
  81. Play a game of Horseshoes on the beach
  82. Catch Sandfiddler crabs in the surf, before they can burry back into the sand
  83. Throw a cast net into the sound to see what you catch
  84. Walk the path through Emerald Isle and visit the shops along the way
  85. Look for starfish in the surf
  86. Kids 3 and under get into the Morehead City Marlins’ baseball game for free
  87. Wake up early and catch the sunrise
  88. Create your very own scavenger hunt
  89. Make your own unique seashell jewelry
  90. Kids under 2 yrs old get in free at the North Carolina Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores
  91. Enjoy the Carolina Kite Festival in October on Atlantic Beach and watch kites from all over the world
  92. Visit the birthplace of Pepsi in downtown New Bern
  93. Bike on Swansboro’s 25-mile bike trail along the water and through the Croatan National Forest.
  94. Learn the coastal region’s history with a visit to the History Place in downtown Morehead City
  95. Enjoy a nature tour or a boat cruise on Taylor’s Creek ending at the Carrot Island boardwalk during spring and summer
  96. Try your hand at the Morehead City Seafood Festival Flounder Fling during the festival
  97. Stroll the streets downtown to live music and find the perfect seat for the Seafood Festival Fireworks Show
  98. Visit the Beaufort waterfront in August for the annual Pirate Invasion for an authentic experience
  99. Watch a free outdoor movie in Atlantic Beach every Wednesday night starting at dusk in the Circle
  100. Plan your next vacation

collage of several free things to do on vacation at the crystal coast

Bonus Ideas

  • See local craftsmanship at the Swansboro Mullet Festival
  • Watch the experts slow cook a feast at the Newport Pig Pickin’
  • Don’t blink! You might miss the fast boat racing in the Crystal Coast Grand Prix in September
  • Check out our Calendar of Events for even more free things to do on the Crystal Coast