Best Attractions and Things to Do in Emerald Isle

Known for its beautiful beaches and cozy coastal communities, the Crystal Coast is a premier vacation spot for family and friends alike. From quality time spent at the beach to embarking on new adventures, here are some of our recommendations for the best attractions and things to do while visiting Emerald Isle.

Best Attractions and Things to Do in Emerald Isle - Family

Beach Time is The Best Time

Emerald Isle has some of the most scenic stretches of beaches in the United States. All you need is yourself, a good chair and a beach towel if you plan on taking a dip. However, beach time is best spent with friends and family. This is one of the best ways to spend a day on the Crystal Coast and one of the activities to partake in during your Emerald Isle vacation. We definitely recommend casting a line during your visit, whether it on the beach, from a fishing charter or at Bogue Inlet Pier. There are plenty of opportunities to land the catch of a lifetime!

Emerald Isle is also known for having the ideal conditions for surfing – beautiful beaches and of course the waves, so what better way to experience Emerald Isle then to hang ten! Surfing can be fun for guests of all ages, especially for those looking to try something new. Local surf shops have all the gear you will need and even offer surf lessons of skill levels.

Best Attractions and Things to Do in Emerald Isle - Fort Macon

Immerse Yourself in Culture

While each town along the Crystal Coast is unique and charming, one of our favorites to spend a day in is Beaufort. Voted as one of America’s Favorite Small Towns by Travel + Leisure readers, this small town has a population of less than 5,000 and is a real taste of small-town living with coastal flair added to the mix.

When your group is visiting, you’ll want to take a tour through the town’s historic district and landmarks on a Beaufort Historic Site double-decker bus tour. Not only do you get the wind in your hair while you’re cruising through town, but you’ll also get a narrated tour of the historical spots in the area that dive into Beaufort’s storied past. When appetites beckon, you’ll also find an assortment of restaurants and cocktail bars that provide a unique coastal experience with delicious cuisine.

A favorite among history buffs, Fort Macon State Park, is one of the few remaining historic landmarks along the east coast that dates all the way back to the Civil War. The park is known for attracting more than one million visitors each year and has tours that detail its rich history. Be sure to catch the Civil War reenactment on the grounds of Fort Macon and explore a piece of history that even the kids will enjoy. The fort itself contains 26 vaulted rooms which are enclosed by 4½ -feet thick walls, so this attraction is here to stay for years to come. The state park also has public access to the beach and is a great spot for picnics by the water.

Best Attractions and Things to Do in Emerald Isle - Biking

A Different Way to Explore

Did you know you can watch some of the ocean’s most majestic mammals here in Emerald Isle?

You can go dolphin watching the old-fashioned way by gazing from the shoreline, or you can elevate the experience by taking a chartered boat with captains who know the best spots to get up close and personal with the dolphins that frequent the waters of the Crystal Coast. Check with Lookout Cruises beforehand to schedule your group trip. We recommend morning trips since that’s the best time to catch a sunrise and the chance to witness some of Emerald Isle’s most cherished locals with a beautiful backdrop.

For a more up-close and hands-on experience, we also recommend embarking on an ecology tour where guests of all ages can explore the hidden natural treasures of the Crystal Coast through snorkeling, bird watching, crabbing and shelling, or even the wild horses of Shackleford Banks.

Another great way to see Emerald Isle is by the power of two wheels. Emerald Isle has plenty of scenic biking trails that run through wooded areas and the main drag in town. The beach is also another fun biking trail! Don’t have a bike? No problem! Check out Pedego Bikes, where you can rent a bike to your liking and size whether you’re looking for a road bike, an electric bike, or something with thicker tires that can take on the beach for a more comfortable ride.

Best Attractions and Things to Do in Emerald Isle - Dining

Wine and Dine

A trip to Emerald Isle wouldn’t be complete without trying out some of our favorite local restaurants and eateries. The White Oak River Bistro is one restaurant that is sure to satisfy you and your group and with waterfront views, it’s a feast for your eyes as well. The White Oak River Bistro, which is just minutes from Emerald Isle, serves up delicious Italian dishes and has access to the freshest seafood along the coast, directly from the source! Be sure to bring your appetite!

If you’re in Beaufort for the day, we recommend popping into the Beaufort Grocery Company for a quick delicious lunch. Here, you can also stock up on any snacks and drinks you may want throughout the day or even for the week.

Best Attractions and Things to Do in Emerald Isle - Vacation Rental

Plan It Today

Now that you have some ideas of things to do while you’re in town, all that is left is finding the perfect vacation rental for you and your guests. For those who are needing more than one property for their group, make sure to look for homes that are close or next to each other. This makes it easy to embark on adventures, enjoy meals and hit the beach. We also offer large vacation rentals that have up to 10 bedrooms, so everyone can stay under one roof.

Be sure to use our search tool where you can filter properties down to the location. You can also filter through our properties using specific amenities like a private pool or media/rec room. Wherever you decide to stay, we promise your Emerald Isle vacation will be one for the books with so much to see and do!


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