Saturday morning, the sound of the ocean waves and the sunlight streaming through the window woke me up. We’re at the beach, and it made me smile 😊

Every year since 2014, we’ve been coming to Atlantic Beach to celebrate my husband’s (September 27) and my daughter’s (September 30) birthday. So last Friday, after work, off to the beach we went….and from the moment we checked in, I already knew that we were gonna have a great time.

Atlantic Beach is one of the more popular destinations in Crystal Coast, a scenic, more than 85-mile stretch of beaches and towns in Carteret County, NC. We love Atlantic Beach not just for its wide, sandy beaches and clear waters, but also for its rich culture and history. It is home to Fort Macon, a five sided Civil War – era fort made from brick and stone. It is now a state park which draws thousands of visitors each year. Also, fifteen minutes away from Atlantic Beach is a quaint, little town that we absolutely love called Beaufort. Beaufort was named by Travel + Leisure as “America’s Favorite Town” in 2014 for its “heavyweight, small-town charm” and I think the reasons for that deserve to be featured in a separate post. I’ll work on it 🙂

Out of the many lodging choices in Atlantic Beach, we decided to stay at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel. We’ve tried a couple others, but found this to be the one that suits most of our needs. You see, we’re a family of 5 and we have a mini-poodle named Max (who enjoys vacations as much as we do) so it can be quite challenging to find a hotel that has all the items on our checklist: can accommodate 5 people, pet-friendly, oceanfront rooms, and indoor pool. Double Tree happens to be all those and more. This is our second year staying with them and they did not disappoint.  We were given a nice and spacious oceanfront room on the third floor. It was spacious and fresh-smelling (very important, of course!). Beds were nicely made, the wifi was working, and there was a mini fridge and a microwave. I think it was also a nice touch that they use Crabtree and Evelyn bath products. The view? Let’s just say I wanted to bottle it up and take it home with me. I could wake up everyday to the sight of the beach, the blue skies, the sparkling water and the sound of ocean waves gently rolling  into the shore.

Awesome oceanfront view from our third floor room

The hotel’s customer service also can’t be beat. They were attentive and welcoming, even when you check in at 10 PM. When we checked in on Friday night, they ran out of the complementary chocolate chip cookies that they hand out to guests, so they gave us cookie vouchers for later. They even have a pet turtle named Crush who reminds you to “Keep Calm and Cookie On”! Also, when they found out that it was my husband’s and my daughter’s birthday, they waived the pet fee of $100 and did not charge us for the roll-away bed. Sweet!  ♥

The weather on Saturday? Just perfect! The sun was out but there was a gentle breeze that made being out in the sun very comfortable. The hotel also provided beach loungers and umbrella, free of charge. The kids had a great time playing with my husband in the sand and in the water, and I had a great time just being in the moment, relaxing and letting all the stress escape my body.

“Sky above our heads, sand beneath our feet. Life is good.”
Molly’s Beachside Bar & Grill

Lunch by the beach was care of Molly’s Beachside Bar & Grill, a burger joint with a relaxed, laid back atmosphere, friendly staff, and front seats to this awesome ocean view. We opted to get our food to-go, instead of eating at the bar, or in one of the many tables overlooking the beach. We ordered the shrimp platter and the crab cake sandwiches, and my 5 yr old got the kids’ cheeseburger. The food was ok, not super spectacular but good enough to make me say I’ll eat there again next time.

The weekend stay was short and sweet, and all I did was eat, enjoy the beach, and sleep. And I would gladly repeat that again and again and again. Life really is a beach, and the memories that we have and will continue to create in Atlantic Beach is a testament to that ♥