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Scuba Diving on the Crystal Coast

Crystal Coast Scuba Diving


The Crystal Coast has been named one of the top dive destinations in the world. What makes the Crystal Coast such a landmark in the diving community and described by dive enthusiast as “wreck diver’s dream” are the thousands of ship wrecks off our coast. Some wrecks are located just a few miles from our coast in just 30 foot depths. The North Carolina coast have been named “The Graveyard of the Atlantic” for being the final resting place for over 2000 vessels.


Diving The Indra

The Indra, a Landing Craft Repair Ship, is a very popular inshore dive location sitting in only 60 feet of water and only 10 miles off Emerald Isle. This wreck dive is perfect for beginners and is explored by both locals and visiting divers year-round due to the fact that this is a warm water wreck dive spot thanks to the Gulf Stream. The 328 foot Indra was sunk for an artificial reef in the summer of 1992.  Divers are able to see a variety of fish and other aquatic life, as well as an occasional Sand Tiger Shark. Enjoy video from this popular wreck dive site!

Vacations with your dog, vacationing with your pet, vacation with your dog

Vacationing with Your Dog on The Crystal Coast

Vacations with your dog, vacationing with your pet, vacation with your dog

Planning on vacationing with your dog this year? Exploring the Crystal Coast with your four-legged friend can be an experience not soon forgotten.  Our beaches welcome your dogs year-round, so whether you’re hitting the waves with your champion swimmer or coasting the sound with your paddleboard loving pooch – make sure you’re well equipped for their vacation!

Tips for Vacationing with Your Dog on The Crystal Coast

  • You might like sun tanning but your dog does not!  Make sure you provide him or her with some shelter from the sun to cool off in the shade.
  • Freshwater is essential! Make sure you take enough water for your lucky dog on those hot summer days. Bring along a collapsible water bowl to save space in your beach bag!
  • Over 25 miles of soft sandy beaches are just waiting to be sniffed, dug, and explored! Just make sure they are on a leash and cleaned up after.  If they poop — you scoop.
  • Water toys are a must!  Make sure you pack a few toys that float — making it easier to find them in the waves.
  • Some pups are not natural swimmers.  If yours fits in that “I swim like an anchor” category, a doggie life jacket is the best way for those stumpy pups to enjoy the waves and sound!
  • Do you love capturing your Crystal Coast vacation?  Try taking it all in from a different point of view!  Strap that GoPro to your pup and enjoy the sand, sun, and surf doggy style.  Share your videos with us on Facebook!

What tips did we miss for vacationing with your dog? What would you add to this article? Let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Shackleford-banks-wild-horses, Shackleford-banks-wild-ponies

The Wild Shackleford Banks Ponies

The Shackleford Banks Ponies aren’t just wild, they’re a historical legacy of the Crystal Coast.

The earliest roots of the Shackleford Banks wild horses are still technically unknown, but historians believe that the horses, or “Banker Ponies,” are descendants from Spanish shipwrecks in the 1500s. At least eight shipwrecks that were noted in the area from 1528-1564 are of Spanish origin, and many of these vessels were transporting Spanish mustangs and other livestock that might have been thrust ashore when the vessels inevitably sank.

The characteristics of the breed which closely resemble ancient Spanish mustangs supports this theory, and the reports from several 1600s and 1700s captains who noted seeing the horses along the shoreline provide additional evidence as well.

Shackleford-banks-wild-horses, Shackleford-banks-wild-ponies

10 Facts About the Shackleford Banks Ponies:

  1. Like others across the coast, the Banker Horses often referred to as Banker Ponies
  2. These wild ponies live on the banks on their own with no human interaction
  3. The number of ponies on the island range from 110 to 130 to maintain a healthy population
  4. The ponies are believed to be descendants of shipwrecked Spanish horses from more than 400 years ago
  5. The ponies have evolved over the years to live off of the vegetation that is naturally found on the Shackleford Banks
  6. The typical Banker Pony is fairly small compared to modern horses
  7. They weigh roughly 800-1,000 pounds and stand about 11-13 hands high
  8. Ponies will dig into underground water sources for freshwater
  9. The herd will divide into roughly 25 separate (groups) and 7 “bachelor” bands
  10. The ponies are truly wild animals and don’t want people in their space

Learn More About the Shackleford Banks Horses:

Water Activities on The Crystal Coast

The Cure for Anything is Salt Water!

