The Atlantis Lodge is located in Pine Knoll Shores, NC, on the island of Bogue Banks. This small, quaint town, five miles west of Atlantic Beach on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast, is rich in history and home to the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, as well as the beautiful nature trails of the Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area.
Just down the road in Atlantic Beach you’ll find Hoop Pole Creek Nature Trail, the Atlantic Beach Boardwalk, and Fort Macon State Park (the 2015 North Carolina State Park of the Year).
Take some time out during your stay to visit some of the local sights and towns listed below—just a short drive can be the start of a great vacation memory.
Beaufort & Harkers Island
Beaufort, North Carolina’s fourth-oldest town, was recognized in 2012 by Budget Travel as “America’s Coolest Small Town.” There’s so much to this town—for boaters, antiquers, kids, linguists, environmentalists, history buffs, foodies, kayakers…
There’s a 12-block section of town that is on the National Register of Historic Places – you’ll see beautifully restored 18th- and 19th-century homes, explore our settlers’ perspective at the Beaufort Historic Site, and perhaps wander the Old Burying Grounds where you might hear stories of Beaufort’s most infamous resident—Blackbeard.
Explore Taylor Creek from a paddleboard or canoe; hike the nature trails and see the wild horses of the Rachel Carson Reserve; visit the fascinating NC Maritime Museum; browse the eclectic Turner Street and Front Street shops; walk the Boardwalk and pick which type of boat you’ll own someday; eat at one (or more) of the many amazing restaurants; or take a ferry across to Shackleford Banks or the Cape Lookout National Seashore. In short, you really should set aside some time in your vacation planner for a visit to Beaufort.
For more info, visit Beaufort’s website.
If you’re interested in the linguistic side of things, do yourself a favor and drive a little farther “Down East” to the town of Harkers Island where you’ll find the Cape Lookout National Seashore Visitor Center and the Core Sound Waterfowl and History Museum. Once you get there, strike up a conversation or even ask around for a true “Hoi Toider” (“High Tider”)—that’s a term for the person as well as what they speak. It’s a dialect of American English, with distinctly traceable origins in eastern and southwestern England. Harkers Islanders and other Outer Banks settlers lived in almost complete isolation for over 250 years, developing this fascinating dialect. If you’re nice you’ll just be a “dingbatter” and a “dit-dot” to them (harmless enough, they’re having a laugh at your expense), but you certainly don’t want to “mommick” anyone—they’ll show you the door!
Emerald Isle lies at the western end of Bogue Banks, and many of us remember what helped put this big little town on the map—For 20 years (1979-1999), if you loved beach music (we always have, and we always will), chances are you made the trek to the Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival to shag* on the beach, with the salt in the air, and the sand at your feet (“yeah-eah”). One patron summed it up perfectly—“20 years of music, fun, and beer.” Although we miss the festival (but not the traffic?!), Emerald Isle remains a great place to visit.
*Note to Brits & Aussies: here in the U.S., “shag” is a type of dance done to beach music. If I’m going shagging, I’m going dancing.
Catch the one that got away from someone else at the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier, ride your bike along the 4.4-mile dedicated bike trail, or visit the water park and nearby putt-putt / go-cart courses for a bit of forever-young fun. And for some spectacular views, head to the tip of the island or the high-rise bridge to watch the sunset melt into the water. Gorgeous.
For more info, visit Emerald Isle’s website.
Home of two of the biggest and exciting events in North Carolina, Morehead City provides a great mix of things to enjoy. In 2019, The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament (held in June each year) boasted a total prize purse of over $2.86M. That’ll buy a nice boat and a lot of bait. In late September this year, the North Carolina Seafood Festival celebrates its 34th Anniversary. Not only can you taste (and even cook) some amazing seafood, but you can also see great shows, hear great music, ride fun rides, and maybe even learn how to fling a flounder from Miss North Carolina.
The downtown and waterfront areas of Morehead boast dozens of boutiques and award-winning restaurants well worth visiting. Find everything from salt-water taffy to fine art; eat lunch or dinner overlooking the water; and book that deep-sea fishing or wreck diving expedition you’ve always wanted to take. Dramamine optional.
For more information, visit Morehead City’s website.