82 Amazing Things To Do In Atlantic Beach, NC (Eat, Stay, Play)

Atlantic Beach Sunset NC

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Atlantic Beach is one of my favorite beaches to visit in North Carolina because of its quaint charm, calm waters, and uncrowded beaches.

It’s located about 2 1/2 hours from Raleigh on the island of Bogue Banks. It’s part of the 85 mile stretch of beaches that make up the Crystal Coast.

When visiting Atlantic Beach, I’ve had a hard time finding all the information about where to eat, stay, and play located in one place, so I compiled this guide for you. 

I hope it helps you plan a memorable vacation!


Fun Things To Do In Atlantic Beach, NC

1 – Play At The Beach

Atlantic Beach NC
Atlantic Beach, NC

As you can see in the picture above, Atlantic Beach isn’t very crowded. This picture was taken in May, so you can expect a few more people in the summer.

It’s fun to just sit and soak in the rays, but the following games will help you enjoy the sand and sea:

Make sure to bring all the important beach items on your trip so you can make the most of your vacay. Here is a list of the most important things to bring to the beach.

     Read MoreThe Ultimate Beach Packing List
     Read More22 Cool Things To Do In Ocean Isle Beach, NC

Atlantic Beach has several public access points with parking. Check the current parking schedule and rates HERE.

Spikeball Beach Game

TidalBall Beach Game

2 – Enjoy the Sunrise and Sunset

Sunrise Atlantic Beach NC
Sunrise over Atlantic Beach NC

One of the magical things about Atlantic Beach is that you can see a sunrise on one side of the island and a sunset on the other.

There are actually a few times in the year where you can see a sunset over the ocean. I know that seems impossible, but here’s an article that explains the science behind it.

I strongly suggest getting up early in the morning to photograph the sunrise. You’ll likely have the beach to yourself.

3 – Hunt For Seashells

Different types of seashells found at Atlantic Beach

Atlantic Beach is a fantastic place to hunt for seashells. Above are some of the many shells I found on my last visit. I even found a rare Scotch Bonnet. SCORE!

The best way to find great shells is to go at low tide and look for shell beds. Take time to sit and patiently look through the shells. Be sure to look at the water’s edge and even in the water. (Read more about my shelling tips HERE.)

To find my awesome shell stash, I drove to the first beach access in Fort Macon State Park early in the morning at low tide and walked down the beach to the left until I found shell beds.

Here’s a link to the website I used to find low tide on Atlantic Beach.

Below is my prized Scotch Bonnet. It was waiting for me, early in the morning, along with many other gorgeous shells like a Baby’s Ear, Lettered Olive, Jewel Box, and more.

Oh, Scotch Bonnet, how I love you!

Scotch Bonnet on Atlantic Beach Shelling NC
Kristen's Scotch prized Bonnet

Here’s my favorite shell collecting bag that I take to every beach:

Seashell Collecting Bag

4 – Visit Fort Macon State Park

My husband and I loved taking our kids to Fort Macon State Park when they were growing up. It’s a restored Antebellum-era fort with cannon and musket demonstrations and guided tours.

It is located on the east end of Atlantic Beach, with the ocean on one side and the sound and salt marshes on the other. It’s a gorgeous area.

It has two different places to access the beach as well as beautiful walking trails.

Check their website HERE for current tours and demonstrations.

5 – Take A Jet Ski Tour

Take a 2.5 hour guided jet ski tour to Cape Lookout Lighthouse and also island hop in the area. You’ll most likely get to see the wild ponies as well as pick up several untouched conch shells.

Or, you rent jet skis by the hour to explore the sound. Rentals are available at AB WaterSport.

6 – Rent A Pontoon Boat

Rent a pontoon boat to cruise the Crystal Coast from AB Water Sports.  

You can choose to visit nearby islands, go fishing, hunt for seashells, or find a private beach for swimming.

7 – Paddleboard or Kayak The Sound

Take a paddling tour with Beaufort Paddle to The Rachel Carson Reserve, Bird Shoals, or along the historic Beaufort Waterfront.

My daughter and I learned to paddleboard a few years ago on one of their fantastic tours, and I’ve been crazy about paddleboarding ever since.

You can also rent paddleboards and kayaks to paddle on your own from AB Watersports. 

8 – Go Skydiving

Go skydiving to enjoy breathtaking views of the Crystal Coast and possibly see dolphins playing in the water and wild horses on Shackleford Banks.

Crystal Coast Skydiving offers tandem skydiving where the student is attached to the instructor. You’ll get to enjoy 30 seconds of freefall with lots of wind in your face and then about 5 minutes of canopy flight.

9 – Fish The Sound And Sea

If you love fishing, Atlantic Beach is a fabulous place to visit!

You can fish the sound, backwaters, creeks or go bottom fishing and trolling in the ocean.

Some of the fish you can catch at Atlantic Beach include tuna, marlin, mackerel, sailfish, mahi-mahi, and dolphin.

Below are the top places to book a fishing charter near Atlantic Beach:

10 – Parasail Over The Blue Ocean

Parasailing Atlantic Beach, NC

Parasailing in Atlantic Beach gives you the opportunity to see aerial views of amazing local sights.

Depending on your tour, you may be able to see Cape Lookout lighthouse, Fort Macon National Park, Shackleford Banks, Carrot Island, awesome sea creatures, tidal pools and wild horses in the area.

