Crystal Coast Vacation Rentals

Your Guide to Emerald Isle, NC

When you’re planning a vacation to North Carolina, there are tons of incredible places you could choose to visit. This state truly has it all, from the stunning mountains to the relaxing beaches. But if you’re searching for a truly unique place to stay on your next getaway, look no further than Emerald Isle! This tiny town is the ideal destination no matter what you like to do. Before you book one of our cozy Emerald Isle vacation rentals, read this guide to help you plan your trip!

What is It Known For?

Emerald Isle is on Bogue Banks, which is home to five barrier island communities, in North Carolina’s southern Outer Banks. This 12-mile island is the definition of relaxation, boasting some of the most beautiful beaches in the state with phenomenal weather essentially all year long. The beaches here and throughout the Crystal Coast, in general, are the main attraction drawing visitors from across the country! In fact, this stretch of shoreline was voted the Best North Carolina Beach in 2018 by the USA Today Readers’ Choice Awards!

In addition to the beaches, Emerald Isle is known for its welcoming community. Although only about 3,000 people live here, they’re used to meeting their fair share of visitors and are here to welcome you with open arms! Since there are so many locally owned businesses here, it’s easy to get to know the locals and start to feel like you truly belong here.

Things to Do

Under the pier at Emerald Isle at sunset as waves crash on the shore

There are so many Emerald Isle things to do that your biggest problem will be deciding what to do first! Well, the first thing that we would recommend would be to explore the famous beaches of the area. The waters of Bogue Sound are perfect for all kinds of water sports, including kayaking and paddleboarding. Luckily, there are plenty of companies in the area that offer equipment rentals and tours, so you don’t have to bring your equipment with you from home. You can also head to Bogue Inlet Pier to cast your line and try to reel in some Crystal Coast fish!

If you want to stay outside but would rather be on land, there are plenty of biking and walking trails in the area. Taking advantage of these nature trails is the perfect way to get some fresh air with your family, explore your surroundings, and observe some of the most stunning wildlife in the area. All just minutes from our oceanfront rentals in Atlantic Beach!

We know what you’re probably thinking: “We’ve only talked about outdoor activities! What is there to do indoors?” Don’t worry! There are tons of indoor activities as well. Emerald Isle has tons of quaint locally owned shops for you to explore (another great way to get to know the locals!), including souvenir shops, art galleries, and clothing stores. You can also head to the neighboring town of Pine Knoll Shores to experience the amazing North Carolina Aquarium, which is an excellent option for all ages but is an extra-special hit with the kids!

Delicious looking seafood meal on Emerald Isle, with green beans, salmon, and noodle salad

Best Places to Eat

While you’re in Emerald Isle, you’re bound to get hungry! Luckily, there are some truly delicious Emerald Isle restaurants, no matter what kind of cuisine you’re in the mood for. 

Of course, while you’re on the coast, you’re definitely going to want to sample some local seafood. Caribsea is a great choice! This eatery is a bit more upscale, making it perfect for an indulgent evening or a romantic dinner with your sweetheart. Choose from delicious local fish preparations or succulent raw meals, or if you’re not in the mood for seafood, select a carefully prepared steak. 

If you want a more casual experience that still involves delicious seafood, you’ll want to check out Snapperz of Emerald Isle. This eatery is more casual and down-to-earth and offers delicious seafood preparations at a great price point. You can choose from a huge menu of classic seafood dishes and steam pots, always resting assured that you’re getting the highest quality food available.

Delicious looking piece of fried white fish with vegetables on Emerald Isle

Are you looking for something other than seafood? There are plenty of options! Rucker Johns Restaurant is the perfect family-friendly eatery serving up delectable diner foods. You’ll find everything from burgers to pasta to steak and more, all brought to you by the incredibly friendly staff. You could also head to The Trading Post for Southern comfort food and some awesome live music, or if you want something quick yet hearty, The Village Market has all the deli offerings you could ever ask for.

Finally, you’re going to want a sweet treat at some point, and Emerald Isle has plenty! If you’re in town for a special occasion and need a cake, check out Traci’s Beach Sweets to order your custom creation. Choose from more than 50 flavors of ice cream at Sweet Spot, or if you’re more in the mood for fro yo, The Fuzzy Peach Frozen Yogurt Bar is just the place! Looking for a breakfast joint that doubles as a dessert shop? You can’t go wrong with a visit to Flip Flops Donut Shop!

How Far is the Drive

Emerald Isle is an amazing place to visit while you’re on the Crystal Coast, but you’re going to need to know how to get there from elsewhere (if you’re not staying right in town, that is!).

From the main section of the Outer Banks, the trip to Emerald Isle takes just under 4 hours. You’ll need to drive back onto the mainland and travel down US-64 W and US-17 N. Luckily, you can make a fun day trip out of this journey, since you’ll pass right by incredible towns like Washington and New Bern!

If you’re traveling from Atlantic Beach, it takes just 20 minutes to reach Emerald Isle, so there’s truly no excuse for not visiting! Leaving Atlantic Beach, all you have to do is make your way onto South Raleigh Avenue, then turn left onto West Fort Macon Road. You’ll stay on that road for about 2 miles, then you’ll continue onto North Carolina Highway 58 North/Salter Path Road. Keep on this road for 9.8 miles, and you’ve arrived in Emerald Isle! It couldn’t be easier, making this the perfect excursion on your getaway. If you are the road trip type, there are also a lot of things to do on a road trip from Charlotte!

Where to Stay

Have we convinced you that it’s time to check out Emerald Isle for yourself? Great! Now you’ll just need a place to stay. At Spectrum Properties, we’re proud to have a whole host of amazing vacation rentals all over the Crystal Coast, including right here in Emerald Isle. If you’d rather stay elsewhere, we also offer convenient and well-priced popular Harkers Island vacation rentals, as well as Atlantic Beach, and Beaufort, and many other destinations. 

No matter which town you decide to stay in, you’ll have your pick of luxurious yet affordable property rentals suitable for any family, no matter your budget. We also have plenty of Atlantic Beach pet-friendly rentals, so you can bring your four legged family members along! Our dedicated staff is here to help you pick out the ultimate vacation rental or answer any questions you might have during your stay. We’re proud to be your premier resource for Crystal Coast vacation rentals! To learn more about Emerald Isle and the Crystal Coast or to book your vacation home, just contact us today!

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