The Crystal Coast
Ideas for a Coastal Getaway in North Carolina
I had the absolute pleasure of working with The Crystal Coast of North Carolina and experiencing a large part of what makes the area known as “North Carolina’s Gem.” The Crystal Coast includes Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Pine Knoll Shores, Morehead City, and Cape Lookout. We spent the majority of our time at our beach house in Emerald Isle, exploring the islands near Cape Lookout, and indulging in the adorable town of Beaufort. Keep reading for my ideas for a Coastal Getaway in North Carolina
Our Beach House
As mentioned, we were hosted by Spinnakers Reach Realty and they completely spoiled us with a magnificent oceanfront beach house. They have a large variety of beach house rentals on the emerald isle oceanfront. I definitely recommend checking out their options if you are interested in having a fabulous and care-free summer vacation in one of North Carolina’s most beautiful locations – especially if you are traveling with a large group.
Our house (named “Emerald Dream”) had seven bedrooms, a game room, a gorgeous open kitchen and living room, a private pool, and several balconies overlooking the Crystal Coast. Everything was clean and tidy when we arrived, and all we had to do before leaving was pile our towels in the laundry room and take out the trash.
One of the most popular and unique attractions in the Crystal Coast region is taking a Ferry (Island Express Ferry Service) to Shackleford Banks and other nearby islands. Shackleford Banks is where over 100 wild horses live (as pictured above). The horses do not bother you but also don’t mind getting close to you. It is truly a beautiful experience and I highly recommend it if you visit the area.
Shackleford Banks is also home to some of the most beautiful natural beaches and best shelling in North Carolina. This would be the perfect picnic lunch date location. The entire experience is extremely secluded and private.
Cape Lookout is America’s Number one National State Park Beach. It is also home of the famous Cape Lookout Lighthouse, which is available for climbing on Wednesday – Sunday. The long stretch of natural beach is absolutely breathtaking and provides a huge destination for shelling and nature watching. We spent our hour on the island walking the coastline and simply taking in the fresh air and beautiful scenery.
Lunch at Beaufort Grocery Co.
After leaving the islands, we picked up lunch at Beaufort Grocery Co. and took it back to the beach house for some time to relax. I had the Huey’s Hacha Choania, which was a delicious chicken burrito wrap with grilled veggies, smoked Gouda pimiento cheese, shredded cabbage and BeauGro pepper jelly with a side of pasta salad.
Beaufort Grocery is an adorable local eatery and they are currently celebrating their 25th year of business! The vibe shifts from a local sandwich shop during lunch to a sophisticated dinner location with fresh catch and an impressive wine list. I highly recommend stopping by!
Mill Whistle Brewing
Mill Whistle Brewing was the first brewery to open in Carteret County, NC. They are a nano-brewery, so they only produce very small amounts of each beer that they create. This allows them to offer a much wider variety of beers and play with their creativity in each batch.
We tasted 3-4 different beers and each one was deliciously unique in its own way. Inside of the tasting room at Mill Whistle Brewing, they also offer a variety of beers by another local brewery called Crystal Coast Brewing Company. With so many options, I promise that you can find something for everyone!
Dinner at La Perla
La Perla is a Spanish inspired Restaurant with a Southern flare. Housed in a historic home in Beaufort’s downtown district, La Perla has perfected mixing the unusual with classic flavors that everyone loves. Also note that as they strictly use fresh, local, available ingredients – the menu changes daily.
As a table, we split several appetizers including the Gnome’s Caps (sweet stuffed peppers), Grilled Octopus, and the Sausage & Pickle Plate. My favorite was the Grilled Octopus; I highly recommend trying it if you never have!
For the entree, I had the Brasstown Hanger Steak (medium) with sweet potato mash and brussel sprout salad. The steak was cooked to absolute perfection; I could not have asked for a better one!
And for dessert, several of us split their chocolate cake and house-made Chaco-Taco! The Chaco-Taco was by far my favorite. Dipped in a hard chocolate shell and smothered in fresh fruit, It was such a fun and creative dish to finish the night with!
Beaufort Food & Wine Festival
The “main event” of this entire trip was centered around the annual Beaufort Food & Wine Festival. This multi-day festival is truly a production. They do an excellent job at showcasing the incredible talent of local chefs from The Crystal Coast and surrounding North Carolina regions. Plus, adding incredible wine pairings to every event only makes it better!
I will be sharing a separate blog post that details the different parts that make the Festival like no other wine festival that I have ever attended. But just know, it’s definitely worth making the journey to experience this one-of-a-kind local celebration!
Conclusions and Life Updates:
The entire Crystal Coast of North Carolina is extremely unique and I recommend all of it. However, Beaufort is such a unique small-town because of the mix of its historical background, coastal atmosphere, and small-town charm. There is a large variety of inns and bed and breakfasts for you to choose from if you wanted to stay in the town of Beaufort. However, staying at the beach like we did is always a smart option as well.
The time and dates of this trip fell on the second half of the week that I traveled to Colorado Springs for a separate project… so to say that I was exhausted afterward is an understatement. However, both experiences were absolutely incredible and I wouldn’t actually change anything if I could have.
This month I will be taking a one-day trip to Gordonsville, VA to share my experience at their annual Fried Chicken Festival (um, yum!) and towards the end of the month I will be traveling to Lousiville, KY to visit Bourbon Country and Churchhill Downs.
So as always, thank you for your support and for checking out my “Ideas for a Coastal Getaway in North Carolina.” Follow along on Instagram and/or Facebook for live updates, travel inspiration, and fashion & style. Shop most of my outfits here. And feel free to message me with any questions about this trip, the area, other travel suggestions, or for links to my clothing!
Until next time,
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