Bogue Banks, a 21-mile stretch of barrier island on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast is home to four distinct beach communities: Emerald Isle, Pine Knoll Shores, Indian Beach and Atlantic Beach. Bogue Sound separates the island from the mainland, offering locals and visitors alike the opportunity to enjoy both oceanfront and soundfront activities while on the island.
Bogue Banks offers the perfect vacation spot during any season, but the fall, winter and spring months allow for secluded days by the sea. The hot summer sun gradually gives way to gentle fall breezes, creating impeccable weather to enjoy the abundance of outdoor activities that Emerald Isle and the Crystal Coast are so well known for.
Inshore and Offshore Fishing
From inshore to offshore, you will find a wide variety of fish on the Crystal Coast ready to bite. One of the most popular fishing spots in Emerald Isle is Bogue Inlet Pier, where you have the chance to catch anything from Wahoo and King Mackerel to Speckled Trout and Red Drum. The pier is not only a great place to fish, it is also the perfect spot for a relaxing evening stroll to enjoy the amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean from the observation deck.
Cast your line a little deeper on one of the many expert deep-sea fishing charters available in Emerald Isle and its surrounding beach communities. From small and intimate boats to large powerful fishing vessels, there is something for every fisherman. And with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream being so close to the shore, your chances of hauling in a big one is pretty good!
Kayaking on Bogue Sound
Grab your paddles and head out for a day of kayaking on the Outer Banks. Bring your own kayak or browse local kayak rentals, then cast off from the shallow waters of Bogue Sound, a perfect spot for beginners. Or take advantage of one of our soundfront rentals, many of which offer their own private piers allowing you to paddle out or cast a line right from the docks any time of day.
Kayak fishing, another fun activity, allows you to get up close with nature and the catch you are after. During the fall, it is common to haul in black drum, sometimes weighing in at almost a hundred pounds. The colder months offer some of the greatest striped bass and speckled trout fishing that the Crystal Coast has to offer. And you have the chance to catch red drum, also referred to as redfish, year-round.
If you are not into fishing, there are many guided kayak tours available to make sure you soak in all the scenic beauty and wildlife this area has to offer. Experienced guides will wind you around islands and marshy mazes, exploring the area and its history.
Beachcombing and Shelling
A vacation just isn’t complete until you find the perfect souvenir to remember it by. And there is nothing more special and authentic than a treasure from the deep, such as a beautiful unique seashell. And with fewer beachgoers present during cooler months, you will have your pick of the best ones on the beach. You can expect to discover large specimens such as helmet conches and varieties of big moon shells.
Take a free ferry ride from Hatteras to Ocracoke Island, the shining star of Outer Banks shelling. Located at the southernmost end of the Outer Banks, the shells and the wild beauty of Ocracoke Island make it well worth the trip. With 16 miles of shore to comb through, you’re sure to find the perfect seashell. If you are lucky, you might even uncover a shark’s tooth or some smooth sea glass.
Another hotspot for shelling is Cape Lookout National Seashore, just south of Ocracoke Island. Home to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, you can find an abundance of Scotch bonnets, the state shell of North Carolina, especially after a big storm.
Biking Trails and Tours
Stay exclusively on dry land and go biking along the Crystal Coast. Whether you are a beginner cyclist or an experienced mountain biker, there are numerous bike trails to choose from, including the Emerald Isle Bike Path. The Emerald Path is an 11-mile trail that runs from Indian Beach all the way to The Point at Bogue Inlet in Emerald Isle. The path not only offers a great way to get outdoors for some exercise, it is also a great way to get around town and get familiar with the area.
You can bring your own bicycle or stop by one of the area’s many outfitters that offer bike rentals. For an even more unique biking experience on the Southern Outer Banks, try one of the food or wine-focused biking tours offered by Hungry Town Tours in nearby Beaufort. These guided tours offer a great way to get outside, do a little sightseeing and sample some of the incredible fresh local fare.
Cruises and Ecotours
For the ultimate experience during your off-season excursion, plan a Crystal Coast boat cruise or eco-tour to see everything from barrier islands to marshes. Experience the treasures of the Crystal Coast through shelling, clamming, crabbing, snorkeling or dolphin watching. The Crystal Coast is renowned for birdwatching, with hundreds of different bird species that can be observed along the various waterways. The most popular wildlife in the area to spot are the wild horses of Shackleford Banks. The horses have roamed the barrier islands for many years, and because they are only accessible by boat, a boat tour is a perfect opportunity to get a glimpse of these hidden gems.
Crystal Coast Ecotours offers customized two-hour, half-day and full-day tours. The shorter boat tours are a great way to see the natural beauty of the coast, as well as some of the area’s most historic landmarks or even one of the coast’s infamous sunsets. The longer trips allow you to not only see but get close and interact with nature and its marine inhabitants. Your trip is planned with a consultant and includes up to six guests, so everyone in the family can pick the activities that they would like to try, making it a memorable experience for all.
Off-season Nightly and Monthly Rentals
The off-season on Bogue Banks is an incredible way to experience the many adventures of the Crystal Coast without the hustle and bustle of the summer season. The cooler weather and uncrowded beaches allow for quiet days basking in the glowing warmth of the sun, listening to the waves crashing onto the shore and feeling those cool coastal breezes.
Emerald Isle Realty offers great specials on off-season rentals. For those that may not have time to plan or that are just in dire need of a quick weekend getaway, we have a great selection of nightly off-season rentals available. Or if you are looking to extend your vacation or are planning to work remotely from a vacation home, we’ve got winter monthly rentals at greatly discounted rates that offer the perfect opportunity to change things up a bit and enjoy all the great amenities that our vacation rental homes have to offer. The rates may be low, but you can set your expectations high!
The offseason on Bogue Banks is the perfect time of year to get out and get away. From fishing and kayaking to shelling and ecotours, North Carolina’s Crystal Coast offers an abundance of things to do both on and off the water. Start your search today to find the perfect Crystal Coast vacation rental for your off-season getaway.