The following companies offer parasailing in the Atlantic Beach area:

11 – Bike Ride Around Town (And On The Beach)

Nothing enhances a beach vacation like riding your bike along the ocean’s shore or through a lazy beach town.

Atlantic Beach has several loops for walking or biking. Read more about their trails HERE

And if you want to venture to the Emerald Isle side of the island, the Friends of the Path trail is 11 miles long from Indian Beach to The Point at Bogue Inlet.

Here are three places to rent a bike near Atlantic Beach:

12 – Rent A Scooter

What better way to enjoy the beach scenery than with the sun on your face and the wind in your hair. 

You can rent a scooter for an hour, the day, or even overnight from Beachside Bikes.

13 – Go Camping

There are several ways to enjoy camping near Atlantic Beach. You can stay in a cabin, pitch a tent, or bring your RV.

Below are the best camping spots in the Atlantic Beach area:

  • Beaufort Waterway RV Park – This RV park is in a beautiful location on the sound.  It has a boat ramp, fishing pier, boat storage, Wi-Fi, and a bathhouse.
  • Cape Lookout Cabins & Camps – Rent a rustic cabin on Cape Lookout or South Core Banks right on the shore. All of these cabins have a private bathroom, tables, chairs, kitchen, and hot water. Some cabins have a generator hook-up, but you will need to bring your own generator. Year-round camping is available on all the Cape Lookout National Seashore Islands, and Vehicle Camping is allowed on North and South Core Banks.
  • Cape Pointe Marina – Located on Harker’s Island and offers RV sites, a boat ramp, and fishing supplies.
  • Goose Creek RV Resort & Camping Resort – Located on the Bogue Sound, you can bring your RV or tent camp here. Pets are allowed, and amenities include a swimming pool, clubhouse, basketball, dog park, playground, and more.
  • Waters Edge RV Park – This RV Park is situated on the Bogue Sound and has a pier, bath House, WiFi, and is pet friendly.

Atlantic Beach, NC Decal

14 – Ride the Waves of the Ocean

Surf Lessons Atlantic Beach, NC

Take a surfing lesson or hit a local surf shop to purchase or rent surfing equipment.

The following shops will provide you with anything you need to ride the waves at Atlantic Beach:

  • AB Surf Shop – Offers private and group surfing lessons. They also have surfboard rentals and anything else you’d need to surf.
  • Marsh’s Surf Shop – Find your surf gear here or sign up for one of their surfing summer camps taught by a professional surfer.
Here’s a link to the surf report for Atlantic Beach.

15 – Go Shopping

Atlantic Beach has several fun shopping spots, whether you’re looking for groceries, gifts, beach toys, or souvenirs.

Here are a few of my top picks for you:

  • Atlantic Station Shopping Center –  Has a Food Lion, ice cream and candy shop, coffee shop, ACE Hardware, laser tag, and several restaurants. It’s close to Hoop Pole Creek Nature Trail as well, so you can grab an ice cream and go for a scenic walk.
  • Island Traders Atlantic Beach – This beach shop carries all the best brands of beach clothing, including Atlantic Drift, Costa, and Reef.
  • Paradise Beach Shop – This must-visit store sells beach apparel, souvenirs, body art, surfboards, skateboards, and so much more. You’ll love the vibe here!
  • AB Surf Shop – You’ll find much more than surf items here; they also sell shoes, sunglasses, beach apparel, and souvenirs.
  • Davis Beachwear – Offers high-end boutique clothing, gifts, and ice cream.
  • Ernie’s Gift World – Located in the Atlantic Station Shopping Center, and is a great place to find beachy gifts, souvenirs, and decor.
  • Coastal Crafts Plus is a great place for local gifts, decor, artwork, lamps, coasters, toys, and crafts.
  • The Posh Pelican – This upscale boutique offers a team of stylists that will help you find the perfect swimwear, apparel, or gift. 
  • Kites Unlimited & Bird Stuff is a Delightful store that sells kites, puzzles, games, flags, bird feeders, and more.
  • Island Produce – Quaint shop that sells local produce, jams, coffee, lemonade, and ice cream. 
  • Beach Book Mart – This charming book store is located in Atlantic Station Shopping Center and has a helpful staff available to find the perfect beach read for you.
  • Wings – What beach trip would be complete without a trip to a Wings where you can find all the beach clothing and souvenirs necessary for your beach vacay.
  • Atlantic Beach Seafood and Fresh Market – Not only can you get a wonderful seafood meal here, but you can also purchase local seafood to take home and cook. Their seafood pots are really popular. They will cook it for you, or you can take and cook yourself. They also sell all the seafood spices you might need for the perfect meal.

16 – Fish From Oceanana Pier (Or just enjoy the views)

Oceanana Pier Atlantic Beach, NC
Photo Cred - Oceanana Pier

Walk out on the pier for free and enjoy the views, or bring your pole and try your luck at fishing. 

The Oceanana Pier extends 1,000 feet into the water and has a restaurant that features fresh seafood called the Pier House Restaurant.

17 – Take A Stroll On The Atlantic Beach Boardwalk

This small, yet charming boardwalk offers beautiful views of the ocean and has playgrounds, volleyball courts, and outdoor showers.

Enjoy dinner at one of the nearby restaurants and then go for an evening stroll on the boardwalk.

