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Drive time Surf City to Emerald Isle

Rocky River, Ohio
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195 posts
19 reviews
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Drive time Surf City to Emerald Isle

Considering taking a side trip to Emerald Isle (or even Beaufort or Hunting Island, etc.) from our Surf City rental for a day, just for a change of pace. What is the approximate driving time, and do you think it would be worth the time spent?

Topsail Island, NC
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1. Re: Drive time Surf City to Emerald Isle

Driving straight there would take you a little over an hour, give or take depending on traffic.

On the way you would go through Swansboro, too, which has a lot of cool shops and interesting places.

Once at Emerald Isle would you just hang out there or would you want to drive that whole island? If you want to do that whole island, from Emerald Isle to Ft. Macon, you probably should leave early and make a whole day trip of it. There's lots of things to do and see including a NC Aquarium and the fort at the far end of the island.

I like that area and also like Morehead City and Beaufort. Sometimes when we do a day trip we will make a big loop getting on that island at Emerald Isle, ending up at Fort Macon, then getting off the island at Morehead City, going over to Beaufort, then driving home on the mainland. It's a long, long day but we always have fun.

Rocky River, Ohio
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195 posts
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2. Re: Drive time Surf City to Emerald Isle

I think we would make it a whole day too ... stop off at Swansboro, check out Beaufort, etc. ... I do want to spend some time on the Emerald Isle beaches, as I've never been there and am considering it for a future vacation destination. I had read about ferries that go from Emerald Isle over to some uninhabited islands for shelling, etc. -- do you know anything about those, and if we would have time, or if that would just be too much? And I really want to check out Hunting Island, but it looks like that's another 1.5 hours away ... that's probably way too much. If you know of a good place to stop for lunch, etc., I'd love to hear about it! Thanks!

Topsail Island, NC
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3. Re: Drive time Surf City to Emerald Isle

I don't know of any ferries from Emerald Isle to any uninhabited islands. It sounds like the ferry that goes from Hammocks Beach State Park to Bear Island. That is in Swansboro, before you get to Emerald Isle and is a day trip in itself. We do it once a year or so and have a lot of fun.

If you're talking about Hunting Island in Carteret County, that's just too far in my opinion. I'm thinking it is about a three hour drive just to get out to Cedar Island, then I don't know what sort of service might be available to get to Hunting Island. But don't let me discourage you if that is something you really want to do.

Washington DC...
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4. Re: Drive time Surf City to Emerald Isle

There are some options for getting over to some of the shoals to look for sand dollars.

Do a search on Sand Dollar Island and you will get some hits.

I had great luck finding shells along the inlet up beyond Fort Macon.

There is also decent shelling on Topsail if you go all the way to the South end of the island. Found a lot of sharks teeth there as well.

Also, the island just south of Topsail, Lea or "Old Topsail" is uninhabited. You could research and see if there are ways to get over there.

We used to have a boat we took down to TI with us, but haven't in years. Always found good stuff over there.

Rocky River, Ohio
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195 posts
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5. Re: Drive time Surf City to Emerald Isle

Thanks for these ideas ... I'll do a little more research and try to figure out a plan for the day. I think Hunting Island will be too far also, but the photos I've found just look so nice that I wanted to check it out. Some other time, I guess. I think the Swansboro/Emerald Isle trip will be enough for us. I certainly don't want to spend a whole day driving.

Any suggestions for a good place to rent kayaks for a day and do a bit of exploring? I don't want to do the ocean .. we'll stick to the sound where it's a little safer. Any other ideas for a side adventure??

6. Re: Drive time Surf City to Emerald Isle

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