If you have a taste for treats from the sea, you’ll want to make a trip to the North Carolina Seafood Festival.
Art, music, and seafood make this a must for your coastal vacation. Plus, you’ll be in a prime location for a variety of other fun activities.
Join us as we dive into the details of this festival for seafood lovers.
Let’s dig in!
About the North Carolina Seafood Festival
Over 200,000 hungry visitors head to the North Carolina Seafood Festival on the first full weekend in October. Chefs and other foodies from civic organizations and church groups serve some of the South’s tastiest treats.
But this festival isn’t just about the grub. You’ll also hear live music all weekend across multiple stages. Acts include local favorites like Indian Outlaw and Carolina Dreamers.
On Armband Friday, you can purchase a pass for unlimited amusement rides. And the fireworks show on Saturday is fun for the whole family. During the Twin Bridges 8K Race, runners catch spectacular views while testing their endurance.
The Blessing of the Fleet takes place on Sunday. Here, the nautically inclined send each other well wishes and hopes for good fortune in the coming year.
Stretch your legs at a yoga class or show off your arm with the famous Flounder Fling. As the name implies, contestants battle it out to see who can throw fish the farthest. We hear Miss North Carolina always makes the first toss.
Every day of the festival presents excellent opportunities for shopping. You can scratch items off your Christmas list at a wide range of vendors, such as ceramic artists, glass blowers, and painters.
Best of all, admission is free. In addition, the event offers a complimentary shuttle service and parking at no cost.
Know Before You Go: Visit the festival’s website for a full list of events throughout the weekend.
Where Is the North Carolina Seafood Festival?
Morehead City, North Carolina, is home to this seafood and music festival. The idyllic seaside town is on the Crystal Coast, a popular tourist destination on the Southern Outer Banks.
People visit this area for many reasons. Of course, numerous local restaurants offer freshly caught seafood and other fare.
But the ocean provides a bounty in a variety of ways. Sparkling turquoise waters are the perfect playground for aquatic activities like sailing, swimming, and fishing. There’s no shortage of places to rent a boat or kayak and get out on the water.
Additionally, museums tell the tales of the region’s early days. Whether you’re a history buff or a nature lover, you’re sure to expand your knowledge while in Morehead City.
Learn more about traditional Lowcountry foods: Carolina Lowcountry: Shrimp and Grits.
Does the North Carolina Seafood Festival Host Other Events?
The North Carolina Seafood Festival is a non-profit organization that benefits the local community. And they do this by throwing several annual events in addition to the October soiree.
North Carolina is a hub for oyster farming. In fact, they call themselves the Napa Valley of these salty shellfish.
The Wine & Brine event helps raise awareness and funding for local suppliers. Roughly 300 guests attend, sipping high-quality vino and sucking down fresh, salty oysters. It takes place in January when these succulent mollusks are at their peak.
In April, locals celebrate spring with Bites and Blues. It all starts with the unveiling of the year’s commemorative poster. After that, ticketholders hop between restaurants and businesses, tasting delicious snacks and decadent brews. Most locations have live music for this special evening, so there’s entertainment everywhere you turn.
The 2024 event will include over 20 establishments. At the end of the evening, voters decide on the “Bite of the Night.”
Other Fun Things To Do Near the North Carolina Seafood Festival
Whether or not you head to Morehead City for the seafood festival, you’ll find plenty of other attractions to keep you busy. Here are three great places to check out while you’re there.
And, if you’re sticking to the coast for your trip, check out Coastal North Carolina: Its Enchanting Islands, Towns, and Communities.
Explore the North Carolina Maritime Museum
Unsurprisingly, the Atlantic is a big part of life on the Crystal Coast. The North Carolina Maritime Museum in nearby Beaufort encapsulates the ocean’s influence on the area, past and present.
Exhibits on boats and the local fishing industry are the tip of the iceberg. Other installments feature pirates, shipwrecks, and lots of sea monsters. You can even take a peek at the heart of a whale. If you make it to Morehead City, be sure to hit this unique museum.
Check Out Fort Macon State Park
Step back in time at this fully restored pre-Civil War relic. Fort Macon State Park offers guided tours and exhibits on the area’s history and ecology.
You can also hike or cycle four miles of coastal trails, enjoy a waterfront picnic, or swim in the Atlantic. Additionally, the dunes provide the ideal ecosystem for shorebirds. If you enjoy birdwatching, you might see as many as 300 different species.
Unfortunately, no camping facilities are available at the park. However, there’s a concession stand and a visitor center where you can pick up literature on the area.
Visit the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores
If you’re interested in wildlife, you’ll want to check out the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. This world-class facility features thousands of creatures from mountain streams, lakes, and the open sea. Exhibits highlight the wide range of habitats throughout the state.
The Living Shipwreck display includes replicas of Blackbeard’s ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, and a German U-352 submarine. You can also safely touch a stingray and spot otters and rare sea turtles.
Best Places to Stay Near the North Carolina Seafood Festival
We suggest staying the whole weekend if you’re heading to the North Carolina Seafood Festival. Here are a few highly-rated places to rest your head.
Waters Edge RV Park
Book a site at Waters Edge RV Park to get away from it all. Nestled on the shores of Bogue Sound, this campground lives up to its name. Cast a line from their private pier or take a dip in the calm waters to cool off at the end of the day.
Spacious, full-hookup sites offer 20, 30, and 50-Amp service. In addition, you’ll have access to a tiled bathhouse with hot showers and a dump station.
Pecan Tree Inn Bed and Breakfast
Originally built in 1866, this fully renovated Victorian-style home is a great place to relax between adventures. Pecan Tree Inn is in Beaufort, less than ten minutes from the North Carolina Seafood Festival.
Located on the edge of the downtown historic district, you’ll be steps away from top-tier restaurants, shops, and galleries.
Rooms come fully stocked with plush bathrobes, white noise machines, and essential oil diffusers. And, of course, you’ll wake up to a hot breakfast each morning.
When we say Atlantis Lodge is a blast from the past, we’re not kidding. This 1960s beachfront hotel has plenty of laid-back vibes and surfer aesthetics.
However, don’t let appearances fool you. You won’t lack any modern comforts. Free WiFi, Smart TVs, and kitchens with new appliances mean you’ll have access to all the essentials.
A heated saltwater pool with a built-in waterfall, ocean kayaks, and volleyball courts will keep you entertained. Plus, the hotel loves pets and even has a dedicated dog park.
They only take reservations over the phone. However, rooms book up far in advance. So plan ahead if you want to stay here.
Heading inland? Here are the 5 Best Day Trips Around Raleigh, North Carolina.
Is a Road Trip to the North Carolina Seafood Festival Worth It?
We can’t think of a better way to spend an October weekend than enjoying all the flavors of the North Carolina Seafood Festival. After all, we’re partial to fall weather and delicious food.
If you plan to hit this year’s event, make the most of your trip by visiting the area’s other premier attractions. You’re sure to come away inspired in one way or another.
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