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“Boat Tour With a Boat Full of Knowledge (and fun!)”

Crystal Coast Ecotours - Private Tours
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed September 19, 2012

We took our first Eco boat tour with Jess Hawkins of Crystal Coast Ecotours last week. Everyone in our party enjoyed it (ages 9 - 72).
Jess is a very friendly and KNOWLEDGEABLE captain.
He went out of his way to make sure that our trip was everything that we wanted it to be. We left Moorehead City and learned about some of the historical points of interest on our way out. After arriving at Cape Lookout Lighthouse (which is only accessible by boat), he climbed the lighthouse with us and talked about the history of the island as well as how recent and past hurricanes have affected the island and areas around it. We admired the breathtaking views from the top! (It's a must see if you are visiting the area.)

After leaving the island, we saw the wild horses at Shackleford Island and also went shelling. He knew exactly where to go. Other "ferry" boats had already visited the island and the tide was on its way in. He knew just the right spot so that we could go shelling on a beach that hadn't been visited. We found A LOT of great shells including whelk, scotch bonnet, helmet and a many others. I couldn't tell you their names, but Jess could name all of them.

We also tried fishing. You need a fishing license to fish on Jess' boat so be prepared for that.
Our kids (ages 9 and 12) enjoyed trying to catch from one of the many schools of tuna and blue fish that we saw jumping. During our tour that day we also saw pelicans fishing, seagulls scavenging and dolphins gliding along side of our boat.

It was a great day, and the weather was perfect. To top it off, we had the best captain who was willing to do whatever we wanted to make our day the best!

I highly recommend this tour to any family or group who wants to learn more about the history of North Carolina and the Southern Outer Banks. It would be an ideal field trip for a home school family (like ours). We learned a lot of science that day...wetlands, marine life, animal life, etc, etc, etc.

Jess is very knowledgeable and loves to teach! Want to learn and have fun? Take a tour with the Crystal Coast Ecotours!

Please note that most of the pictures that we attached were of the lighthouse and surrounding areas. (We were too busy picking up shells to take pics.)

3  Thank Tina W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"captain jess"
in 105 reviews
"wild horses"
in 72 reviews
"lucky dog"
in 27 reviews
in 22 reviews
"marine biologist"
in 24 reviews
"eco tour"
in 38 reviews
"his knowledge"
in 16 reviews
"cape lookout"
in 29 reviews
"hour tour"
in 23 reviews
"saw dolphins"
in 19 reviews
"shackleford banks"
in 33 reviews
"sea turtles"
in 12 reviews
"sand dollars"
in 41 reviews
"highlight of our trip"
in 11 reviews
in 35 reviews
"crystal coast"
in 11 reviews
"an adventure"
in 6 reviews

177 - 181 of 200 reviews

Reviewed September 19, 2012

Would HIGHLY recommend a day on the water w/ Captain Jess. My husband and I as well as both sets of parents (in their 60s) enjoyed it very much. It was without a doubt one of the highlights of our week. The great thing about this tour as opposed to others I've been on is that Captain Jess is a constant fountain of information, all of it extremely interesting. I feel that the facts and information alone were well worth the price of the trip, the fact that they took place against a magnificent backdrop of scenery was an added bonus. I located the Crystal Coast Ecotours on tripadvisor as the #1 thing to do in Morehead City and after reading the reviews I decided go ahead and book a day on the water. It was not a disappointment. Our families thank you for some wonderful memories Captain Jess!!

Thank Michelle H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 1, 2012

This was our 2nd trip with Captain Jess on the “Lucky Dog”. He took us on a tour of the beautiful Crystal Coast from Morehead City to Cape Lookout. He is Great with Kids (our kids 8 yrs. to15 loved it). We all found sand dollars (alive and dead) along with a bunch of other sea life. We skipped the fishing this time so we could search for shells and check out the Wild Horses on Shackleford Banks.

Captain Jess is very informative about the area and the sea life and he keeps it interesting and entertaining for all ages.

Thank tim b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 1, 2012

I found Captain Jess Hawkins' site online, and it looked good for something to do with the family while at the beach. He did NOT disappoint! He was extremely helpful in organizing the trip long-distance by phone and email, and we are so glad to have found him. We did a half-day "shelling" trip - my husband, myself and 2 boys, almost 13; One of them did not want to go at all - had to be forced to come - "this will be boring". -Captain Jess started us off by sitting on the dock, and checking out a bucket of sea creatures - got the boys interested in what we we doing; Sea Pork is weird! Once aboard the "Lucky Dog" and out past the harbor, my "bored" son was allowed to pilot the boat! He is still taling about it! Captain Jess was able to tell us a lot about the sites we could view from the boat - history, ecology, etc. We shelled on Shackleford, and he found us some really neat species, and explained how the different creatures lived and died; told us about plants and animals we saw; ask about the wax myrtle; and encouraged the kids to ask questions and have fun. We had to climb in and out of the boat in shallow water, and the was part of the fun! We went to shore a second time to see one of the wild ponies, checked out some water fowl species, tasted a native plant; and watched crabs zoom in and out of their holes. We would have liked to spend a whole day! Both boys came home with an ice cream bucket of shells, and they remember the names of most of them! Thank you very musch for a great time! We will be back!

1  Thank fingertravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 19, 2012

One of the best Eco tours we've taken in the US/Carribean. Capt Jess is knowledgable, enthusiastic, entertaining, and respectful (to our crew AND the environment). Kids aged 5-11 and adults all had a great time. Have been to the area many times with "locals" but have never seen/enjoyed so much- wild horses, sand-dollars, horeshoe crabs, plants, konch and so much more. Went exploring, shelling, clamming, seining, and fishing. Capt Jess is very flexable but also guides you with options, tailored to you and your family as he quickly gets to know you. Highly recomend. My family will be going again next year as well as my brother's .

1  Thank luv-vaca-1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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