Updated: Jan 13, 2021
Beaufort, NC is a beautiful little town just north of Morehead City, NC. It is drivable in one day for us, so we spend a lot of time there. It is this homeschool Mom's happy place. There's a beautiful Maritime Museum with some artifacts from Blackbeard's ship, a historic graveyard with a walking tour, hedge mazes, a double decker bus tour, and multiple historic buildings from jails to apothecary shops. Add in a view of wild horses on the island across the channel, and ice cream, and everyone's happy. :)
We recently took one of the local ferries in downtown Beaufort to Sand Dollar Island. It is more sandbar than island, and is only accessible at low tide, so we planned this in advance and called for tickets. It was easy to set up and easy to find . We used this ferry service: Sand Dollar Island ◦ Island Ferry Adventures ◦ Kid Friendly, Discover Wildlife, Sand Dollars, Shells, Birding ◦ Beaufort NC, Morehead City NC Boat Tours ◦ Carrot Island, Rachel Carson
Now, I'm a nervous Mom when it comes to my kiddos and the ocean. We spent several years in the mountains of VA, and my sons are not yet strong swimmers. Recently moving to the coast, we spent a lot of time on the beach, but it's never relaxing. My 3 year old is fearless, and if left to his own devices would charge headfirst into the waves without thinking of the consequences. My husband and I take turns fielding him every time we go. I wasn't sure what to expect from this island, but I was ready for the usual stress.
When we got there and we were all IN HEAVEN. The waves were small ripples, and only knee deep in an enormous area around the island. My 3 year old could finally just run and have fun and play without us constantly warning him and turning him around. My older son and I went deeper, which never was above my head even after walking out a great distance. We found about 14 sand dollars that were complete, and a bunch of partial ones. We also found live sand dollars, which were left where we found them, and live conchs. It was an amazing, stress-free family afternoon.
Here's the kid's enjoying the island: