You won’t have to leave the United States to visit this emerald island, and it’s the perfect summer destination.
Not to be confused with the Emerald Isle across the sea, the North Carolina version offers emerald seas and plenty of beachfront rentals.
North Carolina is a no-brainer when it comes to vacationing on the Southeast Coast of the United States. There’s one beachfront destination, in particular, it’s not quite Myrtle Beach, or the remote shores of Ocracoke, or even the charming ancient streets of Charleston. Emerald Isle is about two and a half hours from Raleigh and while not as well known as the others, there is plenty to do, see and explore here for just about everyone.
With the rise of vacation rentals, everyone is trying to find a place that won’t be overtaken by tourists. And while much of North Carolina is a beach lover’s paradise for the summer months, Emerald Island is still secluded enough to make for a quiet beach getaway. It’s further east than most southern tourist destinations and sits right off the mainland, but if you need more reasons to visit this stunning island, here are some of its winning attributes.
The beaches are unique and the landscapes are not lacking
Although the Emerald Isle is an island, its unique location makes it one of the most interesting places on the Crystal Coast to explore. Thanks to its positioning along the Gulf Coast, its waters are a brilliant turquoise hence its name, Emerald Isle. The outer part of the island is nothing but the beach, with sandy shores stretching from end to end and joining at the end of the island, known as The Point. .
The Point gives way to a stunning white sand beach and a small cove called the Bank Channel, which flows into the beach from the opposite side of the island. Any home rental along this end of the island would offer beautiful sunsets, incredibly easy (walking) access to the beach, and a calm atmosphere thanks to its residential nature.
Shops and dining options galore
For those interested in more than the beach, they’ll want to head to the middle of the Emerald Isle where the main shops are.
Emerald Drive, which turns left after crossing the bridge to get to Emerald Isle from the mainland, gives way to a variety of boutiques, antique stores, and a plethora of dining options, many with the freshest local seafood. Many of these stores are unique and diverse, offering classic beach gift options as well as local produce and one-of-a-kind items on the Emerald Isle.
The eastern half of the Emerald Isle
As visitors move east on Emerald Isle, they pass through Indian Beach, Salter Path, Pine Knoll Shores and eventually make their way to Atlantic Beach and Fort Macon State Park.
It’s the perfect place for nature lovers who enjoy hiking on vacation or admiring the local wildlife, and it’s also a great place to settle down on the park’s beach for the day. This is also where visitors can find much of the island’s history, some of which includes the famous pirate Blackbeard who is rumored to be living on the Crystal Coast.
Each seaside community on the Emerald Isle has their own history and stories to go along with them, and as you move down the island it’s worth making a few stops and learning about the local traditions. Many of these communities are also home to museums and art galleries, so if this is something that interests you, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Easy beach rentals
Emerald Isle is somewhat of a beach rental paradise and some of the best offer incredible views of the creek and ocean. With all the diverse communities on this island, there are plenty of options for finding the right town and what to do nearby. For those who really love water and all the recreational activities that come with it, it’s fairly easy to find a home inland near rivers and streams, perfect for a slow exploration of the nearby marshes. Kayaking and canoeing are popular activities on the Emerald Isle and sometimes it’s the best way to take in all the nature around you.
For those who want to be close to shopping, staying close to Emerald Drive (and conveniently the Crystal Coast Welcome Center) is a great way to still be within driving distance of the beach but within walking distance. some stores. For nature lovers, finding a rental near Blue Heron Park or at the opposite end of the island by Fort Macon State Park will be nothing short of a dream.
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