Come Fly With Me: Greetings from the Crystal Coast

Mar 07, 2022 at 09:41 am by RMGadmin

Discover North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks

Eighty-five miles of gleaming Atlantic beaches only begins to tell the story of North Carolina’s Crystal Coast. Framed by barrier islands that extend from Cape Lookout National Seashore, the Crystal Coast is home to a herd of freely roaming wild horses, Blackbeard’s sunken flagship, a towering lighthouse you can climb, world-class fishing and diving, intriguing history, maritime heritage and the “South’s (No. 1) Best Small Town” as named by Southern Living that dates back to the 1700s. And the dining? It’s divine. On the Crystal Coast, the opportunities aren’t just endless, they’re enticing.

North Carolina’s Crystal Coast is known as the Southern Outer Banks. The six distinct communities of The Crystal Coast include Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Pine Knoll Shores, Emerald Isle, Morehead City and Cape Lookout, each one as distinct and memorable as the next. From eccentric history and legendary tales of swashbuckling pirate adventures to ghostly encounters and exotic wild horses roaming the same shores for centuries, the collection of beaches and towns offers a unique blend of history, family fun, water sports and natural areas for all ages. 


To understand the real coastal experience is to feel the tranquil sea breezes gently blowing across glassy waters, to stroll the historical streets of a quaint maritime village saturated with memories of the past and to dine on “fresh from the docks” seafood at a waterfront bistro. It is both a place and a state of mind representing a departure from the ordinary and arrival at the extraordinary.

Atlantic Beach: A haven of sunbathers, Atlantic Beach is home to wide pearlescent beaches and plenty of sunshine. Part of the Bogue Banks, Atlantic Beach is the oldest of five resort towns. Visitors have the liberty to choose from a range of accommodations for all budgets and lifestyles, from a seven-bedroom coastal mansion to a “no frills” beach bungalow. 

Beaufort: Stepping onto the oak lined streets of historic Beaufort – recently named “The South’s Best Small Town,” by Southern Living magazine – is like stepping into a time long forgotten. The air is saturated with the same ancient salty-sweet ocean scents that have caressed the coast for centuries. It is not uncommon while dining at a waterfront café to see wild horses running freely on Carrot Island, just across the glassy waters of Taylor’s Creek. 

Pine Knoll Shores: Once owned by America’s own royal family, the descendants of Theodore Roosevelt, Pine Knoll Shores is known as a peaceful residential community with an eco-friendly focus. The area was designed with minimal disturbance to the native maritime forest and sand dunes and is one of the state’s most ecologically sensitive towns. 

Emerald Isle: Named the “No. 1 Beach in North Carolina,” by Coastal Living magazine and USA Today, Emerald Isle is known as the most prominent of the banks on The Crystal Coast. Lush greenery that covers much of the area – located at the western end of the Bogue Banks – provides a sense of escape. 

Morehead City: A blessed location along sparklingly clear water with rows of charter fishing boats gently bobbing like fishing lures waiting to usher passengers to their first “big catch,” Morehead City is known for the most diverse fishing on the coast. Home to the annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament, fisherman worldwide compete for the top honor while supporting local organizations that have received nearly $5 million in charitable donations from the tournament over the past sixty years.  

Cape Lookout: Named the no. 1 National Park Beach by USA Today and reminiscent of times past where wild horses roam freely on deserted beaches, Cape Lookout National Seashore, with its famed “Diamond Lady” lighthouse, offers escapists a fifty six mile stretch of undeveloped shimmering beaches accessible only by boat.  


With coastline shadowed not by chain hotels but rather by nothing more than what Mother Nature intended, vacationers to The Crystal Coast find a variety of accommodations to suit every lifestyle and budget. Catering to parties of all sizes, several realty agencies offer seaside cottages, condos, and massive beach front mansion rentals perfect for multi-generational escapes or travel pods. For a touch of romance, historic and charming inns await, while hotel accommodations include the Beaufort Hotel, Atlantis Lodge and Bask @ Big Rock Landing, among others.


