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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! 

Front street village in beaufort, Front street village 1003A rental

Front Street Village 1003A

Front Street Village 1003A is a stunning 2 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom duplex located in the beautiful town of Beaufort, NC.

You’ll enjoy everything this spectacular home has to offer such as its close proximity to downtown Beaufort and the beautiful sound side views.

There are also wonderful local amenities such as the hotel, restaurant, and conference center nearby. Come, relax and enjoy this upscale luxurious cottage with your family and friends!

Additional Details About Front Street Village 1003A 

Bedroom 1 – 

Bedroom one has one King Bed and a private bath.

Bedroom 2 –

Bedroom two has a Queen Bed and a Twin Bunk, along with a shared bath with hallway access as well.

Living Space –

The spacious living area has a Flat Screen TV with basic cable and direct porch access. Beautiful outdoor views! 

Additional Amenities –

Full Kitchen with coffee maker and stainless steel appliances. Hairdryer, Iron & Ironing Board.

About the Town of Beaufort, NC

Named by Travel + Leisure as “America’s Favorite Town” among many other accolades, Beaufort brings even more to the table than meets the eye. Dock your boat at a downtown marina and stay in Beaufort for a night or two. Walk from one charming boutique to the next. Take in some history at the Beaufort Historic Site and North Carolina Maritime Museum or drop your kayak in Taylor’s Creek and enjoy seeing playful dolphins or our famous wild horses. Then, relish in it all with cocktails and award-winning seafood overlooking the water at sunset. It’s no wonder so many people call Beaufort their home away from home. Now, you can, too! 

the best of beaufort vacation rental

The Best of Beaufort, Beaufort NC

Have you taken a look at the Best of Beaufort yet? This new colorful waterfront community, Beau Coast offers the use of a modern Community Swimming Pool, Clubhouse, and private Kayak Launch. The Community Clubhouse includes a full kitchen, shuffleboard, ping pong, and corn hole with all the modern amenities, with plenty of space inside and direct access to the pool area, makes the Community Clubhouse a hub for all those in Beau Coast. Beau Coast is located in historic Beaufort and offers a relaxed atmosphere in this luxury community for all vacationers.

Please Note: The Beau Coast Community does not allow boat parking.

Amenities Include:
-Community Clubhouse
-Community Pool
-Private Kayak Launch

Best of Beaufort – part of the Beau Coast Community – this beautifully decorated home is a 4-Bedroom, 3.5-Bath Soundside Townhome in the coolest small town on the Crystal Coast! This cute community offers access to the Outdoor Pool, Dock, and Game Room guaranteeing fun for everyone in the family. This townhome is perfect for your family’s getaway to the beach!

Take a closer look at Best of Beaufort, Beaufort NC, and find your perfect dates to stay! 

About Beaufort

If you want to fit in with the Beaufort locals, be sure to pronounce the name of this picturesque and historic town ”Bo-furt” so as not to stick out like a sore thumb. You’ll also pass the local trivia test if you know that Beaufort was established in 1722 as a seaport with the right to collect customs and that during the American Revolution it was the third-largest port in the state.

The Historic District of Beaufort, on the National Register of Historic Places, features more than 100 historic homes. The district is also the location of the Beaufort Historic Site, a two-acre complex that interprets the town’s colonial maritime heritage in nine houses and buildings dating from 1732 to 1859. The site offers classes, workshops, and events throughout the year, as well as guided tours of the Historic Site that depart the Safrit Historical Center (at the south end of the historic site).

Other district tours include rides on Old English double-decker buses complete with stories of town residents; architectural walking tours of Beaufort’s historic district; and guided tours of the Old Burying Ground.

One of the most popular annual tours, which began in 1960 as a fundraising event by the Beaufort Woman’s Club for the newly established Beaufort Historical Association, is the Beaufort Old Homes Tour held during the last weekend in June. Annual activities include tours of private and association-owned homes, musical performances, an antique show and sale, and military re-enactments.

The Beaufort Old Homes Tour is a two-day event, in which more than 2,000 visitors are greeted by volunteers in period dress and welcomed into private homes, churches, and meeting halls. The event also features a tour of the only Menhaden fish factory still in operation in North Carolina.

