Wide sandy beaches, a shaded path for cyclists, runners, and strollers, and rocking chairs filled with smiling children of all ages licking ice cream piled high on a sugar cone - these are just a few of the inviting images you’ll see on Emerald isle. On the west end of Bogue Banks, Emerald Isle is the first stop off the B. Cameron Langston Bridge on Highway 58. Drive into any of the public parking areas and enjoy the clean and well-kept public accesses to the beach. Take Coast Guard Road to the end where the view of the barrier islands is breathtaking and the beach the widest, or park near the Bogue Inlet Fishing pier for a fine day of fishing or a view of the surfers on the waves.
Speaking of surfers, if you love the waves plan your visit to the Bogue Inlet Fishing pier in Emerald Isle in May to be a part of the annual Hot Wax Surf and Paddle Sports Expo. During this weekend event join the crowd to support local family-owned businesses. Enjoy a barefoot stroll on the beach while you watch the multitude of long board and stand up paddle boarders do their thing. If you stay around long enough, you’ll be rewarded by a hilarious competition with dogs and their owners.
For the locals’ favorite place to find cold and creamy refreshment, stroll to the Sweet Spot (the shop with a row of rocking chairs out front) where they always dish out generous scoops and friendly hellos. When you’re on the island, you are a convenient walking or biking distance to everything. The Emerald Plantation Shopping Center is not just the place fill up your grocery cart. Start there with a specialty coffee and fresh bagels at the Beans and Screens a.k.a. 4 J’s Coffee and Bake Shop, then meander on over to the variety of unique shops in the center where the wares range from local artwork to tourists specialties, and a whole lot more. This shopping center is home to the Emerald Plantation Cinemas, a small no-nonsense theater where you can see all the latest movies.
Next door to the movie theater is Emerald Isle Books and Toys, a place book lovers find hard to escape and were children beg to go. This family-owned and operated bookstore with its wooden floors and shelves and shelves and nooks and crannies filled with books and toys has been in operation for over twenty years. Besides the multitude of shops, theater, and bookstore, there’s food, of course. Rucker Johns is a family-oriented friendly place to find fresh, consistently delicious meals, not to mention scrumptious honey-drizzled croissants. Also, in the plaza is a local Crystal Coast pizza parlor, Michaelangelo’s Pizza, and Highway 55, Burgers, Shakes & Fries (a.k.a. Andy’s), another North Carolina favorite.