There are many reasons to visit Cedar Island Ranch on the Crystal Coast. From amazing views and horseback riding to invigorating kite surfing and duck hunting, a vacation stay at our campground has endless possibilities. If you would like to venture off the campground, however, there are equally fun things to do on our Southern Outer Banks. We’ve included a complete list of the top events on the Crystal Coast!

Biggest Events on the Crystal Coast

If you are a traveling foodie, check out the Beaufort Wine and Food, which usually occurs in late April. At this event you can purchase tickets to various events that showcase delicious foods from renowned chefs and wine distributors all over the nation. Beaufort Wine and Food has also added more events throughout the year like an Oyster Roast and the newly created Restaurant Week. Beaufort is a short drive away from Cedar Island Ranch so you can easily use our RV park as your base for all things Beaufort Wine and Food.

During the summer most of the Crystal Coast events take a break so visitors can enjoy the pristine beaches across our region but when fall rolls in, the next major event is the Beaufort Pirate Invasion occurring in late September. Adults and children alike flock to Beaufort to see reenactments of the Spanish Attack of Beaufort in 1747. Be prepared to witness pirates and their wenches walking through town, camping at the Old Historic Site and talking like pirates do. It’s no wonder why kids love this event! Located a short drive from our campground, come prepared to watch a swashbuckling adventure with your family.

Almost immediately after the Pirate Invasion, during the first full weekend in October, you’ll want to attend one of the longest running festivals in the area, The North Carolina Seafood Festival. With over 30 years of sharing seafood and sea-fun, there is something for everyone at this festival. At this festival, you’ll get to enjoy delicious North Carolina seafood, learn how to cook it from local chefs, attend many specialty events, shop creative vendors and dance to many great bands. There are also rides that the entire family will enjoy! This event starts on a Friday at noon and ends late Sunday afternoon, so you can plan on spending the entire weekend having fun! It occurs in downtown Morehead City, which is about an hour drive from our campground.

Where can you enjoy a Scottish highland festival away from rolling hills but rather near the rolling waters of the sea? Only on the Crystal Coast can you see strong men and women from all over the world battle in athletic events, sample scotch, see highland dance demonstrations and even enjoy bagpipe music at the Crystal Coast Highland Games. This is a truly unique event where you can don your family tartan while eating from delicious food trucks. Bring out the entire family because there are games for the kids and adults alike. This event ocurrs in late October in Beaufort, which is a short drive from the Cedar Island Ranch.

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Fishing Tournaments

One of the area’s newest tournaments, the Chris Perri Memorial Billfish Tournament, honors the legacy of Chris Perri who lost his battle to AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) in 2021. This billfish tournament happens in early May each year and features an adult and kids tournament. The funds raised from the tournament are included as part of an endowment in Chris’ name at UNC where others with AML will benefit. As one of the first billfish tournaments of the season situated at the Morehead City waterfront, you’ll likely experience the love of our community here on the coast as they come together for an amazing cause. Many anglers also fish in this tournament as a warmup to a much larger tournament in June.

Many outdoor lovers consider the Crystal Coast one of the best places on Earth to hunt, fish and surf! Morehead City is considered a “fisherman’s paradise” and is home to the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament that occurs annually in early June. Starting in spring of 1957, this tournament is one of the largest billfish tournaments in the United States, anglers compete for an entire week for a variety of prizes and winnings that have totaled over a record breaking $5 million in 2022! Bring the family to the Morehead City Waterfront in the afternoon each day to see all the fish being brought in to be weighed. The minimum size of a blue marlin to be hoisted up at the weigh station must be over 400 pounds to qualify so you’re sure to see some eye-popping billfish at this event. The Big Rock Blue Marlin tournament also hosts a women’s and kids’ tournaments that continue to foster the love of fishing to all!

If you love red fish, also known as red drum, the official state fish of North Carolina then the Sarah James Fulcher Memorial Redfish Tournament is for you. This tournament is actually held at our campground in early to mid-August each year and raises money for the local community. Named after a local Down East native, Sarah James Fulcher, who loved her family, nature and the ocean, inspired others to come together and start this tournament in her name. This tournament has a wonderful following and is a great family event for the Cedar Island area.

Music Festivals

Music is the core to having a great beach or boat day so of course the Crystal Coast would be home to two diverse music festivals, the Beach Music Festival in Atlantic Beach and the Beaufort Music Festival in Beaufort, NC. These two festivals both occur the same weekend in mid-May each year but feature very different genres of tunes. If shaggin’ to the oldies and listening to the sounds of bands like the Embers or the Band of Oz is something that appeals to you then head to Atlantic Beach for this one-day event that occurs right at the circle. If you love funky independent styled music by bands that range from blues to ska to alt country honky tonk, red dirt Americana then this two-day festival is for you! Running since 1990 and hosted at Gallants Channel in Beaufort, the Beaufort Music Festival brings together music, food, art and breweries. Both music festivals are a short drive from our campground but sure to be experiences you won’t want to miss.

Camping and festivals go hand in hand and so does fishing, which is why you want to use Cedar Island Ranch as your basecamp for exploring the Crystal Coast. Book your next stay with us and don’t miss anything on the southern Outer Banks this year!

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