North carolina beaches
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Otherworldly isn’t that far away · Brunswick Islands · Wilmington Area · Topsail Area · Albemarle & Pamlico Sounds · Inner Coastal Plain · Outer Banks & Currituck. 16 Best Beaches in North Carolina · 1. Cape Lookout National Seashore · 2. Nags Head · 3. Duck · 4. Hammocks Beach State Park · 5. Carolina Beach · 6.
North carolina beaches
Rent a boat or golf cart to explore the island, or check out one of the trails for a peaceful nature walk. At the end of the day, take in the sunset over Silver Lake Harbor — there are a number of shops, restaurants, and inns located along this harbor. Whether you want to build sandcastles on the beach or go for a chartered fishing trip, there’s an outdoor activity for you. Atlantic Beach is also a popular destination for sea turtles looking for a place to nest — every year, from May through October, sea turtles lay their eggs in this area.
You can learn more about the region’s marine life at the nearby North Carolina Aquariums at Pine Knoll Shores , located a minute drive away from Atlantic Beach. Find a mix of surfing, shopping, dining, and nightlife in and around Wrightsville Beach. Located just a short drive from Wilmington, this is a great destination for people hoping to explore the area during their beach vacation.
Adventure seekers will want to scuba dive and visit one of the sunken ships located off the coast, or take surfing lessons to learn how to catch some waves. Discover why this spot got its name while visiting the south-facing beaches — from late fall through early spring, you can actually see the sun rise and set over the water, making for a uniquely picturesque experience.
Nearby Bird Island has beautiful beaches, too, but it’s best known for the Kindred Spirit Mailbox, where people write their wishes, prayers, thoughts, and dreams. No cars are allowed on Bald Head Island , which can be accessed by ferry from nearby Southport. Instead, get around this peaceful island via golf cart, bicycle, or foot.
Go for a round of golf or try your hand at croquet at the Bald Head Island Club. Of course, with 14 miles of beautiful beaches, you’ll also want to spend some time soaking in the sand and surf or looking for seashells. The area is a haven for fishermen, who can enjoy one of Emerald Isle’s many boat charters or cast a line off the Bogue Inlet Pier, which closes at the end of each year and reopens in the spring. Of course, Emerald Isle also offers 12 miles of gorgeous shoreline, a rich dining scene including beachside options!
This less-crowded, mile stretch of sand can be found just south of Jacksonville, North Carolina. Animal lovers will rejoice as from mid-May through August, loggerhead sea turtles come ashore to nest and lay eggs along Topsail’s coast.
Relax on the beach or enjoy surfing, boating, fishing, or jet skiing out on the waves. You might search for pirates’ treasure, if you’re feeling lucky — legend has it, the island’s name comes from the fact that the area was once a popular place for pirates, whose “top sails” were a warning to any approaching ships.
This family-friendly destination is known for its quaint, nostalgic charm. Enjoy the area’s shoreline, fishing piers, marina, and watersports. If you’re looking to get out of the sun, there are plenty of local shopping and dining options nearby. There’s also the Oak Island Nature Center, featuring local wildlife and fossil exhibits.
If you’re staying overnight, check in to one of the classic hotels, motels, or vacation rentals in the area. Located in the northern Outer Banks, Kitty Hawk might be most well known as the cited place of the Wright brother’s famous flight. Though anyone who’s visited the area will know that honor actually goes to the nearby Kill Devil Hills. There’s much fun to be had on Kitty Hawk’s shores and streets. Explore the wooded dunes and soundside marshes, or try kayaking or paddleboarding in the waters of the Sound.
Be on the lookout for any local otters and turtles nesting nearby. Stay at one of the nearby hotels, motels, or oceanfront rental homes, or find one of the area’s RV-friendly campgrounds. Drive 30 minutes south of Wilmington and you’ll find the small, seaside retreat of Kure Beach. Kure offers an array of local attractions and natural wonders on its sunny shores. Here, you’ll get the opportunity to fish off the oldest fishing pier on the Atlantic Coast.
A nearby seasonal concession stand offers ice cream, arcade games, and souvenirs. If you’re staying overnight, lodging includes relaxed options like beach cottages, vintage motels, and side street inns. With plenty of small-town charm and less-crowded venues, Holden Beach is the perfect respite for vacationers looking for a summer escape. Take in views of the Intracoastal Waterway over lunch at one of the beach’s many maritime restaurants.
While away the day fishing, golfing, birding, or biking surrounded by the natural North Carolina wonder. Visit one of the many equipment rentals for all your kayaking, jet skiing, or surfing needs. Golfing and fishing are also popular pastimes on Bald Head Island.
The Bald Head Woods Maritime Forest Preserve has several walking and hiking paths that wind through the trees if you need a day out of the sun. Ocracoke Island is notoriously known for Blackbeard the Pirate and his crew.