Another popular event is the Beaufort Ghost Walk, which won the Crystal Coast’s “Number One Attraction” and “Best Tour Guide”. The tour is an after-dark walk through town, accompanied by chilling stories of murderous pirates, unexplained happenings, ghost ships, and haunted houses. The Ghost Walk covers less than 10 blocks and takes about 45 minutes, and one of the stops includes The Hammock House, one of Beaufort’s many haunted houses, and once the home of Blackbeard the Pirate.

Whatever you choose to do, you’re sure to have a good time! 

We now have an Atlantic Beach Rental Office to make checking in that much more convenient. Enjoy your stay! 

Don’t Miss A Visit to Moonrakers in Beaufort NC

This fall, our marketing team worked on putting together a video shoot highlighting all the best places on The Crystal Coast. We ended our shoot at Moonrakers in Beaufort!

Moonrakers is a gorgeous restaurant right on the water with rooftop dining and bar lounge in the Beaufort Historic District. They have excellent drinks, cuisine, and views – you can’t go wrong dining here!

Moonrakers in Beaufort

A quick visit to their website reveals that “Moonrakers,” named after the rectangle sail flown at the uppermost height of a three-mast 17th-century ship, is a state-of-the-art, upper-casual, full-service restaurant with rooftop dining and bar lounge area located in the Beaufort Historic District.

Moonrakers in Beaufort offers friendly, neighborly service, along with excellent food. Moonrakers Coastal Cuisine features a captivating dining room and bar overlooking the waterfront on the ground floor including 14-foot open ceilings, a display kitchen, a custom mural, acoustical sails, a dedicated wine wall, and a wood-fired brick oven. The comfortable décor is centered around an inviting, light, and airy coastal themed atmosphere featuring original artwork by our local artists as well as entertainment by some of the best local musicians around. The restaurant’s ground floor includes a covered, open-air dining space overlooking the coastal waterway that you won’t want to miss.

We have it on good authority that Moonrakers has a creative beverage program. From serving handcrafted cocktails to frozen favorites, spirits are always high on Taylors Creek. For hops lovers, they offer a great selection of local craft beers as well as domestic and international favorites. However, we bet their house favorite, Boomkicker Kölsch, at Crystal Coast Brewing Company will be one of your favorite’s, too.

Did You Know?

Moonrakers was awarded “The Award of Excellence” in Wine Spectator’s 2020 and 2019 Dining Guides. This highly-coveted award recognizes restaurants whose wine lists offer at least 90 selections, are appropriate to their cuisine, and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers. From light, blush-colored rosé to big California Cabs, you can’t go wrong choosing the perfect wine for your special occasion.

Check Out Moonrakers

326 Front Street
Beaufort, NC 28516

PH: (252) 838-0083
E: info@moonrakersbeaufort.com
Facebook:  moonrakersbeaufort

Instagram: moonrakersbeaufort

Do you have a favorite Crystal Coast restaurant? Let us know! 

Thanksgiving on the Coast

Looking for something to do on Thanksgiving? Check out our Calendar Events Page to find the many happenings on the Crystal Coast!

Looking for some Fall or Thanksgiving inspiration? Be sure to check out our Pinterest Boards filled with great ideas! Click the images below to view the full Pinterest board.

4th of July: 2018


All on July 4th

Bogue Inlet Pier @ 9:00 PM (Emerald Isle)

Morehead City Waterfront @ 9:00 PM (Morehead City)

Captain Stacy Fireworks Cruise @ 7:00 PM (Atlantic Beach)

Beaufort Gallants Channel @ 9:00 PM (Beaufort)


Jaycee Park

@ 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

July 6

Morehead City Waterfront

Performance by Night Years


Beaufort Waterfront

June 29 @ 11:00 AM

at Gordon & Front Street

Wagons | Kids | Pets | Music | Flags

Free Ice Cream at the County Courthouse


Western Regional Access Emerald Isle

@ 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

June 28 Wild Honey (Blues Country)

July 5 Justin Castellano (Eclectic)

Bring a chair or blanket!