Water Activities on The Crystal Coast

Looking for some fun water activities on The Crystal Coast? We got some great suggestions for you!

Bogue Banks is comprised of five townships – Emerald Isle at the western end of the island, followed by Indian Beach, Salter Path, Pine Knoll Shores, and Atlantic Beach at the eastern end of the island.  Located just east of Bogue Banks are The Cape Lookout National Seashore and Shackleford Banks where you can catch a glimpse of the wild island ponies, explore and collect shells and even climb the Cape Lookout Lighthouse!

You’ll find an endless variety of water activities to do while you’re here; surfing, body boarding and skimboarding, kayaking, parasailing, and scuba diving – you name it, you can do it on the Crystal Coast!

Consider These Fun Water Activities on The Crystal Coast

Surfing

Surfing the Crystal Coast is a popular pastime for locals and vacationers.  Pick a day with light winds and find a secluded spot on the beach to test the waters.  Using a longer surfboard and practicing standing up on the beach will make learning easier if it’s your first time riding the waves.  If you’re a more experienced surfer, try the waves at The Point.  The currents tend to be stronger and paddling out more challenging there.  Need a board, or surfing lessons?  Call our office or visit a local surf shop.

Bodyboarding is also a great alternative to surfing for kids to try.  Kids will want to look for a soft board for safety.  Take the board out into the breakers and when a wave comes, paddle with it under your body, using it to ride the wave without standing up.

Kayaking

The Intracoastal Waterways and rivers that empty into it make for excellent kayaking.  You can start anywhere on the island and explore the barrier island system.  Swansboro is a great spot to start if you’re new, as there are several kayak companies that will not only rent you the gear but also do guided kayak tours.  Kayaking is great for beginners at water sports and generally doesn’t involve deep waters.  Double kayaks are great for parents and kids or couples to ride together!

Skimboarding

Bodyboarding and skimboarding are great for beginners.  For either, just grab the board and head out over the waves to try your hand at surfing back in.  Skimboarding takes a bit more practice and coordination to master.  Catch the shoreline near low tide, so that you have a wider expanse of flat, sandy beach to work with.  Toss the board onto a shallow part of the tide and take a running leap to catch the board in motion and “skim” over the water.  Skimboards are thinner than bodyboards, allowing you to glide over the shallow water as it recedes with each incoming wave.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) offers an enjoyable and peaceful way to explore the waters of the Crystal Coast.  This sport has become a popular coastal activity as well as a great workout.  One advantage to SUPing, as opposed to other water sports, is standing at full height – you are inclined to see many sea creatures during your travels and can easily hop off to explore.  This sport is also a great way to incorporate the kids and even your dog!  Our marketing manager’s French Bulldog, Martini, has embraced the unavoidable lifestyle of a water dog and has become a wonderful tour guide atop her SUP.

Parasailing

For the more adventurous explorer, try parasailing!  Flying high across the coastline, you will see breathtaking views of the coast like never before.  You can fly single or double, and kids as young as 6 can go up!  It’s a once in a lifetime experience to see our island from a “birds-eye” perspective and is something your family will remember for years to come.  It’s also a remarkably safe adrenaline rush on your family’s summer vacation!

Scuba Diving

Our coastline is considered one of the country’s finest collections of shipwrecks to dive and explore sharks, stingrays, dolphins, sea turtles, and an endless variety of fish and plants.  We are blessed with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, allowing summertime water temperatures near 80 degrees and winter temperatures near 60 degrees.

Although there are hundreds of sunken vessels to explore while you’re scuba diving, our most visited underwater spot is the German submarine “U-352”.  It was sunk in April of 1942 as it patrolled the eastern seaboard during World War II.  There are several dive companies on the eastern end of the coast, all of which offer beginner’s scuba diving classes and various chartered tours.

