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Can’t-Miss Attractions Around the Crystal Coast of NC

From breathtaking beaches to out-of-this-world dining, unrivaled outdoor excursions to world-class events and competitions, the Crystal Coast has something for everyone. Looking for a way to get out and have some fun on your vacation to the North Carolina coast? Here are some attractions around the Crystal Coast you don’t want to miss!

Add These Attractions Around the Crystal Coast to Your Bucket List!

Whether you’re new to the area or you’ve been a resident for ages, you’ll want to make sure you check these activities, events, and points of interest off your bucket list.

Cape Lookout Lighthouse & National Seashore

Cape Lookout Lighthouse (Photo by W. Rike)

Accessible only by boat, Cape Lookout National Seashore is one of the few natural island chains in the world still remaining. It’s a three-mile boat ride from Harkers Island to the breathtaking white-sand shores of Cape Lookout, and once you arrive, the possibilities are just about endless. There’s fishing and shelling, birding, camping, swimming, and even watching for wild horses.

Cape Lookout is also home to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, popular for its beautiful views. However, due to the recent health crisis, the lighthouse has been delayed in opening.

Fort Macon State Park

a civil war reenactment

Fort Macon has seen more than its share of US history, so it’s not terribly surprising that it’s one of the most visited parks in North Carolina. In fact, during the Civil War, the park was the site of several battles, and changed hands a few times, too. It was opened as a park in 1936, and was even used during World War II. Today, this beautiful state park is home to a beach, some scenic nature trails, and several historic sites.

NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

kids at the aquarium

The largest saltwater aquarium in North Carolina, the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is home to over 3,000 sea life forms, with a concentration on those native to the NC area. It also features unique exhibits like the “Living Shipwreck” replica of a German submarine.

While you’re visiting, take a trek outside to the surrounding Roosevelt Maritime Forest, where you can hike nature trails through vibrant native maritime ecosystems.

The Shackleford Banks

horses at the shackleford banks

Like Cape Lookout National Seashore, the Shackleford Banks are accessible only by private boat or ferry. These quiet, secluded shores are perhaps best known for their wild ponies, who’ve roamed the island for more than 400 years, when they likely swam ashore to escape a shipwreck off the coast.

NC Maritime Museum

visiting the maritime museum with attractions around the crystal coast

Known for its unconventional historic artifacts and historical replicas, the NC Maritime Museum is a must-see for history buffs, collectors, and mariners alike. Perhaps its most notorious exhibition is its repository of artifacts from famed pirate Blackbeard’s ship. It also boasts a collection of over 5,000 seashells from across the globe.

After a few hours at the Maritime Museum, head across the street to the Watercraft Center to watch live shipbuilding and boat restoration demonstrations. You can even give the “Boat in a Day” program a try and build a boat for yourself.

Note: Due to concerns regarding the current health crisis, the NC Maritime Museum and the Watercraft Center are currently closed. However, they’re definitely still worth putting on your bucket list for next time you visit!

Beaufort Historic Site

a beautiful historic home with attractions around the crystal coast

Step back through the centuries to a Beaufort of days long gone past. Catch a guided tour of Beaufort Historic Site to explore a well-preserved slice of North Carolina history, including an old jail, courthouse, apothecary, and doctor’s office.

While you’re there, you might also want to pay a visit to the haunting Old Burying Grounds, where you’ll find eloquently inscribed gravestones tucked beneath towering old oaks.

Bogue Inlet Pier

Bogue Inlet Pier (Image from their site)

Take a stroll and cast a line from the popular Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle, NC. With white-sand beaches stretching for miles on either side, several restaurants and shops within walking distance, and plenty of fishing opportunities, the Bogue Inlet Pier is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.

Ready to Come Have Some Fun on the Crystal Coast?

Are you ready to take a trip to the Crystal Coast of NC—and maybe stay awhile? Whether you’re thinking of purchasing a vacation home, investment property, or a full-time home, Linda Rike Real Estate is here to help. Contact us today to learn how we can help you find the perfect home in just the right spot.

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