Crystal Coast vs. Outer Banks: The Best of North Carolina’s Coastline

North Carolina is home to some of the most breathtaking coastal towns in America. When you’re planning your vacation, you may be stuck trying to decide between visiting the Crystal Coast or the Outer Banks. Read on to discover what we love about both of these gorgeous vacation spots.

Different Locations

The Outer Banks are a group of islands that separate the Atlantic Ocean from the mainland. This 200-mile string of islands takes up a majority of the coastline. Some of the Outer Banks islands include Hatteras Island, Bodie Island, and Portsmouth Island. This area continues to be a large tourist attraction mainly due to its rich history and plentiful fishing opportunities.

On the other hand, the Crystal Coast extends for 85 miles from the Cape Lookout National Seashore. This area is on the mainland and includes popular destinations such as Atlantic Beach and Morehead City. Tourists love this span of North Carolina because of its numerous white sand beaches, various restaurants, and easy access to other cities for day trips.

North Carolina is home to some of the most breathtaking coastal towns in America. When you’re planning your vacation, you may be stuck trying to decide between visiting the Crystal Coast or the Outer Banks.

Why Visit the Crystal Coast?

While both areas have their advantages, we at Spectrum are partial to the Crystal Coast. One of the main wins for the Crystal Coast is the lack of crowds. Many tourists want to flock to the islands of the Outer Banks, leaving the breathtaking land of the Crystal Coast open. You’ll get the same fun culture and unbelievable views without having to fight for elbow room on the beach.

Another reason the Crystal Coast is superior is that it holds so many phenomenal beach towns to explore. Our Atlantic Beach vacation homes lie an hour or less from some of the most fun day trips, like Swansboro, Morehead City, and Beaufort. Each of these towns holds its own unique charm while staying true to the warm and welcoming feel you expect from North Carolina.

Finally, the Crystal Coast simply proves easier to get to for most families. Navigating the Outer Banks can sometimes prove challenging, but finding your way throughout the Crystal Coast is a breeze. Many towns and attractions are conveniently located along major highways, making it easy to get where you’re going.

Things to Do

When you’re planning a Crystal Coast vacation, you’ll find something for everyone to see and do. Atlantic Beach is home to plenty of public access beaches where you can waste the day away, or you can book a fishing charter or rent a kayak to experience the beautiful waters.

Want to get up close and personal with the wildlife? Book an eco-tour or try your hand at fishing. If there’s a historian in your group, visit the Old Burying Grounds in Beaufort or take the Port City Pirates and Ghosts Tour in Atlantic City. Visit an art gallery, improve your golf game, or ride horses along the coast. No matter what you choose, you really can’t go wrong!

Crystal Coast vs. Outer Banks

Where to Eat

The Crystal Coast has some of the freshest seafood in the nation, and the local restaurants aren’t afraid to show it. Off The Hook in Morehead City gives an ode to Caribbean and Central American cuisine, while Beaufort’s Front Street Grill at Stillwater gives a gorgeous view that’s almost as nice as the seafood!

Have a casual meal in Cedar Island at Sharky’s Bar and Grill, or go more upscale in Emerald Isle at Kathryn’s Bistro & Martini Bar. Grab a coffee or pastry at Infusion Café in Morehead City, or have a drink at Tight Lines Pub & Brewing Co. There’s no way you’ll leave the Crystal Coast hungry with all these unbelievable options!

Where to Stay

Your vacation wouldn’t be complete without one of the best Crystal Coast beach house rentals. At Spectrum, we are proud to serve the area with our premier vacation homes. One of the most central locations is Atlantic Beach, and our Atlantic Beach vacation rentals are sure to please everyone in your group. Contact us today for more information and to start planning the getaway of a lifetime!