After a hard day’s wreck diving or surf fishing, visitors to The Crystal Coast tend to work up an appetite. Finding the right taste to tame any appetite with more than 100 locally-owned restaurants to choose from is an easy task. Generations of restaurateurs have put their life’s passion into their cooking. It is not uncommon to find that the present owner of a Crystal Coast restaurant is the great-great grandchild of the original owner.

Charmed Living: The Crystal Coast Accommodations

Low-key luxury shines along North Carolina’s central shore. After a day of meandering The Crystal Coast, travelers looking for a place to rest before their next coastal adventure can find lodging options to suit every lifestyle and budget. Whether explorers witness the unparalleled beauty of Shackleford Banks, delve into the rich cultural heritage, catch a wave on the Atlantic coast or trek into open waters on a kayaking, paddle boarding or fishing excursion, the accommodations are designed to be the perfect companion to each guest’s imagination vacation, providing a “dream home away from home. 

Ocean View Resorts

DoubleTree Atlantic Beach Oceanfront Hotel: Having opened in summer 2013, after completing a massive multi-million-dollar renovation, the DoubleTree Atlantic Beach is known as the largest full-service hotel on the coast of North Carolina, touting 200 guestrooms all featuring private balconies and ocean views. Debuting a modern, beach-chic ambiance that appeals to leisure travelers and those seeking a fresh, sophisticated setting for meetings and events. The 300-foot pier allows guests to take in unparalleled views of sunrises and sunsets, enjoy sightings of dolphins that call the area home and also creates a perfect setting for intimate weddings and receptions.  

Beaufort Hotel: Nestled on ten acres, the Beaufort Hotel offers the privacy of a resort-style setting on the banks of Taylor’s Creek with expansive water views. This boutique 133-room hotel offers relaxing accommodations and friendly staff members that can introduce you to the unique sights and experiences in Beaufort, North Carolina.

Inn on Turner: Inn on Turner is Beaufort’s unique and boutique lodging. The Inn boasts contemporary coastal decor, luxury linens with exceedingly comfortable pillow top mattresses and bedding for an exceptional night’s rest. During a stay, you can expect to enjoy complimentary Field to Fork Breakfasts and creative Happy Hour Beverages.

The Pecan Tree Inn: Built in 1866 as a Masonic Lodge, guests staying at the Pecan Inn will find the quintessential southern inn experience with breezy wrap-around porches, a 5,000-foot English flower and herb garden and seven elegant guest rooms, including two suites with in-room Jacuzzis. Each room features various Victorian inspired furnishings complete with cherry four-poster canopy beds, large antique armoires and ornate oriental rugs.

Inlet Inn: As seen on The Weather Channel and NBC’s The Today Show, this family-run harbor-front bed and breakfast hotel is situated in the historic waterfront district and is a one-minute walk from the Beaufort Docks and the ferry, a four-minute walk from the North Carolina Maritime Museum and a half-mile from US Route 70.
The cozy rooms have simple furnishings and decor, and come with free Wi-Fi, TVs with cable channels and mini fridges. Some have extra features including vaulted ceilings, fireplaces and private porches or window seats with harbor views. Free perks include a continental breakfast served either in-room or in the third-floor balcony lounge, parking and Wi-Fi. Boat slips are also available for a fee.

Bask @ Big Rock Landing: As Morehead City’s first downtown hotel, newly opened in May 2015, the condo-style offering features fifty-three spacious suites and guestrooms in the heart of Morehead City, ideally situated on the Intra-coastal waterway at the Big Rock landing — one of the most famous points for fishing on the East Coast. Arriving at bask entices a mood of anticipation for the experience to be encountered, from the array of attractions, eateries, nightlife and the most incredible views from this ten-story building. Bask Hotel also features meeting and banquet facilities, upscale room furnishings, and a new hotel experience to revive the senses and send guests away refreshed and renewed.

Additional visitor information about these and other area attractions is available here: 

The Crystal Coast Tourism Development Authority and Visitor Center 252.726.8148
Instagram: @TheCrystalCoast

Twitter: @CrystalCoast_NC

Hashtag: #MyCrystalCoast

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