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Best Guide for North Carolina Beaches

Best Guide for North Carolina Beaches

Best Guide for North Carolina Beaches

What are the best beaches in the United States? Three of them are in North and South Carolina.

North Carolina boasts a diverse coastline with a variety of beautiful beaches, each offering a unique experience. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly shores, natural beauty, or vibrant boardwalks, North Carolina has a beach for you. Here’s a guide to some of the best beaches in North Carolina:

  1. Outer Banks:
    • A chain of barrier islands with multiple charming towns and diverse beaches.
    • Highlights: Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Jockey’s Ridge State Park, Roanoke Island.
  2. Corolla Beach:
    • Known for its wide, sandy shores and the famous wild horses that roam the area.
    • Highlights: Currituck Beach Lighthouse, 4×4 beach access for wild horse sightings.
  3. Kill Devil Hills:
    • A popular destination with a mix of beach activities, water sports, and historical sites.
    • Highlights: Wright Brothers National Memorial, Avalon Fishing Pier.
  4. Nags Head:
    • Offers a mix of family-friendly beaches, outdoor adventures, and historical attractions.
    • Highlights: Jockey’s Ridge State Park, Bodie Island Lighthouse.
  5. Cape Lookout National Seashore:
    • Accessible only by ferry or private boat, known for its pristine and undeveloped beaches.
    • Highlights: Cape Lookout Lighthouse, Shackleford Banks (wild horses).
  6. Emerald Isle:
    • A family-friendly destination with a relaxed atmosphere and crystal-clear waters.
    • Highlights: Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier, Fort Macon State Park.
  7. Wrightsville Beach:
    • Located near Wilmington, known for its lively atmosphere and water sports.
    • Highlights: Johnnie Mercer’s Pier, Airlie Gardens (nearby attraction).
  8. Carolina Beach:
    • A classic beach town with a boardwalk, amusement park, and vibrant nightlife.
    • Highlights: Carolina Beach Boardwalk, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area.
  9. Kure Beach:
    • A quieter beach destination with a historic pier and a focus on nature.
    • Highlights: Kure Beach Pier, Fort Fisher State Historic Site.
  10. Ocracoke Island:
    • Accessible by ferry, this island offers a more secluded and relaxed beach experience.
    • Highlights: Ocracoke Village, Ocracoke Island Lighthouse.

Tips for Visiting North Carolina Beaches:

  • Weather and Seasons:
    • Consider the time of year and weather preferences. Summers are popular, but spring and fall offer pleasant weather with fewer crowds.
  • Outdoor Activities:
    • Many beaches offer opportunities for water sports, fishing, hiking, and wildlife watching. Check local guides and outfitters for activities.
  • Local Cuisine:
    • Explore local seafood and cuisine. Each beach town often has its own unique dining options.
  • Events and Festivals:
    • Check for local events and festivals happening during your visit. Beach towns often host celebrations and activities.
  • Respect Wildlife and Nature:
    • Many beaches in North Carolina are known for their natural beauty. Respect local wildlife and follow guidelines for conservation.

Before planning your trip, check for any travel advisories or updates related to the specific beach you plan to visit. Always follow safety guidelines and regulations set by local authorities and beach management.

Best Guide for North Carolina Beaches

According to Dr. Beach, these three beaches have earned recognition as the best in the country. Dr. Stephen Leathman has carried out this classification for 30 years. He is also known as Dr. Beach. The doctor dedicates to reviewing, evaluating, and rating the best beaches and coastal areas worldwide.

In addition to its annual ranking of “The Best Beaches in America,” it works tirelessly to make the population aware of the dangers of fast currents, as well as to promote that they take care of and do not pollute the beaches.

These are the beaches that you have to know.

According to the best beaches in the United States, three of these locates in the Carolinas. These stand out for their beauty, cleanliness, and activities that can carry out in them.

At number two in the ranking is Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach. In North Carolina, at number five is Lighthouse Beach, in Buxton, North Carolina, and site number ten is Beachwalker Park beach, on Kiawah Island, in South Carolina.

Do you already know them?

Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, North Carolina

Ocracoke is a very special place and is one of Dr. Beach’s favorite beaches. Here you can find the busiest beaches in the country. This beach was once the home of the pirate Blackbeard.

