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Emerald Isle versus Outer Banks...looking for someplace new

Richmond, Virginia...
1 post
Emerald Isle versus Outer Banks...looking for someplace new

We go to Corolla in Outer Banks all the time looking for something different. We would be heading out last month in August with 4 adults 5 kis (3-11 yrs). I know nothing about Emerald Isle, but we would love to be close (walking) to a beach wide enough to play on (outer banks beaches get really narrow). Let me narrow down my question

1. What are the beaches like in EI compared to outer banks

2. Are there things to do in the evenings there (shop, miniature golf, etc..)

North Carolina
Level Contributor
1,079 posts
79 reviews
1. Re: Emerald Isle versus Outer Banks...looking for someplace new

We rented an oceanfront home in Emerald Isle two years ago and enjoyed the beach there. The waves aren't as rough, and the beaches are generally wider. Our grandchildren played there at both low and high tide. There is plenty to do in the evenings there, though you have to drive a little to reach shops, mini-golf, etc. There are some of those type of attractions in Atlantic Beach, Morehead City and Cape Carteret (there are go-carts there, just after you get off the island). That's a sweet part of the NC coast. The kids (and adults) will like the aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and Ft Macon. There is a lovely historic waterfront in Beaufort and nice shops there, too.

Bessemer City...
1 post
2. Re: Emerald Isle versus Outer Banks...looking for someplace new

Emerald Isle is an excellent family vacation beach. I highly recommend Spinnakers Reach subdivision on the South end of the island. All houses are beautiful and excellently maintained. The island has a pier, aquarium, and Fort Macon to name a few attractions.

Level Contributor
159 posts
21 reviews
3. Re: Emerald Isle versus Outer Banks...looking for someplace new

Emerald Isle is a good choice for your children's ages. There is putt- putt, movies, go carts, restaurants. Bike path for walking, skating, riding. Fishing, crabbing, surfing, paddle-boarding, kite-surfing, kayaking, boating. The beach is wide even at high tide so lots of room for playing, digging, building, flying kites, bocci ball, volley ball, skim boarding, shelling, snoozing! I always suggest a house down or off Coast Guard rd. this section of the beach is mainly houses, so people density is to your advantage. Several good companies. In alphabetical order: blue water, Emerald Isle realty and Spinnakers Reach(which is a development). Good beaching!

Level Contributor
4 posts
20 reviews
4. Re: Emerald Isle versus Outer Banks...looking for someplace new

We have vacationed both in Carolla and Emerald Isle. We are willing to drive a little longer for EI. We rented the same house for 8 of the 10 years we have come here and just bought our own place. This is a family beach destination and we prefer being closer to the west end (the bridge). We have done this with several families and we try to visit every season. There are some good restaurants

Lowes grocery store on the mainland is the best and you can pre-order your groceries and pick them up or have them delivered when you arrive. My money is on Emerald Isle over the crowds of the outer banks

Level Contributor
70 posts
29 reviews
5. Re: Emerald Isle versus Outer Banks...looking for someplace new

I would second what everyone has said about the advantages of the lovely beaches at Emerald Isle and the gentler waves. We find the Outer Banks to be much rougher in wave activity. Beaufort and Morehead City have a good choice of restaurants and we particularly enjoy the old-fashioned charm of Beaufort's marina and waterfront town. We always choose Emerald Isle over the Outer Banks as it seems calmer and more laid-back.

Level Contributor
3 posts
61 reviews
6. Re: Emerald Isle versus Outer Banks...looking for someplace new

The beach is uncrowded, family oriented, and beautiful. They are wide even at high tide with lots of sea shells. We're here in June and I find it a lot windier and rougher waves than in the Outer Banks but that could just be due to the weather maybe?!? My kids love the waves. Nice little laid back town. That being said, there is not much to do around here at all! There are a couple putt-putt golfing places, a couple very small go-kart tracks, and an aquarium. There is very little shopping or restaurants. There are a few other attractions that others have mentioned that you have to drive out of Emerald Isle to get to but none of those things appealed to my kids. I'd say most people that come here do so for the beaches-not the activities/attractions.

Columbia, Maryland
Level Contributor
2,047 posts
18 reviews
7. Re: Emerald Isle versus Outer Banks...looking for someplace new

The Island runs east west with the south facing the ocean. It is about 21 miles long with several small towns. From west to east - Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, Salter Path, Pine Knoll Shores, Atlantic Beach.

There is little shopping, mostly chains with beach stuff with most located in Atlantic Beach. There are many places to eat up and down the island. There are many other things to do. Historic Beafort is an interesting place. You can take a cruise out of Beaufort. The NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is inexpensive and worth a visit. There are nature trails at the aquarium - take bug spray. Ft. Macon is an interesting place. The water is warmer than the OBX and the surf can be anywhere from calm to rough just like the OBX. The beaches are wide. There is the usual mini golf and go carts places.

For the active there is kayaking, skidoos, and stand up paddle boarding available on the sound side. There is fishing and parasail rides. There are biking trails the length of the island.

Here's a link for a guide of things to do: emeraldisle.insiderinfo.us/things-to-do/#

Ocean front homes provide a nice relaxing place to watch and hear the ocean even if you are not inclined to go in the water. There are many 2nd row homes that have great ocean views as the are either elevated on a hill or there is a low rise house or vacant lot oceanfront across the street. You would have to look at an aerial view or Google maps view to determine what kind of view a second row house has. Generally if a second row house has real good ocean views, it has pictures showing it on the rental agency site.

The 2 main rental agencies on EI are Bluewater GMAC and Emerald Isle Realty. We have rented from both and they make things easy and we've never had any issues. Check in time is 4 PM and check out is 10 AM.

We've been going to EI for 6 years and have always enjoyed our time there. We've found it to be less expensive than the Outer Banks. Most places at EI come with sheeets and towels provided so that is less you have to lug.

United States
Level Contributor
19 posts
1 review
8. Re: Emerald Isle versus Outer Banks...looking for someplace new

You should check out Hammock Beach state park. It is on an island accessible via a low cost or free shuttle boat ride.

9. Re: Emerald Isle versus Outer Banks...looking for someplace new

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