First Visit to the Crystal Coast



Our vacationers recall their first visit to the Crystal Coast…

Here at Bluewater, we strive to provide family getaways that will create memories you and your family will never forget.

Want to share your first memories of the Crystal Coast? Send an email to marketing@bluewaternc.com to be featured on this page!


After nearly 30 years going to North Myrtle Beach, I have returned to the Crystal Coast. My first visit to Atlantic Beach was nearly 75 years ago, so it’s like home. As a kid, we could not afford a hotel, but that didn’t stop two mothers who loaded up their sons, headed to Atlantic Beach, spent the night in the car, and provided us a day at the beach. They were two determined mothers.

-David Pittman


My first time vacationing at Emerald Isle was in 1988 when I was 1 year old. We have vacationed at Emerald Isle every year since then and I am now 31. I continued the tradition with my kids who are 12, 10, and 3. So many traditions and memories made. We absolutely love the Carolina coast – doesn’t get much better!

-Jessica Wilson


After traveling 12 hours from Southern Indiana, the Kelly Family first visited the Crystal Coast in May of 2018 when tagging along with in-laws to visit family. During their stay, they explored our coast and beaches spending lots of time at The Point. The Kellys had “such an amazing and relaxing vacation,” but realized “7 days was just not enough time and we will be returning again this year!”

-The Kelly Family


The first time I came to the beautiful coast was in 1973. When we started seeing the beautiful white, fluffy clouds, we were so excited. Loved hearing the ocean waves and seeing the beautiful sun rise up over the ocean is something I will never forget.

-Helen Snyder

Intracoastal waterway exploring

Explore the Intracoastal

Explore the Intracoastal Waterway

Intracoastal Waterways

On the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, you will find barrier islands, inlets, and channels running along our coast just waiting to be explored. These marshy waterways are frequently traveled by boat and kayaked by locals and visitors alike. Spend a day exploring some of NC’s stretch of the waterway and you will find not only amazing views and barrier islands and channels but also fantastic wildlife!

One expected sight on our coast is whales! In December and early January, whales that can be seen off our coast are most likely heading from the Caribbean where the mothers give birth. In the spring, you have a chance to catch migrating whales as they head back to the Gulf of Maine. One of our most popular marine animals you will see are pods of dolphins cruising the coastline. They have been known to swim alongside boasts and say hello if you are especially lucky! Along the barrier islands, like Shackleford Banks and Carrot Island, you may also see wild ponies. These horses have roamed the beaches for hundreds of years and are a beautiful sight to behold.

In the marshy areas, you’ll find lots of marine birds like pelicans, gulls, herons, egrets, and perhaps even an oyster bed. Whether you cruise the waterway by boat, chartered cruise, or kayak, you’re sure to find the views and experience unforgettable.

Intracoastal Waterway

  • Three Thousand Miles

    The Intracoastal Waterway is one of the largest coastal transportation routes, spanning over three thousand miles.

  • Fourteen States

    The 3,000 mile waterway spans 14 states from Massachusetts to Texas! The Atlantic Waterway runs just over 1,000 miles from Norfolk, VA to Key West, FL.

  • Seven Lighthouses

    North Carolina has 7 lighthouses along the coast visible from the Intracoastal Waterway.

  • Whale Watching

    Migrating whales cane be seen off our coastline in December, January, March and April as they travel between the Gulf of Maine and the Caribbean.

  • Flying South

    Snowbirds love to cruise the Intracoastal when traveling south for the winter to avoid the rougher waters of the open ocean.

popular crystal coast towns

Crystal Coast Towns You Should Know

popular crystal coast towns

Welcome to the Crystal Coast!

The Crystal Coast is located in Carteret County, North Carolina – covering over 100 miles of shoreline! Our coast is known for its rich history, pristine beaches, nationally recognized fishing tournaments, incredibly fresh seafood and restaurants, and local southern charm. The Crystal Coast is made up of larger mainland towns, Bogue Banks beach towns, and the “Down East” community that still holds deep roots in our fishing culture.

