History/Culture – Historic Attractions – Cultural Attractions
Emerald Isle, one of North Carolina’s coastal islands, is located on the western end of Bogue Banks. Like many barrier islands in coastal North Carolina, Emerald Isle was first occupied by Algonquin Indians from about 500 AD to colonial times. In around 1730, English whalers and fishermen settled the area.
The island was a notorious spot for piracy in the 1700s and during the Revolutionary War patriot privateers were known to operate the inlet. Captain Otway Burns, born in Swansboro, created the first steamship ever to float on North Carolina waters, bringing major national attention to the coast of NC for its naval progress. The Civil War brought an end to the prosperity of the naval trade and the major area industry became fishing.
Emerald Isle was largely uninhabited until the early 1950s when a group of seven investors purchased the thirteen miles for a total of $350,000, which was the largest ever recorded purchase made in Carteret County at that time. Emerald Isle was given its title to celebrate its large, lush emerald maritime forests that are surrounded by beautiful, sparkling waters.
One of the most unique facts about Emerald Isle’s beaches is that they are all facing south providing spectators with some of the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets to be seen. One of the most popular beach locations in Emerald Isle is “The Point” which features a panoramic view of the Atlantic, Bogue Inlet, Bogue Sound, and Bear Island. There is also a launch point available for those who would like to canoe or kayak on the crystal clear waters or venture out to explore Bear Island.
For those looking for a more private beach experience, Bear Island is a 3.5 mile long uninhabited island which can only be reached by boat. This island is a part of Hammocks Beach State Park. While the island remains secluded, the park does provide a ferry service, snack bar, and bath house for those seeking some extra comfort. There are both group and primitive campsites available for those seeking an overnight experience.
Emerald Isle is special because its beaches have largely avoided commercialism. However, for those who are not wanting to “rough it” in the wilderness, beach access is merely a block or two away at most from residential and rental homes and hotels. Emerald Isle has something to offer for everyone!
Emerald Island is famous for its unique historical background and for the unusual features of its beaches. The Isle has shared its shores and sea with Indians, pirates, and patriots. The Algonquin Indians who inhabited the Island until colonial times left remnants of their occupation behind. It is not unusual to find a piece of history, such as an arrowhead or shell tool, while strolling the beaches.
Blackbeard was said to have sailed out frequently from Teach’s Hole which is located just north of Cape Lookout, another nearby barrier island. Otway Burns is another famous feature of the area. Burns was born in Swansboro, NC and is buried in Beaufort, NC. In addition to his naval prowess, Burns was said to possess superhuman strength. It was rumored that he could knock out an ox with his fist and that he could pull a sapling out of the ground bare handed! At his burial site in neighboring local town Beaufort, NC a cannon from his privateer “The Snap Dragon” holds vigil on his grave.
Emerald Island’s southward-facing beaches not only bless visitors with spectacular sunrises and sunsets, they also provide fun and entertainment for people of all ages and with all ranges of interests. There are beaches that can only be accessed by boat for those looking for a wilderness experience and there are also beaches which are more populated and easily accessed within a block or so of most houses and hotels.
Things to do – Family Entertainment
Emerald Isle offers many exciting possibilities for family fun and entertainment. Jet Ski rentals are available in Salter Path, NC for those wanting to have some fun on the water. The Island also offers some amazing opportunities for kayakers. For those who enjoy back water kayaking, White Oak River offers an incredible view of swamp vegetation and wildlife. Those who wish to kayak in the ocean can enjoy the clear waters of the Atlantic surrounding Bear Island and Emerald Isle. Bogue Sound offers many kayaking trails for those wishing to explore tidal areas and estuaries. There are several locations in Emerald Isle, Beaufort, and Morehead City that offer kayak rentals.
There are many companies that offer exciting diving opportunities all along the coast of North Carolina. For those searching for an exciting adventure, Emerald Isle’s surrounding waters are home to many shipwrecks to explore. Frequently referred to as “The Graveyard of the Atlantic”, there are hundreds of shipwrecks off the coast of North Carolina, one of the most famous is the wreck of the German WWII submarine U-352. This submarine went down just off Emerald Isle almost completely intact. Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium, another great way to spend the day with the family, has exhibits which recreate this infamous shipwreck.
Parasailing is another highly popular activity, available by reservation, on the Island and there are ample opportunities for renting surfboards for those aching to ride the waves. Many families enjoy exploring the Island by bicycle. Downtown Emerald Isle offers a enjoyable bike path for those wanting to see the town and the Point. For those seeking a hole-in-one, there are golf courses located nearby in Cape Carteret, Swansboro, and Pine Knoll Shores. There are also several fun places for family miniature golf in the area, including Golfin’ Dolphin in Cape Carteret and Emerald Forest Putt-Putt in Emerald Isle.
Popular Places to Eat
Rucker John’s of Emerald Isle, NC offers many tantalizing treats for the palate. Their menu features everything from seafood dishes, such as their Carolina Crab Cakes, backyard classics, such as their grilled pork chops, and specialty pizzas that are sure to please. If one is looking for an exceptional dining experience whilst on the Isle, they are not to be missed!
Flipperz Family Bar and Grill offers a promising family dining experience. Their menu features tasty appetizers (like their overstuffed potato skins), a wide variety of generously portioned salads, and delicious entre options from Local Po-Boy Sandwiches to Marinated Grilled Chicken.
For those seeking a first-class dining experience, Kathryn’s Bistro and Martini Bar is the place to go. Their menu offers an exquisite variety of seafood, from spinach and crab au gratin to their she-crab and corn soup, it is hard to go wrong. They have a tempting and satisfying salad menu and their bistro specialties include everything from vegetable napoleon to salmon filet. They have a full-service bar and their martini bar features over thirty different variations to choose from. Kathryn’s is renowned as a location to dine in elegance.
Popular Places to Stay
The Islander Suites of Emerald Island, NC offer a breathtaking waterfront view. On the west, the resort overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and on the east, the resort features a spectacular view of Bogue Sound. The Islander has been voted #1 out of 4 for places to stay on the Isle by Trip Advisor. All rooms offer kitchenettes and the Islander also has amenities such as a community swimming pool, Wi-Fi internet, and daily maid service.
OceanView Inn, voted #2 out of 4 on Trip Advisor, offers a promising vacation stay. Their amenities range from cable television, wireless internet, microfridges, coffee makers, and telephones. They do not feature a swimming pool but they boast that the ocean is just steps away thanks to their beautiful location. Their rates, on average, range from $74 to $154 a night.
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