Things to Do in Emerald Island, North Carolina

Things to Do in Emerald Island, North Carolina
Located on North Carolina's Crystal Coast, Emerald Island is a holiday community with a tiny year-round population that is dwarfed by the crowd of summer visitors. The island is popular for good reason, as there are beautiful beaches and plenty of seaside and water-based activities to keep them busy.


The island is a good place for both inshore, pier, surf and deep water sport fishing. Among the local fish to catch are speckled trout, redfish, flounder, tuna, blue marlin and mackerel. A North Carolina Coastal Recreational Fishing License is required to engage in these activities, and it can be obtained for a small fee.

Bike Rides

Scenic and mostly flat, Emerald Island is a good place to take a cruiser-style bicycle out for a spin. These are available for rent at a number of local bike and tourist shops. Ocean Drive and the dedicated bike paths are perfect for a nice, relaxing trip.

Swimming and Surfing

The tides and surf around Emerald Island can be quite rough, so much so that the area around that part of the island, called "The Point," should not be swum at all. However, most of the island's other beaches are suitable for boogie boarding and body surfing.

Sea Kayaking

Sea kayaks for rent, group tours and kayaking classes are all available just across the inshore waterways and on the mainland. These trips include the waters off Emerald Island, plus the surrounding barrier island area, covering creeks, tidal marshes, inshore waterways and open sea.

Barrier Island Kayaks
160 Cedar Point Blvd.
Swansboro, NC 28584
(252) 393-6457

Scuba Diving

There are a handful of scuba diving operations exploring the depths off Emerald Island. The local waters are the habitat of the sand tiger shark, a big and impressive-looking shark that is nonaggressive and harmless to humans. The North Carolina coastline, including the stretch within a diving day trip's distance of Emerald Island, has been nicknamed "The Graveyard of the Atlantic" for the sheer number of wrecks there. These include gunboats, submarines, fishing boats, freighters and tankers. Dives are offered in a range of difficulty from open water to technical diving.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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