This year we decided we would spend a week at the beach for our vacation. We considered what beaches might interest us.  Maryland and Delaware beaches, while closest, are too crowded for my liking.  Four years ago we joined friends on their Beach condovacation to Top Sail Island, NC and we liked that area a lot.  Earlier this year Brady's basketball coach and father of one of Brady's classmates recommended Emerald Isle, NC.  They have been going there just about yearly for their family vacation and spoke very highly of it.  Karrie began investigating, found some nice units we could rent and lots of activities in the area in case of weather and so she booked us a rental unit right on the beach.  Since we booked a little less than three weeks before our arrival we got a pretty good break on the price as well.

Pirates!The trip down was relatively uneventful and took about 8 hours with a couple of stops for food and bathroom breaks.  The boys were awesome and entertained themselves the entire trip.  Once we arrived on the island we went to the rental management office, got the keys and then headed to the unit to check it out.  Based on the pictures I'd seen online the unit looked awesome and once we had a look around we were not disappointed.  With two bedrooms, two baths, washer and dryer and full kitchen it had everything we needed.  The master bath even had a jacuzzi tub which the boys took advantage of for baths.  The unit also had a nice deck with furniture including high chairs we could use to look out over the beach.  On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate our unit a 7 or 8.

After we checked out the unit we headed out to grab a bit to eat for dinner then off to the grocery store to buy food for the week.  Remarkably there wasn't a chain restaurant anywhere on the island but the few times we did eat out were hit and miss.  We spent the majority of our time during the week between the beach and the pool.  The family that recommended Emerald Isle to us were coincidentally vacationing there during the same week we were and the invited us to a pirate cruise in a town a short drive away in the middle of the week.  The boys had a great time dressing up as pirates, firing the water cannons, swabbing the deck, sword fighting and a boat-to-boat battle with Black Beard for his treasure.Shark Hunter

Our other excursions included seeingTurbo at the movie theater and a round of miniature golf.  While at the beach Brady made a new friend with one of rental neighbors named Mr. Bill.  Mr. Bill could be found fishing off the beach in front of our rental every morning and evening and was kind enough to offer Brady a chance to fish using his equipment.  It took us a couple of days to make that happen, but when it did I think it was the highlight of Brady's vacation as Brady managed to catch not one, but two small sand sharks.

Overall it was a great vacation for us all, even Lucas who seemed ready to be done with it and back home on Thursday, 3 days before our trip was end.  We are likely to vacation at Emerald Isle again and would highly recommend it to any of our friends looking for a family beach to vacation where you don't have to step on people's toes to walk to the water.