It is also a beach chosen by families to spend quiet and fun days due to its many activities. Many choose to go swimming or enjoy long walks on the long beaches. Surfing is one of the most popular activities in the summer.

Lighthouse Beach, Buxton in North Carolina

Lighthouse Beach locates where the old Cape Hatteras Lighthouse once stood. It was removed in 1999 due to beach erosion.

This beach, which has lifeguards on duty, is the number one destination for surfing on the Atlantic Coast of the United States. It is also an excellent beach to walk to Cape Point. This site is unique because the waves come from both directions.

Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island in South Carolina

Beachwalker Park, south of Charleston, is a public beach located in the southern part of Kiawah Island. It is a coast for nature lovers as it has a large number of marine fauna. It is ideal for enjoying canoe and kayak rides.

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It is also great fun to bike to Captain’s Sams Inlet, where you can see thousands of birds. Although the water is not very clear on this beach, it is clean, and you can get very good fishing.

Seven attractions you will enjoy in Carolina Beach this summer

Carolina Beach is one of the North Carolina tourist destinations that await you this summer and the other seasons of the year. This place is in Wilmington, on the northern tip of North Carolina’s Island of Pleasure. It occupies just 650 hectares, so it offers an adventure experience with no crowds.

It has attractions for the quietest families to the most adventurous, with beaches along the calm-water Cape Fear River; or white sand beaches on the side of the Atlantic Ocean where surf awaits you.

A must-stop since 1939 is Britt’s Donuts, where you can sample glazed delicacies. 

What to do in Carolina Beach?

  1. Visit the Carolina Beach Boardwalk: It’s a lively vintage-style boardwalk with places to eat and snack. It also has places like an Arcade game room. But without a doubt, one of the must-sees in the Summer Boardwalk Amusement Park, which at all times offers the best views from the great imposing wheel of the place or carousels, as well as other activities for children and adults.
  2. Tour the town by bicycle: Along the promenade, there are places to rent bicycles and explore the city. 
  3. Get to know Carolina Beach, State Park: Choose one of 9 trails (2 wheelchairs accessible), cycle 1 mile, or stay in cabins or tents at a camper activity. This park leads to a beautiful view of the Cape Fear River. 
  4. Go fishing: Fishing is available from the beach wooden fishing pier or by taking a deep-sea fishing boat. 
  5. Activate your adrenaline: Surf or kayak in the areas that will make this activity a fun experience. By renting a kayak, you can paddle in the streams and swamps. There is also a guided boat tour that departs from the river docks.
  6. Spend family time on a picnic at Carolina Beach Lake: The lake allows hours of tranquility with a beautiful view of the place.
  7. Festival time and music on the beach: Eventually, festivals are organized for the whole family. Music invades emblematic places or takes to the streets while its tourists pass by.

15 Best Beaches in North Carolina

With its bustling cities and amazing mountain towns, North Carolina is a state with many tourism options. It also has more than 300 miles of shoreline to choose from and thousands of beachfront vacation rentals to reserve.

If you are looking for a nice and quiet place for your next summer coastal vacation, the state of North Carolina should be considered as an option. Whether the beaches are picturesque and beautiful or accessible only by boat, something makes the North Carolina coastline special.

1. Atlantic Beach

 Located on Bogue Banks, one of North Carolina’s barrier islands, Atlantic Beach is North Carolina’s famous Glass Coast. It has crystal clear waters and is the perfect place for a family vacation.

Atlantic Beach offers a wide range of restaurants that should satisfy all travelers. You’ll find everything from ice cream parlors and fast-food restaurants to glamorous restaurants with 5-course menus. When it comes to shopping, there are a couple of surf shops and several beach boutiques.

After spending a day at the beach, visit the North Carolina Aquarium, located in the island’s center; it is one of the most popular attractions here.

Chances are, you won’t find many fancy Atlantic Beach resorts and hotels, just private houses available to rent at affordable prices.

2. Wrightsville Beach

Known for its wide sandy beaches and deep blue waters, Wrightsville Beach is one of the best beaches in North Carolina, attracting many travelers from all over the United States.

There are 44 public access points to Wrightsville Beach, which means crowds of visitors are generally spread across the entire stretch so that you won’t be fighting for space.