18 – Test Your Tactical Skills At Battle Works

Battle Works Atlantic Beach NC

If you can’t go to the beach on a rainy day, play laser tag or try your hand at axe throwing.

Battle Works has an awesome arena and lifelike equipment. And did I mention you can also have a nerf battle here? So cool!

19 – Go Outdoor Adventuring At The AB Town Park

Atlantic Beach Skate Park & mini golf NC
Photo Cred - AB Town Park

The AB Town Park offers a splash pad, mini-golf course, basketball court, large skatepark, picnic shelter, concession stand & public restrooms.

You can visit the park for free or pay to play mini-golf. It’s a beautifully maintained park, and you’re sure to find something fun for everyone in the family.

20 – Catch A Movie

If you need a break from the sun, catch a movie at Atlantic Station Cinema. It offers 4 different screens, and patrons love the popcorn.

It’s close to several great restaurants like Table 9 Seafood and Michaelangelo’s Pizza if you want to plan a fun dinner and movie night.

21 – Take a Hike Through A Maritime Forest

The Hoop Pole Creek Nature Trail is located next to Atlantic Station Shopping Center. This makes it easy to grab an ice cream or coffee and go for a beautiful walk.

The trail is a mile-long round trip hike through a maritime forest. It’s a mixture of boardwalks and paved trails. It takes you to a salt marsh and estuary where the Hoop Pole Creek flows into the Bogue Sound. 

Pro tip –  bring bug spray if you visit in the summer. 

22 – Go Scuba Diving

North Carolina has thousands of shipwrecks dating back to the 1500s, which attracts scuba divers worldwide.

Popular dive sites include the U-352, the Spar, the Aeolus, the Caribsea, the Rock Pile, and the Radio Island Jetty.

This webpage gives a great overview of the 8 dive best dive sites in North Carolina.

Scuba Diving Companies in the Atlantic Beach area include:

Create A Castle

Seashells of Georgia and the Carolinas

23 – Visit An Aquarium

The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores has a lot to offer, including touch tanks, a nature path, and a playground.

The aquarium has all kinds of marine life, including stingrays, starfish, sharks, and sea turtles. But there are also wonderful exhibits with eagles, snakes, lizards, and more.

When you’re finished enjoying the critters, stop at Dairy Cream for a treat. It’s in the same building as the aquarium.

24 – Go Golfing

If you want to play golf near Atlantic Beach but don’t want to pay for a membership, check out the two options below.

25 – Visit Nearby Sights

There’s plenty to do in Atlantic Beach, but if you’d like to venture out, here are some great choices:

  • Beaufort, NC – Charming town along the waterfront with fantastic dining and shopping opportunities. Beaufort has been called “the coolest small town in America.”
  • Cape Lookout – Take a ferry to Cape Lookout to see the lighthouse, hunt for shells, go fishing, or to just enjoy the secluded beaches. You can bring your 4 wheel drive to Cape Lookout to explore the beach. Just be sure to get a permit first.
  • Shackleford Banks – This is another island only accessible by ferry. It is known for its wild horses and wonderful shelling. 
  • Sand Dollar Island – I loved visiting this island years ago. You reach it by taking a ferry when the tide is low. It was shocking how many sand dollars there were (dead & alive). It can be crowded so try to go on a weekday.

Best Places To Eat In Atlantic Beach, NC

Atlantic beach is a quiet, sleepy town, but there are no shortages of great places to eat. The following are the top-rated restaurants in the area.

Seafood Restaurants In Atlantic Beach, NC

26 – Amos Mosquito’s

Amos Mosquito's Seafood Restaurant Atlantic Beach NC
Photo cred - Amos Mostquito's

If you ask anyone familiar with Atlantic Beach what the best restaurant in the area is, Amos Mosquito’s will likely be the answer.

Amos Mosquito’s offers cozy dining overlooking the water. They offer mostly seafood but include chicken and steak on the menu.

They also offer sushi on Thursday nights.

Pro-tip: Get there early as they can be very busy. Consider arriving 15 minutes before they open.

You can view their menu HERE.

27 – The Island Grille

The Island Grill Cafe Atlantic Beach Seafood, NC
Island Grill Seafood Restaurant Atlantic Beach, NC
The Island Grill Atlantic Beach NC

My friend got us reservations at her favorite restaurant, Island Grill, on our recent Atlantic Beach trip.

The Island Grill features fresh-caught seafood, amazing appetizers, fantastic cocktails, and desserts to die for. Above is the Yellowfin Tuna and Flourless Chocolate Torte.

The restaurant is cozy, friendly, and inviting. When we sang Happy Birthday to one of the ladies in our group, the whole restaurant joined in. After dinner, we walked across the street to the beach to enjoy the sunset.

You can view their menu HERE.

28 – Oceanana Pier & Pier House Restaurant

The Oceanana Pier offers a motel, restaurant, bar, and fishing pier that sells bait, tackle, and refreshments.

For breakfast, try their omelets with a Mimosa or Bloody Mary.

Their dinner menu features fresh-caught seafood at market prices. Enjoy it with a cocktail as they are known for their refreshing mixed drinks.

Pro tip – After your meal, enjoy a stroll on the pier.

You can view their menu HERE.

