North Carolina's Crystal Coast, also known as the Southern Outer Banks, extends from the Cape Lookout National Seashore, at its eastern-most point, to the New River. The 85-mile stretch mainly falls within Carteret County.
The Crystal Coast belonged to Native Americans until the 1800s, when settlers moved in and it became a community for fisherman and sailors. It was later developed into a resort area marketed toward families, and it has remained a family-oriented environment since then.
The Crystal Coast Name
According to the "Insiders' Guide: North Carolina's Central Coast and New Bern," the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce coined the term "Crystal Coast" to describe the area's extremely clear waters and brilliant white beaches.
The beaches of the Crystal Coast are Fort Macon, Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Indian Beach/Salter Path and Emerald Isle.
You can access the Crystal Coast beaches from NC Highway 58. Access points are marked with signs that depict an orange circle around a seagull. Access times vary from beach to beach.