14 Things to Do at the Beach in Emerald Isle, NC This Summer

When you ask vacationers who visit Emerald Isle, why they choose the Crystal Coast to visit, the most popular answer is the beach. Our beautiful sands and gorgeous water provide breathtaking views and the perfect place to relax and enjoy a beach day with friends or family. With so much to do on the beach, your options are practically endless, and each day can be a new experience.

To help you plan out your days, check out our favorite activities and things to do at the beach in Emerald Isle while you are visiting. Then pack your beach towel, grab your sunscreen and you’re all set for a summer vacation on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast.

Go walking or jogging on Emerald Isle Beach

1. Go walking or jogging

The best way to greet the day in Emerald Isle is to start with a little exercise! Catch the sunrise and get your adrenaline pumping with a jog on the beach. Starting the day with some physical activity can be a great way to clear your mind.

If you prefer going for a stroll during cooler, evening temperatures, we suggest the stretch of beach near the Bogue Inlet Pier. With the ambiance of the pier lights, the sound of waves rolling in, and the sun setting behind you, it’s a great way to cap off the perfect day.

Watch a sunset at the beach in Emerald Isle

2. Watch a sunset

A local favorite, catching an Emerald Isle sunset is a must-do while you’re visiting! These majestic natural masterpieces are painted across the sky each evening with bursts of orange, red, yellow and purple streaks. Knowing that every sunset will be different gives everyone more reason to enjoy them daily.

You can catch a sunset from the comfort of your oceanfront rental or directly from the beach. If you’re out and about, check out our list of the best spots around town where you will get the best views of the sunset.

Build a sandcastle at the beach in Emerald Isle NC

3. Make a sandcastle

As a kid, you try to build the largest and most intricate sandcastle, one to be marveled at by everyone on the beach as they pass by. But as an adult, building these temporary structures out of only sand and water can be relaxing and mentally stimulating.

Some guests choose to bring their own sandcastle gear, but try different methods to bring your sandcastles to life! Use tools that can be bought in town or do something more creative like only using your hands to construct truly unique sand sculptures. Don’t forget to decorate with some shells and other sand treasures.

Check out popular fishing spots in Emerald Isle NC

4. Cast a line

Year-round, our waters stay full with a bounty of catches that even the most novice of anglers can conquer!

Whether you prefer offshore, pier, deep-sea, wading, or you’re trying your hand at fishing for the first time, you’re almost guaranteed to have a great catch in Emerald Isle. Check out our list of popular fishing spots around town and get familiar with the local regulations that need to be followed while you’re in town.

5. Play in the surf

Summertime means the summer sun! The air is getting warmer and our emerald-colored water is one of the best ways to cool down.

Going in for a dip in the Atlantic is both fun and relaxing; as the waves roll in, it almost feels like an aquatic rollercoaster. Be sure to observe the timing for low and high tides and use a floatation device if necessary. Prior to visiting, it’s best to learn about key beach safety measures and other important town regulations.

Go surfing on Emerald Isle beaches

6. Catch a wave

Looking for that intense adrenaline rush that only the sea can provide? Grab your boards, surf or boogie, and head down to the beach to see if you have what it takes to conquer the waves!

Our beaches are perfect for learning how to surf, with local shops offering lessons and rentals. They’re also great for solo wave sessions that aren’t too challenging, but still fun to take on. Here are a few places to go for surfing equipment and lessons.

7. Snap photos of all the fun

With our smartphones having some of the best quality cameras, it would be almost criminal to not capture a few photos while visiting!

It’s a free keepsake that will not only capture the moment, but will also be a reminder of when you and your family or friends got together for some time away in Emerald Isle. So, keep that camera on standby while you’re strolling about town. You never know what you’ll long to take a snapshot of. A lighthouse, a sunset or even a rare bird; the list is endless!

Read a book and relax on the beaches in Emerald Isle NC

8. Read a book

If you enjoy a good book, setting out a chair and an umbrella with the sound of waves crashing in the background is going to be your new go-to reading experience. Spending your downtime with your favorite book can be relaxing, but by the water, we like to think it makes reading more enjoyable.

Not sure what to read? Immerse yourself in the town and the beach and check out our summer reading list that features books written with Emerald Isle and the Crystal Coast as the backdrop.

Pack a picnic lunch for the family to enjoy on the beach in Emerald Isle

9. Have a picnic

Fresh air and lunch just always seem like a good idea, doesn’t it? All of our properties come complete with full kitchens, making your picnic prep so much easier. Whether you’re putting together your family’s favorite dish or whipping up some sandwiches, you are sure to have everything you need at your fingertips.

If you’re in a pinch and looking for a quick bite, check out a few of our favorite local spots to pick up something delicious to-go. We even have some of the best picnic spots already laid out around town, all you need to do is pick one!

10. Play a game

Vacations and getaways should be fun, and what’s more fun than a little competition?

Beach games like horseshoes, ladder ball, paddleball and volleyball are great ways to satisfy that competitive itch! After a day spent playing in the sand and water, the competition doesn’t have to end there. Browse our vacation rentals with a game/rec rooms where you can play a video game on the big screen or a few games of billiards to cool down after a day out.

Go shelling on the beaches in Emerald Isle NC

11. Collect seashells

If photos are keepsakes that capture the moment, a seashell is a keepsake that captures the experience. These gems that can be found along the shoreline and on the beaches are beautiful trinkets that you can take with you as a token of your Emerald Isle vacation. There are hundreds of types of shells to find while roaming our beaches, but the best shells are the ones that you find when you least expect it!

Looking for the best spots around town to find these awesome shells? We got you covered with our list of spots around town that are best for shelling.

Spot a sea turtle on the beaches in Emerald Isle

12. Spot a sea turtle

They’re a rare and beautiful sight to see as their endangered status keeps sea turtles protected.
If you’re lucky to see these beautiful and agile creatures emerge from the sand as hatchlings, it will surely be a sight and an experience you won’t forget.

Learn how to spot sea turtle nests on the beach and get safety tips for navigating the nests so you don’t disturb the natural process of the turtles returning to sea.

Fly a kite at the beach in Emerald Isle

13. Fly a kite

You’re sure to see a few kites flying high in the sky during days spent on the beach. Whether it’s for flying for fun, or used as a creative way to mark a spot on the beach, these colorful kites are always a joy to spot along the shoreline. Plenty of shops in town have kites you can purchase if you want in on the action, or you can watch the more professional kite flyers hone their intricate and complex kites.

14. Soak up some rays

Being in the sun and soaking up the rays is a great way to relax while you’re visiting. The warmth of the sun is often balanced by the cooler ocean air brought in from the waves.

It’s an easy way to relax and recharge while working on your vacation glow that you can take home with you.

Our favorite spot to lay out in the sun is anywhere on the beach, but a close runner-up would at one of our vacation rentals with a pool. Lounge poolside on a chair with the beach in the background. It’s like a beach day with all your comforts from home easily within reach.


If you’re ready to hit the beaches of Emerald Isle and try out a few of these fun ideas, be sure to find the perfect vacation rental for your stay from our extensive list of properties. Sea you soon!


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14 Things to Do at the Beach in Emerald Isle, NC This Summer

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