Atlantic Beach is the oldest of the five towns that dot the beautiful shores of Bogue Banks, the wild beach front that runs parallel to Morehead City and the mainland. The town celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2012 and continues to be a popular family vacation destination as well as a favorite for area residents who are ready to spend a day in the warmth of the sun.
Decades ago a ferry would bring vacationers for a day to frolic in the waves and lay in the warmth of the sun. The first beach pavilion was constructed on the site in 1887, where guests of the Atlantic Hotel in Morehead City would spend a day along the peaceful shores. Today, Atlantic Beach is home to one of two high-rise bridges that connect the island to the mainland, allowing for a steady flow of traffic throughout the season.
The center of town, commonly referred to as the Circle, plays host to an array of concerts, outdoor movies and special events during the summer months. And the beach, which is patrolled by lifeguards, provides a family-friendly option when it comes to taking the children for a day of beach play. But it’s the towns laid back spirit and warm family atmosphere that keeps people coming back for more
Folks looking for the large attractions offered at places like Myrtle Beach might be a little disappointed. Those looking for a relaxing place to claim a spot of beach to call their own for the day without the distraction of overcrowding, however, will soon discover they’ve found a small slice of heaven in Atlantic Beach.
The family-friendly town has long been a settling spot for young families, and the town administration is dedicated to maintaining the small-town feel. A new town park can be found across from the town’s largest shopping center, complete with a splash pad for the youngsters to enjoy. A skate park is in development for the site as well, with hopes of opening in 2014.
Atlantic Beach offers numerous public beach accesses and its fair share of fishing tournaments, including the popular Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Tournament. The town is home to one of the two remaining fishing piers on the island and provides the perfect opportunity to prop your feet up and drop a line. Of course surf fishing from the beach itself is a popular activity as well.
If fishing isn’t quite your thing, a variety of other annual festivals are on tap, including Mile of Hope in the spring, the Buddy Peletier Memorial Longboard tournament each July and the Carolina Kite Fest held each fall. The Carteret County Parks and Recreation Dept. holds an annual beach run series each spring, drawing hundreds of runners to the beach and live music is offered outdoors on Saturday evenings in the summer.
While contemporary accommodations are available, Atlantic Beach is home to a host of family-owned motels and resorts that see visitors come back year after year. Rental cottages are also available through a variety of realty firms.
With ample opportunities for outdoor fun, the town also has a collection of shopping and dining options and is convenient to area attractions. Fort Macon State Park, one of the East’s best preserved Civil War fortresses, continues to be one of the area’s most visited sites. With a schedule of daily programs, the park encompasses some 385 acres of beach, dunes and maritime forest. It’s the brick pentagonal fort, however, that continues to bring visitors in droves. While some of the casements have been transformed into museum exhibits, others have been left untouched (except for a few safety modifications) so guests can truly experience what life in the fort during the Civil War.
Whether you’re looking for a glimpse at North Carolina’s historical past, a hike through the maritime forest or a day soaking up the rays and frolicking in the surf, this seaside community’s quaint and casual ambiance leads so many to call the beach their home … or their home away from home. Details: 252-726-2121 atlanticbeach-nc.com.