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Very new to the Crystal Coast, Indian Beach, help!

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Pittsburgh...
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Very new to the Crystal Coast, Indian Beach, help!

Hello,

The wonderful travelers that frequent trip advisor have never steered me wrong in the past so I thought I'd jump in here and try to ask a few questions. I hope I'm in the correct forum. I looked at the forum for Indian Beach, and there was very little activity - nothing relatively recent.

My husband and I decided to try a NC beach this year. It was a very last minute decision; we are going for a long weekend with our 2 yr old, 10 yr old, and his parents next month. I had a tough time finding anywhere that was available and an even harder time finding anywhere that rented for a long weekend. After lots of research I found Indian Beach. I'd never heard of it before. I've heard of Emerald Isle, and always knew I wanted to visit there eventually. Is Indian Beach close to Emerald Isle? Will it basically look the same? I think NC is the only east coast state we have not yet explored. Okay, so the long and short of it is that we rented a condo on Indian Beach. I found some info online about the area, but not as much as I'd hoped for. I love unique and uncrowded beaches. I'm a huge fan of lush vegetation, nature, and wildlife. Does Indian Beach meet that criteria? Is there a good place to view dolphins, whales, turtles, or wildlife? Are there any gators in any nearby marsh areas? Is it a difficult or far trip to see the lighthouse? I am basically just looking for any information that might help me know what to expect. I'd like to spend the weekend on the beach, not in the car traveling from town to town. Any suggestions or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this! I realize it's a little all over the place. I appreciate you hanging in there!

Best Wishes!

Jessica

Chapel Hill, North...
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1. Re: Very new to the Crystal Coast, Indian Beach, help!

I think you'll like Indian Beach. I stayed at Emerald Isle for the first time not long ago. We usually stay at the southernmost NC beaches, but branched out a little. The island is lush with many areas of maritime forest. The NC Aquarium is right at Pine Knoll Shores next to Indian Beach. Be sure to go there. The kids would love it.

Getting to the lighthouse requires booking and taking a private ferry which is not hard to do, but you can't just drive up to it either. nps.gov/calo/…lighthouse-climbs.htm . I'm not sure on the wild wildlife, but you can definitely see a lot of sea critters in the Aquarium. It's always kind of hit or miss with the wildlife out in the real world so I just try to appreciate what I do see and don't go chasing down what I might not find. That said, I have seen turtles at the beach. I know a lot of folks who've seen dolphins. I've seen sharks. Never seen a whale, although if you went on a charter boat you'd stand a better chance of that. I've never seen an alligator either, but we do have them in eastern NC.

Pittsburgh...
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2. Re: Very new to the Crystal Coast, Indian Beach, help!

Thank you so much! This was incredibly helpful! I've been googling images of Indian Beach and Emerald Isle, and it looks beautiful. My husband and I were just talking about how amazing the differences in the beaches and water up and down the coast are. It sounds like we are going to love it.

Are Emerald Isle and Indian Beach pretty much the same beach? Can you walk along the beach from one to another? I am trying to understand the logistics of the area a little bit better.

I'll be sure to check out Pine Knoll and the aquarium. Thanks again for taking the time to respond!

Columbia, Maryland
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3. Re: Very new to the Crystal Coast, Indian Beach, help!

Emerald Isle is most referred to as the 21 mile long barrier island that runs east-west off the coast of NC. The island has several small towns - from west to east: Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, Salter Path, Pine Knoll Shores, Atlantic Beach. It all seems like one place. You would not know you were in different towns if it weren't for the signs. Take a look at Google maps of the island. You actually face south when looking at the ocean.

It's not hard getting around. The main road, route 58, is mostly 45mph.

The beaches are wide and uncrowded. The water is warm. It is not very commercial. Most of the shopping is in Atlantic Beach and most of the shops are beach related items.

There are the usual beach things along the island - mini golf, go carts. On the sound side you can rent skidoos, stand up paddle boards, and kayaks. There is parasailing. There are numerous places to eat.

If you like nature, there is the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. It is inexpensive. There are also nature trails at the Aquarium (no charge), but take bug spray - the mosquitos are voracious.

Ft. Macon is an interesting place to visit.

Historic Beaufort can be worth a look. Take a cruise out of Beaufort.

