Winter on the Crystal Coast is a real treat. A time to unwind and clear your mind. The beaches are less crowded, the air is crisp, and yet there are plenty of local events to entertain you and your family.

Here are just a few reasons to visit the Crystal Coast this time of year.


Penguin Plunge 2023

Sunday, Jan. 1, at 1 p.m. • Atlantic Beach, NC

Penguin Plunge 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of this exhilarating start to the New Year! Make plans to join us on the main strand in Atlantic Beach to bring in the new year with an invigorating splash while supporting local charities.

Children ages 12 and under $5; Children 13 and older and adults $10; Add a commemorative t-shirt for $25 or sweatshirt for $40 to your registration fee.

Don’t want to jump into the icy Atlantic Ocean? No problem. Register as an official Penguin Plunge Towel Holder for $10.


First Day Hikes at Fort Macon

Sunday, Jan. 1, 8 a.m. & 3 p.m. • Fort Macon State Park, 2303 E. Fort Macon Road, Atlantic Beach, NC

Start the new year off with a First Day Hike in one of North Carolina’s favorite state parks. Fort Macon will be offering four ranger-led hikes this year, all starting from the visitor center at 8 a.m. or 3 p.m.

Each time slot will offer two hike options. A short nature hike on the Yarrow’s Loop trail and inlet beach covering about 0.75 miles, or a long 3.2-mile hike around the Elliott Coues Trail.

Participants should wear sturdy shoes and bring a water bottle. The hikes are free.


Cassatt String Quartet

Jan. 7, 7 to 10 p.m. • First Presbyterian Church, 1604 Arendell St., Morehead City, NC

Acclaimed as one of America’s outstanding ensembles, the Manhattan-based Cassatt String Quartet has performed throughout North America, Europe, and the Far East.

They will be performing works by Price, Mozart, Moore, and Mendelssohn.

Sponsored by the American Music Festival, this event and others in the series give you an opportunity to experience the richness of chamber music in coastal North Carolina.

Purchase tickets ($32 each) here.


Carolina Chocolate Festival

Feb. 4, 9 a.m to 5 p.m. & Feb. 5, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. • Crystal Coast Civic Center, 3505 Arendell St., Morehead City

A favorite celebration for more than 15 years, the annual Carolina Chocolate Festival is a decadent celebration (and charity fundraising event) for anyone who wants to indulge a sweet tooth.

The event is full of activities from tastings to spa trips, showing just how sweet it is to be on the Crystal Coast.


Mardi Gras on Middle Lane

Feb. 11, 2 to 6 p.m. • Middle Lane, Beaufort, NC

No need to travel to New Orleans for a taste of Mardi Gras – a celebration is waiting in the heart of downtown of Beaufort.

Perhaps the shortest parade in North Carolina, Mardi Gras on Middle Lane is a unique display of Beaufort’s quirkiness. You don’t want to miss the parade of festive participants in costume tossing jewelry and charms.

The event pays homage to the grand annual party with an array of ways to have fun for visitors of all ages, including activities for the kids, live Cajun music, jazz, and more.


First Annual Down East Duck Run

Feb. 11, 9 a.m. to noon • 755 Seashore Dr, Atlantic, NC

The first annual Down East Duck Run 5K Race will include something for everyone, from experienced races to first-time 5K walkers. There will be food and entertainment for an overall family event.

The race will raise money for Another Perspective to support community-level projects that are inclusive, and needed, and promote recreation in the outdoors, as well as develop conservation approaches that are unique and effective.

Register here.


We think you will be pleasantly surprised at how enticing the Crystal Coast is in winter and will want to keep coming back for more! Give us a call at Al Williams Properties so we can help you find a home in this dream location or a second home to visit whenever you choose.

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