The Crystal Coast of North Carolina has 86 miles of beautiful beaches. Kids love the incredible land and water activities here, as well as the pirate history and free-roaming wild horses. A natural barrier island system made up of small beach communities like Emerald Isle, Pine Knoll Shores and Beaufort, it's only a three hour drive from Raleigh in North Carolina. And because there's so much space, it's never crowded - another great reason why Crystal Coast is exactly the right family vacation mood for summer 2021.
If you only do one thing during your visit to the Crystal Coast, go see the wild horses! A group of about 100 horses roam free on the shores of Shackleford Banks, living entirely off the small island. This area is only accessible by boat or ferry and the land is protected to let the wild horse population thrive.
Tip: Be sure to bring shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. You’ll get off the boat in very shallow water, then take an easy hike to get a peek at the horses. The ground is a little muddy and the shrubs are a little prickly, so flip flops are a no-go. The banks themselves are very flat and easy to navigate, so even little ones will be able to see the horses.