Planning a reunion is never a simple task, but if your family has diverse interests the process might seem even more challenging. In fact, many planners spend so much time stressing about how to satisfy everyone that they forget why they wanted to hold a reunion in the first place. Luckily for you, there’s an easy way to avoid planning headaches and guarantee that your reunion is a success in everyone’s book: Host your gathering on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast.
Why choose the Crystal Coast?
Stretching for more than 85 miles along the Atlantic Ocean on North Carolina’s central shore, the Crystal Coast encompasses eleven distinct regions that include breathtaking shores, charming towns and everything in-between. With hundreds of events and activities that are each more unique and enthralling than the last, the dreamy Crystal Coast is the perfect getaway for families. Whether your relatives want a classic beach vacation, physical activity, sights to see or elegant nights on the town, the Crystal Coast promises to deliver the reunion of everyone’s dreams.
What can my family do on the Crystal Coast?
While lounging on pristine beaches and splashing around in crystalline waves might be paradise in and of itself, the Crystal Coast has a few tricks up its sleeves that will take your ocean reunion from ordinary to extraordinary.
- Bogue Sound and Core Sound. Embark on classic seaside adventures like kayaking, fishing and paddle boarding on the beautiful waters of these Atlantic Ocean channels.
- Cape Lookout National Seashore. These barrier islands are only accessible by boat, but the short journey is well worth the trip. Enjoy beach activities like shelling, fishing and birding, then take a self-guided tour of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse and take in panoramic views from the top. Before returning to the mainland, stop by Shackleford Banks to catch a glimpse of the Cape’s wild horses.
- Rachel Carson Reserve. Interested in birds? As home to a diverse array of coastal habitats such as salt marshes, tidal flats, sand dunes and maritime forests, this reserve provides the perfect opportunity to do some birding and learn about the natural side of the Carolinas.
- North Carolina Aquarium. This state-of-the-art aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores gives your family the chance to interact with hundreds of creatures who call the Crystal Coast home. Must-see exhibits include a rare white sea turtle, a stingray petting station and a living shipwreck.
Crystal Coast Dining
The South has always been famous for serving up delicious comfort food and the Crystal Coast is no exception to this rule. No trip is complete without stopping to grab a bite at family-owned, sea-to-table restaurants like The Ruddy Duck Tavern, Old Salt, SoundSide Restaurant and other eateries that participate in the Crystal Coast’s Carteret Catch – a sustainable seafood program that preserves the area’s fishing communities and guarantees that all the seafood dinners at your reunion are as fresh as can be.
The Crystal Coast also offers a variety of seasonal culinary festivals that are nothing short of foodie paradise. In February, Morehead City hosts the Carolina Chocolate Festival, which has chocolate-filled activities for families, various chocolate tastings and even a chocolate spa! Visiting in the spring? Make your way over to the Beaufort Wine and Food Festival, where your family can sample a variety of wines, beers and snacks and browse the works of local artists. There’s also the annual Clam and Scallop Festival, which offers amazing, fresh seafood for the family to enjoy. If you decide to hold your reunion during the fall, be sure to check out the North Carolina Seafood Festival. Here, you and your family can enjoy live blues music and savory bites while learning about the fishing industry and sea creatures that are indigenous to North Carolina.
Where should we stay?
The Crystal Coast offers a wide variety of lodging options, which guarantees your family will have a comfortable and enjoyable stay no matter your budget. Kick back and relax at a waterfront hotel or save cash by spending a few nights at a more modest inn. Want to live like a local? Rent a beachside cottage and fall asleep to soothing ocean sounds or bask in the luxury of the Crystal Coast’s historical bed and breakfasts. If your family is outdoorsy or simply in the mood for adventure, pitch a tent right on Cape Lookout National Seashore and dream beneath the stars.
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So, how do we get there?
How your family gets to the Crystal Coast will vary depending on which particular region you decide is right for your reunion. However, no matter where you choose to stay, getting your family to the Crystal Coast is easy and efficient. For those interested in driving, the Crystal Coast is just under three hours southeast of Raleigh, North Carolina and is accessed by U.S. 70. If your family would rather hop on a flight, Coastal Carolina Regional Airport is only 45 minutes from the southernmost point of the Crystal Coast and provides flights through Delta and American Airlines.
Need a little help?
The Crystal Coast Tourism Authority is more than happy to help answer questions you might have about your future stay. Contact them at www.crystalcoastnc.org for further information.
Planning a family reunion isn’t always an easy process, but the Crystal Coast is ready and willing to help you pull off your gathering. With its gorgeous views, mouth-watering foods, exceptional lodging and plethora of activities, this North Carolina gem is sure to wow your entire family and leave them talking about the reunion for years to come.