When it’s time to plan a trip for your family, you may be dreaming of a beach and a fruity drinks. Emerald Isle, a beachfront oasis, sits on the east coast of North Carolina. It’s one of the sea banks so the community features the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Bogue Sound on the other. It’s located on the aptly named Crystal Coast with its beautiful beach and charming sand dunes. Up and down the North Carolina coast, there are many coastal communities and beach towns with different things to offer. Here’s a list to get you started on when choosing the perfect Emerald Isle vacation rental locations.

1. Emerald Isle

Ocean Side

Choose a vacation rental in Emerald Isle on the ocean side to wake up to the smell of saltwater in the air or the sound side for the great cross breeze. While vacationing, fill your days with swimming, canoeing, biking, and exploring the sound in a kayak. Take your family to Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier to catch a fish this big followed by an afternoon of mini golf at Emerald Forest Putt-Putt. If rain interrupts your outdoor pleasures, stop by the Emerald Plantation Cinema to check out the latest blockbuster movies.

2. Indian Beach

Beach Foam

Head north up Emerald Drive to the town of Indian Beach that shares the Bogue Bank with Emerald Isle. This tiny town offer luxury condos and upscale accommodations for you to relax and unwind in comfort. You and your family can enjoy long walks on the beach or take a boat ride up the sound without a lot of tourists cramping your style. In just a few minutes, drive to the restaurants and shops in Emerald Isle.

3. Pine Knoll Shores

Heron

Rejoin the crowds and more modest accommodations when you travel north towards the beach community of Pine Knoll Shores. Take the kids to the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores to check out its large selection of sea creatures and hands-on experiences so that they can get up close and personal with water animals. Spend an afternoon navigating the self-guided nature tour at Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area to learn more about the barrier islands ecosystem and marsh habitats.

4. Atlantic Beach

Fort Macon, NC
Source: Flickr / 3.26

Atlantic Beach sits the furthest northeast on Bogue Banks. This coastal community welcomes visitors with tons of water activities and a marina where you can rent a boat, jet skis, canoes, and other water crafts. Several local charter companies take visitors out on the water and to the best fishing spots. Learn some local history at Fort Macon State Park. This unique five sided fort remains in excellent condition despite its age. In the 1700s, this fort protected the colonies from pirates and other threats.

5. Morehead City

Goggles on the sand

Leave Bogue Bank behind and cross over to the mainland on the bridge located in Atlantic Beach to Morehead City to find vacation rentals along the Intercoastal Waterway or in the center of town. Hire a charter to take you and your family out on the water to enjoy a day of swimming, snorkeling, and fishing or spend a day at the Trash and Treasures Antique Mall looking for something amazing to take home with you.

6. Beaufort

Wild Horse

Head north on 70 across the waterways to reach the community of Beaufort. Fill your days with swimming, sunning, and snorkeling in the ocean just a few steps from your vacation rental. You can start your vacation with a tour of the area with one of the Crystal Coast Lady Cruises, where you can learn more about the history of the Crystal Coast and a unique perspective of the barrier islands. Grab your camera and spend a day exploring Shackleford Banks with its herd of feral horses.

7. Broad Creek

Intercoastal waterwater

Make your way south along Highway 24 to reach the small waterside town of Broad Creek, where locals greet you with a smile and readily offer advice on things to do. Located on the Bogue Sound, you can rent a pastel colored home on the water for amazing view and easy access to boating, swimming, and diving. Check out the Carteret Community Theatre to see if they have an upcoming productions for a night on the town.

8. Bogue

Golf Course

When you choose a vacation rental in Bogue on the sound, you’re in for a week of relaxation and a slower pace of life so you can reconnect with your family. Take time out from boating, biking, and fishing to visit the local golf course. Star Hill Golf Club sits just a few minute from Bogue. This golf club has 27 holes so you can play all day or just do nine holes of golf. Let the kids spend the day at the club’s pool while you practice your swing.

9. Cape Cateret

Bowling

A little further south brings you the community of Cape Cateret with a little more hustle and bustle. After enjoying the sunshine and water sports, take your family to Mac Daddy’s with its bowling alley and arcade. This amusement center does frequent events so check their website before choosing a day to visit. You can even catch the game in the bar and grill while the kids play in the arcade.

10. Cedar Point

Pelican

Cedar Point sits just south of Cape Cateret and west of Emerald Isle. At the Cedar Point Salty Air Open Market, you can pick up fresh fruits and vegetables to prepare a healthy dinner. During your trip, take the family to the Tideland National Recreation Trail. This national recreational area offers two loops through the salt marshes and forest on a raised platform. Look out for the unique flora and fauna of this ecosystem.