Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Morehead City, NC

  • Published 2023/01/17

Firm up your travel itinerary to Morehead City for a vacation in North Carolina.

This city is a port town located in the central coastal part of Carteret County, brimming with popular tourist destinations.

Morehead City is part of the Crystal Coast of North Carolina, flaunting pristine beaches along an 85-mile coastline.

Here, you will encounter a wide selection of water-based fun activities.

You will also discover a charming mix of natural wonders, history, and family adventures.

Moreover, a Morehead City trip can easily extend to fascinating excursions to the nearby barrier islands of the Outer Banks.

Include these 20 things to do for an enjoyable and memorable visit to Morehead City.

Test the Waters off Radio Island

Aerial view of Radio Island

Joseph Moran /

Plan a stop on Radio Island straddling the border of Morehead City.

This island is easily accessible, as it wedges directly to US Highway 70 and provides parking for vehicles.

Radio Island has a public boat ramp on the edge of the Newport River from which you can embark on offshore fishing.

Alternatively, you can just drop a line in the 575-foot long fishing pier that extends well into the waters off Radio Island.

You can also embark on kayak trips from this island or relax on its public beach for swimming, paddleboarding, or a suntan.

Stroll at the Fish Walk and Promise Land Heritage Trail

Go on a DIY tour of the downtown Morehead City Fish Walk and extend it to the Promise Land Heritage Trail.

A promenade in the Fish Walk will immerse you in the history of the city as well as its arts scene.

This attraction was developed as a public art display featuring fish sculptures along the city’s waterfront.

Without breaking too much sweat, step onward the Promise Land Heritage Trail that immortalizes the downtown waterfront’s history.

This trail traverses the city’s pioneer neighborhood, Promise Land, now a showcase of historic homes, art galleries, antique shops, and boutiques.

Taking this tour offers but a sampling of the stories told at the Morehead City Historic District, where there are over 120 vintage buildings.

Hop on to Sugarloaf Island

Aerial view of Sugarloaf Island

Kyle J Little /

Take a short boat ride across Harbor Channel from the Morehead City Waterfront to the pristine reserve Sugarloaf Island.

This barrier island is small at just 22 acres, but it’s immense in natural beauty and welcoming as well.

Sugarloaf Island is uninhabited and features just a few facilities, including a floating boat dock and restrooms.

This island has a nature trail ideal for birdwatching, and fishing can be enjoyed too on its foreshore waters.

There is a small stretch of beach in Sugarloaf Island, and its waters are 100 percent safe for swimming based on the rating of NC Recreational Water Quality Program’s staff monitoring.

Capture Morehead’s Community Vibe at Jaycee Park

The triangular-shaped Jaycee Park is small, but here you can at once capture the community spirit of Morehead City.

This park is located onward the eastern terminus of Evans Street and spreads next to the Morehead City Waterfront.

From its perch overlooking Harbor Channel, the view is fantastic, especially during sunsets.

It is in this endearing setting where various community activities of Morehead City are being held.

Summertime is most special, as this is when Jaycee Park hosts well-attended, free concert series every Saturday.

Locals and visitors also gravitate to this park for its festivals, art shows, and other city-wide celebrations.

There are benches and shaded swings in Jaycee Park, as well as historical markers that can entice you to tarry a little bit longer.

Relive the Past in the History Museum of Carteret County

While in downtown Morehead City, visit the History Museum of Carteret County that is a standout on Arendell Street.

Locals also call this museum “The History Place,” which is distinctive in its historical structure resembling an old train depot.

In this facility, you will discover the early beginnings of Morehead and the pillars that help build this city into what it is today.

The museum curates each chapter of the region’s history through a wide array of artifacts and exhibits.

It also features a research library with over 10,000 materials documenting the city’s journey from the past to the present.

The History Museum of Carteret County hosts an onsite gift shop and holds regular lectures and community-wide events as well.

Go Nature-Tripping at the Calico Creek Boardwalk

You can enjoy North Carolina’s natural beauty at the Calico Creek Boardwalk right at the heart of Morehead City.

Secluded and picturesque, this boardwalk is on the northern outskirts of the city’s downtown area and is about 2 kilometers long.

Along Calico Creek, the boardwalk’s stretch runs from North 19th and Bay Street to North 22nd Street.

The Calico Creek backdrop of the boardwalk is an estuary of the Newport River, and its marshland attracts plenty of shorebirds.

Because of this feature, the Calico Creek Boardwalk appears on the birdwatchers’ guide North Carolina Birding Trail-Coastal Plains.

Explore the Morehead City Waterfront

Road of Morehead City Waterfront

User: (WT-shared) Haem85 at wts wikivoyage, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tour the waterfront of Morehead City and discover its standing as one of the prime maritime communities of North Carolina.

