Emerald Isle vs Outer Banks: How to Choose the Best One for Your Family




If you’re planning your first visit to Emerald Isle, you might be a little confused on how the Crystal Coast and the Outer Banks are split up, as well as what makes them so different. While these areas are both coastal regions in North Carolina and very close in proximity, there are some key difference that may help you decide where to book your vacation. Find out everything you need to know when it comes to Emerald Isle vs. the Outer Banks.

Are you ready to plan your trip? Find out our picks for the best things to do in Emerald Isle! Download our free Vacation Guide and you’ll be well on your way to planning the ultimate getaway to the Crystal Coast. From the best restaurants and shops in town to other family-friendly attractions along the Bogue Banks, you’ll find everything you need in our Vacation Guide. Plus, everything in there has Spinnaker’s Reach’s stamp of approval, so you can feel confident that you’re going to have an amazing vacation. Download it today!

Emerald Isle vs. Outer Banks 101

First, let’s answer one of our most-asked questions: is Emerald Isle part of the outer banks? Typically, when people say “The Outer Banks,” they tend to think of it as one destination. However, this region (often called OBX) is actually a 130-mile stretch of islands off the coast of North Carolina. The Cyrstal Coast, which is sometimes referred to as “South Outer Banks,” is a bit of coastline located directly below the OBX islands and is over 80 miles long. One of the islands along the Cyrstal Coast is called Bogue Banks, which is 21-miles long. At the very southernmost tip of this island is our wonderful town, Emerald Isle. Don’t worry - you won’t be tested on any of this information.

What Makes Emerald Isle Unique

So now that we’ve laid out the geography, it’s time to choose between Emerald Isle and OBX. If you’re planning a summer vacation with your family, the choice is simple. Emerald Isle is the ideal destination. The water is calmer here, due to the direction of our island, with a placid wave direction. This means that Emerald Isle is a more kid-friendly destination, with gentle waves and even warmer water. The ocean tends to be more shallow in Emerald Isle, as well. Plus, when you rent a home from Spinnaker’s Reach, you have access to the shoreline along Coast Guard Road, a private area that is open to our guests. This stretch of coastline is less crowded than other popular destinations.

The town of Emerald Isle is also less commercialized than OBX, which is quickly becoming a hotspot for tourists. Our quiet town is still one of the best-kept secrets in North Carolina, with locally owned businesses and a more family-oriented feel. You won’t have to battle through traffic to try to find a parking spot or battle through the crowds for a clear space on the beach.

Stay with Spinnaker’s Reach


When it comes to the question of Emerald Isle vs. Outer Banks, the answer is simple. Emerald Isle has warmer, calmer waters, family-friendly attractions, and a gorgeous selection of vacation homes courtesy of Spinnaker’s Reach!


Consider booking A Sound Seclusion, our six-bedroom, four-bathroom waterfront property. This three-story home is perfect for families on their annual summer vacation. Since this property is pet-friendly, the whole family gets to come on vacation! You won’t have to sacrifice comfort or privacy during your stay. A Sound Seclusion is a spacious home, with luxurious suites and bedrooms and a gorgeous view of the sound. Best of all, this property comes with a private pool that will be ready for your use!


Don’t hesitate! Check out the rest of our properties and book your home today. We look forward to having you.

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