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Free Spirit



Crystal Coast
North Carolina, USA

Set along the azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean, there something about this beachy coastal North Carolina destination that speaks to vacationers. The dramatic landscape, the quaint blend of the East Coast meeting Southern hospitality and charm, sun-soaked beaches; and that famous lighthouse and neighboring island where the wild horses run free that has beckoned many to boat across to its island shore.


The discovery of this coastal getaway, Crystal Coast is all about low-key yet sensational seafood restaurants, dynamic ocean vistas, wandering historic streets, quaint fishing villages, quirky small town shops, and unspoiled picturesque beaches perfect for beachcombing.

The Crystal Coast invariably has that postcard-perfect picture luster. The indelible image of the Atlantic’s crystalline water and waves crashing on the seashore, or the pastel iridescence of where the sun melts into the the glistening sea at sunset all plays homage to the Crystal Coast.

It’s no wonder this landscape—and the natural beauty it illuminates —has attracted so many visitors for generations.

One of the only remaining natural barrier islands in the World, the coastal islands are strung together on the coastline with 56 miles of a protected area in the Cape Lookout National Seashore.

The coastal treasures of the Crystal Coast, each with its own unique flavor and appeal include Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Harker’s Island and Moorehead.

What to do:

Cape Lookout National Seashore

Visit the historic lighthouse and keeper’s quarters on this pristine island known for its beauty in the sand dunes and a pristine spot to camp or spend the day basking in the uninhabited natural seascape.


Shackelford Banks

Wild mustangs have thrived and remained wild on this secluded island with its deserted beaches and natural wonder. The horses have inhabited the island for over 400 years with some speculating that it was a ship wrecked Spanish exploring expedition that somehow landed the first horses on the island. The island can be reached via the Island Express Ferry Service.

Additional activities include: Coastal kayaking, bird watching, fishing, diving stand-up paddle boarding, surfing and horseback riding. A visit to the area is not complete without stops the Maritime Museum, Old Burying Grounds, Fort Macon State Park or the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knolls Shore.

Island Express Ferry Services
Info: Island Express Ferry Services is the largest operating ferry service on the Crystal Coast, providing park visitors transportation to Cape Lookout National Seashore and Shackleford Banks with departures from Beaufort and Harkers Island.


The Channel Marker

The Channel Marker in Atlantic Beach is where the locals go. This relaxed and casual waterfront restaurant serves-up some of the most delicious seafood favorites such as Chesapeake Crab Cakes, shrimp nine ways, and local lobster tail.

Front Street Grill at Stillwater


Located in Beaufort, recently named America’s Coolest Small Town”, this waterfront bistro serves an expansive menu or local delights with exquisite seafood dishes native to the Crystal Coast. Dine in the comfort of their indoor lounge area or soak in the majestic ocean views from their upper deck.

Ruddy Duck Taver

Fresh seafood with a Cajun twist is on the menu at the infamous Ruddy Duck Tavern in Moorehead City. The casual and distinctly warm and welcoming atmosphere gives a small town touch to the dining experience. Seafood baskets are a local must-have.

Amos Mosquito’s Restaurant and Bar

This local hotspot offers a hip atmosphere set amidst a marsh or swamp-like decor. The wide assortment of mouth-watering seafood dishes with the house specialty being “fish for two” served with an assortment of zingy dipping sauces. Try to get here around sunset to sip on a cocktail while catching that glorious glimpse of a North Carolina sunset.

The Village Market
Locally owned gourmet deli and sandwich shop in the heart of Emerald Isle, inviting the community and visitors alike to stop by for breakfast or lunch to experience homemade specialties that are prepared fresh every day. The artisan-style sandwiches are built with premium breads, fresh vegetables, homemade dressings and top-of-the-line Boarshead meats and cheeses. Nestled within the shop patrons find some of the most unique, fun and innovative artwork and gifts supporting local artists and vendors for purchase.

Where to Stay:

Seaside sand castles


Renting one of the exquisite seaside mansions nestled along the coastline, offers a unique opportunity to spend your vacation in an intimate beach house with dynamic vistas with a warm and inviting private solitude for a most blissful and relaxing stay.

Emerald Isle Realty

A-1 derful Life

When you enter A-1 derful Life Sand Castle Mansion, you are instantly transported to a world in which natural beauty redefines opulence and seaside elegance. Steps to the beach, cradled in comfort, with soaring uninterrupted panoramic ocean views, A-1 derful Life offers a stylish and vibrant maritime decor with spacious, and 5 elegant rooms offering picture windows and superb views.

Guests enjoy a classical seaside ambiance coupled with modern amenities designed for convenience and an unparalleled attention to detail.

This ocean front oasis is complete with a swimming pool, jacuzzi, bbq grill, private balcony dining area, and an expansive and modern kitchen.

A-1 derful Life creates a luxurious retreat in one of the most exquisite settings.

Bluewater Vacation Rentals

Seaside Seclusion


As the name suggests, this Sand Castle boasts spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean in a more private and pristine beach area. Defined by individuality, Seaside Seclusion with its understated grandeur offers expansive ocean front decks, a swimming pool, 7 vibrantly decorated bedrooms and bathrooms, and theatre-style stadium seating complete with plush sofas. Art and maritime artifacts are seamlessly woven into every room’s decor and

Additional sumptuous beach house amenities include a gas grill, private dining areas, fully equipped luxury kitchens, flat screen TVs, and a pool and ping-pong table guarantee guests a most fulfilling and relaxing stay.

With its secluded but easily accessible location, guests can enjoy a private seaside sanctuary, ocean breeze and pristine natural surroundings which make Seaside Seclusion a vacationer’s dream destination.

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