A lot of things come to mind when you think of a beach vacation: sand, surf, flip flops, sunscreen. At the Crystal Coast, “beach” doesn’t mean just schlepping onto the sand; it means relaxation, incredible views, time with family and friends and much more.

Here are just some of the reasons why the Crystal Coast is the best beach vacation in North Carolina:

  • Pristine Beaches – Many vacation destinations claim they have pristine or unspoiled beaches; we mean it. The Crystal Coast is home to more than 85 miles of coastline, including 56 miles of protected and preserved sand at Cape Lookout National Seashore (accessible by boat). Bogue Banks (including Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Salter Path, Indian Beach and Emerald Isle) offers a unique south-facing beach experience with clean, soft sand and room to spread out with your beach blankets and chairs. Enjoy even more beach options along Bogue Sound (off of Morehead City and Western Crystal Coast), the Rachel Carson Reserve (off the Beaufort waterfront), and throughout Down East. Everywhere you turn, there is someplace to recline, relax and recharge at the Crystal Coast.


crystal coast north carolina beach pine knoll shores


  • Residential Feel – Some North Carolina beaches focus on a bustling, honkey-tonk beach experience. We prefer to let nature speak for itself. While the area has many fun attractions and activities to enjoy, the Crystal Coast has been largely uncommercialized, maintaining the laid back, inviting vacation environment that has welcomed families for decades. Whether you’re strolling down the boardwalk in Beaufort, cooking out at your rental cottage in Pine Knoll Shores, kayaking through the paddle trails of Croatan National Forest or simply enjoying a sunset over the marshes of Bogue Sound, you’ll find a special kind of tranquility at the Coast. Our skyline isn’t littered with neon lights; it’s lit by stars.


emerald isle north carolina crystal coast beach


  • Variety of Accommodations – The Crystal Coast matches its wide variety of beaches with a wide variety of “homes away from home.” Lodging options range from resort and suite hotels to cozy inns and bed and breakfasts to condominiums, rental cottages and campgrounds. Each Crystal Coast community has its own unique vibe and offerings, so you can customize your vacation to suit your style and budget. Our recommendation? Try them all! While some visitors have been coming to the same beach and beach property for years, it’s fun to explore the experiences available throughout the Crystal Coast.


atlantic beach north carolina crystal coast


  • Seasonal Delight – Couples, families and friends have been enjoying the communities of the Crystal Coast for generations, and those in the know have a special secret they’ve been keeping. It’s called “spring and fall.” While summer offers the warmest weather and easiest planning for many families with kids in school, the months of April, May, June and September and October are untapped gems for those looking for a beach getaway. Temperatures sit in the high 60s and 70s (and often even the 80s), with warm breezes and sunshine inviting you to relax. Plus, spring and fall visitors have access to incredible rental properties and other accommodations at equally incredible rates. Always wanted to stay in that beach house behind the dunes? Take a look in May and you could be drinking your coffee from your second story deck overlooking the Atlantic.


atlantic beach north carolina sunset crystal coast


No matter the season, the Crystal Coast offers some of the most desirable beaches along the East Coast and a unique, inviting experience along the coastline of North Carolina.

Ready to book your stay? Explore our lodging options to find the unique accommodations to fit your vacation style and budget. You can also learn more about the Crystal Coast in our other blog posts or by downloading a Vacation Guide.