29 – Atlantic Beach Seafood and Fresh Market

Atlantic Beach Seafood and Fresh Market NC

If you’re looking for the best fresh-caught seafood to cook for your crowd, Atlantic Beach Seafood and Fresh Market is the place to go. 

Along with fantastic seafood, they offer ready-made meals, side dishes, wine, beer, homemade pies, spices, and so much more.

Pro tip – You can purchase their Seafood Steamer Pot cooked or ready for you to cook. They get rave reviews, along with their hushpuppies and fresh-made pies.

30 – Table 9 Seafood Restaurant

Table 9 is an upscale restaurant known for its fantastic seafood – like Crab-Stuffed Mahi, Blackened Shrimp, or Seared Sea Scallops.

You can’t go wrong with any of the menu items; the food and service are both excellent.

Pro tip – they’re closed on Monday and do not accept reservations.

You can find their menu HERE.

31 – On The rocks

On The Rocks may not be the most extravagant restaurant on the island, but they have reasonable prices, good food, and generous portions.

You can get casual food like hamburgers, salads, sandwiches, wings, or fancier fare like seafood and steak.

Pro tip – They have live music Wednesday through Saturday and they don’t accept reservations.

You can find their menu HERE.

32 – Full Moon Oyster Bar

The Full Moon Oyster Bar features fresh-caught seafood in a welcoming atmosphere. They have several locations in North Carolina and have won the Best Seafood Award from Restaurant Guru.

Try the Full Moon entree, which feeds 2 and comes with crab legs, shrimp, scallops, clams, and oysters.

Pro tip – They are closed on Sunday.

You can find their menu HERE.

33 – The Shark Shack

Be prepared for a long line here!

The Shark Shack shines at having tasty and affordable seafood with an enjoyable outdoor dining experience.

You stand in line to order and then dine at one of the outdoor picnic tables, but you can play corn hole and other games while you wait.

Pro tip – Be sure to try their homemade tartar sauce. Word is they are amazing.

You can find their menu HERE.

American Restaurants In Atlantic Beach, NC

34 – The Banks Grill

The Banks Grill Atlantic Beach NC
The Banks Grill Best Breakfast Atlantic Beach, NC

My friends and I went here on recommendation from our hotel and enjoyed it.

There can be a bit of a wait, but the food was delicious and affordable. We ordered omelets, breakfast potatoes, oatmeal, and homemade doughnuts. 

Pro tips – The Banks Grill is only open for breakfast and lunch and is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And the bacon is to die for. Don’t pass on it.

You can find their menu HERE.

35 – Bahia Beach House & Surf Bar

The Bahia Beach House & Surf Bar has an upscale coastal beach-house feel. They serve burgers, salads, seafood, and tacos with rave reviews.

Must-try items include Calamari, Salted Chocolate Cake, Trigger Fish Sandwich, and Seafood Enchiladas.

Pro tip – You can make reservations online for their dining room or patio.

You can find their menu HERE.

36 – 4 Corners Diner

The 4 Corners Diner is a trendy spot for breakfast and lunch. They’re known for their generous portions and great prices.

For instance, they have sandwiches for around $5.00 and seafood plates under $20 (a rare find on the island).

They also serve pancakes, waffles, hot subs, and omelets.

You can find their menu HERE.

37 – Beaufort Grocery

Beaufort Grocery, another recommendation from our hotel, has been around for over 30 years and is considered a gem by locals and tourists.

They serve salad and sandwiches for lunch, and more upscale fare for dinner like New York Strip Steak, Roasted Rack of Lamb, and Orange Duck.

They also have a lovely brunch on Sundays. 

You can find their menu HERE.

38 – Boardwalk Bagel & delicatessen

Boardwalk Bagel & Delicatessen is known to have the best bagels around. They open early for breakfast and close around dinner time.

They have a vast array of breakfast and sandwich items. Their menu includes pancakes, a burrito bar, hamburgers, and an endless assortment of sandwiches.

Many people like to pick up their orders and head straight to the beach.

You can find their menu HERE.

39 – Monkey Bar & Grill

Open for lunch and dinner, Monkey Bar & Grill has reasonably priced hamburgers, sandwiches, and seafood.

This is a great place to hang out and enjoy a craft beer or fabulous cocktail with your dinner.

Pro tip – Monkey Bar & Grill is closed on Tuesdays.

40 – Tight Lines Pub & Brewing Company

Tight Lines Pub offers upscale pub food and an impressive beer menu.

Items to try include, Nachos, the Crab Cake Dinner, the Salted Caramel Brownie, and the Bogue Sound Bound Watermelon Beer.

They allow dogs in their outdoor dining area and sometimes feature live music.

You can view their menu HERE.

41 – Atlantic Beach Coffee Company

Atlantic Beach Coffee Breakfast Atlantic Beach NC

Atlantic Beach Coffee Company is famous for its heavenly cinnamon rolls and incredible coffee. 

You’ll find plenty of other baked goods to satisfy your palette, but seriously, don’t miss out on the cinnamon rolls.

Pro tip – Grab a cup of coffee and walk the nearby Hoop Pole Creek Nature Trail.

42 – Grumpy’s

This old-fashioned diner features southern comfort food like Biscuits & Gravy, Corned Beef Hash, Grits, and Pancakes.

They have mostly breakfast items on the menu but are open until 12:30 PM.

