Planning a vacation doesn’t stop when you pick a destination and book your accommodations. Pulling together an itinerary is the next step and fortunately for you, Emerald Isle is close to many local attractions, making it perfect for easy and entertaining day trips!
For those who have their Emerald Isle vacation dates set or those looking to plan a vacation, check out our five fun day trip ideas that you and your group can enjoy while visiting the Crystal Coast!
Crystal Coast Lady Tours
We always recommend that our guests visit the beautiful and historic town of Beaufort. Here you will find Crystal Coast Lady Tours, which hosts some of the best cruise experiences in the area. This touring company offers a wide variety of tours from dolphin watching to a wild horse tour. Some packages also include sunset cruises that will surely be a highlight to your Emerald Isle vacation experience.
Crystal Coast Lady Tours has a 49-passenger covered catamaran that catches the ocean breeze just right and gets the perfect amount of sun while you relax in the shade. If you’re looking to spend some scenic time on the water, then this is the activity for you! Explore the options and lock-in a fun tour the whole family will appreciate.
Cape Lookout National Seashore
Speaking of wild horses, another great day trip you and your group can take is to Cape Lookout Lighthouse and National Seashore! The seashore stretches 56 miles from the Ocracoke Inlet to the Beaufort Inlet and is lush with green marshes and clean white sand. Majestic wild horses roam up and down the seashore making for a great sightseeing adventure. The area is also perfect for a day of hiking along the seashore, a picnic, fishing or shelling.
Another sight to see when you’re visiting this area is the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. First constructed in 1812, the lighthouse is one of the very few that operate throughout the day and is the only structure in the United States to bear the checkered daymark pattern. The climb to the top is a little more than 200 steps, but it sure is worth it to check out the view when you reach the top. This is definitely a bucket list item for any Emerald Isle vacationer!
For the history buffs on your trip, a day trip up to Tryon Palace will definitely pique their interest! Located in New Bern, Tyron Palace is a short drive from the Crystal Coast and is well worth the trip! The palace was built in 1770 and was the official residence and administrative headquarters of the British governors of North Carolina until 1775. The residence was then captured by rebel troops in 1775 during the American Revolution War where it served as the state’s capital until 1792 when the capital was moved to Raleigh.
A fire in 1798 demolished most of the palace, however in 1944, the North Carolina state government moved to reconstruct the palace. Since 1959, Tyron Palace has been open for tours and includes a museum showcasing early North Carolina state history, New Bern’s involvement in the Civil War and restored gardens that are identical to the ones that were grown during the palace’s early years.
Hammocks Beach State Park
This 3-mile long barrier island is underdeveloped meaning that is has had very little interruption by man. This means that the area still retains a lot of its lush natural vegetation and wildlife.
Hammocks Beach State Park is only accessible by passenger ferry or by canoe or kayak, but once you get here, there’s plenty to do!
Primitive campsites are located near the beach and there are 14 total sites that can accommodate six people each and about two tents. If you’re looking to see nature up close, then you’ll probably want to check out the paddling trails you can explore via kayak or canoe. There are three total trails, with lengths ranging from .10 miles to 6 miles long. Don’t worry though, these trails are safe for new and experienced paddlers!
While you’re here, you will also want to try your hand at fishing from the beach! Puppy drum, flounder, trout and blue fish are frequent catches at Hammocks Beach State Park.
Croatan National Forest
Along the Atlantic Coast is the famous Croatan National Forest. This forest covers nearly 160,000 acres of coastal land and is close to New Bern and Morehead City. For a day trip, this forest is a hiker’s paradise! Trails in the forest can be as long as 21 miles and go through swamplands and pine forests. There are even trails that are fit for off-roading vehicles and bikes.
The national forest is administered by the United States Forest Service and is part of three other National Forests in North Carolina. If you’re planning on spending the day here, be sure to pack plenty of water, comfortable walking shoes and a trash bag to help keep our parks clean and pristine.
Start Planning Today!
We invite you to join us this summer and experience these Crystal Coast day trips that not only provide an understanding of the area but that also provide unforgettable memories for years to come.
Be sure to check out our available vacation rentals for a relaxing space to return to after a day filled with coastal adventures.