The city’s waterfront always hums with activity any time of day because it’s a hub of the commercial fishing industry.

Evans Street would be the vantage point for you to watch the busy maritime traffic on the Intracoastal Waterway.

Aerial view of Morehead City Waterfront


A stroll along this street will also offer amazing views of Sugarloaf Island and the shoreline of Atlantic Beach.

An impressive sculpture of King Neptune and a replica of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse are surprising sights in the area too.

Additionally, there are plenty of commercial outfits on the city’s waterfront that can unlock many water-based adventures, like cruises, sports fishing, and scuba diving.

Restaurants along Morehead City Waterfront

Kyle J Little /

Have a Family Outing at Shevans Park

Take the family for a day’s fun at the Shevans Park located just west of Morehead City’s downtown area.

The kids like this park because of its castle-inspired playground with an interconnected feature called “Sea of Dreams.”

Plenty of playtimes await the children here, as they negotiate a network of swings, slides, rope obstacles, and hideaways.

For the adults, Shevans Park provides tennis courts as well as grills and picnic shelters with benches, vending machines, and restrooms.

Besides being near downtown, this park is also within walking distance to the city’s scenic public beach, accessible via Shackleford Street.

Enjoy Baseball at Big Rock Stadium

Visit the Big Rock Stadium, the home grounds of the Morehead City Marlins, a minor baseball league team playing in the Coastal Plain League.

Action in this stadium typically revs up during spring and summer, with games set in the afternoons and evenings.

Big Rock Stadium seats up to 1,800 fans, many of which are eagerly anticipating the Marlins’ home games.

The games at this stadium easily draw spectators because of its convenient location just inland of Morehead City’s downtown.

Moreover, Big Rock Stadium’s baseball diamond is state-of-the-art in its construction, promising superb playing conditions and exciting ball games.

Watch Local Sports Meets at Swinson Park

Discover budding local sports talents in baseball, softball, and soccer at Swinson Park.

Various sports teams meet in the park’s various ball fields to compete during summer and spring.

Swinson Park, one of the facilities of the Carteret County NC Parks and Recreation, likewise provides two tennis courts and public restrooms.

Adjacent to Morehead City Primary School off Country Club Road, this park is also the only park in the city with an inclusive playground for special needs children.

A visit to Swinson Park thus promises the delight of watching children and adults of all abilities at play.

Catch a Performance of the Carteret Community Theatre

There is a vibrant and colorful cultural scene in Morehead City for you to enjoy, thanks to the Carteret Community Theatre.

Located in the city’s downtown area, this theater hosts various cultural shows featuring acclaimed performers, both nationally and regionally.

This theater’s homegrown Carteret Community Theatre group also presents its own productions.

Well-equipped as well, this theater dazzles audiences with performances by country music stars and classic beach music groups.

The Carteret Community Theatre maintains regular performances to ensure that the arts and culture vibe resonates all year round.

Sate Seafood Craving at the Sanitary Fish Market & Restaurant

Sanitary Fish Market & Restaurant, established in 1938, is a long-time favorite of seafood lovers.

From a 12-stool eatery, this waterfront restaurant now has a 500-seat capacity, attesting to the immense popularity it has achieved.

The Southern menu it banners include fried popcorn shrimp, Bogue Sound clam chowder, broiled seafood platters, and shrimp and grits.

This restaurant also offers a special bar menu, and for meat lovers, there’s an ample selection of steaks and sandwiches.

Patrons of this restaurant stayed loyal too because of its desserts and milkshakes that can appeal to the sweet tooth in you.

Swig a Mug at Tight Lines Pub & Brewing Company

Join the beer lovers at the Tight Lines Pub & Brewing Company along Morehead City’s main road, Arendell Street.

This pub is a haven for over 30 craft beers, an extensive selection by any measure.

Most of the brews of choice at Tight Lines are regional, with seasonal changes available.

Given the exciting variety to look forward to, the pub has won regular patrons searching for a new beer-tasting experience in their visits.

Notably, customer activity picks up in this pub during major game days, as it features a 130-inch HD Projector TV and 65-inch HD Big Screens.

In addition, Tight Lines offers a bountiful menu of classic and special dishes prepared from fresh produce and seafood items.

Break Par at the Brandywine Bay Golf Club

Tee off for an affordable round of golf at the 18-hole Brandywine Bay Golf Club, which has been open for public play.

This well-kept golf course is located within a namesake prime residential community, wedged between Highway 70 and Highway 24 on the western edge of Morehead City.

The par 71 links of Brandywine Bay Golf Club provide five sets of tees to accommodate players of all skill levels.

Play is the longest at the layout’s championship tees that offer 6,500 yards in a complete round of play.

You’ll immediately feel at home at Brandywine Bay Golf Club, as it has a friendly and helpful staff, including teaching golf pros who can guide you how to break par.