Pro tipGrumpy’s is closed on Mondays.

You can find their menu HERE.

Italian Restaurants In Atlantic Beach, NC

43 – Roma Pizza & Subs

Roma Pizza & Subs is the place to go if you’re itching for a New York-style pizza during your beach trip. The crust has a nice crunch, and the tomatoes sauce has a burst of flavor.

Single slices are huge, and they also have fantastic Spaghetti & Meatballs, Calzones,  and Cheesesteak subs.

Pro tip – They don’t serve single slices after 5 PM, and the Garlic Cheese Bread is to die for.

44 – Michaelangelo’s Pizza

Michaelangelo’s Pizza is another great place to go if you like New York-style pizza.

This joint serves huge slices of pizza and is also known for its garlic knots, wings, gluten-free pizza, subs, and carrot cake.

You can view their menu HERE.

45 – Venice Italian Kitchen & Delicatessen

Another recommendation from our hotel staff, Venice Italian Kitchen & Delicatessen, is a quaint, authentic Italian restaurant that’s been on Atlantic Beach for decades.

Locals and visitors rave about this being the best Italian food they’ve tried, and some customers travel for miles to partake of their tasty offerings.

Popular dishes include the Eggplant Parmesan, Lasagne, Angus Steak Burger, Cheese Bread, and the White Clam Sauce over Linguini.

If you can’t decide from the many fantastic menu options, get the Papa O’s Platter which comes with three of their most popular dishes – Lasagne, Manicotti, and Ravioli. 

Pro tip – This restaurant is cash only and also serves breakfast.

You can view their menu HERE.

Mexican Restaurants In Atlantic Beach, NC

46 – El Zarape Mexican Restaurant

El Zarape Mexican Restaurant offers tasty Mexican cuisine at reasonable prices. They’ve been in business for decades and have several locations.

Favorite dishes include the Fish Tacos, Carne Asada, and Chimichangas. But beware of the spice level as some of their dishes tend to be hot.

Pro tips – Order their tasty salsa online HERE.

You can view their menu HERE.

Sweet Treats In Atlantic Beach, NC

47 – AB Ice Cream & Candy Shoppe

Atlantic Beach Ice Cream and Candy Shop Atlantic Beach, NC
Photo Cred- AB Ice Cream and Candy Shop

This quaint little shop has friendly service and a variety of delectable ice cream and fudge flavors on the menu.

Tasty ice cream flavors include Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle and Key Lime Pie.

You can also get shakes, banana splits, and smoothies.

Pro tipAB Ice Cream & Candy Shoppe has benches out front to enjoy your delectable treats.

Cupcake Decorating Kit

Cupcake Decorating Kit

48 – Silverline Candy Shop

Silverline Candy Shop offers candy on one side of their store and jewelry and gifts on the other. 

Treats include salted caramels, chocolate-dipped pretzels, fudge, and ice cream.

They sell jewelry and gifts made by local artisans that use upcycled and recycled materials.

49 – Sunset Slush Of Atlantic Beach

Sunset Slush sells Italian ice known for its unique flavor and texture. It has been called “designer ice” and is low-calorie, gluten-free, and dairy-free.

Popular flavor combinations include Hubba Bubba Peach, Chocolate Covered Strawberry, Lemon Spritzer, and Darth Vador (black cherry & rootbeer).

There are several Sunset Slush locations in North Carolina, and you can even purchase a franchise.

50 – Sugarloaf Island Bakery

If you’re like me and love pastries, don’t miss out on Sugarloaf Island Bakery. People swear by their delectable treats, some even claiming they’re the best pastries they’ve had.

Pastries you can get there include Vanilla Bean Cheesecake, Ham and Cheese Croissants, Eclairs, and Key Lime pie.

And don’t miss out on their flaky, delectable cinnamon rolls. They usually sell out by 11 AM.

Pro tip – They are open every day from 8 AM to 5 PM and are closed on  Sunday and Monday.

51 – Happy Cakes Cupcakery

HappyCakes Cupcakery in Atlantic Beach, NC

If you’re a fan of Cupcake Wars on the Food Network channel, you’ll be excited to know that HappyCakes Cupcakery were winners in 2013.

They sell delightful flavors like Chocolate Tuxedo, Oreo Overload, Pina Colada, and Fluffernutter.

And don’t miss out on their giant cookies, cake, and coffee.

You can view their cupcake flavors HERE.

52 – Simply Natural Creamery Morehead City

If you’re craving homemade ice cream or a delicious milkshake, Simply Natural Creamery is your go-to stop. Their ice cream is made from Jersey cow milk which has a higher butterfat content producing a rich, creamy flavor.

With ice cream flavors like Strawberry Cheesecake, Toasted Coconut, and Dark Chocolate, you can’t go wrong.

They have three locations in North Carolina and also sell milk and butter.

You can view their ice cream flavors HERE.

Drinks In Atlantic Beach, NC


53 – Tackle Box Tavern

Tackle Box Tavern Atlantic Beach Bars NC
Photo-cred - Tackle Box Tavern

What could be better than enjoying a cold drink on the oceanfront while listening to live music with your friends? That’s what you’ll get at Tackle Box Tavern.

They have indoor and outdoor seating, live music on weekends, and are dog friendly.

Pro tips – Pay attention to where you park so you don’t get a ticket and know that the bar is cash only.