Wrightsville Beach is also a hot spot for eaters and surfers. Even inexperienced surfers can practice their skills here, as, during the summer season, the waves are quite gentle, and the waters are shallow. Please note that surfing is strictly prohibited right in front of the lifeguard stands.

3. Nail head

Nags Head features a classic Outer Banks vibe and is a great place for anyone who loves to spend time on the beach. Expect to find a mix of beach activities and nearby amusements, including miniature golf courses, go-kart tracks for kids, and dozens of ice cream parlors. This pet-friendly beach also attracts many tourists who like to ride horses.

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Once you’ve had plenty of time on the beach, head to some of the area’s most popular attractions, like Jockey $ 0027s Ridge State Park, famous for its scenic hikes, Jeannette’s Pier, or the Bodie Island Lighthouse offering stunning views of the surroundings.

You will also find a variety of restaurants in the neighborhood serving barbecue dishes and delicious seafood sandwiches.

4. Carova

One of the most secluded beaches in North Carolina, Carova is a perfect destination for adventurous tourists looking to get away from the urban lifestyle and crowded beaches.

One of the reasons Carova is such an isolated place is that there are not many paved roads. The beach is only accessible by four wheels, and there are no restaurants or gas stations nearby. Make sure to stock up on essential food and items as there are no big supermarkets here either.

The royal beaches are extremely clean, and the water is warm, especially during the summer season. Carova Beach may not be the best place for families with children due to the lack of services and lifeguard stations. Still, it is an interesting destination for everyone who likes privacy and loves wildlife.

When it comes to accommodation, private rental houses are the only option available.

5. Carolina Beach

Best Guide for North Carolina Beaches
Best Guide for North Carolina Beaches

Carolina Beach is located in New Hanover County and has a white-sand shoreline perfect for fishing and surfing. Children love this place with its variety of games and games on the boardwalk. The boardwalk also hosts live music performances, as well as other events throughout the year.

If you get bored of sitting in the sun, be sure to visit the nearby Carolina Beach State Park, which offers several amenities, including a marina, several campgrounds, and hiking trails. There are rare plants to see, such as the Venus flytrap located in the wetlands area of ​​the park.

A couple of restaurants, an ice cream parlor, and a delicious donut shop are located on the little strip.

6. Topsail Island

With just 500 residents, Topsail Island is a charming destination that somehow strives to preserve its natural beauty and features three incredible beach communities. Surf City, North Topsail Beach, and Topsail Beach stretch along 26 miles of shoreline, and the lack of commercialization provides a peaceful environment.

This island used to be accessible only by boat, but today there are two bridges in use.

The temperature is mild throughout the year, and the waters are relatively warm, even after the summer season. Thanks to the lack of cliffs and slopes, the beaches are ideal for families with children.

Expect to find many seashells from the Atlantic Ocean, and enjoy water sports such as boating and kayaking along the Intercoastal Waterway. You can also have the opportunity to meet the popular loggerhead turtles that come to the dunes to lay their eggs.

7. Emerald island

Emerald Isle is located in Carteret County at the end of the Bogue Banks, offering 12 miles of spectacular coastline. There is only one beachfront hotel in the area called Islander Hotel & amp; Resort, but many private rentals and condos are available for rent.

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The beaches are family-friendly, and if you are lucky, you may even see a dolphin or two. Emerald Isle prides itself on its unspoiled environment and welcomes tourists seeking a relaxing vacation without 5-star amenities and services.

If you’re hungry, check out all the great restaurants in the neighborhood. Big Oak Drive-In & amp; Bar-BQ is famous for its shrimp burgers, while Jackie’s American Grille is an upscale Italian restaurant serving the best pasta ever.

8. Bald Head island

Located near the town of Wilmington in Brunswick County, Bald Head Island is only accessible from Southport by ferry and is home to a large number of sea turtle nests. Sunbathers will be delighted to hear that the coastline along Cape Fear is a great vacation spot.

Bald Head island
Best Guide for North Carolina Beaches

There aren’t that many cars on the island, and people here prefer to use golf carts to get from one beach to another.

There are three main beaches on the island. North Beach is the largest and perfect place to relax when the tide is low. Water sports like paddle-boarding and kite-boarding are some of the most popular activities here, but be careful that the currents can be strong at high tide.

