Holidays on the Crystal Coast are chock full of merriment to get you in the spirit. These events are sure to spark excitement for you and your family and friends, and many have a unique coastal flair that will keep you coming back year after year. 


November 26 

Emerald Isle Christmas Parade

Get an infusion of Christmas spirit with the town’s Christmas Parade. It will from run 2 to 4 p.m. west along Emerald Drive, from Black Skimmer Drive to Mangrove Drive. A truly family-friendly event.

Small Business Saturday Holiday Market & Street Fair.

3 to 8 p.m. Carteret Community College, 3615 Arendell St., Morehead City, NC

Shop local! More than 100 vendors will be set up for the event, featuring local businesses,

food trucks, live music, and more!


December 2

Atlantic Beach “Light Up the Night” Christmas Parade

This year’s parade will begin at 6 p.m. at the Atlantic Beach Town Park and head east down West Fort Macon Road to the Atlantic Beach Circle.


December 3

Beaufort Christmas Parade

This annual parade brings smiles to children and adults alike. The fun begins at 11 a.m. on Front Street in Beaufort, NC.

Friends of the NC Maritime Museum Holiday Flotilla

5:30 to 7:30 p.m. This dazzling display of holiday lights and vessels of all types begins on the water by Shepard Street in Morehead City and travels to Beaufort along Taylor’s Creek.

Holly Jolly Vendor Show

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1219 Island Road, Harkers Island, NC

You are sure to find unique gifts while supporting some of the area’s vendors and small businesses.


December 3 & 4

34th Annual Core Sound Decoy Festival

Harkers Island Elementary School, 1164 Island Road, Harkers Island

Sponsored by the Core Sound Decoy Carvers Guild, the festival features antique decoy exhibits, retriever demonstrations, and several competitions including decoys, shorebirds, head whittling, and more.

Food will be offered by Harkers Island Elementary School staff and volunteers. You can shop for one-of-a-kind gifts from the many vendors.

Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days. Price: $8 Daily, Children under 12 are free Saturday; all children under 18 are free Sunday.


December 4

47th Annual Newport Christmas Parade

The ever-popular Newport Christmas Parade features, floats, bands, fire trucks, farm vehicles, and more. The parade will run along Chatham Street from 3 to 5 p.m.


December 10

Morehead City Christmas Parade

Celebrate the season in the heart of the Crystal Coast at the annual Christmas Parade, a thrill for spectators of all ages, with lots of music, floats, festivities, and, of course, Santa! 

Pick a spot anywhere on Arendell Street from 17th to 6th Street for the best view. The parade begins at 11 a.m.

Santa by the Sea

NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Kids will make holiday cards and an ornament and enjoy special treats and games at the aquarium. Tickets include a take-home photo of each child with Santa, plus crafts, holiday treats, activities, and more.

Event tickets are $9.95 per participant in addition to the aquarium admission fee or membership. Reservations can be made here.


December 10 & 11

Gingerbread Festival & Competition

Crystal Coast Civic Center 3505 Arendell St., Morehead City

11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  (Face Painting 1 to 3 p.m. • Santa Visit 2 to 4 p.m.)

The annual Gingerbread Festival & Competition is a fun and tasty celebration with jaw-dropping gingerbread displays, fun crafts and activities for kids, delicious food, and holiday sweets.

Beaufort Holiday Art Walk

Enjoy a festive day in Historic Downtown Beaufort, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Come celebrate the season and enjoy viewing a wide variety of art from regional artists throughout many of the downtown shops, galleries, and restaurants 4. The event is sponsored by the Historic Beaufort Site. Art Walk maps will be available at participating locations.


December 14, 15 & 16

A Celtic Christmas with Jennifer Licko

7 to 8:45 p.m. in Joslyn Hall on the campus of Carteret Community College, 3505 Arendell St., Morehead City, NC

Celtic album of the year winner Jennifer Licko will perform songs from her “Lights of Christmas” holiday CD alongside renowned Celtic instrumentalists.

Tickets are $18 and can be purchased here.


December 15

The Natural Side of Fort Macon
10 to 11:30 a.m. at Fort Macon State Park, 2303 E. Fort Macon Road, Atlantic Beach, NC

Meet in the visitor center lobby for a leisurely hike exploring the natural side of Fort Macon. The hike will cover both the trail through the maritime forest and the beach.


December 31

New Year’s Eve Cannon Blast

Begins at 6 p.m. at Fort Macon State Park, 2303 E. Fort Macon Road, Atlantic Beach, NC

Celebrate the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023 with a blast! Fort Macon will be firing its big guns in celebration of the new year. Live entertainment starts at 6 p.m., and the cannons will be fired at 7 p.m. Bring a folding chair and a picnic meal!

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