3 Things to Love About February on the Crystal Coast
It's hard to believe that February is almost here, but it is. Where does the time go? We're well into a new year and another new month is on the horizon. Before long, spring is going to make its presence fully known (we've had a few sneak peaks already) with warmer temperatures, more hustle and bustle in our Crystal Coast towns, and the slow swell of more people on the beach each and every day.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's slow down a bit before we blink and it's Memorial Day. It really does happen that quickly. It's easy to overlook the here and now when it's a natural tendency to look forward to the start of spring, followed by the soon-coming busy summer season coupled with the great anticipation of beach vacations and summer getaways on the coast of somewhere beautiful. Let's seize the day and refocus on the present moment so we can take a look at all that February on the Crystal Coast has to offer, shall we? Yes!
There's so much to enjoy about this time of year on the Crystal Coast. It's a quiet respite from the lively beach season, and one that is savored by locals and visitors alike. If you know what to look for, you'll understand why the off-season in Emerald Isle and the surrounding Crystal Coast region are actually some of the most loved times of the year here.
Here's an inside peak at what there is to love about the Crystal Coast in the month of February. We only chose three things—and that was hard because there are so many more reasons to love the Crystal Coast this time of year. But we did it and want to share them with you. Here are three of the biggest and best things about February on the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina.
1. Abundant local events and festivals to attend.
We love how rich the Crystal Coast of North Carolina is with culture, history, maritime experiences and all the things to do here in the area. We're especially proud of our abundance of local events and festivals that our communities offer to its residents, visitors and vacationers alike.
So what's happening on the Crystal Coast event calendar this February? We're glad you asked! Here are the highlights.
Carolina Chocolate Festival: This is a big to-do here. This sweet event happens annually the first weekend in February, so you won't want to miss out on these mouthwatering festivities. Have a chocolate covered weekend at the beach! That sounds absolutely decadent and delightful, doesn't it? You can join us. If you missed our previous post on the Carolina Chocolate Festival, you can read all about it here: This Event is the Sweetest Thing on the Crystal Coast.
Valentine's Day: February 14 is coming fast. Have you planned anything special? A romantic beach escape to the Crystal Coast might be in order. You'll love spending time here with your sweetheart. Here are some Valentine's Day on the beach ideas and things to do.
Art from the Heart: This annual artistic favorite kicks off in February on the Crystal Coast. This original-works juried art show and sale features some of the best artistry in Carteret County and beyond. You can read more about Art from the Heart here.
International Film Series: This event runs throughout the winter months on the Crystal Coast and features films from all over the world for your viewing pleasure. This is a free event! Make it dinner and a movie by enjoying cuisine at a local restaurant prior to the movie that gives you a taste of the country of origin from the featured film. It's a great date night out on the town activity or a fun night out with family and friends. Read more about the International Film Series and what's now showing here.
Saltwater Fishing School: It's time to get reel excited about fishing season on the Crystal Coast. This full-day event is a hands-on lesson geared toward getting you ready for what's biting on the Crystal Coast and how to catch it. The event is staffed by more than 18 local captains who share their experience and insights on inshore, nearshore, surf, offshore, and blue water fishing. They’ll cover a range of topics that includes techniques, equipment, strategy, locations, terminal tackle, electronics, bait and more. This annual event is a must-do for the angler in your life. Find out more about Saltwater Fishing School here.
Empty Bowls Soup Luncheon: This annual fundraiser benefits the Hope Mission and offers a delicious soup luncheon served up by chefs from your favorite Crystal Coast restaurants, a selection of handmade pottery, and a silent auction are all included in your ticket purchase. Find out the details of the Empty Bowls Luncheon and where to get your tickets here.
2. Winter on the Crystal Coast is a nature lover's paradise.
The off-season and winter months are an underrated time of year on the Crystal Coast. This season has so much unique coastal beauty that is best enjoyed right now. Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts love the off-season months on the Crystal Coast—and for very good reason.
Amazing sunrises and sunsets: Humidity and haze don't dull the effects of the brilliant winter sunrises and sunsets here on the Crystal Coast of NC. The coastal color palette is fabulous and you have the added benefits of sound, waterfront and ocean views.
Hiking and exploring local trails: Local trails and hiking paths are the perfect activity for this time of year in Eastern North Carolina. It's not too hot and not too cold, but just the right temperature for exploring the road less traveled. Explore the great outdoors while getting up-close-and-personal with nature. From the Neusiok Trail in the Croatan National Forest to the Emerald Isle Path to the Cedar Island Wildlife Refuge and everything in between, you have plenty of options. Here are the 8 Best Hiking Trails on the Crystal Coast.
Birdwatching: In addition to the usual waterfowl and birdwatching opportunities that abound here, Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge is home to many birds during the winter months including ducks and waterbirds. The refuge's main feature is an extensive, relatively undisturbed coastal marsh and with that comes concentrations of diving ducks (lesser scaups, redheads, canvasbacks, buffleheads), sea ducks, American black ducks, black rails, wading birds, and shorebirds. Shorebird and osprey nesting occurs on beaches, islands and points. It's well worth the visit, especially this time of year. Here's what you need to know to plan your visit the Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge. Don't forget your binoculars and your camera!
Strolling the beach: Strolling the sand isn't just for the summer season. In fact, average winter temperatures on the Crystal Coast are quite mild and temperate with 50 to 60 degrees during the off-season months. It's not too cold to walk the shoreline or feel the sand on your feet. Breathe in the salt air, feel the sun on your face, and just enjoy the sights as your walk your way along the Atlantic coast.
Biking: Get around town or pedal the beach where you can take in breathtaking views while getting your heart pumping. The weather is ideal and there are plenty of places to go on your two-wheeled adventures. Read more about Cycling Along the Crystal Coast for your best biking options.
Outdoor attractions: Fort Macon State Park, Cape Lookout, Croatan National Forest, Cedar Island Wildlife Refuge and Hammocks Beach State Park are a few of the wonderful places to visit any time of year, but arguably the best time is right now! Less crowds, less heat and humidity, and less distraction from everything you want to see and do at these favorite Crystal Coast attractions means more sightseeing and a better overall experience for you.
3. Off-season is the perfect time to hunt for seashells, sea glass and shark teeth.
February and the rest of the winter months on the Crystal Coast present the ideal opportunity to take advantage of nature's treasure chest. Hunt for your own coastal treasure this time of year and see what amazing finds await you. Here are a few of the many reasons this is the right time to have a shelling adventure.
Less crowds, more chances for good finds: You don't have to beat the competition this time of year on the beach as there are plenty of coastal treasures to go around for those who seek it. Get out there often and keep a close eye on what the ocean washes up and don't forget to dig deep for the best finds.
Winter storms can churn up the sand and wash up some amazing finds: Don't underestimate the benefits of shelling after a storm. Rare finds can wash up after choppy waters and swirling winds displace hidden but totally worthwhile treasures just waiting to be found.
Learn more about the local seashells: Give our Shelling Scavenger Hunt a try and have a family treasure hunt for some of the most popular seashells and other coastal treasures found on our Crystal Coast beaches.
More than just seashells: It's not only seashells that you'll find on the beach. Find out what the 3 best coastal treasures are on the beach and how to find them.
What's your favorite thing about February on the Crystal Coast? How do you like to spend your time?