The Crystal Coast of North Carolina is known for being a beautiful vacation spot with areas of emerald green waters, delicious fresh seafood and a variety of activities. The historic home lined streets of Beaufort, North Carolina and the tales of pirate’s treasure have lured me south of Virginia many times.
There is so much to do and see in the 11 distinct communities that make up the Crystal Coast which begins below Okracoke, North Carolina. I will highlight six things I believe make the area unique enough to make you want to visit. I know every time I visit I always find new things to do and see.
Amazing Locally Caught Seafood
If you’re in the Morehead City area of North Carolina I recommend checking out one of my favorite Morehead City, North Carolina restaurants Southern Salt Seafood. At this restaurant they serve up Bekah’s Bay Oysters and the owner of this oyster company is a true girl boss. These oysters are some of the best I’ve ever had and they keep me coming back to Southern Salt Seafood Company every time we are near Morehead City, North Carolina. The drinks are also, always tasty and unique.
There are many different restaurants on Front Street to visit in Beaufort, North Carolina as well. One of our favorites is Moonrakers which offers roof top dinning, a bar and a notable wine list. According to the front of the menu the restaurant is named for, “a square sail flown immediately above a skysail on the royal masts of a square rigged sailing ship”. The menu is full of delicious seafood dishes and unique local favorites. The service was great and the drinks are just as delicious as the meal.
History is Alive in Beaufort, North Carolina
After dinner in Beaufort, North Carolina I recommend walking around Front Street and looking at some of the beautiful historic homes that line the street. If your interested in learning more about the history of Beaufort, North Carolina and some ghostly fun taking a ghost tour might be interesting. I have been on the Beaufort Ghost Walk and enjoyed the stories that were told especially about the Old Cemetery.
One of my favorite places to visit in Beaufort, North Carolina is the Old Cemetery. I have to walk through it every time I’m in town. I’m not morbid, but this cemetery dates back to the 1700s and has so many stories to tell. A list of the note worthy gravesite can be found online or on paper in a small box attached to the graveyard fence. Tours Companies in Beaufort offer up guided tours of the cemetery and ghost tours that include spooky tales of those entombed in the Old Cemetery or you can grab a paper guide from the box and look around at your own leisure.
My favorite grave is that of Captain John Hill (1817-1879) his grave reads: “The form that fills this silent grave Once tossed on ocean’s rolling wave, But in a port securely fast,He’s dropped his anchor here at last.” Some of the old grave stones are quite thought provoking and interesting. The ferns that grow on the trees within the Old Cemetery add to its charm.
Wild Horses, Pirates and Seashells
If you enjoy getting out on the water Beaufort, North Carolina also, has a lot to offer for water activities. A simple walk down to the marina on Front Street and you can find a variety of boats ready to take tourist on tours, pirate cruises, fishing charters and out to go shelling on Shackleford banks. I have personally used the Island Express Ferry system and had great service.
Across from the marina on Front Street if you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of the wild horses on Carrot Island. For a closer look at Taylor’s Creek and beautiful views of a crystal coast sunset I recommend taking a sunset cruise on the “WANDERER” with Captain Ron. Tales of buried pirate treasure while watching dolphins play made our trip to Beaufort very memorable.
North Carolina Maritime Museum-Beaufort
If pirates are your forté I definitely recommend a trip to the North Carolina Maritime Museum. There is a lot of interesting information about the area and pirates like Blackbeard that stalked the waters off the Carolina’s. Blackbeard called Beaufort home. The museum had so many cool artifacts relating to Blackbeard and the Queen Anne’s Revenge which is located in the Beaufort Inlet off the Fort Macon State Park. This museum kept me busy reading and exploring for a couple hours.
If you’re not familiar with Blackbeard (Edward Teach) his former house which is known today as the Hammock House is also, located in Beaufort, North Carolina. It is the oldest house in Beaufort. The house sits off Hammock Lane and is a private residence. There is a plaque outside the home noting the historic significance.
Fort Macon State Park-Atlantic Beach, NC
When you explore the Crystal Coast of North Carolina the area of Atlantic Beach is worth a visit and offers many beautiful beach spots. This area also, is home to the Fort Macon State Park. The fort is a must see for Civil War enthusiasts and offers a lot of information relating the the war between the states.
Exploring the restored fort and going back in time is thought provoking. The views from the top of the fort are gorgeous and the beach area outside the fort is perfect for a beach walk. The exhibits both inside and out the fort, the guided tour and the musket/canon demonstration make this one of the places I would recommend visiting on a trip to the Crystal Coast of North Carolina.
North Carolina Aquarium-Pine Knoll Shores
A short drive from Beaufort is the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shore. This location has a very unique feature which is a replica of the U-352 German submarine. This submarine is very special because it is the first U-boat sunk by the U.S. Coast Guard. There is information about this submarine outside the display. This tank is very interesting to watch and often has divers inside to answer questions. I like that this tank has nurse, sand tiger and sandbar sharks along with other fish and a green sea turtle.
In addition this aquarium also, has an area dedicated to loggerhead sea turtles and their journey. Seeing hatchlings that are being rehabilitated at the aquarium is a really cool experience. This exhibit also, offered information about helping efforts to save loggerhead turtles and to prevent pollution on our beaches. Plastic straws and plastic pollutants are especially deadly to these fragile creatures.
Crystal Coast-Come for the history and stay for the sunset!
These are just a small sample of the many things that can be found on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina. The historical sites are a reason to visit the Crystal Coast and see things you can’t see anywhere else. The delicious local seafood and the beautiful sunsets are a wonderful reason to want to stay for a day, weekend or week(s). Whatever you find to do on your visit to the Crystal Coast of North Carolina you won’t be disappointed and you will be sure to leave with many memories. I hope you’ll enjoy one or all of these things on your next trip to the Crystal Coast of North Carolina.
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