Newport is a small town just outside the Crystal Coast region of Carteret County, North Carolina, situated on the scenic Newport River. Because it's inland, away from the touristy coastal area, and doesn't have much in the way of attractions, Newport remains a mostly residential community. However, it's situated in the Croatan National Forest, so if you want a convenient base to reach both the beach and the woods, Newport might be the ideal spot.
When you leave the Crystal Coast, the rest of Carteret County is taken up by the Croatan National Forest. Newport is in the southeastern corner of it; the larger town of Havelock, to the north, is smack in the middle. It contains elevated swamp habitat, salt marsh, estuaries and carniverous plants. The White Oak, Neuse and Newport rivers flow through the forest. As activities go, there are plenty of boat ramps, canoeing areas, fishing spots and trails, some of them self-guided.
At the end of March, Newport hosts the Newport Pig Cookin' Contest in the community park, an annual tradition since 1978. Over 80 cooks, armed with their own secret sauces, grill a whole pig in the hopes of winning a cash prize.
Little Doo Mud Bog, 678 Tom Mann Rd, +1-252-223-4604, . One of the more unusual activities in the Crystal Coast area, Little Doo Mud Bog offers entertainment for the entire family, centered around a wide muddy track. Adults can bring trucks or buggies to race, and there's also a smaller track where kids can race in toy trucks. There's a race every Saturday at 6PM; Gates open at 3PM. $7 (adults), free for kids 12 and under.
Outside Newport, near the community of Mill Creek where the Newport River widens out to meet the Bogue Sound, people often take their boats out to go shrimping, or harvest fresh oysters.
Croatan Cafe, 133 East Chatham St, +1-252-223-0520. The favorite local restaurant, the Croatan Cafe has inexpensive home-cooked food (with, of course, plenty of seafood) along with fast and friendly service. In the evenings, they offer an oyster bar.
Mixed drinks are not available for purchase in Newport restaurants, only beer and wine. If you want something stronger, there's an ABC store at 7015 Hwy 70 East, +1-252-223-4136; but be aware that it isn't open on Sundays.
Hostess House Courtyard, 6741 Hwy 70, +1-252-223-6020 or +1-800-501-5770. 125 rooms. The only hotel in town, with a playground, game room, miniature golf. $39 - $59 off-season, $59 - $89 peak season.
The greater Newport area features several campsites where you can stay very cheaply on the Bogue Sound. Bear in mind, these sites are technically closer to Cape Carteret, all being practically on the water.
Goose Creek Camping, 350 Red Barn Rd, +1-252-393-2628 or +1-866-839-2628, . Offers a large swimming pool, a 135' waterslide, sun decks, a beach area, basketball and badminton, jet skiing, great saltwater fishing from the 250' fishing pier, clamming, scalloping and oystering. Full hookup sites, tent sites. Fully grassed, paved streets, night lights. Leashed pets welcome. Open year-round.
Water's Edge RV Park, 1463 Hwy 24, +1-252-247-0494 or +1-252-247-0709, . Features a pier over Bogue Sound, beach and ocean access, nearby golf courses. 72 full hookup sites, tent sites, tiled bath house with hot showers.
Whispering Pines RV Park and Campground, 25 Whispering Pines on Hwy 24 (8 miles east of Cape Carteret, 8 miles west of Morehead City), +1-252-726-4902, . 100 full hookup sites, tent sites. Pets welcome. Open year-round. Rates per single night: $26 (tent site), $33.35 (RV).
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