Emerald Isle NC – One of My Favourite Places
Emerald Isle in North Carolina holds a special place in my heart since I have been coming here since a very young age. My memories are filled with warm summer days, beach BBQs and collecting shells hidden in the sand. Emerald Isle has large wide beaches and great surf along the Southern Outer Banks. The American South has a certain charm unlike any other place, which makes Emerald Isle beach holidays feel special.
My family has been visiting this beach for a long time, part of the Crystal Coast and located on the Bogue Banks (see map here). The ocean-front has many homes and condominiums and is known for being a family friendly place.
About the Crystal Coast
Originally settled as a place for whalers and fishermen, Emerald Isle has grown significantly over the years due to its popularity with summer tourists. There is excellent fishing and a lot of marine life. This place gets its name from the turquoise green and blue waters. Water temperatures are always nice for swimming since the beach receives warmth from the Gulf Stream.
If you love the ocean, then you will appreciate this place as much as I do. There are lots of opportunities for fishing, swimming, surfing, boogie boarding or simply laying back on the sand and feeling the warm sun.
How I Spend My Time Here – Days on the Beach
For me, Emerald Isle is all about visiting the beach and enjoying the beauty of the ocean and the warmth of the sun on my skin.
Here is how I spend my time in Emerald Isle, NC:
Morning: wake up early enough to see the sun rise, watch dolphins swimming in the sea (you can spot lots of them in the early morning swimming in pods), have a coffee as I watch the water, eat breakfast, go to the beach!
Mid-morning: go for a swim in the sea, go fishing
Afternoon: eat lunch & take a break from the sun
Late-afternoon: more swimming, ride some waves, search for shells on the beach, go for a walk up and down the beach, cool off in the ocean
Early-evening: some more fishing right before heading inside
Evening: dinner of fresh fish and beer, chat with friends & family, sit outside and look at the stars, feel the cool night air, watch a thunderstorm in the distance if I’m lucky
Other Ideas for Things to Do
If you are thinking about visiting then you might be interested in some of the activities listed below.
- There is a great path along Emerald Drive and Coast Guard Road that is perfect for a bike-ride or walk.
- Emerald Isle Woods, a nature preserve for hiking
- Kayaking from a public access point (there is one at Cedar Street Park)
- Scuba-diving, where you can find sunken shipwrecks
- Mini gulf
Possible day trips from Emerald Isle
- North Carolina Aquarium
- Fort Macon State Park
- Hammocks Beach State Park
- Wild Horses of Shakleford Banks
- Beaufort Music Festival – early May
- North Carolina Seafood Festival – first weekend in October
- Swansboro Mullet Festival – 2nd weekend in October
Parts of the Island
The Point: If you go to the Western most end of Emerald Isle, there is the ‘Point’ (see map). This place borders the Atlantic Ocean and Bogue Inlet, offering a large stretch of sandy beach. It is great for beautiful sunsets and a hot spot for fishermen. This place is perfect for mackerel, bluefish and flounder in the summer!
We usually go here to fish, swim and have a picnic. Be careful since the currents tend to get stronger at the Point.
The Bogue Inlet Pier: This old pier dates back to the 1950’s and has been rebuilt since recent hurricanes (see map of pier). It hosts a new observation deck as well as a spot for fishing. You can catch spanish and king mackerel here. This is also a great spot for wave surfers.
I usually go here in the evening for a nice walk out onto the pier to feel the breeze and watch the lights on the beach.
Where to Stay – Holiday Rental Opportunities
There are no hotels on the beach but there are plenty of rental opportunities available. We usually rent a medium sized ocean-front house for the week with Emerald Isle Realty. Rental homes on nearby streets are cheaper but we cannot cope with being too far away from the water! Prices are around $1,000 per week for an ocean-front rental but this depends on the size and nature of the property you go with.
We share the house with friends, making it much more affordable since we split the cost. They have a range of properties available and we have never had any problems going through them or staying in the houses.
Keep in mind that rates fluctuate throughout the year depending on the month. For example, if you go in peak summer months (June/July) you should expect higher prices.
There are lower prices during August and September since it is considered hurricane season. We always rent during this time and have never been caught in hurricane. Although, this has happened to friends of ours before and can be a dangerous situation. Be careful!
I have never rented in the cooler months although if you are looking to visit from September to May you can get heavily reduced rates on accommodation (monthly rates from $650 – $5,000). Many appreciate fall fishing and walks on the beach during the spring months.
As mentioned, one of the best reasons to visit this beach is because of the vast amount of marine life. I love digging my hands into the sand and finding small crabs and my inner child loves chasing larger ones across the beach.
Popular fish include wahoo, flounder, bluefish, king mackerel, speckled trout, and red drum. Not to mention, dolphins and sharks!
If you are really into fishing and want to know when you can expect certain types of fish, look at this Outer Banks Fishing Guide.
Have you been here?
I haven’t been to this beach in a few years but hope to head back there soon. I already feel the warm water and tide pulling at me to come back. Please share your stories below about spending time in Emerald Isle, North Carolina.