Crystal Coast Fast Facts

Carteret County is more commonly referred to as the Crystal Coast due to its crystal clear waters and pristine beaches. In recent years it has taken on the moniker of the Southern Outer Banks or SOBX.

Size and Geography

Carteret County covers 506 square miles. There are over 90 miles of ocean front beaches, most of which are on uninhabited barrier islands.

“The Crystal Coast is blessed with warm, clear waters due to the Gulf Stream gently caressing the coast. The east and west orientation of the beaches allows for visitors to watch the sun both to rise and set into the sparkling Atlantic waters. Thanks to the protective southward curve of the barrier islands along the coast, the coldest the waters get on The Crystal Coast in winter are the warmest the waters get in Boston in the summer.” H/T Crystal Coast Tourism

Mainland Carteret County is protected by four barrier islands, one of which is inhabited. These include Portsmouth Island, Core Banks, Shackleford Banks and Bogue Banks. Bogue Banks is the one inhabited island and is where you will find the towns of Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Indian Beach, Salter Path and Emerald Isle. There are two bridges that allow access on and off Bogue Banks, one in Atlantic Beach that leans to Morehead City. The other is in Emerald Isle and take you to Cape Carteret.

Major towns and areas in mainland Carteret include Beaufort, the county seat, Newport, and all of the area known as Down East.


The population of the Crystal Coast according to 2014 US Census quick facts is 68,811 people. There are 131 persons per square mile, 33 percent less than the state average.There has been a 4 percent population growth over the past 5 years. 24 percent of the adult population have a bachelor’s degree or higher.


The average home value is at $199,000 which is 23 percent higher than the state average. 84 percent of households are lived in by permanent residents. The homeowner rate is at 70 percent which is well above the state average.


The annual average temperature for Carteret County is 63 degrees. For North Carolina it is 58 and for the United States it is 54 degrees.

Annual rainfall amounts for the Crystal Coast is 53 inches, for North Carolina it drops to 47 inches and for the US 39 inches per year.

Average annual snowfall amounts for the Crystal Coast equals less than 1 inch. North Carolina averages around 5 inches of snow while the US averages over 23 inches of snow each year.

Humidity is not as bad as some people may think. The average humidity for Carteret County is at 80 percent. For North Carolina and the US is at 77 percent.

Wind is another element not as bad as some may have believed. The average monthly wind speed in Carteret County is at 18 mph, the same as North Carolina while the US is a little less at 17 mph.

Climate Data Source:


“The Crystal Coast has one of the longest fishing seasons on the Atlantic giving visitors the freedom to fish all year long with at least one breed of fish abundant at any time of year. In the fall there are plentiful schools of false albacore, red drum, and seatrout; the winter is popular for striped bass and blue fin tuna; cobia in the spring and the summer is known for the rich population of white and blue marlin, sailfish, dolphin and wahoo. H/T Crystal Coast Tourism


As one of the two spots in North America where the warm waters of the Gulf Stream caress the coast, diving enthusiasts refer to The Crystal Coast as a “wreck diver’s dream,” with near perfect conditions and crystal clear water with the average temperature hovering around 80° F and more than 100 feet of visibility. A mysterious realm awaiting exploration known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” more than 2,000 vessels have made their watery graves along the North Carolina coast. H/T Crystal Coast Tourism

Places To Go and Things To Do

North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, Fort Macon State Park, North Carolina Maritime Museum, Cape Lookout National Seashore, Core Sound Waterfowl Museum, Beaufort Historic Site, Old Burying Grounds, Croatan National Forest, Crystal Coast Kayaking, North Carolina Seafood Festival and much more!

Business and Industry

“A strong logistics sector is anchored by the Port of Morehead City, one of the deepest ports on the US East Coast, and easy access to major markets by US Highway 70, an extensive railroad system and nearby international, regional and local air service. The county is home to a long established base of marine related trades and boatbuilding; a wide range of manufacturing, production and assembly operations; a growing cluster of marine science education, research and technology and of course the military. Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and Fleet Readiness Center East’s Engineering and Product Support facility have over 10,000 military and over 4,000 civilian employees…a total workforce of almost 15,000. Nearby Camp Lejuene has a complement of over 45,000 active duty Marines and Navy personnel and almost 6,000 civilians.

Carteret County’s growing population of over 68,000 people is enhanced by an additional 100,000 people over the long summer season. A dedicated workforce of over 30,000 is fueled by an excellent public school system, one of the best in North Carolina, Carteret Community College’s comprehensive, specialized workforce development training and a large number of “former military” members who want to remain in the area.” H/T Carteret Economic Development


Healthcare in Carteret County is focused around Carteret General Hospital. This hospital is a 5 time award winning hospital as reported by US News and World Report. Currently Carteret General Hospital is in the midst of a $60 million dollar expansion. The hospital employs over 800 doctors, nurses, technicians and staff members.

Carteret County is also blessed with a variety of pharmacies which include several Walgreens, CVS, Eckerd’s, Wal-Mart, K-Mart and numerous private and independent concerns.

Margaret Hitchcock

To learn about the area or to find your special place at the beach contact Margaret Hitchcock at (252) 269-2893. Margaret has been representing buyers and sellers along the Crystal Coast for over 10 years. She is a real estate professional and Realtor best suited to help you find the property you are looking for!

Crystal Coast Fast Facts


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