Area Attractions
A visit to the North Carolina Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores is a must for all families when visiting the Crystal Coast, the kids will see sea life up close like sharks, otters, amberjack's, sea turtles, snakes and Nimbus a rare white loggerhead turtle. Feel the spray of a mountain waterfall. Watch river otters play. Touch a stingray. Look a shark in the eye. Explore shipwrecks — without getting wet. See a rare white sea turtle. Thousands of aquatic animals take you on a journey from the state’s grand peaks to the open Atlantic, much as a raindrop makes its way to the ocean.
Fort Macon State Park offers public access to the surf, sun and sand of the Crystal Coast - as well as a historic landmark. Located at the eastern end of Bogue Banks, one of a series of barrier islands along the North Carolina coast, the park is surrounded on three sides by water - the Atlantic Ocean, Beaufort Inlet and Bogue Sound. This area of undisturbed natural beauty is the perfect place to explore salt marshes and estuaries vital to the coastal ecosystem.
Bogue Inlet Pier is newly remodeled for 2017 with all new pier house and restaurant. Generations of tourists, as well as locals, have grown up casting their lines off of Bogue Inlet Pier. Folks flock to the beaches to sunbathe with their fellow beachgoers, while others purchase their day pass and cast away from atop the pier! Bogue Inlet Pier offers free parking during the weekdays in the summer and year around in the off season. Fishing in Emerald Isle is a great way to spend the day.
Take a stroll through downtown historic Swansboro on any given day and you're likely to see any number of kayakers and paddle-boarders making their way through the Intracoastal Waterway headed towards the many scenic beaches along Bogue Inlet. Others may want to fish, water ski, visit Bear Island to hunt for seashells or just relax and bask in the sun. Swansboro has historical sites to discover, eclectic shops to explore, and lots of 'family-friendly' recreation like biking, hiking, camping, and outdoor concerts just to name a few! And, of course, it's always a good idea to just relax and kick back and enjoy the views from the waterfront or cast a line off the town docks.
Venture to Bear Island and reward yourself with vivid memories of one of the most unspoiled beaches on the Atlantic coast. Accessible only by passenger ferry or private boat, there's just one thing at Hammocks Beach that's crowded - the list of things to do.
Stroll the beach with laughing gulls and sandpipers. Cast a baited hook into endless rows of foaming breakers. Discover tiny specimens of marine life in tidal pools and mudflats. Secluded and tranquil, free from intruding commercialism, Hammocks Beach may not be for everyone, but the island is a retreat for people who welcome the challenges of relentless sun, sand, sea and sky.