Morehead City is the largest town in the Crystal Coast region of North Carolina, with a population of 7,691 (as of 2000). Morehead (as it is usually called) is not actually in the Outer Banks, being situated on the opposite shore of the Bogue Sound from Atlantic Beach, and is the main gateway to the island of Bogue Banks.
There is no public transportation system in Morehead City; you'll need a car to get much of anywhere, although there are a number of reliable taxi companies in the area. The main downtown thoroughfare is Arendell Street (pronounced "uh-REN-dull"; IPA [(IPA: ə).'r(IPA: ʌ)n.d(IPA: ə)l]).
The bus station is located at 105 N 13th Street (+1 252-726-3029) if you want to catch a ride to other towns in the area; you'll need to call the Carteret County Area Transportation System at 252-240-1043 for a reservation ahead of time. Tickets start at $2.50.
- The Morehead City waterfront is a pleasant promenade of gift shops and restaurants by the harbor where the fishing boats come to dock. Naturally, some of the freshest seafood can be found at the adjacent fish market, but if you'd rather have someone else prepare it for you, there are plenty of places here where you can find that too.
- The History Place, 1008 Arendell St, ☏ (museum), (library). Open 10AM-4PM Tu-Sa. Dedicated to promoting public knowledge of, and interest in, the history and culture of Carteret County. Features exhibits on coastal history, a research and genealogical library, a museum shop, and a tea store.
- The area visitors' center is the Crystal Coast Tourism Authority, 3409 Arendell St, +1 252-726-8148 or +1-800-SUNNY-NC (786-6962).
- Visit the Carteret County Curb Market, the oldest continuously-operating curb market in North Carolina. Open Saturdays from 7:30AM-11:30AM from May through Labor Day. Local farmers and fishermen bring fruits and vegetables, seafood, baked goods and flowers for sale.
- Crystal Coast Jamboree, 1311 Arendell St, ☏ , toll-free: . A two-hour entertainment show featuring country-music singers and musicians, and dancing. Tickets are $12 - $21.
- Brandywine Bay Golf and Country Club, Highway 70 W, Route 2, ☏ . A semi-private 18-hole championship course, rated as the area's best by Golf Digest in 1995. $47 peak season, $37 off-season.
- Olympus Diving, 713 Shepard Street, ☏ . An award-winning dive operation, offering training, repairs, air and nitrox fills, a full line of rental equipment and gear sales, a Divers’ lodge, and a friendly, knowledgeable staff. Trips include wreck diving, shark observation, underwater photography and spearfishing.
Morehead also hosts several festivals during the year:
- The Carolina Chocolate Festival, +1-877-848-4976, is held in the Crystal Coast Civic Center for three days during early February. Includes chocolate demonstrations from expert chefs, fondue, a baking contest, a champagne and truffles party, a chocolate Sunday brunch, and live entertainment.
- Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament. Is held for a week during June. Fisherman converge on the area in an attempt to hook the largest blue marlin, or other gamefish, for cash prizes.
- North Carolina Seafood Festival. Is held during the first weekend in October to recognize the importance of seafood to eastern North Carolina. Along with the opportunity to sample familiar ("down east" clam chowder, raw oysters and shrimp burgers) and adventurous (calamari, marinated eel, sea urchin on a stick) seafood, the festival features entertainment, sporting events, and a ceremonial blessing of the fishing fleet.
There's nothing especially unique to Morehead City; if you want beach souvenirs, you'd be better off trying Atlantic Beach or Emerald Isle. However, there are quite a few nice gift shops and galleries around town.
- The Book Shop, 4915 Arendell St, ☏ . One of the best selections of new and used books in town, if you need something to read on the beach or by the pool. They also accept your used books for trade-in.
- Dee Gee's Gifts and Books, 508 Evans St, toll-free: . Local and regional books, as well as gifts and souvenirs.
- Ginny Gordon's Gifts and Gadgets, 1011 Arendell St, ☏ . The perfect store for the cooking aficionado; a wonderful selection of cookware, cookbooks, utensils and kitchen gadgets ranging from indispensable to wacky.
- Parson's General Store, 808 Arendell St, ☏ . An old-timey general store in an old Victorian home; offers gifts, crafts, home accessories, seasonal decorations and a vast selection of sweets, including ice cream.
- A Taste of Italy, 4466 Arendell St, ☏ . Formerly Pizzutti's in Atlantic Beach, this much-loved restaurant moved to a larger and fancier building, but still serves the same authentic Italian food, including homemade pasta and breads.
