Crystal Coast / Morehead City

North Carolina’s Crystal Coast includes the beautiful beaches of Emerald Isle and Atlantic Beach and the historic cities of Beaufort and Morehead City. The area is well-known for fishing and scuba diving. The Cape Lookout National Seashore is home to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, historic Portsmouth Village, and sandy beaches popular for shelling. Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach has a Civil War era fort to explore. Atlantic Beach also has the North Carolina Maritime Museum and a newly renovated Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

Crystal Coast diving is mostly shipwrecks and artificial reef structures. Spots are 15-40 miles from shore in open ocean near the Gulf Stream. The waters tend to be warm and clear with visibilities ranging from 50-100 feet. The most popular wrecks are ships sunk by German U-boats during World War II. The first U-boat that was sunk, known as U-352, is a very popular wreck. The wrecks offshore of Cape Lookout are in cooler waters that have lower visibilities, but this is where the sand tiger sharks hang out. The number of fish and marine life is often huge. Underwater photographers will love diving the Crystal Coast! Spearfishing and lobstering are allowed seasonally.