Explore the

Crystal Coast

The Crystal Coast is an 85-mile stretch of North Carolina beaches also known as the Southern Outer Banks. It’s a collection of beaches and towns showcasing a unique blend of history, natural beauty, family fun, and water sports. Communities include Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Beaufort, Morehead City, Cape Lookout, Pine Knoll Shores, Harkers Island, Salter Path, Indian Beach, Down East, Newport, Cape Carteret/West, Core Banks, and Bogue Banks. Each community has its own vibe and offer a variety of things to do, see, taste and learn.

Discover More about the Crystal Coast of North Carolina.

Cape Lookout National Seashore

Cape Lookout National Seashore

A natural paradise, this 56 miles of undeveloped beach is home to the famed Cape Lookout Lighthouse. Take a quick ferry ride to access the beaches and the wild horses of Shackleford Banks. Take your own boat for exceptional fishing. Campsites are also available.

Shackleford Banks

Shackleford Banks

For more than 400 years the protected wild horses of Shackleford Banks have frolicked on pristine deserted beaches. Seeing these unbridled beauties known as the Shackleford horses, or “Banker ponies,” is a sight you won’t soon forget. Visit the island by ferry from Harkers Island and Beaufort.

North Carolina Aquarium At Pine Knoll Shores

North Carolina Aquarium At Pine Knoll Shores

With more than 3,000 specimens of North Carolina’s most colorful aquatic life, this Aquarium is the largest saltwater aquarium in North Carolina. The “Living Shipwreck” features a life-sized replica of a German U-352 sub and Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

North Carolina Maritime Museum

North Carolina Maritime Museum

A haven for the unconventional history of the Crystal Coast, the museum is the official repository for all of the artifacts discovered on Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge. Learn more about this historic excavation off the Beaufort coastline and view cannons, belt buckles and more from the storied ship.

Beaufort Historic Site

Beaufort Historic Site

Painstakingly preserved Federal Period buildings are found throughout the Beaufort Historic Site. Personal guided walking tours showcase the collection of 10 historic buildings from the 1700s and 1800s. Explorations of the Historic District are also available aboard a vintage 1948 English double-decker bus.

Fort Macon
State Park

Fort Macon
State Park

Originally designed to guard Beaufort Inlet and Harbor, Fort Macon is now home to a protected beach, complete with seaside bathhouse, sunny nature trails, family-friendly picnic facilities and a rich supply of fish. Visitors take spirited ghost tours highlighting the eccentric past the fort has experienced.

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center

The Museum was built as a tribute to the history of Harkers Island and Down East, and to preserve the practice of decoy carving. Skilled artisans carve replicas of ducks from a blocks of wood to use as a decoys during duck hunting season. The museum hosts live decoy carving in their “decoy-carving workshop.”

Fabulous Fishing

Fabulous Fishing

The Crystal Coast is an ideal location to access a wide variety of inshore and offshore fish species. From offshore marlin, mahi, wahoo, tuna and sailfish to inland redfish, black drum, sea trout and striped bass, there’s fishing all year round.

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