- El's Drive-In, 3706 Arendell St, ☏ . Open for breakfast Sunday to Thursday, and all day Friday and Saturday. Delicious shrimpburgers and milkshakes, and amazingly good Pepsi, brought to your window by car hops.
- The Sanitary Fish Market, 501 Evans St, ☏ . Open daily for lunch and dinner; closed between Thanksgiving and early February. Originally a waterfront seafood market (in 1938), now serving traditional broiled and fried seafood dishes at reasonable prices. It's a very popular local restaurant that seats 600, with lovely views of the sound through its large dining-room windows. Their complimentary Tar Heel hushpuppies are legendary, and try the homemade chowder. There's still a market next door if you want to buy your own fresh (and sanitary) fish.
- The Tea Clipper, 1008 Arendell St (in the same building as the History Place), ☏ . Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11AM-5PM. The shop sells over 120 fine teas and tea-related gifts, and there's a little cafe where you can have a light lunch or high tea. Don't miss the authentic Devonshire cream tea.
- Windandsea, 708 Evans St, ☏ . Upscale with a price to match. Serves wonderful dishes prepared with fresh local seafood along with modern, visually stimulating plates ranging from pork chops to steaks. Excellent wine menu and usually features local artists on the walls.
- William's Restaurant, 711 Evans St, ☏ . Down on the waterfront, serves up much of the same upscale seafood that is found on the coast. Featuring Carteret Catch dishes every night prepared with fish caught that day. Steaks and rack of lamb are also great.
- Cox Family Restaurant, 4109 Arendell St, ☏ . Nothing fancy here, just good country cooking at a very good price. Menu changes frequently with good specials. Serves a great breakfast as well.
- Brandy's Pancake & Waffle, 184 Hwy 24, ☏ . A good breakfast buffet at a good price.
- Luigi's Pizzia, Cypress Bay Plz#12 (near Sears), +1 252-240-3125. New York Style Pizza done right - if you don't want to spend a fortune every night eating fresh seafood, you can't miss with anything on their menu. Great Calzones and Meatball subs.
- [dead link] Diamond City, ☏ , toll-free: . Departs from Big Rock Landing on the Morehead City waterfront, and returns by midnight. A floating nightclub with large dance floor and light show. Call for reservations.
- Arendell Room, 715 Arendell Street, ☏ . Only the best cocktails on the Crystal Coast! Live Jazz on the weekends.
- Buccaneer Inn, 2806 Arendell St, ☏ , toll-free: . 91 rooms. Outdoor pool, complimentary hot breakfast. Golf, fishing and diving packages available. Located next to the Anchor Inn restaurant and lounge. Average price $149.
- Comfort Inn, 3100 Arendell St, ☏ , toll-free: . 01 rooms, heated outdoor pool, complimentary deluxe continental breakfast. A convenient location for access to the Morehead City waterfront or Atlantic Beach. Average price $112.
- Econo Lodge Crystal Coast, 3410 Bridges St, ☏ , toll-free: . 56 rooms. Complimentary continental breakfast. Golfing and diving packages available. Average price $86.
- Edgewater Motel, N 11th St, ☏ , toll-free: . Lounge serving Southern-style food, pool table, patio with live music and dancing on the weekends, and a private 250-foot pier.
- Hampton Inn, 4035 Arendell St, ☏ , toll-free: . 119 rooms, decorated in aquatic colors. Outdoor pool, complimentary continental breakfast, exercise room. Golf, tennis and fishing packages available. Average price $127.
- Holiday Inn Express, 5063 Executive Dr, ☏ , toll-free: . 75 rooms. Outdoor pool, fitness center, sauna, whirlpool, complimentary breakfast. Average price $97.
Two bed-and-breakfasts are also located in Morehead:
- The Dill House, 1104 Arendell St, ☏ . 3 rooms. Unique furnishings, private baths, complimentary full breakfast. Within walking distance of downtown and the waterfront.
- Lighthouse Inn, 2300 Bridges St, ☏ , toll-free: . 4 rooms. Open year-round. Wraparound front porch, complimentary continental breakfast. $65 - $85.
The Crystal Coast area has a variety of other areas to visit:
Further afield, there are some interesting destinations for daytrips:
- Havelock, about 30 minutes north on US-70.
- New Bern, about 1 hour north on US-70.
- Jacksonville, about 1 hour west on US-24.
- Bath, about 3 hours north.
- Ocracoke Island, about 3 hours east.
|Routes through Morehead City|
|Raleigh ← Newport ←||W E||→ Beaufort → Atlantic|