We first started traveling to the Emerald Isle/Atlantic Beach area a few years ago and most recently visited in the fall. However, these photos are pretty old, from around 2013 so you’ll be seeing the area again on a future Tuesday.
While we’re in the area, we usually spend a day or two at the beach, travel to Cape Lookout, visit Beaufort which has great shops and restaurants, and eat, a lot. We have a few favorite restaurants, including Channel Marker, and usually visit it at least once per vacation. The shrimp are amazing, plus the restaurant is right on the water so it has a great view. McCurdy’s is also on the water and the food is good, but steer clear of the pasta dishes. You’re at the beach! Eat something that swims!
We’ve also stayed in a couple different places while visiting–The Islander Inn and Suites (which I think was recently rebranded into a hotel and resort), the Doubletree (which is the only mainstream hotel on the water), and more recently a condo rented through Airbnb. They all have their pros and cons, but if you can, opt for the condo because its right on the beach and you can cook some meals to save money.
It’s also a great place to take in a sunset. Something about the way the island is shaped makes it possible to see the sun set almost over the water and the land at the same time. It’s gorgeous.
Above all, just have a good time. The Atlantic Beach area is a little slower paced than the Nags Head area. It has less shops, more vegetation and more of a laid back vibe, if that’s even possible.