Atlantic Beach

@ 10:30 AM, 11:30 AM, 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM, & 3:30 PM

July 4

Civil War Cannon Firing


Big Rock Stadium

@ 7:05 PM

July 3 vs. Wilmington Sharks

July 5 vs. Holly Springs Salamanders


Olde Town Square Pavilion

@ 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Summer Sundays

in Downtown Swansboro

Rainy Days

When life throws you a rainy day, play in the puddles! Of course no one wants it to rain all over their beach vacation, but not to worry! The Crystal Coast offers lots of fun and exciting indoor activities until the sun comes back out to play!

Check out these cool things to do and these fun places to visit when it rains on your vacation!

1 Roosevelt Blvd., Pine Knoll Shores, NC 28512
Open daily from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

See and do incredible things at the NC Aquarium! See incredible animals from the mountains to the sea. Watch river otters play, touch a stingray, see a rare white sea turtle or look a shark in the eye. Explore shipwrecks – without getting wet. Want to get more hands-on in the action? For a small extra fee, see what’s on the other side of the exhibits with a behind-the-scenes tour or enjoy other special experiences around the Aquarium. You are sure to make special memories with family and friends when you explore the Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

For more information or to plan your visit, click here: http://www.ncaquariums.com/pine-knoll-shores


130 Golphin Dolphin Dr., Cape Carteret, NC 28584
Sun-Thurs: 10:00 AM – 12:00 AM, Fri-Sat: 10:00 AM – 1:00 AM

When you’re looking for fun and great family atmosphere, head to Mac Daddy’s! They have 24 lanes of the coolest bowling around, the area’s largest arcade and an awesome sports bar restaurant with large-screened televisions. Mac Daddy’s is the one stop for fun on the Crystal Coast and only minutes away from Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Beaufort, Swansboro and anywhere in between!

For more information, click here: http://mymacdaddys.com/


8700 Emerald Dr., Emerald Isle, NC 28594 | 1010 W Fort Macon Rd., Atlantic Beach, NC 28512

These movie theaters are perfect when it’s a rainy day at the beach! These cinemas consist of small theaters with great family-friendly film options. Hit the snack bar for hot & tasty popcorn, sweet candy and a drink! If you’re interested in a quaint, hometown atmosphere with friendly staff, this is your place.

To see show time or to order your tickets in advance, click here: https://emeraldplantationcinema.com/ OR   https://atlanticstationcinema.com/


315 Front St., Beaufort, NC 28516
Mon-Fri: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Sat: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Sun: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort reflects coastal life and interprets lighthouses and lifesaving stations, the seafood industry, motorboats, and more. Studies in marine life, science, and ecology are available for all ages. The Beaufort museum is the storehouse for artifacts from Blackbeard’s wrecked flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, among them cannons, grenades, belt buckles and beads. The Harvey W. Watercraft Center teaches boatbuilding for all ages.

For more information, click here: http://ncmaritimemuseumbeaufort.com/



Want to give your kiddo something cool and creative to do on a rainy day spent inside your vacation rental? Check out our 2017 Coloring Contest in the Bluewater Beacon – our essential vacation guide distributed to our guests! Everyone that submits a coloring page wins an INSTANT PRIZE from our treasure chest. All your kiddo has to do is grab some crayons, markers, or colored pencils and get creative! Drop your kiddo’s coloring page at either office (Emerald Isle or Atlantic Beach) to claim their instant prize and be entered to win the monthly drawing! The winner will be chosen on the first week day (Monday-Friday)of the month. The drawing is completely random – this has nothing to do with age or skill level. We will contact the monthly winner after the first of the month via email and will be announced on Facebook as well. Each monthly winner will receive:

  1. Bluewater Baby Sea Turtle Stuffed Animal
  2. Bluewater Beach Ball
  3. A 1 Year Subscription to Highlights Magazine
  4. Family Will Win $50 Off Their Future Vacation!




Don’t let the rain slow you down on your vacation! The Crystal Coast has plenty of places to dine with mouthwatering food and tons of places to go on a shopping spree! Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Swansboro and Beaufort are all great places to grab a bite to eat or to shop until you drop. The best part is, you can keep dry while doing so!


The rain doesn’t have the power to ruin your vacation when you’re on the Crystal Coast! There are so many fun activities and exciting places to go while you wait for the sun to pop back out. Don’t just sit at home wishing for the rain to go away – go check out one of these rainy day places to keep your vacation lively and enjoyable!