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The Ultimate Guide to Morehead City, NC

Come for the excellent events, and stay for the hospitality! Morehead City is an excellent addition to any family vacation to the Crystal Coast. Whether you’re a frequent visitor looking to switch up their itinerary or you’re a first-time guest who wants to see all this region has to offer, Morehead City is worth a visit! Preview the many things to do and see there, as well as where you can find the best selection of vacation rentals on the coast.
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Where is Morehead City, NC?

Morehead City is about a 30-minute drive east from Emerald Isle. It’s one of the communities that make up the Crystal Coast. Though this quiet seaside city is small, it’s full of top-notch restaurants, shops, attractions, and events. Preview them below and plan a day touring Morehead City!

Dine at the Best Morehead City Restaurants

Southern Salt Seafood

If it lives in the ocean, they probably serve it for dinner at Southern Salt Seafood. They feature everything from clam strips to heaping mountains of crab. You can try traditional preparations of sea scallops or local favorites, like crab cakes. There are even some items that your little ones will enjoy. This is the perfect choice for families who want to have more upscale cuisine while also making the kids happy.

Red Fish Grill

If you’re looking for a delicious meal with a gorgeous view, Red Fish Grill is the place to go. It is one of the premier waterfront restaurants in Morehead City and features a menu of Southern seafood classics. If you’re interested in finding out why shrimp and grits is a popular menu item in the south, this eatery is an excellent place to start. Let the grandparents watch the kids for the night or book a babysitter because this is the perfect date night spot.

The Ruddy Duck Tavern

Fine dining establishments are all well and good, but sometimes you’re craving something fried and comforting. The Ruddy Duck Tavern is just the ticket. The menu is eclectic. You might see traditional Argentinian empanadas, or you may see duck wings fried in a Thai chili sauce. They also carry some common items for North Carolina, like hushpuppies and fried oysters. There’s even a selection of gluten-free options available! If you’re traveling with some more particular eaters, consider stopping by The Ruddy Duck Tavern!

El’s Drive-In

A classic drive-in with a no-fuss menu? No, you haven’t traveled back to the 60s. El’s Drive-In is keeping old traditions alive. The items you’ll find are all made-to-order, and the recipes are unchanged since El’s first opened. The menu features just about every type of sandwich or burger you can imagine. From the traditional BLT to the unique oyster burger, if you can dream it, El’s probably makes it. Pair your burger with a side of hushpuppies, fries, or their famous coleslaw. Of course, no meal with complete without one of their outstanding milkshakes!

Full Circle Cafe

Don’t let the name fool you. You’ll find more than just coffee and baked goods at the Full Circle Cafe. The menu here features a selection of ramen noodle bowls, burgers, seafood, and pizzas cooked in their wood-fired brick oven. Add to that their excellent wine and beer list, and you have an awesome meal waiting for you at Full Circle Cafe!

Circa 81

Farm-to-table cooking is not just a trendy buzzword at Circa 81. This tapas restaurant utilizes the beautiful, fresh ingredients found locally. The result is a dish that both supports local farmers and is delicious. Their tapas selection features Spanish classics as well as some Southern favorites.

Discover Some Great Spots for Shopping in Morehead City

Silver Line

Silver Line carries jewelry, art, gifts, and other collectibles from local artists. Their selection is ever-changing, making this a perfect spot for repeat visitors. You’ll feel good knowing that you’re supporting local artisans, and you’ll come away with some high-quality pieces that will always remind you of your amazing trip to the Crystal Coast!

The Friendly Market

If you plan on taking advantage of the fully-equipped kitchen in your Spinnaker’s Reach rental home, then you should stop by The Friendly Market for some quality ingredients. This community market offers locally sourced produce, dairy, meats, and seafood. They also carry pre-made foods that are seasonal and delicious.

Enjoy Some History During Your Stay at Fort Macon State Park

History buffs shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit Fort Macon State Park. The original Fort Macon served as protection during the 18th and 19th centuries, which included the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World War I. It’s even said that the most infamous pirate, Blackbeard, passed through this inlet. Today, guests can tour the replica fort as well as hike the trails found throughout the park. There’s also a beach where visitors can swim in warm weather, as well as some great fishing opportunities year-round.

Morehead City’s Most Popular Events

North Carolina Seafood Festival

Fresh, delicious seafood is a big part of life around here, and the North Carolina Seafood Festival is all about celebrating it! Typically held in early October, this event includes a boat show, fireworks, a blessing of the fleet, and some outstanding performances on the festival’s three stages. There’s also a fishing tournament for those with a competitive nature and cooking demonstrations. This is a great event for families to attend, and admission is completely free!

Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament

Speaking of competition, the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament is a region-wide contest for amateur and professional anglers. This tournament has run for over 60 years and bring more and more visitors to the area each time! Aside from the main event, there are community meals, dances, and the famous Sunday Pig Pickin’.

Crystal Coast Countdown

The Crystal Coast Countdown transformed from a single-city celebration into a multi-jurisdictional event. It all started in Morehead City when the mayor challenged his team to put together a New Year’s party that would impress. In just 12 hours, his team created the first New Year’s Crab Pot Drop. Since that first year, Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, and Emerald Isle have all joined in on the fun. There’s nothing like visiting the original place where it began, though. Morehead City still hosts an annual crab pot drop, as well as a fireworks display, live music, laser shows, and more!

Book Your Next Vacation With Spinnaker’s Reach

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There’s nothing better after an exciting day of exploring Morehead City than settling down for the evening in one of our rental homes. Spinnaker’s Reach has an outstanding selection of properties located in one gorgeous neighborhood in Emerald Isle. You’ll stay just minutes from a private stretch of shoreline along Coast Guard Road. Your family will love the many convenient amenities in our homes, and you’ll love how easy it is to get settled and start your vacation.
Browse our full list of accommodations and book today! We look forward to having you.