If you’re looking for incredible views, head to West Beach, where beautiful views await, but the rip currents are strong, so swimming is often impossible and not recommended.

South Beach is the most popular beach with families due to its warm water temperature, refreshing breeze, and easy access to the water.

In addition to the great beaches, Bald Head Island is also home to one of the oldest lighthouses in the state, Old Baldy.

9. Lake Lure Beach

Located on the Broad River, Lake Lure Beach is an artificial lake surrounded by the incredible Blue Ridge Mountains. The lake covers an area of ​​700 acres with more than 20 miles of shoreline. Beach Goers can relax in the sun, swim in calm waters, or have a picnic on the sandy beach by the lake.

The beach is perfect for families with children and even includes a water park with huge slides. Visitors will also find a beach house where they can purchase various necessities such as towels, drinks, water toys, and sunscreen for a beautiful day on the beach at Lake Lure.

10. Kitty hawk

Visit the historic seaside town of Kitty Hawk and explore its marine forest reserve and a fabulous beach. Filled with low-rise buildings, the city still has its rustic feel and maintains its unique character.

Many lodging rental companies in the city offer good deals for the perfect coastal getaway vacation. Expect to eat delicious barbecue dishes at local joints, homemade ice cream, and tasty seafood specialties at Kitty Hawk restaurants.

The strange name of this coastal city links to its Native American roots, and one of the main attractions is the memorial site for the first flight of the Wrights Brothers.

11. Kure Beach

Located on the Bogue Banks, Kure Beach is famous for its laid-back atmosphere, beautiful surroundings, and rich marine life. It is also ideal for water sports such as diving, snorkeling, fishing, and surfing.

Travelers looking to do more than relax on the beach can visit the civil war relic, Fort Fisher, or visit alligators, rays, seahorses, sea turtles, and sharks at the Kure Beach Aquarium.

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Kure Beach also has one of the oldest fishing piers on the entire Atlantic coast and several local restaurants serving delicious local specialties. Why not play a round of golf or take a long walk along one of the many hiking trails in the area?

12. Salvo Beach

The Outer Banks in North Carolina are home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the region, Salvo Beach. You won’t find many shopping opportunities or attractions in this small town, but the beach itself is enough to attract visitors from all over.

Yes, other Outer Banks beaches offer more services and facilities, but Salvo Beach’s sandy shores and easy assessment of water activities make it the most popular.

Vacationers planning to stay here should know that accommodation options consist only of private rental houses. If you are interested in kiteboarding, head to the Salvo Day Use Area, where your fellow kiteboarders show off their skills

For those who prefer calmer waters or are on vacation with children, they should visit Pamlico Sound.

13. Frisco Beach

Located on Hatteras Island, Frisco Beach is a perfect beach for swimming due to the lack of falls. If you want to relax and have a good time on the beach, you have come to the right place.

There are a few restaurants and convenience stores in the area to avoid being hungry for long. If you’re looking for a place to stay, travelers can participate in campgrounds like Frisco Woods Campground and the National Park Service Campground. There are also several rental houses available to rent during the high season.

You can ride go-karts, play miniature golf, or visit a company that offers private tours from the island!

14. Canadian Hole

One of the most famous beaches on the Pamlico Sound side, Canadian Hole, is located on Hatteras Island. It offers perfect weather conditions for year-round water sports, including kite-boarding, paddle-boarding, and windsurfing.

Canadian Hole
Best Guide for North Carolina Beaches

Thanks to the calm and warm waters, the Canadian Hole attracts many young families. The waters are nearly flat between summer and fall, and the views of the Hatteras Lighthouse at night are incredible.

There are no hotels here, only private rental houses available to rent at affordable prices.

15. Harkers Island

If you are looking for white-sand beaches and nature trails for hiking, Harkers Island is the place to go on a summer coastal vacation. The small town is known for boat, duck hunting, wild boar building, and carving waterfowl decoys.

The beaches are ideal for sunbathing, and some spots on the coast allow easy access for swimmers. Be sure to visit the Cape Lookout Lighthouse and take in the incredible views at sunset. Here’s an interesting fact for you: the island has been isolated from the rest of the outer banks for almost 300 years, and the locals speak a different dialect!

Best Guide for North Carolina Beaches

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