With the holidays in full swing, it is one of the best times to visit the Crystal Coast with friends or family! Cooler weather, fewer crowds and small-town holiday decorations make the perfect backdrop for a memorable vacation that could possibly become a fun tradition for years to come.
Whether you are visiting the Crystal Coast this December or looking for a reason to plan a last-minute 2019 vacation, explore some of the best things to do during the holidays on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast for visitors of all ages!
Plan a Trip to Harkers Island
This island destination is a great place to visit and truly immerse yourself in the Crystal Coast. Harkers Island is home to the Cape Lookout National Seashore Visitor’s Center. From here, you can catch a ferry that will take you to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse! During December and the winter months, this area is prime for collecting seashells along the shore, which make for great keepsakes to take home with you.
Harkers Island is also home to the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center. Here, you’ll be able to learn about the unique history of decoy carving that is a rich and celebrated pastime in North Carolina. And if you really want to learn more about the waterfowl and decoy making, then you’ll want to check out the Waterfowl Weekend and Decoy Festival that runs from December 6th through the 8th.
Check Holiday Shopping Off Your List
While you’re visiting Emerald Isle, take care of some holiday shopping by getting loved ones a few unique Crystal Coast collectibles or gifts! The Emerald Isle area is home to some of the most quirky and one-of-a-kind boutique shops where you can find apparel, jewelry, coastal treasures and even antiques. The Emerald Plantation Shopping Center is a major hotspot if you’re looking to do some serious shopping for the holidays!
On December 7th, crafts will be the main attraction at the Holiday Arts and Crafts Festival in Emerald Isle. Here you’ll find hand-crafted gifts that will remind you of your holiday coastal vacation!
Make a Stop at the Aquarium
The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is a guest favorite when visiting Emerald Isle during any season! On December 14th, Santa Clause will be making a very special appearance at the aquarium to take pictures with children and listen to last-minute gift requests! The event will have festive crafts, goodies, activities and even a special magic show put on for the kids. Join Mrs. Claus for storytime throughout the day as well.
Tickets to this holiday event are only $10, plus the cost of admission to the museum. Tickets are sold on-site from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. Adults who are not participating in the festivities will not need to purchase a ticket.
Feed Your Soul
We can’t mention it enough, but Emerald Isle is a foodie’s dream when it comes to fine coastal dining. With world-class chefs serving up some of the most delicious meals on the East coast, you will have no problem answering the “Where do you want to eat?” question.
For a unique holiday experience, check out the Sunday Brunch Holiday Walkabout held every Sunday in December. Guests will take a scenic walking tour through Beaufort while sampling savory eats and refreshing beverages like mimosas and Bloody Mary’s. The brunch tour starts at 10 am and lasts until 12:30 pm.
Another fun foodie event will take place on December 7th and 14th, where you can try some of the best, high-quality farmed caviar from Marshallberg Farm. If you’ve never tried caviar, this is the perfect event for you to taste some of the best caviar the East coast has to offer.
Holiday Lights Shine Bright in Beaufort
A small and quaint town along the Crystal Coast, Beaufort is known for its festivals and rich heritage and history. On December 7th, Christmas lights will be on display on boats of all kinds! Lights reflecting off the water provide a beautiful sight to see that will definitely put you in the holiday spirit.
On December 14th, a more intimate event will take place in Beaufort where you can tour through some of the town’s most beautifully decorated homes to see unique Christmas decorations and fabulous artwork. The Beaufort Holiday Art Walk takes place from 1 pm to 5 pm and admission is free. Following the art walk, embark on the Candlelight Homes Tour from 5 pm to 8 pm from a double-decker bus with carolers included. Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased at the Beaufort Historic Site upon arrival.
No matter how you choose to tour the Beaufort area, you’re sure to have a magical time.
An English Christmas at Tryon Palace
Tryon Palace will be host to an evening called Christmas Belles: A Candlelight Christmas Celebration that lights up the night by candlelight. Enjoy the beautiful Christmas decorations and learn about the history of a time when the Tryon Palace was occupied by the Royal monarchy from the U.K.
The event honors the Christmas traditions that used to be celebrated and will also feature a black powder firework display at the end of the night. The Christmas Belles program will run on December 14 and December 21 and will have food trucks and refreshments available for purchase.
New Year Celebrations
While you can celebrate New Year’s Eve from your rental property with friends and family, you won’t want to miss out on some of the coolest parties that are happening across the Crystal Coast! Morehead City will host one of the biggest New Year’s Eve events called the Downtown Countdown that will feature music, magicians, fire dancers and stilt walkers. The night will be filled with fireworks and a laser show before the traditional first crab pot drop of the night.
Fort Macon State Park will also celebrate New Year’s in historic fashion by firing the cannons at 7 pm. This event features a live concert and is sure to be a blast for all those who join.
Book Your Trip Today!
The offseason is an amazing time to visit Emerald Isle and the surrounding beach communities for unique holiday celebrations and memories with the family that will be cherished for years to come. You’ll find plenty of luxurious vacation rental properties available throughout this December and next, with great offseason rates! Start your search now to find the perfect vacation rental to call home during your Crystal Coast Holiday Vacation!