History of the Emerald Isle NC Area

Emerald Isle, one of North Carolina’s coastal islands, is located on the western end of Bogue Banks. Like many barrier islands in coastal North Carolina, Emerald Isle was first occupied by Algonquin Indians from about 500 AD to colonial times. In around 1730, English whalers and fishermen settled the area.
The island was a notorious spot for piracy in the 1700s and during the Revolutionary War patriot privateers were known to operate the inlet. Captain Otway Burns, born in Swansboro, created the first steamship ever to float on North Carolina waters, bringing major national attention to the coast of NC for its naval progress. The Civil War brought an end to the prosperity of the naval trade and the major area industry became fishing.
Emerald Isle was largely uninhabited until the early 1950s when a group of seven investors purchased the thirteen miles for a total of $350,000, which was the largest ever recorded purchase made in Carteret County at that time. Emerald Isle was given its title to celebrate its large, lush emerald maritime forests that are surrounded by beautiful, sparkling waters. Emerald Island is famous for its unique historical background and for the unusual features of its beaches. The Isle has shared its shores and sea with Indians, pirates, and patriots. The Algonquin Indians who inhabited the Island until colonial times left remnants of their occupation behind. It is not unusual to find a piece of history, such as an arrowhead or shell tool, while strolling the beaches.
Blackbeard was said to have sailed out frequently from Teach’s Hole which is located just north of Cape Lookout, another nearby barrier island.  Otway Burns is another famous feature of the area. Burns was born in Swansboro, NC and is buried in Beaufort, NC.  In addition to his naval prowess, Burns was said to possess superhuman strength. It was rumored that he could knock out an ox with his fist and that he could pull a sapling out of the ground bare handed!  At his burial site in neighboring local town Beaufort, NC a cannon from his privateer “The Snap Dragon” holds vigil on his grave.
Emerald Island’s southward-facing beaches not only bless visitors with spectacular sunrises and sunsets, they also provide fun and entertainment for people of all ages and with all ranges of interests. There are beaches that can only be accessed by boat for those looking for a wilderness experience and there are also beaches which are more populated and easily accessed within a block or so of most houses and hotels.

Recommended Activities

One of the few boats permitted by the Cape Lookout National Seashore to take you to any part of the National Park, charter a trip with Lookout Adventures and spend a day exploring one of the most beautiful parts of NC’s coast. The best SHELLING beaches in North Carolina are inside the Park & Shackleford Banks is home to roughly 120 WILD HORSES with a history dating back nearly 400 years!

Shark Fishing
Are you ready for a wild afternoon of fighting with the ocean’s top predator? Some of the best fighting fish in the ocean, sharks can be quite a challenge to bring to the boat, and it’s definitely a thrill to know there’s a big predator on the other end of that line. We may catch many species of sharks: black tips, hammerheads, sand sharks, lemons, bonnet heads, spiny dogfish, and more…

VISIT-PCTC--Tours-Dolphin-Watch-1 This private trip is available from November to May, and is about as good as it gets for “off-season” fun & relaxation. The Lookout Adventures vessel is perfect for a relaxing and intimate cruise in the winter months because the pilothouse helps protect you from any wind or cold. Just dress warmly and you’ll be perfectly comfortable. Max # of 6 guests.

This trip is available year round, and is perfect for those wanting a peaceful & memorable cruise of the local waterfronts, islands and landmarks. Step on the boat and get to relaxin’ while our friendly & professional captain takes you on a beautiful cruise through these panoramic and historic waterways. Serenity is the goal as we glide over the water towards our rendezvous with the setting sun.



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