Crystal Coast Towns You Should Know

Bogue Banks is comprised of five townships – Emerald Isle at the western end of the island, followed by Indian Beach, Salter Path, Pine Knoll Shores, and Atlantic Beach at the eastern end of the island. Located just east of Bogue Banks are Cape Lookout National Seashore and Shackleford Banks, where you can catch a glimpse of the wild island ponies, explore and collect shells and even climb the Cape Lookout Lighthouse!

Take a glimpse into our most visited Crystal Coast towns and the small townships of Bogue Banks!

Swansboro




One of the Crystal Coast towns you should know is Swansboro! The home of Hammocks Beach State Park, the “Friendly City by the Sea” offers a historic downtown district overlooking the water. The quaint village atmosphere and the historic downtown area offer shopping in an area alive with restaurants, boutiques, gift shops, and waterside parks. Host to the Arts by the Sea Festival, the Mullet Festival, and multiple fishing tournaments – Swansboro offers some of the best hospitality on the North Carolina coast.

Emerald Isle




One of our very favorite Crystal Coast towns is Emerald Isle. The outdoorsy adventurous guests that visit Emerald Isle are in heaven with activities like surfing, kayaking, kiteboarding, and paddleboarding. Families can enjoy miles of walking, jogging and bike paths, and several nature trails that allow you to enjoy the naturally pristine environment with a variety of birds, waterfowl, and families of whitetail deer.  The Point in Emerald Isle is not to be missed when visiting the western shores of Bogue Banks; the sunsets are breathtaking!

Pine Knoll Shores




The wide beaches and sound side access make it easy to swim, go shelling, clamming, or kayaking along this beautiful stretch of the island.  The North Carolina Aquarium is located in Pine Knoll Shores and offers a variety of marine species including fish, crabs, seahorses, lionfish, and sharks. The sea turtle nursery features an albino turtle named Nimbus! Nature trails offer a walk above a tidal marsh where marine creatures live and shorebirds wade looking for food. All in all, it’s a tranquil way to spend the afternoon.

Indian Beach



Indian Beach is conveniently located in the middle of Bogue Banks.  Its location allows easy access to the sights and sounds of Morehead City and Emerald Isle, as well as restaurants &  shopping.  But above all, you’ll enjoy the quiet calming expanse of soft sands and lush maritime forest. Its location allows easy access to the sights and sounds of Morehead City and Emerald Isle, as well as restaurants &  shopping.  But above all, you’ll enjoy the quiet calming expanse of soft sands and lush maritime forest.


Salter Path



Salter Path is one of those Crystal Coast towns that doesn’t get enough credit. Known for its history as an old fishing village, Salter Path is different because it is home to a large dune system, excellent beaches, breathtaking soundfront views, and even a small maritime forest. Family beach cottages are easy to spot as you cruise through Salter Path. Be sure to stop and take some time to take in Bogue Sound as it sparkles a magnificent blue on a bright sunny day.

Atlantic Beach




Want to be transported back in time a bit? Then Atlantic Beach is one of those Crystal Coast towns to add to your list! Atlantic Beach has a retro “beach-town” feel of days past and has been North Carolina’s “go-to” beach since the 1930s. Located at the eastern end of Bogue Banks, Atlantic Beach features a laid back friendly feel with wide sandy beaches, a boardwalk, and a commercial district with plenty of dining and shopping options. Nature trails, public parks, and beach accesses will draw you in. Atlantic Beach is also home to Fort Macon State Park, a historic Civil War fort, which is the most visited state park in North Carolina.

Morehead City




Downtown Morehead City has an alluring waterfront appeal, lined with charter boats, legendary seafood restaurants, charming shops all overlooking Sugarloaf Island. The Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament is held annually in June with crowds, Beaufort, NC gathering daily at the weigh station to see which boat will bring in the biggest blue! Also home of the North Carolina Seafood Festival, held every year the first weekend in October. Vendors line the waterfront with all types of seafood & arts and crafts, along with kid’s rides and activities! Families can also enjoy watching the Morehead City Marlins play baseball at Big Rock Stadium. With multiple shopping centers throughout Morehead City, there’s something for everyone!

