A couple of summers ago, a friend whom I had not seen in years stopped by and invited me to join him for lunch. I had last seen him in Blacksburg, Virginia and it turned out that the last several years he lived in Florida. All the development that he witnessed there caused him to go in search of a beach area that was able to offer modern services but remained close to nature. He wanted a place that had resisted the wall to wall high-rises that are so typical of American beach development.
He happened upon my Crystal Coast Life blog and my Coastal Paradise site. Then it dawned on him that he knew the author of the blogs. He was so excited to find a local contact that he headed our way with plans to move here. He told me that the Swansboro area was like Florida when he first moved there. The good news is that massive development still has not found us.
As I make clear in our recent book, A Week At The Beach - The 2013 Emerald Travel Guide, the Crystal Coast is not the place for everyone. However, if your idea of the finish to a great day is a quiet walk on the beach at night, we might be the spot for you.
Each person carries their own definition of happiness. There are people who need lots of malls and plenty of canned entertainment to be complete. Others among us let Mother Nature provide the spice for our lives.
Sometimes where we choose to live can add to that happiness. When we moved here to the Southern Outer Banks in 2006, we came with the thought that the outdoor world and small town environment which we saw in Carteret County would add something to our lives.
We did not some looking for passive entertainment. We came with the hopes that the pleasant climate and wonderful natural world of the area would make our lives even richer and more active. While no place is perfect, we have greatly enjoyed our time in western Carteret County.
Water and beaches are a big part of our lives. We live three miles up the White Oak River from Swansboro, North Carolina. The beaches of Emerald Ise are less ten minutes by car for us. Each spring for the last three years, I have walked all the beaches inside the town limits of Emerald Isle. While the beaches are only 12.5 miles long, it usually requires at least 18.5 miles of hiking to cover them since I often end up doubling back to reach my vehicle.
We never really have a crowd on our beaches by some standards, and that is especially true prior to Memorial Day. Even during the summer there is plenty of beach here if you want to spread out. All it takes to find solitude on our beaches is a little walking. The Point at Emerald Isle is a wonderful place to taste how wild a beach can be. My post, The Point Beyond The Yellow House, is a good way to get a feeling for it without getting sand between your toes.
The Point is not the only place in the area where you can find solitude on a beach. I often refer people to my post, Life Without Walls. It talks about nearby Hammocks Beach. We have no shortage of great beaches and with Cape Lookout National Seashore close by, there are even wilder stretches of beach if that is what you need.
Our ever changing beaches are a wonder, and I cannot tell you how happy I am that we made the decision to move here while we could still enjoy them.