Crystal Coast of North Carolina

Getaway to the Crystal Coast of North Carolina

Every salty corner on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina offers  the opportunity to awaken dreams and make new memories.  From Emerald Isle to Atlantic Beach, Swansboro to Beaufort, there are countless nooks and crannies waiting to be explored! It’s no wonder families have been gathering here for generations (yes, literally for generations!) Year after year, Bogue Banks draws in visitors from around the world, each one falling for the charm & natural beauty of our coast. It’s no mystery why! You see, here on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina we don’t care where you come from or how much money is in your wallet. We welcome visitors from all walks of life! Think you can’t afford a beach vacation? Think again! Vacations here are possible on every budget (it’s true, with a little bit of savvy planning!)

Needless to say, I could spend all day describing the gorgeous beaches and endless dining options the Isle offers, but I’ll spare you the rhetoric. Simply put, the Crystal Coast is a place you just have to experience to understand. The fact is, beach towns are often misunderstood. People either picture an overly commercialized beach “metropolis” or an overpriced resort town filled with homes that only the 1% can afford. The Crystal Coast is neither of those stereotypes. Emerald Isle is a community of real people, families, & business, all year round. Being a family beach destination, the Crystal Coast offers an accessible vacation spot available for everyone to enjoy!

Breathtaking Views of the Crystal Coast of North Carolina

crystal coast of north carolina
Views of the Crystal Coast

Some sights in this world are so breathtaking they leave you with a sense of humility and wonder. The unique geography of the southern-facing Isle lends itself to awesomely surreal, panoramic sunrises and sunsets.  Emerald Isle is one of the few places in the world where the sun rises and sets over the water. Blue summer skies are painted with vibrant oranges, pinks, and purples. I’ve lived here for almost 20 years and the beauty of the sunsets here are still moving. Stunning natural scenery is found just about everywhere on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina! This certainly sets the Crystal Coast apart from most other vacation destinations.

A Tasty Bite

crystal coast of north carolina
Salty Air Open Market, Cedar Point, NC

I’m not going to lie, we’re spoiled around here. Living at the beach affords  locals the opportunity to indulge in the freshest seafood and produce available. There’s plenty to go around, though! Seasonal selections are found year-round at the local seafood stands and farmers markets.  Admittedly, I’m a sucker for local honey and farm-fresh Lima beans, not to mention the fresh shrimp and assorted local catches. Fresher than fresh!

crystal coast of north carolinaSo, you don’t want to cook? Not a problem! Most restaurants on the Crystal Coast are family-friendly and serve up food even the pickiest eaters will adore. Have you kids ever tasted hushpuppies? They are called that for a reason! However, if an adult night out is more your speed, take advantage of the amazing food served at some “finer” dining spots on the Crystal Coast. I say “finer” because even the fanciest places around here are down-to-earth and relaxing. I’m a big fan of our local hole-in-the-wall gems, also!

Heading in from the beach and want an awesome lunch? Head to The Trading Post or Flipperz. Need a pick-me-up? Well, you’ll definitely want to head over for a cup of coffee at 4J’s or Muttigans. Most everything on the Isle is accessible by foot, bike, or very short car ride (golf-carts come in handy around here, too!) Ahhh, the salt life, drink it in.  There’s nothing quite like it!

Like a Local on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina

Perhaps no words other than ‘Welcome to the Beach’ can describe the sense of belonging we offer visitors of our favorite little Isle. The laid-back island vibe here encourages visitors to live like locals during their stay. Many of our locals walk or ride bikes when they can, because hey, why not?  Everything is just so accessible here on the Isle! Grocery stores, pharmacies & a handful of convenience stores make it so you never have to leave the Isle during your visit (although it would be a terrible disservice to your vacation if you didn’t explore the surrounding area!)

crystal coast of north carolinaAnother local favorite is the 11-mile Emerald Isle Bike Path that stretches from the western-most tip of Emerald Isle down to the beginning of Indian Beach.  Built with ease and recreation in mind, the bike path is yet another excellent opportunity to see the Isle from a different point of view.  It is even wide enough to accommodate bicycles with pull-behind kid buggies. Let me tell you, the kids will certainly enjoy it!  Oh, by the way, you can rent all of that lovely biking equipment right here on Emerald Isle!

A Picture Lasts Longer

crystal coast of north carolina

Just about every local gift shop and gallery on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina showcases the amazing art created by local artists.  As a matter of fact, there is quite a bit of talent among the creative Crystal Coast residents! It goes without saying, the seashore is a breeding ground for inspiration. You’ll see this reflected throughout a wide variety of  beach scenes, wildlife & nautical themes.   Without a doubt, novice & professional artists alike take full advantage of living on the Crystal Coast.

Oh, and talk about a fabulous photo shoot opportunity! Throughout the county you’ll see the beauty of our area in galleries, local shops & restaurants. Art is everywhere!

crystal coast of north carolina

It’s simply undeniable that here on Bogue Banks the scenery is gorgeous and smiles are plentiful. (Seriously, no one has any reason to be unhappy here.  Even the worst day at the beach is still a good day!)

Photo-ops are all around, so keep your eyes open and capture your own whimsical seascape on film!

One of my very favorite photographs, taken beneath the  Bogue Inlet Pier, is a classic scene captured by many photographers & artists. There are many renditions of this exact scene, yet it’s never the “same ol’ picture.”  Even cooler, just above head are the grinning anglers holding up their prized catches (or mad anglers if their lines just happen to snap.) Either way, everyone around here finds priceless enjoyment, authentic to the coast.

‘Sounds’ Good!

The Atlantic Ocean is powerful, majestic and the main attraction on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina. However, the Intracoastal Waterway is equally lovely, not to mention crucial to the survival of our thriving coastline. Full of exciting places to explore, many locals prefer hanging out on the Sound. The calm waters and grassy marshlands grant safe haven for wildlife while providing protection from the surging sea water. Shark’s Tooth Island & Bear Island, just off the coastline, are awesome kayaking destinations favored among locals & visitors alike. And yes, you really can find shark teeth on either!  crystal coast of north carolina

Many enjoy the serenity of the Sound while paddling peacefully  through the natural paths within the grassy islands.  Others enjoy slicing through the water on jet skis and motor boats, happily towing behind rafts of giggling riders.  Regardless of your vacation plans, I highly recommend spending time on the small islands and private nooks along the Sound. Kayaks and paddle boards are available to rent through local shops that often offer lessons and guided tours.  Go ahead, get in touch with nature!

Home Sweet Home

Bogue Banks is held dearly in the hearts of regular visitors & locals alike.  This tranquil vacation locale is our home (or home away from home), our playground, our sanctuary by the sea.  It is where our little ones touch their tiny toes to the cool, clean Atlantic.  Here among the gnarled trees and sea oats we can breathe deeply & rest peacefully in the warm sunshine.

Crystal Coast of North Carolina
Home Sweet Home

We live & love by the surf and sun, feeling truly blessed each day we wake up with salty air in our lungs. It is a gift beyond measure!


Some folks are born here and others find themselves here by serendipity. Regardless, the Crystal Coast of North Carolina is the place to be.  We hope you find your way here. The salt life is here waiting for you!


Until Next Time, Stay Salty!

Christine B.

Author: Christine Britten

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