Beaches on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina - Beach Access Areas, Tourist Attractions, Resorts, Historic Sites,
 Atlantic Beach, Fort Macon, Emerald Isle, Salter Path, East and West Indian Beach, Pine Knoll Shoals

Towns on or near Bogue Banks on the Southern NC Outer Banks: Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Emerald Isle Morehead CityIndian Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Salter Path, Swansboro. Islands and areas near Bogue Banks:  Hammock's Beach State Park,  Bogue Inlet and Bear Island.

Attractions Quick Links: Fort Macon, Theodore Roosevelt State Natural Area, Cape Lookout

Public regional access areas to the beach are located at Fort Macon State Park, Atlantic Beach, Salter Path, Indian Beach, Iron Steamer Pier, and Emerald Isle. Handicapped access sites are at Atlantic Beach, Fort Macon, Salter Path and Emerald Isle.

beach access pathBogue Banks is the longest island south of Cape Lookout. It is a 29 mile barrier island, stretching from Bogue inlet to Beaufort inlet. there are 6 fishing piers. The area is the most popular vacation destination in North Carolina. The beaches here are wide, the surf is gentle and the gradient flat. There are high dunes on the beaches due to the way the wind blows. Much of the island is covered by maritime forest giving some shade from the heat.

Stay at luxury beach condos, beachfront hotels, vacation rentals or cottages.

picture of a North Carolina beach sceneAtlantic Beach offers beautiful beaches, fishing piers,  King Mackerel tournament in September. There is a boardwalk with restrooms and handicapped spaces adjacent to the boardwalk. Atlantic Beach is the most popular NC vacation destination with best beaches in North Carolina. Go Scuba diving for sunken treasure or explore the ocean from below. There�s an exhibit based on Blackbeard�s flagship the Queen Anne�s Revenge which is in the Beaufort Inlet. At the shipwreck, through a window on board you can see the wreckage of a German U-352 submarine. Take a ferry to Cape Lookout to go sea shell hunting. See wild horses in the surf. Go shopping, fishing, golfing. In the area, find a shopping center, an amusement park, fishing piers, jungle golf, marinas, sailing schools and trails with wildlife observation areas. Explore the area's dunes that rise 15 to 20 feet high. Back to top

fort macon historical site near Atlantic Beach pictureFort Macon State Park is located near Atlantic Beach in Carteret County near the Beaufort Inlet on the Beaufort harbor. Take a self guided tour of fort. First troops garrisoned here in 1834. In 1861 Confederate troops captured Fort Macon from Union troops. In 1862, Union troops recaptured Fort and occupied it until the end of war. The museum features exhibits with tools, weapons and civil war artifacts. Recreation in the area include: fishing, swimming, picnic areas, bird watching, bathhouse and hiking trails. Back to top

For the handicapped, beach wheelchairs are available at Atlantic Beach and Emerald Isle.

Pine Knolls Shores is west of Atlantic Beach and borders Indian beach. Here you will find the NC Aquarium. See sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, fish, moray eels, otters, hands on exhibits. The Aquarium is open year round - 9-5 closed Christmas, New Years day and Thanksgiving. Back to top

Theodore Roosevelt State Natural area preserve is near Pine Knoll Shores. the area is undeveloped and a coastal ecological center. Public is given limited access. Explore maritime forest, freshwater bogs, salt marsh and sandy dunes. See ospreys, alligators and other wildlife. Hike the self guided nature trail through woods and marsh. Listen to birds and watch for snakes. You can access the area via the NC Aquarium. Back to top

see, also, Civil War Sites

picture of tropical fish swimming in an aquariumHiking trails are located in Fort Macon, Theodore Roosevelt State Natural area and the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

picture of the ocean and beaches of North Carolina at sunsetEmerald Isle is known for its gentle surf and friendly beach towns. You can rent a beach house or cottage for your summer vacation. The town of Emerald Isle is located on the western third of Bogue Banks. Play in the ocean all day long. The beaches are not crowded here. Emerald Isle is a small town of 11 miles. The main highway is US 58. Ocean drive runs parallel to NC 58. The ocean is visible from the end of most every street within the town. The closest neighboring town is Indian Beach to the east. There is a shopping center. Go biking or running south on Coast Guard road near milepost 21. Visit the Sea Arcade amusement center off NC58. The Emerald Isle Western Regional Access site has parking, bathhouse, restrooms and showers. At this access site, there are amusements and refreshments. It is a very busy spot in the summer. There is a fishing pier and a ramp for handicapped travelers at Emerald Isle fishing pier. Back to top

East Indian Beach between Pine Knoll Shores and Salter Path. The area has oceanfront condos. There are no public beach access areas here. See West Indian Beach for more info on this area. Back to top

Salter Path is between East and West Indian Beach. It is an old fishing village. There are a few private campgrounds and marinas here. You can buy fresh fish here too. Find a community beach beside NC 58 with parking spaces, restrooms, a bathhouse, deck and walkway. Back to top

West Indian Beach is next to Salter Path. The area was named thus because early excavation uncovered a Native American burial ground. Stay at a oceanfront vacation rental, campground or trailer court.  Explore dunes and vegetation along the coast. The town is only one mile long. You can drive on the beach provided you get a permit, use a 4wheel drive vehicle and use the access ramp at the end of SR 1192. Back to top

Crystal Coast North Carolina Beaches