Destination Morehead City, N.C.
Morehead City, N.C., is on the Intracoastal Waterway at Mile 205, inside Beaufort Inlet. The downtown harbor, west of the North CarolinaStatePort terminal, is protected by marshy, uninhabited SugarloafIsland.
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Southbound cruisers follow the ICW to the newly renovated MoreheadCityYachtBasin (Mile 204.5). Those heading to downtown marinas continue south through the high-rise bridge and on to the MoreheadCity channel, which heads north behind SugarloafIsland just west of the turning basin (flashing daybeacon MC). Northbound ICW cruisers tuck behind SugarloafIsland’s west end to downtown or follow the ICW under the bridge to the MoreheadCityYachtBasin. Cruisers coming in from the ocean keep RadioIsland to starboard and turn west on the ICW to the MoreheadCity channel and the downtown waterfront, or continue north on the ICW under the high-rise bridge to the MoreheadCityYachtBasin.
MoreheadCity is popular with boaters and sport anglers because of its location on the ICW near the Atlantic via Beaufort Inlet. That deep channel is well-maintained year-round for the StatePort and nearby military installations. Local transient dockage is available at MoreheadCityYachtBasin or downtown at Portside Marina, Dockside Yacht Club and Morehead Gulf Docks. All have dockside depths of at least 10 feet, monitor VHF channel 16, and sell snacks, marine supplies and ice. All except Dockside sell fuel. The YachtBasin and Portside offer a laundromat and pumpout. Other amenities are listed below.
A few small boats anchor across the channel from downtown, but strong tidal currents beset the area. Boaters can tie up or anchor in Beaufort or AtlanticBeach.
Full repairs (electronics, engines, hull and props) are available. Ace Hardware and other shops carry marine supplies. Sea Tow is based at MoreheadCityYachtBasin. Customs is across U.S. 70. Taxis and limousines serve airports in Beaufort (three miles) and New Bern (35 miles). NOAA chart 11545, Beaufort Inlet and Part of Core Sound, covers the MoreheadCity area.
Where to stay
• Morehead City Yacht Basin — in Calico Creek off ICW Mile 204.5, just north of U.S. 70 high-rise bridge, (252) 726-6862, VHF channel 16. www.moreheadcityyachtbasin.com — offers dockage for boats to 250-plus feet for $2 a foot per night plus electricity (BoatU.S. discounts). Additional amenities include ship’s store, showers, clubhouse with kitchen, library and Internet access, picnic area and a courtesy car. Within a few blocks of downtown are shops and a dozen restaurants. The facility offers free short-term daytime dockage for boats or dinghies, space available.
• Portside Marina — downtown east end, ICW Mile 205, (252) 726-7678, www.portsidemarina.com — offers dockage for boats to 110 feet for $1.25 a foot per night. Showers and laundry facilities are on site.
• Dockside Yacht Club — downtown east end, (252) 247-4890 — has dockage for boats to 75 feet for $1.50 a foot per night, including electricity. Showers and pumpout are on site.
• Morehead Gulf Docks — downtown west end, (252) 726-5461 — has dockage for boats to 130 feet for $1.25 a foot per night (discount for fuel customers).
• Sanitary Fish Market — downtown Morehead City waterfront, www.sanitaryfishmarket.com — has free dockage for diners and overnight dockage for $10 a night for boats to 55 feet, space available. No amenities.
• Carteret County Tourism Development Authority, (252) 726-8148, http://www.crystalcoastnc.org.
• DowntownMoreheadCity Revitalization Association, (252) 808-0440, www.downtownmoreheadcity.com.
• Cape Lookout National Seashore, Harkers Island, N.C., (252) 728-2250, www.nps.gov/calo.
• Oct. 6-8 — North Carolina Seafood Festival, live entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, games, rides, dancing, educational exhibits, children’s activities, boat displays (Outer Banks Boat Show), and seafood on the waterfront. Blessing of the Fleet 10 a.m. Sunday at StatePort, (252) 726-6273, www.ncseafoodfestival.org.
• Oct. 19-21 — Calcutta Wahoo Challenge Series (Part 2), Morehead City Dock, (252) 241-3348, www.calcuttawahoo.com.
• Dec. 2 — Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla, parade of decorated yachts and workboats accompanies Santa to JayceePark. Live music and food, (252) 726-8148.
• Dec. 9 — Morehead City Christmas Parade, street parade, downtown MoreheadCity, (252) 808-0440.
• April 20-22 — Calcutta Wahoo Challenge Series (Part 1), Morehead City Dock, (252) 241-3348, www.calcuttawahoo.com.
• June 9-16 — Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament for more than $1 million in cash prizes, MoreheadCity waterfront, (252) 247-3575, www.thebigrock.com.