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Popular North Carolina Events & Festivals

No matter the time of year, there are always memorable festivals and events taking place along the Crystal Coast in towns like Beaufort and Emerald Isle. The Spinnaker’s Reach Realty team has put together a list of top North Carolina happenings to check out in the spring and fall. When registering or purchasing tickets for any of the events below, don’t forget to reserve your Emerald Isle vacation rental at the same time!


  • Experience the fun of the annual Emerald Isle St. Patrick’s Day Festival. The one-day festival includes phenomenal live music, amusement rides, a beer garden, and dozens of arts and crafts vendors. Keep in mind, the date of the festival can change from year to year, so check the website for updates.
  • Register to ride on gravel roads through the Croatan National Forest during the Croatan Buck Fifty, a popular cycling race. Starting at the Carteret County Speedway, riders will push themselves to see who can finish first. There are three lengths of rides to choose from: 50, 100, and 150 miles.


  • Bring the whole family along to the Beaufort Music Festival. The family-friendly festival takes place mid-May and features a diverse lineup of talented musicians. In addition to showcasing exceptional artists, the event helps give back to the community.
  • Bike the Banks offers three different rides to choose from – 10, 50, and 100-mile options. By offering different lengths, this event, which occurs at the beginning of May, is geared toward all athletic abilities. All racers meet at the Emerald Isle Community Center to receive important race details.
  • Since 2005, the Beaufort Wine & Food Festival has combined incredible cuisine with supporting local charities. The five-day event features special events, one-of-a-kind experiences, celebrity chefs and winemakers.


  • See who can reel in the biggest catch at the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, one of the country’s largest sport fishing tournaments. For a full week, deep-sea anglers compete to see who can come out on top. Weigh-ins are located only about 30 minutes away from Spinnaker’s and are a sight to see!


  • Celebrate North Carolina’s pirate history at the Beaufort Pirate Invasion. Every year, dozens of performers, from swordfighters to pirate musicians, take over Beaufort. Check out the family-friendly comedy shows, reenactments, black powder demos with cannons, and more.


  • One of the most anticipated events of the year is the North Carolina Seafood Festival. Sample delicious seafood, or watch cooking exhibitions to learn how to recreate restaurant-worthy dishes.
  • Take in the beauty of Emerald Isle by signing up for the Emerald Isle Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K. All proceeds are donated to local organizations. The full marathon is a Boston qualifying event!
  • Another option for anyone looking to go for a run is the Tuna Relay. Create a team to race either 70 or 200 miles through stunning scenery to see who can reach the beach finish line first. The starting location varies depending on which length you choose, but both relays finish in Atlantic Beach.
  • Take in North Carolina’s beauty by signing up for the Cycle NC Mountains to Coast. Register for a one, three, or seven day group ride that passes through unique communities and towns. The 2023 race ends in Emerald Isle.

There are countless more festivals and events that take place on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast; see which one lines up with your stay at one of our vacation rentals!