When it comes to natural wonders, it’s hard to find much that compares to the majesty of a beautiful North Carolina sunset. From the muted hues of red, orange and pink, to the quiet whisper of the sun dropping behind the horizon, it is one of the best things you can experience outdoors. Especially, if you have just the right spot to watch from. Fortunately for you, North Carolina’s Crystal Coast is brimming with plenty of these picture-perfect locations.
It’s fair to say that no matter where you are along the coast, every sunset will leave a lasting impression. To make things easier for you, we’ve picked out the best places you can go to see an unforgettable sunset on the Crystal Coast.
Enjoy from the Comfort of (Vacation) Home
With a wide variety of vacation rental homes and locations to choose from, we find that oceanfront properties provide the best at-home sunset viewing opportunities. With many homes having grand windows, outdoor patios and decks with comfortable seating facing the ocean, grabbing your favorite beverage and enjoying a sunset each day couldn’t be easier. Feeling the ocean breeze on your face and hearing the waves crash along the shore as the sun paints a beautiful backdrop will surely leave a lasting mark on your vacation or weekend getaway.
For those who choose to stay in a second row or mainland home, don’t fret. Many of these homes still have great ocean views and the sunsets are just as beautiful from here as well. Soundfront vacationers will enjoy a different version of sunset as the sky will paint a beautiful reflection off the calm waters of Bogue Sound.
Once the magic ends and the sun is completely set, you’ll be able to head inside to relax and unwind or continue enjoying the night with a moonlit stroll on the beach.
Get Even Closer on The Beach
A day spent at the beach is always a relaxing time, but there’s something magical about the sunset hour that leads into a moonlit dream that you won’t want to miss. The horizon will glow with an array of natural colors, making for a great view as you stroll up and down the coast listening to the sounds of the crashing waves, basking in beachcombing finds and enjoying quality time with friends or family. Be sure to bring your camera along as you will have the chance to capture a great family photo or something to frame and remember for years to come
If you find yourself wanting more, head over to the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier where you can take in the setting sun from the pier’s very own observation deck. Grab a few snacks from the pier house before the sunset show starts and you’ll be set!
If you’ve never experienced a trip down to “The Point” near the end of Coast Guard Road in Emerald Isle, then you’re in for a treat. This is where the island turns and transitions into a sandbank that offers stunning views of Bear Island, Bogue Inlet and of course the emerald green waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Bring a chair or a blanket, maybe a tasty beverage and cozy-up to a sunset that will make question reality. It’s truly something you need to experience in your lifetime.
If you’re planning to be on the go throughout your trip, the easiest way to take in the sunset is to visit nearby coastal towns that combine the pursuit of amazing sunsets with one of the many activities the Crystal Coast offers. We recommend spending a day at the Cape Lookout National Shore where you’ll be able to fish, watch birds glide through the sky, and if you’re lucky, possibly see the wild Banker Horses roaming around. At this time, the sun will begin to fall and provide a very unique and historic vantage point.
Chasing the sunset is also an option when you reserve your seat on a sunset cruise. A sunset (or moonlit) cruise will be the perfect date night to end the day during your trip to the Crystal Coast. Leave the driving to the captain and enjoy dinner or a glass of wine as you cruise through the waves and experience the golden hour over the Atlantic Ocean.
Cruising the Crystal Coast Communities
A classic way to relish in a sunset is taking a drive through the quaint towns along the Southern Outer Banks at the end of the day. Starting in Swansboro, you can enjoy an early dinner along the water’s edge where the setting sun can be viewed from nearly every corner.
Continuing through Emerald Isle down to Pine Knoll Shores, you’ll find popular attractions you can visit before settling in to watch the sunset like the North Carolina Aquarium and the historic landmark, Fort Macon State Park. Before the sunset truly begins, make your way to the Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area, a 265-ace nature preserve where you can take a leisurely walk down one of the trails before hitting the beach to watch the sunset.
A little further down the coastline is one of the country’s coolest small towns, Beaufort. This historic community offers a picturesque boardwalk where you can take in the calm waterfront breeze while a beautiful sunset fills the sky. The stone benches along the traffic circle next to the Duncan House is a perfect spot to sit and relax while taking in the view.
Book Your Visit
No matter how long you plan to stay on the Crystal Coast, there’s an opportunity to enjoy the sunset every night of your trip! Start planning your visit today and make sure to add Crystal Coast sunset experiences to your vacation bucket list.