54 – The Growler Bar Atlantic Beach

Some people claim that The Growler is the coolest bar in Atlantic Beach.

With over 20 beers on tap that change on a rotating basis plus a great selection of bottled beer, I think you’ll agree.

Pro tips – The Growler has live music on the weekend and is dog-friendly.

55 – Tipsy Turtle Tavern

The Tipsy Turtle Tavern may be small on the inside, but it makes up for it with a large outdoor space often featuring live music.

You can get beer, cocktails, hard liquor, and wine, and they don’t mind if you bring in outside food.

Pro tip – Bring bug spray if you plan to drink and dance outdoors to the music. The Tipsy Turtle is on the sound, and although the views are beautiful, there can be bugs.


56 – Crystal Coast Brewing Company

Atlantic Beach Bars Crystal Coast Brewing Company NC
Photo cred - Crystal Coast Brewing Company

Crystal Coast Brewing Company is housed in a large, modern, and comfortable space.

They have plenty of seating options, including tables and couches to relax in while you enjoy your brew. Or check out the large outdoor yard with additional seating.

If you have kids, they’ll love the game section, which has shuffleboard, foosball, and arcade games.

You can get a taste of their offerings by ordering a flight of their brews or go straight for an ice-cold glass. They keep at least 15 varieties on tap.

57 – Fishtowne Brew House

Fishtowne Brewhouse Atlantic Beach Bars, NC
Photo cred - Fishtowne Brew House

Located in nearby Beaufort, NC, this inviting brewery offers 12 house-made beers on tap and indoor and outdoor seating. 

Guests love the tasty craft brews and friendly atmosphere. 

Pro tip – Check out the Beaufort Historic Site while you’re there. It’s right across the street from Fishtowne Brew House.

Mr. Beer Craft Beer Kit

58 – AB Bottle Co.

AB Bottle Co. features a fantastic selection of IPAs, sours, ciders, and craft beers from across the country.

You can purchase their beers to go or enjoy at the bar where they also offer beer on tap.

Pro tip – They feature live music every Saturday night.

59 – MF Chappell Wine Merchant

MF Chappell Wine Merchant has a wonderful wine selection, and the owners are known for being extremely friendly and helpful.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect pairing or just wanting the right wine for your special occasion, they will gladly steer you in the right direction.

Pro tip – Check out their virtual wine tasting classes or canned wine that is perfect for taking on a boat or any outdoor adventure.

Best Places To Stay In Atlantic Beach, NC

Atlantic Beach has a vast array of accommodations. When I visited, I had difficulty finding all of the options organized in one place, so I prepared the following sections to showcase the best resorts, hotels, motels, and rental homes.

Best Resorts In Atlantic Beach, NC

Staying at a resort is a great choice as you will have wonderful amenities like swimming pools, fire pits, playgrounds, and kitchens.

The following are the best resorts in Atlantic Beach.

60 – Atlantic Beach Resort

Atlantic Beach Resort is where my friends and I stayed, and we loved it. The resort has 1 & 2 bedroom suites with a kitchen, indoor and outdoor pools, miniature golf, and a splash pad. View on Hotels.com.

Hotels.com review:
“Outstanding accommodations, excellent staff, and wonderful amenities. Thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our stay!”

8.6/10 (159 reviews)

62 – Sands Villa Resort

Sands Villa Resort is an oceanfront resort with several wonderful amenities, including indoor and outdoor swimming pools, hot tub, tennis & basketball courts, and exercise room. View on Hotels.com.

Google Review:
“Nice complex. Clean and well looked after by everyone. Short walk to a lovely beach. The outdoor and indoor pools are great. The gym looked decent. Not too far from the local shops, cinema, and NC aquarium if the weather’s not great.”

4.4/5 (65 reviews)

63 – A Place At The Beach Resort

A Place at the Beach not only has an indoor and outdoor pool but a fun slide for the kids. Guests also love the playground, putt-putt golf, tennis courts, and arcade room. View on Hotels.com.

Hotels.com review:
“Loved the atmosphere- very family-friendly. Loved our room- plenty of space and so close to the beach. We had a blast!”

4.4/5 (62 reviews)

Best Hotels In Atlantic beach, NC

There are dozens of hotel choices in the Atlantic Beach area. The following are my top pics according to ratings, reviews, and amenities.

64 – Hotel Atlantic Beach

Hotel Atlantic Beach is located across the street from the ocean. Rooms come with a microwave, fridge, and breakfast. Other hotel amenities include an outdoor pool and fitness center. View on Hotels.com.

Review on Hotels.com
“Great place to stay, large, clean rooms, close to the beach, our room had a great view of the ocean. Would stay there again.”

8.2/10 (368 reviews)

65 – DoubleTree by Hilton Atlantic Beach Oceanfront

This DoubleTree offers 2 restaurants, indoor and outdoor pools, a pier, oceanfront bar, and a 24-hour fitness center. Pet-friendly rooms are available for an extra fee. View on Hotels.com.

Hotels.com review:
“This was a great trip! The room was clean and staff professional and courteous.”

7.4/10 (538 reviews)

66 – Windjammer Inn

Windjammer Atlantic Beach NC Hotel
Photo cred - Windjammer Inn

Every room at the Windjammer is oceanfront and has a fridge, microwave, iron, and blow dryer. The hotel has an outdoor pool and hot tub and provides chairs and umbrellas on the beach for its guests. View on Windjammerinn.com.

