If there is a kickoff for the beach season, it is Easter weekend. This year someone ordered up some nearly perfect weather to help all of us forget the really nasty winter weather that bedeviled us for several months. Actually part of the east is still being cursed with extraordinary precipitation. A friend in Massachusetts told me tonight that in her sister's neighborhood only one out of six ways out was still above the flood waters. My college roommate who lives on the New Jersey shore has complained about continuing wet weather and temperatures in the forties at night. So if you are in one of the areas not blessed with good weather this first week in April, the Crystal Coast is ready for you, and now would be a really good time to come visit. You might be surprised with how blue our skies can get during the day, and how many stars you can count at night.A lot of people have never heard of the Crystal Coast, and even more have never taken the time to visit. I have never heard exactly why the area is called the Crystal Coast. My personal theory is that the name comes from the crystal clear waters .
If there is one thing that is for certain, it is that the Crystal Coast is all about the water . Easy access to water is why many of us who live here permanently moved to the area. It is also why the area is favored as a vacation area for natives of North Carolina.
This is a place where you can walk the beaches without being surrounded by miles of high rise towers. There are three really large regional beach access areas with free parking. One is at Fort Macon near Atlantic Beach, and there are two in the town of Emerald Isle. There are other smaller ones spread out along the beaches.
Of course if you are staying in a home along the beach, there are dozens of neighborhood beach access points within walking distance. These are marked with CAMA signs. So getting to the beach is not a problem, and still it is a surprise to lots of folks from up north, there is no beach tag required on our beaches. You can walk as far as you want on the beaches, and no one will bother you.
Beyond the beaches, boating is considered fundamental to the enjoyment of life here on the coast. Carteret County is one of the best places to go boating on the east coast. We have a very long protected stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway that runs right through the county. In addition to that Beaufort Inlet and Bogue Inlet are two well marked routes from the ICW to the ocean. Just riding down Bogue Sound from Swansboro to Shackleford Banks is a beautiful trip . I often tell visitors that our real main street is the ICW. If you had rather paddle your away around, this area is great for kayaking. The waters near Beaufort, the Hammocks Beach area, Bogue Sound and the White Oak River are all wonderful places for kayaking. And those are just a few of my favorite spots.
Along with walking the beaches, kayaking, and boating comes fishing. Even some of the area drug stores sell fishing tackle, so you know that fishing is near to the hearts of many county residents and visitors. From flounder, trout, bluefish, spots, croakers, to red drum, the area is a great place to fish. Fishing is another one of those reasons to live in the county. There are few places where you can go fishing early in the morning in the ocean, catch some Spanish mackerel, clean the fish, shower and be at work by nine AM.The Crystal Coast is one of those places. If fishing from boats is not your thing, we have miles of beach for surf fishing and the Bogue Inlet pier for pier fishing.
Then of course, any place that attracts families has to have something for everyone. From the shops in Beaufort and Swansboro to Morehead City's shopping centers and Emerald Plantation in the town of Emerald Isle, there are more than enough shops for those who need some shopping time interspersed with their beach time. On top of that there are activities for the kids such as miniature golf and MacDaddy's arcade.
And when you are worn out from all the time spent enjoying our ocean playground, we have some great family owned restaurants where you can relax and enjoy the area's fantastic seafood.
This is a great time of year to get your first taste of the Crystal Coast.
You should be warned that it is possible to fall in love with the area. There is only one cure for that. You have to move here, and I am one of those who did exactly that.