Beaufort




Beaufort, the 3rd oldest town in North Carolina, is known for its Bahamian and West Indian style architecture and its close ties with a notorious pirate. It offers a beautiful sandy shore as well as stunning waterfront views and many specialty shops and delicious restaurants downtown. You can watch the feral horses from the banks of Beaufort or board a ferry to see them in their unspoiled habitat. Hop atop the red, English Double-Decker bus for a tour around this historic fishing village to see Blackbeard’s home and the mysterious Old Burial Ground. You’ll see exactly what makes this coastal community so special and why it was voted Best Small Town in the USA in 2012.

Local Dining on the Coast

Local Dining on the Coast


Pictured: Lauren, Shawna, Allison & Me at Front Street Grille in Beaufort




Pictured: Me and my sweet husband, Benji at Island Grille for our Anniversary.




Sunset view from Front Street Grille at Still Water.



The view from Celebration Cottage in Atlantic Beach. Island Grille neighbors this section of the beach.



As a coastal girl born and bred in Carteret County; I have a salty palette and know a thing or two about local dining on the coast; where to go and where to avoid. Our seaport community offers up so many options for treating our taste buds. I generally get to dine out with some friends of mine once a month and we choose a locally owned restaurant, of course!

Allison, Lauren, Shawna, and I have known one another since birth, so this time together is always filled with laughter remembering some story of the time I did this or that time you did that. We are now Moms, juggling our home and professional lives. When we gather it’s as if the stars have aligned and we have never missed a beat.

What I remember most is riding my bike all over Beaufort as a kid. We would ride bikes from our neighborhoods and get together at Famous Pizza (RIP) in the Beaufort Square Shopping Center on Saturday to have the best pizza buffet any 12-year-old girl has ever had. We would laugh and carry on about stuff that 12-year-old girls find funny. I can’t remember but I’m sure Allison could tell you everything we talked about, she never forgets anything! After lunch, we would go to Rose’s for the latest single tape (I’m an 80’s child). The point of this is that we have been dining in Beaufort and beyond since we were 12 and we know where the food is fresh and where the food is good. We’re basically honorary Food Critics.

Allison is a property manager at Bluewater’s Atlantic Beach office. She is smart as they come and procrastination isn’t really her style, it’s mine. For example, it’s April 21st and I’m just writing my first blog post for the month. Allison and I may be different as night and day we still fight over which is better HoHo’s (gross) or Swiss Cake Rolls (delish) but we do share a love for Happy Cakes Oreo Overload and Cookie Dough cupcakes. Take our advice and have one while you’re here, you won’t regret it. Happy Cakes makes their cupcakes each day, no leftovers. There’s a calendar of flavors of the month so you can decide which day you want to swing in for your taste of choice.

If you’re here on a Tuesday you MUST go to Island Grille in Atlantic Beach. Located on Money Island Drive, it’s a small establishment so make reservations. The Buy One, Get One special is a long-standing favorite. You can order the fresh catch special and the Filet stuffed with feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, smoked bacon, and fresh basil, finished with a roasted red pepper cream sauce, chef’s potatoes and vegetable or my favorite the Seafood Trio which is cold water lobster meat, lump crab and sea scallops with Roma tomatoes, artichoke hearts and fresh baby spinach tossed in a basil cream sauce over linguini with shaved parmesan. Do yourself a favor and go there.