Google.com review:
“The hotel is nice! Our room was clean and well-stocked. The room looked more modern and up to date. They can loan you towels and have chairs and umbrellas for guests to use. The lounge area outside is really nice and relaxing! The views from the balcony were amazing as well! This hotel is also in a great location. It is near food and shops.”

4.6/5 (325 reviews)

67 – Atlantis Lodge

Atlantis Lodge is a 1960s vintage hotel located right on the beach. All rooms have efficiency kitchens, patios facing the ocean, and are non-smoking. The hotel has an outdoor pool and offers beach chairs, beach toys, board games, kayaks, and bicycles to its guests.

Pet-friendly rooms are available. View on Atlantislodge.com.

Google.com review:
This place is so cute, cozy and relaxing! My husband and I have visited 3 times, and we always bring our dog. It’s very pet-friendly. They even have a dog bath area on the patio, so if your dog does get salty or sandy down at the beach, they won’t track it into the rooms. I also like that they have lounge chairs and umbrellas out on the beach. It’s an older place, but you can tell they have maintained it really well.

4.8/5 (272 reviews)

68 – Island Inn of Atlantic Beach

Island Inn is a small oceanfront hotel that offers 1, 2, & 3 bedroom suites with kitchenettes. It has an outdoor pool and pet-friendly suites. View on Booking.com.

Booking.com review:
“Down from Raleigh for a 2-night mini vacation, and it was just perfect. Very clean and the decor was beachy and cute. Someone put a lot of thought into the details, and everything was kept up nicely.” 

8.8/10 (372 reviews)

69 – Bogue Shores Suites

Bogue Shores Suites used to be a hotel, but now rooms are owned individually and rented through Hotels.com, Airbnb, and VRBO. It’s located right on the gorgeous Bogue Sound and has an outdoor pool. Most rooms have a bed, sleeper sofa, and small kitchen. View on Hotels.com.

Hotels.com review:
“We came after renovations, and the unit is beautiful!! Very convenient location for multiple attractions and places to eat and also very comfortable for relaxing.”

9.6/10 (4 reviews)

Shovel With Sifter

Beach Shovel

70 – The Inn At Pine Knoll Shores

The Inn at Pine Knoll Shores is located right on the beach, features an outdoor swimming pool, and each room has a microwave, fridge, and coffee maker. It has an on-site restaurant called the Clamdigger Restaurant and a cocktail bar called The Cutty Sark Lounge.
View on Booking.com
View on Hotels.com

Review on Booking.com:
“I loved the proximity to the beach and that ALL rooms are oceanfront. Love the outdoor tiki bar, outdoor seating available and the ability to rent chairs and umbrella. Beds are very comfortable.”

8.3/10 (1240 reviews)

71 – Bask Hotel at Big Rock Landing by Wyndham

Bask Hotels near Atlantic Beach, NC

The Bask Hotel is at the top of my list to visit next time in the Atlantic Beach area.

It’s in Morehead City and has amazing views of the harbor along with spacious suites, free breakfast, free bicycle rentals, and a fitness center. The rooms are stunning, and the reviews are fantastic. View on Hotels.com.

9.2/10 (261 reviews)

Best Motels In Atlantic Beach, NC

Motels are generally less expensive than hotels because they offer fewer amenities. While you may not get the fanciest accommodations, they can make a beach vacation more affordable.

The following are the best hotels in the Atlantic Beach area.

72 – Salter Path Inn

The Salter Path Inn offers 10 guests rooms and 13 efficiencies within a short walk to the beach. Reviews are mixed, but they are very affordable and allow pets. View on Hotels.com.

Review on Hotels.com:
“This is like a private getaway. Property management is new, and they are addressing any concerns. But the gem of this location is the beach. It’s almost like having a private beach all to ourselves.”

6.6/10 (67 reviews)

73 – Oceanana Family Motel

Oceanana Hotel NC Atlantic Beach
Photo cred - Oceanana Family Motel

Oceanana Family Motel is oceanfront and offers free breakfast and free beach chairs and umbrellas.

It has an outdoor pool, splash pad, and playground. One of its best features, though, is its 1,000 foot-long fishing pier. Book rooms on Oceanana.com.

Google review:
“Nice place to visit if you want a pleasant “down-home” experience with nice people. Not fancy at all but clean. Beachfront, nice pool, chairs & umbrellas which they will set up for you on the beach. Continental breakfast is set up outside under the shelters. Lots of choices. Rocking chairs to relax in. This is a place where the same people come back every year.”

4.1/5 (768 reviews)

74 – The Sand Dollar Motel

While not oceanfront or fancy, The Sand Dollar Motel is affordable and within walking distance to the sound or short drive to the ocean.

Standard rooms have a fridge, microwave, and coffee maker. Apartments have kitchenettes, dining tables, and living areas. View on Hotels.com.

Hotels.com review:
“Not bad for what it was, just a place to crash for one night. Great for fisherman, as they are gonna spend most of their time fishing, but do not recommend for a longer family vacation stay.”

6.8/10 (135 reviews)

75 – Caribbe Inn

Caribbe Inn offers great rates and has amazing reviews. Guests love the whimsical rooms and friendly owners. Beach access is a short walk, but they do offer complimentary boat slips. You can only book by calling or emailing them. View on Caribbe-Inn.com.