Viewing dolphins is a matter of luck when at the beach or if you are ocean front or have a close ocean view. Take binoculars if you have them. I believe there may be "dolphin tours" as one of the cruises. Whales? Never seen one there. Alligators? Never seen one.

You can see the Cape Lookout lighthouse but getting to it is difficult. The only way to Cape Lookout is by boat.

Keep a close watch on the 2 yr old. When in the ocean, keep him at arms length. There can be dangerous rip tides and rough surf. Or it can be calm with little rip danger. In any case, a rogue wave can come at any time and knock him off his feet and he can disappear in an instant. Tune into the local weather channel - 12 or 14 to get a report on the day's rip danger and tides. It tends to be rougher when the tides are coming in and when the wind is out of the south (blowing off the ocean).

You'll enjoy it there. Trust me. Don't try to do too much. Use common sense when in the ocean and you will be OK.

Chapel Hill, North...
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4. Re: Very new to the Crystal Coast, Indian Beach, help!

Yes, you could conceivably walk along the beach from Emerald Isle to Indian Beach, but it would be a long, long walk. It's all one island, though, and as far as I know the beach itself is pretty similar. Dave has given you good advice. Do be sure to take the kids to the aquarium and enjoy the beach. There are many other things you could do, too, but with just a long weekend I don't think you can do it all.

Columbia, Maryland
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5. Re: Very new to the Crystal Coast, Indian Beach, help!

I saw you are staying at a condo at Indian Beach, so the beach may be a bit more crowded than at an area where there are only houses.

Crowded is relative. Compared to Virgina Beach, the Jersey shore, Delaware, or Maryland beaches - it won't be crowded. Compared to some areas on the Outer Banks, it will be crowded.

Pittsburgh...
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6. Re: Very new to the Crystal Coast, Indian Beach, help!

Wow! Thank you all so much for all of the information!

We typically go to Kiawah Island in South Carolina. That is probably one of my favorite beaches - and it's empty. You walk along and see star fish in the tide pools, lots of crabs, and huge shells. There are gators galore in the marshes. There you pretty much see dolphins strand fishing every morning at a certain spot on the beach, so I figured I'd ask if there was anything like that in this part of North Carolina.

I'm sure Emerald Isle will have it's own unique feel and special quirks. The water looks like it is a beautiful color, and the beaches look very wide and clean. I am super excited. We just got back from a week at Disney less than a month ago, so I am really looking forward to just hanging out on the beach and enjoying the natural beauty for a few days. The condo is oceanfront, which is nice. We wanted to go somewhere we could drive to, but didn't want to hit Virginia Beach, Ocean City, Rohoboth, or any of the more commercialized beaches within driving distance. They are all fine and well, but I don't enjoy them as much as quieter beach trips. We thought of going to Cape May for a few days, but it tends to get fairly crowded there as well and it is harder to find beach front property on short notice. We love shelling, finding cool rocks, hiking, laying on the beach, and playing in the water. I will certainly be cognitive of the water and riptides while we are there. Thanks for the tip! I can remember how rough the water was in Hatteras Island a few years ago. We have a nice pool at the condo; we might do most of our swimming there, and most of our playing, lounging, and walking on the beach.

Thank you so much for the info on the lighthouse as well. That might be worth leaving the beach for. We will have to see what everyone wants to do. I'm always up for amazing photo opportunities! Photography is a great hobby of mine. I'm sure I will find lots of beauty to photograph while we are there.

Thank you all so much again! You have all helped to paint a good picture of what to expect. I'm sure we will have an amazing time. Who knows, maybe we will fall so in love with it that the NC coast will become our regular week long vacation spot!

Thanks again!

Jessica

Chapel Hill, North...
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7. Re: Very new to the Crystal Coast, Indian Beach, help!

For an uncrowded beach experience you might catch a ferry over to Shackleford Banks. It's a completely undeveloped natural island just a short ride from Beaufort. You may get lucky and spot the wild ponies that live there.

www.nps.gov/calo/naturescience/horses.htm

Pittsburgh...
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8. Re: Very new to the Crystal Coast, Indian Beach, help!

Awesome!

Thank you so much for the tip and the link.

9. Re: Very new to the Crystal Coast, Indian Beach, help!

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