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Several years ago, my sister in law started going on a field trip to Emerald Isle with her students. They were studying the many of the lighthouses in North Carolina and this was a field trip to go see a few of them.  They went for a long weekend and spent their days exploring and learning. She always loved it. In fact, she would tell us stories of her trips and soon enough, our kids wanted to go…

This year, our son studied North Carolina in school. They studied our capital, our state bird, and the lighthouses. I learned as much as him.  So… we made it a family learning lesson and took our own trip to the Crystal Coast.

A little boy digging in the sand at sunset.
I was so excited to work with Emerald Isle Realty for today’s post!   When I was doing research before sharing the info today, I learned that Emerald Isle was given its name after a consultant was flying over it and said that it looked like a solid green gem in the middle of the ocean:   green patches of forest surrounded by the turquoise colors of the ocean & beaches.

When we arrived at our house on Crystal Coast, called “The Boathouse” Sandcastle, we knew it was perfect for us!

Here is our view from the driveway:

A picture of a long boardwalk viewed from a rocky coastline.

Well- we loved it!  We explored many areas that I wanted to share with you.


I suggest going to Emerald Isle Realty for help finding the perfect house.  They were extremely helpful.
The Boathouse is exactly what I would have picked.  Look at the beautiful decorations:

A dining room table in front of a window.

A sailboat themed lamp that is on top of a wooden table.
Even the kitchen sink has a fantastic view (just like every other window in the house!)
A view of the ocean through a window.

The kids loved the hot tub, too.
A  little girl sitting in a hot tub with the ocean in the background.
We spent a lot of time biking, which is a vacation-must for our family:

A boy sitting on his bike while looking  at a body of water.

WHERE TO GO WITH KIDS at Crystal Coast: 

We stopped by the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.   The kids loved seeing all of the animals (my favorite part was the Otter exhibit), but the kids LOVED the sharks!

Two boys sitting in front of an aquarium with two sharks swimming around.
This guy was a favorite…
A close up of a shark swimming in an aquarium.

Be sure to stop by the No. 1 National Park Beach: Cape Lookout National Seashore… 

  • Take the Island Ferry Adventures  to “Eco-Marks the Spot” shelling
  • Take the Ferry to Shackleford Banks Wild horses
  • Take the Ferry to Cape Lookout for the Famed diamond-lady lighthouse

“Old Burying Grounds” is a historic cemetery located at 400 Ann Street, Beaufort, Carteret County, North Carolina. It was established in 1724. There are approximately 200 stones from the pre- American Civil War era, amid moss-draped oaks.

“A History in Boatbuilding” at N.C. Maritime Museum at 315 Front St, Beaufort, NC 28516 It serves as the official repository for artifacts from infamous pirate Blackbeard’s flagship, The Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Take the “Beaufort Ghost Walk” learn ghastly stories of betrayal, treachery, and tragedy from the Golden Age of Piracy, Colonial and Civil War eras, and the history of the Beaufort area, including the legends of the infamous pirate Blackbeard!


  • Discover tales of Beaufort’s rich past of pirates, star-crossed lovers, and more with Beaufort Historic Site via double-decker bus.  Find more on Twitter:  @Bft_Historic
  •  Stand-up Paddle Boarding/Kayaking to the Rachel Carson Reserve
  • Enjoy wild horse encounters with Rod Howell, of Beaufort Paddle.A sandy beach next to a body of water at sunset.


• Lunch at Beaufort Grocery: experience subtle grace and charm reminiscent of a French country Bistro at America’s No. 1 Small Town

  • El’s Drive-in: “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” like the locals, eat at El’s Drive-in, famous for their Shrimp Burger and Super Burger.
  • If you want some Sweet Treats,  indulge in some ice cream and fresh fudge at The General Store and The Fudge Factory (they’re neighbors) at 515 Front Street & 400 Front Street #1, Beaufort, NC 28516
  • In the mood for a drink while you watch the water?  Enjoy the best painkiller around and take-in waterfront views of Taylor’s Creek at Front Street Grill at Stillwater; the ahi-tuna tacos are amazing.
  • We went to Amos Mosquitos for dinner.
    A group of people sitting at a table eating dinner.
    I’d say that everything on the menu was fantastic.  Thursdays are both sushi and karaoke night.  Be sure to get the S’Mores after dinner- you’ll LOVE how they serve it to you!   OH… and enjoy this view from our table:A view of vacation homes from across the marsh .
    All in all, the trip was wonderful and we all had a great time!  The chilly winter weather didn’t stop us from having a great time and enjoying the beach and all that Crystal Coast has to offer:A little girl on a beach.

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. looks beautiful! we “escape” to Steamboat Springs 🙂 not to get away from the weather, but embrace it!

  2. I never would have thought of this as a place to visit. I am adding it to my list of spring break vacations! Thank you!

    1. Seems odd since it is just more cold, but that is where my parents live and there are a lot of fun things to do in the snow!

  3. I love to go anywhere with big pune trees,and water- a favorite destination of mine.

  4. This area of NC sounds lovely! We never make it to the NC coast. We do often make it down to Bonita Springs, FL to visit my husband’s parents in the wintertime. It’s between Ft Myers and Naples with lots to do for the kids indoors and out. Plus, lots of great seafood!

  5. This past year for December, the week before Christmas, my husband & This was on my “bucket list”. We are going in May!!

  6. I like to escape to the ocean any time of year
    We go to Ocean Shores because it’s close. Of course it doesn’t matter
    I will go to the beach any day!

  7. We live in the Southern part of the country, so every day in the winter feels like a beautiful escape from the reality of winter.