Party People! Private Events and Pleasure Cruises on The Crystal Dawn

By Heather Frese | Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Water is the defining feature of the Outer Banks, the slender arch of islands surrounded and influenced by the rushing tidal flow of the ocean and sounds. We flock to the coast and spend our vacations on the beach, playing in the waves and casting our lines. But have you ever experienced the shift in perspective you get by being part of Outer Banks away from the shore? Stepping foot onto the Crystal Dawn party boat and gliding away from land is the perfect way to create this unforgettable vacation memory.

Getting out on the water with the splash of waves, the cry of gulls and the soft, salty breeze creates a sense of peace that’s almost magical. Whether it’s an engagement celebration, a bachelor/ bachelorette party, a corporate event, a wedding, a family reunion or even just a fun fishing, sunset or dolphin-watching trip with friends, a cruise on the Crystal Dawn offers a whole new way to see the Outer Banks.

The Crystal Dawn party boat is docked at Pirate’s Cove Marina on the Nags Head/Manteo Causeway. This location alone has great appeal as it’s close to the beach communities and you can grab dinner and drinks at Mimi’s Tiki Hut or Blue Water Restaurant and watch the boats unload their catches before or after your cruise!

Private Cruises

At 65 feet, the Crystal Dawn can comfortably hold up to 97 party people, so you can keep your guest list robust. Also robust is the boat’s stability. Its design and twin 6-T1 diesel engines ensure an incredibly smooth ride.

“It’s a good way to get on the water and not have the risk of seasickness,” says co-owner Meredith Foreman. The boat is U.S. Coast Guard-inspected so extremely safe, and it cruises in the calm waters of the sound where you’re very likely to spot dolphins and memorable Outer Banks landmarks.

With two decks and plenty of room for guests to circulate, the Crystal Dawn’s layout is uniquely equipped for celebrations. The upper deck is open and lined with benches for maximum views of the water, and the lower deck is open air and shaded. There are two bathrooms, and the boat can accommodate a band, orchestra and catering tables. You’re also welcome to bring coolers and beverages of your own for any trip.

Cruise length starts at two hours with the option for booking the boat for longer periods of time. The Crystal Dawn is also incredibly family friendly. Meredith says that they’ve had guests from newborns and infants all the way up to elderly family members. Kids are welcome, and the boat has a small concession stand serving sodas, chips, candy bars and hot dogs that they’ll enjoy.

Pleasure Cruises & Headboat Fishing Trips

If a private event isn’t part of your plan, there are several options for a pleasure cruise on the Crystal Dawn. One of their most popular is the Roanoke Island Sunset Cruise, which takes you past the Elizabeth II, Roanoke Marshes Light, Jockey’s Ridge and Bodie Island Lighthouse. While you’re cruising, the captain will point out ospreys, pelicans, dolphins and other wildlife.

The Crystal Dawn is also a headboat fishing vessel and runs daily inshore trips that are terrific for those looking for unforgettable family fun. They provide everything you need for the trip, including licenses, rods, reels and bait as well as helpful staff to assist with anything you may need. These inshore trips target fish like flounder, sea mullet, spot, croaker, trout and puffer fish. Fishing trips are limited to 50 people for comfort while angling.

If you’re not booking a private fishing trip, you can simply pay by the head for a half-day cruise. Children fish at a discounted rate, and kids younger than 3 go for free. Group rates are available, and you can book fishing trips and sunset cruises online. Give them a call for private venue availability and rates.

Close your eyes for a second and imagine it. Imagine you and your loved ones on the dock at Pirate’s Cove, stepping onto the Crystal Dawn to coast out onto the water of the Roanoke Sound and celebrate together. Imagine dancing to a band on the boat’s deck as the breeze cascades through your hair; imagine the cry of gulls as you cruise past the lighthouse; imagine experiencing the splash and arc of a sleek pod of dolphins together with your family and friends. Imagine all this, and you’ll see why the Crystal Dawn is the perfect venue for memorable events and fun on the water!

Country Girl Charters

For offshore fishing at its finest, look to Crystal Dawn’s sister ship, Country Girl. This 57-foot Carolina-style charter boat is the only Outer Banks boat that’s Coast Guard licensed to carry up to 27 anglers to the Gulf Stream. Country Girl is available for fishing charters, private cruises, pelagic bird tours and ashes at sea ceremonies.

2000 Sailfish Dr, Manteo, NC

 Tickets sold in advance. Call (252) 473-5577 or book online.


(252) 473-5577
2000 Sailfish Dr, Manteo, NC

About the Author Heather Frese
Heather Frese fell in love with the Outer Banks when she was three years old. She grew up camping every summer on Hatteras Island, and her writing is deeply influenced by the history and wild beauty of the area. Her debut novel, The Baddest Girl on the Planet, won the Lee Smith Novel Prize and is set on Hatteras Island.