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.

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! 

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

Inside Look: Front Street Village 1003A in Beaufort

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

An Inside Look at Front Street Village 1003A

Front Street Village 1003A is a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom Duplex located in beautiful Beaufort, NC. You’ll enjoy everything this home has to offer such as its close proximity to downtown Beaufort and beautiful sound side views. Local amenities such as the hotel, restaurant, and conference center nearby. Come, relax and enjoy this upscale luxurious cottage with your family and friends!

Bedroom #1 has 1 king bed and a private bath. Bedroom #2 has a queen bed and a twin bunk, along with a shared bathroom that has hallway access as well. The spacious living area has a Flat Screen TV with basic cable and direct porch access.

Additional Amenities: Full Kitchen with coffee maker and stainless steel appliances. Hairdryer, Iron and Ironing Board. Pets Stay Free: No Pet Fee for Your Vacation!

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! 

Guest Testimonials

Loved location! – Teresa F. | Sept. 2021
The condo is newish, and has an emphasis on wood in its indoor decoration. Plain pine floors with clear finish; wood slat walls, and interesting pocket doors. Set next to a new hotel plus restaurant. Rental accepts dogs and restaurant across the street will also accept dogs on the deck, which has lovely views of the waterway. – Margaret H. | July 2021
The home was absolutely beautiful and in the perfect location. – Shauna A | June 2021

See all that Front Street 1003a has to offer and book online below! Need help with your vacation plans? Give us a call at 866-231-5892!

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! 

banner image for the blog post on rainy days on the coast

How to Have a Great Vacation Despite Rainy Days on the Crystal Coast

banner image for the blog post on rainy days on the coast

How to Have a Great Vacation Despite Rainy Days on the Crystal Coast

It’s bound to happen sooner or later, rain while you’re on your vacation! But a rainy day doesn’t have to ruin your vacation. You can make the most of the rainy days on the Crystal Coast. There’s plenty to do indoors as well as outside in the sunshine. Today, we’re sharing a few things to do just in case you’re met with a rainy day or two.

Here are a few suggestions on how to have a great vacation despite rainy days on the Crystal Coast

Visit the NC Aquarium on rainy days


Visit the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

1 Roosevelt Blvd., Pine Knoll Shores, NC 28512 

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.

mac daddys game room

Visit Mac Daddy’s in Cape Carteret

130 Golphin Dolphin Dr., Cape Carteret, NC 28584

When you’re looking for fun and a 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-screen 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!

image of people at a movie theater

Head to the Movies

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

We have two great movie theaters on the Crystal Coast: Emerald Plantation Cinema and Atlantic Station Cinema. These movie theaters are the perfect place to be when it’s raining at the beach! These cinemas are small theaters with great family-friendly film options, and excellent staff to tend to your needs. Hit the snack bar for hot and tasty popcorn, candy, and a drink! If you’re interested in a quaint, hometown atmosphere in a locally owned cinema, this is your place.

visit the maritime museum on a rainy day

Immerse Yourself in Maritime History

315 Front St., Beaufort, NC 28516 

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.

Have you experienced rainy days on vacation?  What did you do to pass the time until the sun came out?  What would you add to this list?  Let us know in the comments below.

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
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.