The next suggestion is Front Street Grille at Still Water in Beaufort. It’s waterfront. Do you really need more information than that or will waterfront work for you? Outdoor dining and COVERED outdoor dining, how’s that? They have indoor dining year-round as well. The sunsets at this place are Zen-like. Trust me on this. I have lived on the water my whole life, sunsets still take me away. Front Street Grille is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday and offers a Sunday brunch as well as dinner. The night we went ordered the Black Angus Cheeseburger which has smoked bacon, pimento cheese, onion, pickles, lettuce, tomato, parmesan truffle fries. Us southern girls love some pimento cheese. It was marvelous, you must try this! FSG also has the Rhum Bar. You can have cocktails at sunset to accompany your very own Zen moment. You’re welcome.


Hope you enjoyed it! Be sure to check these places out, they are unique to our area and that’s what you came for, right?!

-Mimi

Water Safety on the Crystal Coast

Water activities like swimming and boating are a fun way to cool off in the hot summer months. Accidents can happen in a matter of seconds in a few inches of water, whether it is in buckets, bathtubs, pools, lakes or the ocean. Ensure you and your family’s safety with multiple layers of protection.

Basic Precautions
  • Establish rules for your family: Teach kids to ask permission to go near water, and when they’re in the water, have them stay close enough to make eye contact with you.
  • Use the buddy system: Teach kids to always stay with a buddy and never play in the water alone.
  • Check weather forecasts, and keep an eye on changing conditions: Water conducts electricity, including lightning, so stay away from water if you hear or see a storm.
  • Protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays by applying sunblock and reapplying often: Hats, sunglasses and clothing provide added protection.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water. Adding lemon or instant coconut powder provides electrolytes beneficial to hydration. Lightheadedness or nausea are common signs of dehydration and overheating.
Smart Swimming
  • Enroll kids in swimming lessons: Studies have shown that children ages 1 to 4 may be less likely to drown if they have had formal swimming instruction.
  • Never leave kids unattended: Supervising adults should be focused on the kids without distractions, such as reading, texting or visiting with other adults.
  • Keep kids away from pool drains and suction fittings: These fixtures can create entrapments—when the force of the suction holds the body against the fitting or when an article of clothing, jewelry, hair or limb gets caught in the drain.
  • Don’t let kids hyperventilate: Kids often breathe rapidly or deeply before breath-holding and underwater swimming contests. This can lead to passing out and drowning, known as “shallow water blackout.”
Beach Practices
  • Direct kids to a designated, supervised area to swim: teach them to stay within sight of a lifeguard or supervising adult.
  • Check the water’s depth before you let kids jump in: Make sure hidden rocks, sharp shells or other hazards aren’t present.
  • Check the surf: Watch for dangerous waves and signs of rip currents. Some examples are water that is discolored, choppy, foamy or filled with debris, or moving in a channel away from shore. Undertows and big waves can be deadly, even for strong swimmers. Get free of a current by swimming parallel to shore; once free, swim diagonally toward shore.
  • Teach kids the meanings of colored beach flags and to obey them: Coastal communities across the globe have adopted a flag-warning system developed by the United States Lifesaving Association in conjunction with the International Lifesaving Federation. If warning flags are up or if the surf looks rough, keep kids out of the water.
Smooth Boating
  • Always equip kids with a life jacket that fits properly: The jacket should be snug enough that it won’t slip over the head, and the straps and buckles should be securely fastened. Inflatable toys and water wings, which can deflate or slip off, are not recommended as substitutes.
  • Avoid harm: Teach kids to stay away from propellers and not to jump off the front of a moving watercraft.
  • Don’t overload a boat: If it turns over, teach kids to stay with the boat until help arrives.
  • Radio: Keep a radio on board to check weather reports.
  • Beware of “boater’s fatigue,”: When wind, noise, heat and the vibration of the boat combine to wear down kids when they’re on the water.
Vacationing with at a Home with a Pool
  • Use “touch supervision”: With young children, make sure you are close enough to reach them at all times.
  • Walk: Teach kids to walk, not run, around pools or on docks.
  • Discourage unsafe horseplay: Pushing or holding others under water is not recommended.
parks we love, nc coastal parks, family-friendly parks on the crystal coast

Spotlight on our Favorite Parks Along The Crystal Coast

Spotlight on our Favorite Parks Along The Crystal Coast

Today, we’re sharing our favorite parks on the Crystal Coast.