Pirates were all over the island in the s and s, making it one of the most popular pirate destinations in all the Caribbean. This is another island that is only accessible by ferry.
You can drive on this one, but many people still prefer to bike or drive golf carts. Ocracoke Island is a popular spot for seashell hunters and surf fishing. The island also has a high number of art galleries and a great selection of restaurants, pubs, and cafes. This is the last untouched spot on the island and is now protected by the Coastal Land Trust. On the island, you can also find the legendary Ocracoke Ponies.
These are direct descendants of horses that were stranded on the island after a shipwreck hundreds of years ago. These ponies are super unique because they have a different number of vertebrae and ribs than other horses. You can tell these ponies from others because of their distinct shape, posture, color, and size. Cape Hatteras National Seashore protects three islands that make up some of the most beautiful beaches in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
The stretch of beaches is known to have some of the best surfing around, especially when there is a storm sitting off the coast. Swimming, fishing and crabbing, kayaking, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing, and kiteboarding also make the national seashore a top destination for water sports enthusiasts.
In fact, Canadian Hole is a world-famous windsurfing spot that you can find within the National Seashore. There are three designated hiking trails within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. These are the Buxton Woods Trail which is a loop and less than a mile. There is the Open Ponds Trail which is 9 miles out and back. The last trail is called the Hammock Hills Trail which is also less than a mile.
Horseback riding is another exciting way to explore the seashore and its surrounding areas. Nags Head Island is famously known for having the largest natural sand dunes on the east coast. There are also picnicking areas where you can sit, eat, relax and observe other park goers. Nags Head is ideal for families with kids. They have mini golf courses, go-karts, arcades, and small amusement parks. Surf lessons and parasailing are also popular with families. There are shopping outlets, ice cream stands, fishing piers, and dolphin tours.
Kitty Hawk is one of the more famous islands of the North Carolina Beaches. This is where the Wright Brothers made the first flight with a controlled powered airplane, back in The area has been home to humans since before the s. It was home to a Native American tribe well before the European settlers came in.
Though the island can get crowded in the summer, much of it is protected and quiet. Where the island has been developed, there is a golf course and a water park, restaurants, surf and sailing schools, and a fishing pier.
You can rent jet skis, paddleboards, and kayaks or go parasailing. Kitty Hawk also has great nightlife. You can find bars that are open late and plenty of live music for dancing and a fun night out. Local legend likes to say that Topsail Island got its name because pirate ships hid behind the island but their topsails were visible from the sea rendering the hiding place useless.
The island is known for its 26 miles of pristine beaches and protection of sea turtles. At Soundside Park you can find walking tracks, a playground, and picnic areas. Another great spot for a picnic with incredible views is the Kenneth D. Batts Family Park which has a boardwalk that takes you over the marsh and is especially nice at sunset.
Topsail is a very tranquil island where you can find it easy to relax with not many people around. There are great seafood restaurants all over the island and the local brewery called Salty Turtle Beer Company. Oak Island has dog-friendly beaches! Need to know more?
The beaches are ideal for hunting seashells, taking walks, or just soaking up the sun with a good book. If you like to shop, the area of Southport is lined with locally-owned shops, art galleries, and a few museums. Fort Caswell is an interesting place to visit where you can see gun mounts, slit trenches, and old batteries from the early s.
Fishing is a favorite pastime here. You can fish along the beaches, on Oak Island Pier or Ocean Crest pier or you can charter ocean trips! Exploring the coast on kayaks or paddleboards is a wonderful way to see the island from another perspective. Quiet and relaxing, Corolla is a small beachside community with a history steeped in duck hunting, shipwrecks, and wild horses.
You can climb to the top of Currituck Beach Lighthouse for endless views of the surrounding areas, or check out the Whalehead Historic Museum for all the fun history of Corolla.
The island is most famous for its wild horses. Kept on protected land to keep them from getting hit by cars, the horses are a big draw to the island. Biking is another popular thing to do in Corolla, with a paved bike trail from tip to tip. You can also partake in all sorts of classic water activities like swimming, surfing, and sailing as well as rent jet skis, kayaks, and paddleboards.
Emerald Isle is another sanctuary for nesting sea turtles and has a copious amount of other sea life. Fishing and snorkeling are popular reasons people come and visit The Crystal Coast. Emerald Isle is the quintessential small beach town, with friendly, laid-back vibes. There are dozens of locally-owned shops with unique clothing, jewelry, and artwork.
You can rent kayaks, paddleboards, pontoon boats, jet skis, surfboards, and other beach treats. There is also a water park! From Emerald Isle, you can take a trip to Bear Island.
The island gives you a remote but tranquil feel.