Top 3 things to do in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina
|Atlantic Beach Causeway Bridge |
Atlantic Beach, North Carolina is a beach town in Carteret County, North Carolina. It is one of five communities located on Bogue Banks. Bogue Banks island is a barrier island which is 26 miles long and half mile at its widest points. Although not as well known as mega beach destinations like Ocean City, Maryland to the north, or Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to the south, it more than makes up for it by its unspoiled natural beauty.
Atlantic Beach is geared towards families and is not yet commercialized like the two above mentioned destinations. There are few chain restaurants/national retailers on the Bogue Banks. This is a blessing as it manages to keep things as natural and pristine as possible. Yes, you will find stores on the Bogue Banks, but it’s nowhere near as prevalent as those mega destinations.
My wife, yours truly, and our dog, spent the entire month of December in Atlantic Beach. We hope to share with you our top 3 attractions / things to do here!
1. The Beach!
Soon as we crossed over to Atlantic Beach via Atlantic Beach Causeway bridge, we noticed the lack of commercialization. We didn’t see McDonald’s golden arches nor billboards everywhere. It was certainly refreshing to see after visiting Ocean City, Maryland recently!
Views from Atlantic Beach Boardwalk gazebo
Once we settled in at our place, we set about our first attraction, the beach/Boardwalk area. AB Boardwalk is short (about 3 blocks). I would probably consider this the ‘main’ area. If you’re planning on meeting someone at Atlantic Beach, then this would be the easiest place to find. It’s located directly in front of the AB Causeway Bridge, so you can’t miss it.
There are volleyball courts featured prominently in front of the Boardwalk. We walked around the Boardwalk and sat down at the gazebo overlooking the beach. What a view! We took in the fresh ocean breeze for few minutes. We then walked around the area near the parking lot (West Dr / East Dr / Atlantic Blvd) where there were several shops/restaurants. Cute Christmas decorations were set up on one of the stores. Although it didn’t feel like Christmas weather (around 50 degrees), we sure appreciated the decorations!
Note: For all our dog parents, dogs are allowed on the beach as long as they’re leashed.
We enjoyed the beach during our time there immensely. During mornings, we would walk the beach to get some exercise in. We would see plenty of wildlife including seagulls, sanderlings, pelicans, etc.
Sunrises are beautiful here. We would enjoy the ever changing colors of the early dawn. There are orange, purple, yellow colors visible during sunrises. Magnificent scenery!!!
During evenings, we would marvel at beautiful sunsets. We loved how the sun would set directly in front of the beach area. In fact, due to the southerly orientation of Bogue Banks, we were able to see both sunrise and sunset from the beach area!
Tip: Vehicle access on the beach is allowed from sunup to sundown from October 1st-March 15th. You will need to purchase a vehicle access permit from either the Town Hall or online from the town’s website (http://atlanticbeach-nc.com/beach-driving-permits/)
2. Fort Macon State Park
Location of Fort Macon State Park is what distinguishes itself from most state parks. It is literally right next to Atlantic Beach on the eastern side of Bogue Banks. If you walk along the beach heading east, you’ll run right into Fort Macon State Park.
Fort Macon State Park is one of top 3 most visited state parks in North Carolina with an annual visitation of around 1.3 million, despite its small size of 424 acres. The Battle of Fort Macon was fought here in 1862. It features a fully restored fort, Ranger led tours, nature trails, and observation decks. Admission or parking fees are not charged, which is an added bonus.
There are two areas you should consider visiting.
First is the Fort Macon Beach & Historic Landmark area. As you’re driving into the park, you’ll pass the park signage on the left. Shortly after that, entrance should appear on the right. Once you park, there are two things of note:
View from the observation deck
Fort Macon State Park and Boardwalk
Elliot Coues Nature Trail
Second is the Fort Macon & the visitor center. As you exit out of Fort Macon Beach & Historic Landmark parking lot, turn right. Go all the way until the end of that road. You’ll see the fort on your left and the parking area ahead of you. There are three things of note here:
View from the Beach trail
Views from the observation deck
View of the fort
3. Oceanana Fishing Pier
Located about half mile from the AB Boardwalk, the Oceanana Fishing Pier is Atlantic Beach’s only fishing pier. It stretches nearly 1000 feet into the ocean and affords fantastic views of the surrounding areas. Sunset watching is popular, but you can’t go wrong visiting any time of the day here. You’ll see plenty of people fishing on the pier. Pier House Restaurant, at the foot of the pier is a popular local restaurant.
We’re so thankful for all the great memories at Atlantic Beach, NC.
We hope you enjoyed our top 3 attractions in Atlantic Beach. Thank you all for reading!
Wandering Money Pig
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