Let All Your Frustrations Out at Crystal Coast Axe Throwing

Axe throwing is a unique and entertaining sport, perfect for anybody who wants to embrace their innermost lumberjack or perhaps just experiment with a new activity.

Come check out Crystal Coast Axe Throwing, the most thrilling entertainment venue on the Crystal Coast.

They presently offer the Crystal Coast Rage Room, a private area where you can let your emotions out.

They supply protective gear, plus you get to choose the objects you wish to smash, from dinner plates to windshields to laptops and more.

Visit Crystal Coast Axe Throwing for glow-in-the-dark axe throwing on Friday and Saturday nights!

It’s a terrific opportunity to enjoy time with loved ones, plan a team-building activity, or celebrate a special occasion.

Wander around the Promise Land Market

Promise Land Market launched in 2013 in Central Morehead City next to the old Promise Land neighborhood, which was given that name by residents who moved there after a hurricane ruined the neighborhood.

David Quinn and Gerhardt Schnibben, two friends from Morehead City, strived to establish a rustic, coastal ambiance with historical origins to introduce the wine, craft beer, and handmade cheese platters to the city.

Promise Land embraces current principles of locally sourced, modest production North Carolina cuisine and drinks.

The Wine Shop houses its wine club and serves as the community’s hub for wine education.

The Dining Room is a relaxed, comfortable setting where loved ones gather for lunch and dinner to savor daily specials and rustic seaside delicacies.

Lastly, The Mullet Bar is a place where you can watch the big game, take in live entertainment, and invite your pals to a game of Foosball on its retro table.

Feel Better at Blue Ocean Spa & Microblading

Morehead City, North Carolina’s Blue Ocean Spa & Microblading launched on July 17, 2013, offering various services.

Customers leave feeling pampered, refreshed, and rejuvenated due to the atmosphere’s tranquility, serenity, and friendliness.

The team at Blue Ocean Spa & Microblading finds joy in staying up to date with the most recent methods, supplies, and technology in their respective industries.

They take pleasure in providing the best possible service, top-notch nail care, and relaxing spa treatments.

Travel toward renewal, healing, and relaxation by visiting Blue Ocean Spa & Microblading.

Pay a Visit to Morehead City Yacht Basin

The Morehead City Yacht Basin has been around for more than a century and is supported by a wealth of industry knowledge.

It was first established in 1947 and was run for five decades by dockmaster James Hester.

A world-class, top-tier marina in the Mid-Atlantic region, Morehead City Yacht Basin provides fuel and dockage for roving yachts and longer-term stays.

It is strategically positioned in Morehead City’s downtown area, close to several upscale dining options, shops, and the ocean.

Its amenities include on-site laundry facilities, wide showers, and spotless bathrooms, just to name a few.

Explore the Waters with Lookout Adventures

Private family fishing charters, close-in fishing trips, and island-hopping expedition charters are all available with Lookout Adventures.

Book a Private Island Hopping Charter for an unmatched Cape Lookout excursion.

You may also reserve one of their Inshore/Nearshore Fishing Charters or Shark Fishing Charters and catch on various species for a half-day or full-day.

Grab the opportunity of their COMBO-Day package, which includes a half-day of island hopping and inshore fishing in the Cape Lookout region.

Bring the family and friends together for an unforgettable experience!

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go on an Excursion to Fort Macon State Park

Exterior of Fort Macon State Park

Rob Byron /

Pick from the wide-ranging recreational activities at the Fort Macon State Park on the barrier island town of Atlantic Beach.

This park is roughly opposite south of Morehead City, with about a kilometer of the waters of Bogue Sound separating it from the mainland.

The 9-acre Fort Macon, established in 1826 during the Civil War, can be easily reached from Morehead City via the Atlantic Beach Bridge.

The grounds of Fort Macon State Park

Zack Frank /

Fully restored, this fort-turned-state park is popular during summer for its Civil War reenactments.

Entrance is free at Fort Macon, which offers parking space and a beach area with a bathhouse and picnic shelters, as well as a seasonal concession stand.

Visitors of this state park can find ideal spots for swimming, surf fishing, and beachcombing.

You can also explore the Fort Macon trail that loops for approximately 3.2 milesalong marshland, maritime forest, and sand dunes.

Cannons at Fort Macon State Park

William Silver /

Final Thoughts

A visit to Morehead City, North Carolina, provides an astonishing selection of places from which to weave many exciting memories.

This city can bring you a vivid experience of looking back at the region’s colorful history amidst wondrous settings.

While in Morehead City, you can be immersed in a maritime tradition that helped shape the economy and lifestyle in this side of the US.

Be sure to lay out a well-planned itinerary in touring this city so you can capture all the elements that shaped Morehead into the vibrant destination it is today.

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