Google review:
“I love a quirky, fun motel over someplace boring, and this is one of my favorite places to stay. My best friend and I try to go every year. The price is great, the rooms are nice, clean, and quiet, and the owners are nice. They are super helpful with food recommendations and fun stuff to do in the area. You can tell they truly care about their guests. There are so many great places to eat within walking distance, and the beach is a literal block away from the motel.”

4.6/5 (108 reviews)

76 – Hollowell’s Motel

Hollowell’s Motel offers standard rooms and efficiencies with kitchens. They have an outdoor pool and get great reviews. They’re only 2 blocks from the ocean and close to restaurants and shopping. View on Hollowellsmotel.com.

Google review:
“This place is so cozy and super clean. The staff was amazing and super friendly. The cost is super affordable. Definitely will be staying here for many years to come.”

4.4/5 (107 reviews)

Best Condos In Atlantic Beach, NC

Renting a condo during your getaway can ensure you have a kitchen and many of the same amenities that resorts have during your stay – like swimming pools and outdoor grills.

Since condos tend to be individually owned, the quality of the rooms can vary within the same complex.

77 – Sea Spray Condos

Seaspray Condos Atlantic Beach NC

Sea Spray Condos are located on the oceanfront and have an outdoor pool, kiddie pool, private walkway to the beach, outdoor grills, and laundry facilities.

It’s also close to Fort Macon State Park, making it easy to enjoy the beach and beautiful walking trails there. View on Booking.com.

Google review:
“This is the best hotel ever! It was very clean and nice with a balcony and pool!”

4.3/5 (41 reviews)

78 – Southwinds Condos

Southwinds Condos have beach access, two pools, outdoor grills, and kitchens. Some buildings are oceanfront, and others are ocean-view or ocean-side. Keep in mind that none of the buildings have elevators. View on Booking.com.

Google review:
“Great complex and love the privacy on the beach. Also, the pool amenities are great.”

4.4/5 (45 reviews)

79 – Tar Landing Villas

Tar Landing Villas is an oceanfront complex with an outdoor swimming pool, wading pool, clubhouse, and walkway to the beach.

This is the closest you can stay by Fort Macon State Park. View on Atlantic Beach Realty.

Google review:
“We usually come here every year. I love this place! The pool is so nice, and the private beach access is amazing and not crowded. Love it!”

4.6/5 (14 reviews)

Best Rental Homes In Atlantic Beach, NC

When deciding whether to stay in a hotel or home, I always book a home if I have my whole family and it’s affordable.

Home rentals can have fees that add up but still be cheaper than a hotel if you have to rent more than one hotel room to accommodate your family or group of friends.

Here are my top choices for house rentals in Atlantic Beach, NC:

Polarized Sunglasses

Shell Identification Guide

80 – 2 Bed, 2 Bath Home in heart of Atlantic Beach

This charming home is within close walking distance to shopping, restaurants, and most importantly, the beach. The community has a swimming pool, and the home comes with beach chairs. View on Hotels.com.

Hotels.com review:
“We had a wonderful week at Atlantic Beach. The house was perfect. It was close to all we needed and the amenities where just what we needed. Would love to come back next year!”

9.4/10 (6 reviews)

81 – 2 Bed, 2 Bath Bungalow With Pool

This bungalow is one of my favorite places to stay in Atlantic Beach. I stayed here a couple of years ago with my daughter and we loved the classy decor (some is breakable, so it may not be suitable for young children). 

It’s a 2nd row home, so it’s plenty close to the beach but more affordable than beachfront.

The home comes with use of the community pool.  View home on VRBO.

4.9/5 (128 reviews)

82 – Gorgeous 4 Bedroom, 4 Bath Home

This spacious home is called the Tipsy Flamingo and has beautiful views of the ocean.

The beach, shopping, and restaurants are within walking distance. View on Booking.com.

Booking.com review:
“This is a wonderful home, perfect for our family beach trip. It is beautifully decorated, comfortable, and had everything we needed. The view from the balcony was gorgeous. The owners were immediately responsive to a quick question and shared lots of helpful information both before and during our trip.”

10/10 (1 review)

Pet Friendly Rentals In Atlantic Beach, NC

Atlantic Beach allows dogs if they are on a leash or if both owner and pet are in the water playing together.

Here’s a recap of the pet-friendly accommodations mentioned above for those looking to bring their furry friends to the beach.

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12 Responses

  1. I just returned from Charleston South Carolina! Loved it there. I’ll have to plan a trip to North Carolina too. Looks like lots to do.

    1. Charleston is so much fun! And yes, I do hope you make it to North Carolina. Our beaches and mountains are fantastic.

  2. Wow! This is such an amazing guide for things to do in Atlantic Beach, NC. Your shells are absolutely gorgeous! My daughter would be all over that! Some of the accommodations looked so beachy! Love it!

    1. WOW!! All the info on Atlantic Beach in one place! We love state parks and would love to visit Macon State Park. Also, Amos Mosquito’s looks like a great place to eat. Thanks!

  3. What a comprehensive guide to 82 of the best things to do in Atlantic Beach, NC. Looks and sounds like a fun beach getaway. Also appreciate the restaurant and hotel recommendations.

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