We all know that location plays a major part in your search for the perfect home. You might think the closer you are to where you work, go to the gym, or buy your groceries would be the best option, but something else to consider is how close you are to your local parks and recreation centers. You might want to focus on things you and your family will want to use for many years to come. Parks are not only a great place to meet new neighbors, but they can also increase property value in the long run.

Cape Lookout National Seashore



Of all the favorite parks, this one is THE most favorite for many.

There may not be any swings or playgrounds at arguably the most famous park along our coast, but there is plenty of thrills for those who dare climb to the top of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. The Island Express Ferry Service has boats departing from Harkers Island and Beaufort that you can take to reach the destination. When you reach the island, you can pay the per person fee to venture to the top and take in the incredible views from atop the 12 story lighthouse. There are over 200 narrow steps that lead you to the light at the top of the tunnel, and some rules that you must follow in order to be allowed entrance to climb.

Even if you’re not planning on climbing the lighthouse, be sure to stop in the old lightkeeper’s house! You can learn all about how the operation was handled before electricity was available on the island. Try to pick up the oil can and imagine lugging it up those steps a few times a day!

Senator Jean Preston Playground


Photo of the Playground Equipment is Courtesy of Playworld, the designers and builders of the park.

Tucked away in the far corner of the Emerald Isle Boat Ramp Parking Lot, sits a beautiful playground designed for all kids to enjoy. It’s the newest park to make our Favorite Parks list!

The park is named after late Senator Jean Preston, an EI local, former teacher, and NC General Assembly Member. A majority of the playground equipment is designed for the accessibility of children of all abilities. This is definitely a must-stop park for families with kids who like to roam and explore, as there are tons of different activities and places to explore.

The safety-surfacing allows people of all ages to walk with ease and doesn’t leave a mess behind to find in shoes and socks later. After playtime, you can walk down to the end of the pedestrian dock along the boat ramp canal for a picnic with a perfect backdrop for a family photo opportunity. Throughout the summer, the town of Atlantic Beach hosts weekly concerts and movie nights- so be sure to check the schedule and plan ahead!

Atlantic Beach Town Park


Make sure to stop for a family photo at the Custom-Painted hole in the wall mural, created by our very own Stephanie Ross

The Atlantic Beach Town Park has something for everyone in the family. Amenities at the park include an 18 hole mini-golf course, a concession stand, splash pad, playground, basketball court, and skate park. A trip here can be a great way to end or begin any beach day.

The park is located right across from the Atlantic Station Shopping Center, where there’s a Move Theater, Lazer Tag Arena, Bookstore, and Toy Store, so if a sporadic summertime thunderstorm pops up, there are a few options to hunker down close by.

If your family is up for some wooded adventure, the Hoop Pole Creek Nature Trail can be found on the Eastern edge of the shopping center parking lot, across from Bojangles. Mini Golf and Concessions do cost money, so save up the change in those piggy banks and cash in on some fun in the sun!

Shevans Park


Photos of Shevans Park courtesy of www.morehead.com

Located just a few blocks away from all the excitement at the Morehead City Waterfront, stands a few unique family gathering places at Shevans Park. Four full-size Tennis Courts are available for those looking to volley, and a large wooden castle-themed playground is the main attraction for children. There’s also a covered gazebo area with restrooms.

The unique design of the playground area is captivating for kids used to the typical plastic/metal structures. Just make sure to watch out for splinters! Two of the tennis courts are lighted, for those looking to volley after dark to avoid the heat of the summer. Picnic Shelters can be rented out for Birthday Parties or special events, for just $25 and there are two charcoal grills on-site for easy cookouts!

Reservations are required for groups wishing to reserve the playground and picnic shelter. Picnic shelters are available for birthday parties, and events. The picnic shelter rental fee is $25. Please contact Morehead City Parks at Recreation staff at 252-726-5083, ext. 1, or the Recreation Center (1600 Fisher Street) to complete the rental application and provide rental payment.