Spring has arrived and with it comes a desire to start fresh, try something new and get outside again! It’s time to brush off your sundresses, locate BOTH of your flip flops and pack your weekender for a getaway at the Crystal Coast.

With so much to see, do and enjoy, it’s no wonder so many couples choose North Carolina’s Gem for their romantic escape. Whether your idea of romance is sleeping in at a cozy bed and breakfast and lounging on the sand or standup paddleboarding past wild horses and kiteboarding along the surf, you and your sweetie are sure to find a springtime itinerary to suit your style.

Which getaway matches your vacation vibe?

Crystal Coast couple

“We need a dose of island life.”

With more than 85 miles of coastline – including the pristine, undeveloped sand of Cape Lookout National Seashore – beach-lovers are more than in luck at the Crystal Coast. Spring brings summertime weather and plenty of elbowroom, so your beach chairs or blanket have prime real estate by the surf, and you may likely see a dolphin or two (or more) on the horizon.

Walk right onto the beach from a rental home along Bogue Banks (Emerald Isle on one end, Atlantic Beach on the other) and stop by area favorites like Idle Hour Biergarten for a cold brew with sand between your toes.

Really want the island life? Put down your phone and enjoy the view! No, really; turn it off and walk away (unless you’re Instagramming your #MyCrystalCoast moment, of course).

Island Life Crystal Coast

“We want to dine and unwind.”

The Crystal Coast culinary scene is heating up, with dozens of unique, chef-owned restaurants appealing to your palate (and your price). As Morehead City’s Arendell Room suggests, “Cocktails first, questions later.” Once you’ve tried one of their tasty concoctions, stroll to Parrott’s on 11th for fine fare in a renovated historic home. No reservation? You may be in luck at the bar, or stop by Floyd’s 1921, The Ruddy Duck or Red Fish Grill for some nearby premiere plates.

Beaufort is another hub for haute cuisine, with marina, waterfront and historic home dining to enjoy (not to mention, top-notch Yelp! ratings, galore). Planning a late April excursion? Grab your tickets NOW for Beaufort Wine & Food Weekend – a foodie paradise of dining events featuring local and regional chefs, wine tastings, a food truck rodeo and more.

Booked on the Banks (Bogue Banks)? Check out the new Pescara Wood Oven Kitchen or Island Grill in Atlantic Beach. And keep an eye out for Caribsea – a brand new restaurant by executive chef Patrick Hogan, coming to Emerald Isle this season.

Crystal Coast dining

“Pack the van. We fell in love on surf boards.”

Welcome to your new favorite vacation spot, dudes.

The Crystal Coast is home to a wide range of waterways, with both east and south-facing Atlantic beaches, two sounds along the IntraCoastal Waterway and countless creeks and inlets. Your getaway is anything but boring.

Surfers congregate at the two fishing piers on Bogue Banks (Oceanana Pier and Bogue Inlet Pier) for some of the best breaks, while the real adventure-seekers boat out to Cape Lookout National Seashore for unbridled waves. Check the surf report and you could be in for some serious action.

Craving flat water for a change? Hop into Bogue Sound, Core Sound or Taylor’s Creek in Beaufort for a standup paddleboarder’s paradise, gliding by the wild horses of the Rachel Carson Reserve or herons and other wildlife in the marsh grass along the shore.

Looking for a new challenge? Learn to kiteboard in some of the most perfect teaching areas in the United States, a.k.a. large swaths of shallow water and potential for serious wind. You dig?

Crystal Coast SUP

“We love history. A lot.”

Fall asleep watching documentaries? Waiting for the next John Adams mini-series? Can’t stop listening to your audiobook of the Constitution?

If all, or even one of these sound like you and your sweetheart, you’re in for a treat. The Crystal Coast is home to a plethora of historical sites, artifacts and lore to explore. Whether you’re a Civil War buff (Fort Macon State Park), a colonial aficionado (Beaufort Historic Site) or a pirate enthusiast (aren’t we all, Mr. Blackbeard?), there’s something to experience, learn and enjoy.

Plus – history lives on at sites like the North Carolina Maritime Museum and Watercraft Center, Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center and the History Museum of Carteret County, each recounting local stories, sharing the culture of coastal North Carolina and waiting for you to join in.

Fort Macon State Park

Did you find your getaway? Maybe you’re a combination of the above or looking for something new. Explore the rest of our website or download a Visitors Guide to help get your vacation planning started.