Expedia.com singled out activities and eateries to suit your travel style to a T.
The Crystal Coast is a nautical stretch of North Carolina dotted with lighthouses and sailboats, but it doesn’t have to be the peak of summer to visit this coastal treasure. Whether you’re looking for a getaway with toddler-friendly activities or refined cultural attractions, the Crystal Coast features all kinds of year-round entertainment to match your vacation style. Check out our North Carolina travel suggestions, hand-picked for different travel types, but don’t be afraid to mix and match!
We’re hesitant to use the word hipster, but you know your way around a pair of skinny jeans and your social media image is on point. Sure enough, the Crystal Coast will have you whipping out your phone, bragging about your travels on Twitter and creating Instagram masterpieces using the area’s top tag, #MyCrystalCoast.
Start off at Crystal Coast Ecotours, where you can choose your own adventure. This tour company offers customized activities; double up or devote the entire day to one excursion. The birding tour showcases some of the 400 winged species known to flock through the barrier islands, while the crabbing jaunt will teach you how to catch the native crustaceans. Between learning the “dig and feel” clamming technique and spotting the majestic wild horses on Shackleford Banks, these tours show you the region’s au natural side. Try not to overload Snapchat.
It’s five o’clock somewhere, which means it’s time to order cocktails and crab cakes at Front Street Grill at Stillwater. Overlooking the historic Beaufort Waterfront, this seafood joint includes Rhum Bar, an outdoor patio, dishing up drinks, apps and small plates. An order of conch fritters and coconut shrimp with a view of the water will have you feeling like you’re vacationing in the tropics.
Families with Young Kids
Your kids aren’t quiet school-age yet, which means you don’t have to wait for a holiday to take a family vacation. Relish in the freedom of traveling outside of school schedules and treat your youngsters to some child-friendly activities at the Crystal Coast.
Round up the troops and venture over to North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, where your kiddos can come eye to eye with toothy sharks, slippery sting rays and glowing jelly fish. Browse through the underwater exhibits, get a behind the scenes look at the labs and holding areas and don’t miss feeding time! Then load your little ones into the stroller and take a hike along the Hoop Pole Creek Nature Trail. Songbirds, turtles and butterflies call this peaceful estuarine ecosystem home, where your crew can explore along the wooden planks that loop through the marshland.
Once your pack has worked up an appetite, head to Amos Mosquito’s Restaurant and Bar. The “li’l skeeters” grub menu includes slime pie (cheese pizza) and snake skins (buttered noodles) to entice your rug rats, while the mixed seafood grill and Jamaican jerk chicken plates appease adult palates.
Water Sport Enthusiasts
Regardless of where you are in life, one thing is certain, you can’t get enough of the water. Whether you’re traveling solo or visiting with a baby on each hip, make a splash on your next Crystal Coast romp.
With more than 2,000 shipwrecks scattered along the coast, North Carolina’s seashore is referred to as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” Slap on some flippers and book a charter with the Olympus Dive Center to explore the dark depths of the sea at destinations such as Hutton or Titan. Prefer to stay on the water’s surface? Sign up for kiteboarding lessons with Blown Kiteboarding to catch some air, or do a balancing act on a standup paddle board along Bogue Sound.
Keep with the oceanic theme and chow down at Crab Shack. The menu is swimming with seafood, from clam strips and flounder to scallops and shrimp. Start off with oyster cocktail or crabmeat soup, and then dive right into the fresh seafood plates.
You just sent your final kid through college, or perhaps you’re soaking up retirement bliss; whatever it is, you and your partner are in the mood for a sophisticated getaway. From historic attractions to cultural performances, you’ll find just what you had in mind during your stay along the Crystal Coast.
Make your way over to Fort Macon State Park to learn about the region’s naval history, from 18th-century pirate attacks to the Civil War-era fort. The state park even has more recent stories that date back to World War II. After sauntering around the park, catch a performance at the Carteret Community Theater. Musical acts, theater productions and comedy shows bring down the house throughout the year.
If it’s a Friday or Saturday night, Bistro-by-the-Sea Restaurant is the place to be. Every weekend the piano bar serenades guests as they sip on cocktails and nosh on baked oysters and prime rib. The classy restaurant serves made-to-order dishes with an “old school slow-cooking style,” ensuring that your cuisine is made to perfection.
On your next visit to Crystal Coast, stick to your travel persona or break the rules and try a little bit of everything!
Written by Chloe Mulliner