A group of North Carolina marinas and businesses has formed a new organization aimed at cruising boat owners called The Albemarle Loop, making it easier to enjoy the waterfront towns, culture and history that surround Albemarle Sound. Now you can stray away from the magenta line marking the middle of Intracoastal Waterway on most charts and explore the many rivers, creeks, coves and communities on Albemarle Sound, or take advantage of The Albemarle Loop to make it an important part of your journey.
There are now 12 marinas in The Albemarle Loop program, offering free or low-cost slips, fresh water and pump-outs. They even have a rewards program, where you can earn free nights at participating marinas and roll them over to subsequent years. You start this with a Cruising Passport and then advance to different levels – Surveyor, Explorer and Voyager – depending on your number of points.
The marinas are scattered along the Sound (see the map, above). Albemarle Plantation Marina says it’s half-way around the loop and is a large, resort marina with 166 slips, two restaurants, free laundry, WiFi, swimming pool, tennis and golf.
The Elizabeth City Mariners’ Wharf is in the heart of Elizabeth City, with restrooms and showers, WiFi and free bike rental. It’s within easy walking distance to restaurants, pubs, groceries, galleries and shopping. Read more: