Emerald Isle is a town in Carteret County, North Carolina, United States. It is part of the Crystal Coast and is located entirely on the Bogue Banks. The population was 3,488 at the 2000 census, but as many as 50,000 visitors inhabit the area during the summer season, filling up vacant rental properties that do not count toward official census results. Today, the oceanfront is lined with both large and small homes. While there is a scattering of condominiums, there are no oceanfront hotels, and Emerald Isle has maintained a family-oriented atmosphere.