What You Need to Know About Christmas in Emerald Isle


What You Need to Know About Christmas in Emerald Isle


Christmas in Emerald Isle is a magical holiday experience on the coast of North Carolina. It is the perfect blend of a holiday celebration and beach vacation all wrapped up in one beautiful package. Here are the highlights of a coastal Christmas spent on our beaches and in our family-friendly town. Be sure to mark your calendar for these Emerald Isle events that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Why not make it your family's new holiday tradition of spending Christmas at the beach?

Emerald Isle Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting

Saturday, November 26, 2016 at 3p.m.

Christmas Tree Lights

As soon as the Thanksgiving holiday ends, the start of the Christmas season at the beach begins in Emerald Isle. The Saturday after Thanksgiving is when the holiday festivities kick-start the season with the Emerald Isle Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting. The parade begins at the Town Government Complex and ends at Mangrove Drive, right off of Highway 58. This annual beach holiday tradition is in its 13th year offering up festive family fun and entertainment throughout the afternoon including Christmas carols, apple cider, tasty snacks, the Emerald Isle tree lighting, and a visit from Mr. Claus himself at the Welcome Center right after the parade ends.

Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair in Emerald Isle

Saturday, December 3, 2016 from 8a.m. to 6p.m.

Who doesn't love a little Christmas shopping featuring locally handcrafted creations by the best local artisans and crafters? Seize the day and the opportunity to find some unique gifts for your family, your friends, and for yourself. Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation plays host to this annual event celebrating its 5th year of success. Visit the Community Center's gymnasium from 8a.m. to 5p.m. with your shopping list and feel good about shopping and buying local, while also supporting Emerald Isle's own talented artists.

Santa and a Movie

Friday, December 9, 2016 at 6p.m.

Bring the kids out in their best and most comfy Christmas pajamas for Santa and a Movie at the Emerald Isle Community Center. The night's festivities include a Christmas story with Santa Claus, milk and cookies, and a short Christmas movie classic for all to enjoy. Isabel the Elf is set to entertain with her clown-style fun. Bring a blanket for your family to sit on and get ready for a night filled with holiday magic. The admission fee is one unwrapped gift per child. (Please note that this event requires pre-registration by December 8 and fills when it reaches a 75-child maximum, which happens quickly, so don't delay.)

Crystal Coast Christmas Flotillas & Boat Parades

Swansboro: Friday, November 25, 2016 from 6-8p.m.
Pine Knoll Shores: Saturday, December 3, 2016 from 5-7p.m.
Morehead City/Beaufort: Saturday, December 3, 2016 from 5:30-7:45p.m.

It wouldn't be Christmas at the beach without holiday lighted boat parades to brighten your coastal nights. Come out and join in the merriment at our local Crystal Coast Christmas flotillas where you can find creatively decorated boats of every kind, a sense of community, and a coastal celebration where the holiday spirit soars along our shorelines and waterways. Here's a little more about what you can expect to find at each of our annual holiday flotillas.

  • Swansboro Christmas Flotilla: Don't miss this spectacular parade of lights from the White Oak River. The parade begins at dusk and Santa Claus is sure to make his way on deck for a special visit. The Swansboro Christmas Flotilla is held annually on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving. Rain date is Saturday. Swansboro is just over the bridge from Emerald Isle and is a quaint maritime town that's well worth your visit.
  • Pine Knoll Shores Holiday Flotilla: The Pine Knoll Shores Holiday Flotilla happens annually the first weekend in December. The boat parade begins at dusk starting at Brock Basin and finishing at McNeil Park. The Pine Knoll Shores Holiday Flotilla is a free, family-friendly event and right down the road from your Emerald Isle vacation rental.
  • Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla: The Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla takes place annually on the first weekend in December featuring boats, yachts, kayaks and commercial vessels decorated for the season. The decorated boats can be seen at 5:30p.m. on the Morehead City waterfront and at 6:15p.m. on the Beaufort waterfront. All decorated boats are judged and prizes for excellence and creativity are awarded at the festive Awards Party after the Flotilla in the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center located across the street from the NC Maritime Museum. Pick your favorite and see if the judges agree.

Are you as excited for the upcoming holiday season in Emerald Isle as we are? We hope so! Now that you have a glimpse of what Christmas looks like in Emerald Isle, you'll want to spend all of your holiday celebrations at the beach because as we all know—everything is better at the beach. Happy holidays!


Don't forget to check out the Town of Emerald Isle event calendar for more details on what's happening this holiday season, or any time you're in visiting or vacationing with us. It's a wonderful resource!

What You Need to Know About Christmas in Emerald Isle Pin