Where are the best beaches in North Carolina?

North Carolina Beaches – For a Perfect North Carolina Beach Vacation

John F. Kennedy once said, “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch- we are going back from whence we came.” When I read this I knew exactly what he meant, and every single time I go to the ocean, any ocean, I feel this way. There is something natural about the ocean, something calming about the way the surf comes in against the shore. The sand and the water stretch on as far as the eye can see, and there is a very innate element to being outside near the sea.

When it comes to choosing great vacation spots, beach vacations rank pretty high, but North Carolina’s are the most beautiful in the USA. So come and find your favorite spot for your best North Carolina vacation.

Choosing the best North Carolina beaches is not easy. How could it be, with so many to choose from? You could actually take a map of all the beaches, close your eyes, and choose one, and I would bet you would have a terrific time and love the beach you were at! Yes, they are that beautiful, but each beach does have its own personality, so choosing the best beach is really a personal choice. It all depends on what you are looking for.

Want a remote location for a quiet vacation?

You might like the Northernmost beaches, like Cordova Beach, Swan Beach, and Corolla Beach which are remote enough for wild horses to still roam there. As you move south toward Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Atlantic Beach, it becomes more crowded during tourist season, there is a lot to do and you can see so many great things. So, if you want that type of vacation, you can have that too.

Vacations are all about doing what you want, whether it’s relaxing in a hammock reading a novel, taking in all the sights, or getting outside for a bike ride, some kayaking in North Carolina, or other recreational activities, if you want to do it, the North Carolina coast towns offer it.

Best Beach in NC

North Carolina is known for its stunning beaches, so when planning a beach vacation, it can be hard to decide where to go. One of the best beach destinations in the Tar Heel state is Wrightsville Beach. Located just off the coast near Wilmington, this picturesque beach is perfect for a summer getaway with friends and family.

As soon as you approach Wrightsville Beach, you’ll be in awe of its beauty and charm. Sand dunes line one side of the beach while crystal-clear waters lap against white sand on the other side. The views here are simply breathtaking. Whether you want to take a stroll down the pier or relax with some fishing, there’s something for everyone at this spot along North Carolina’s coast.

Wilmington and Cape Fear

For an interesting and varied vacation experience the beach communities of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach, along the Cape Fear Coast are no more than 25 minutes apart. Together, this vibrant port city and its neighboring beach towns offer one incredible destination where you can enjoy a diversity of vacation experiences.

Wrightsville Beach: Family-Friendly Fun

Located only twenty minutes outside of Wilmington, lies the most charming ocean-side town called Wrightsville Beach. Originally this area was known as Ocean View Beach but officially became a town in 1899 drawing its name from the well-known Wright family of nearby Wilmington. As the name implies, the primary attraction to Wrightsville is the beach itself.

Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville Beach is essentially a barrier island sandwiched by the Atlantic Ocean and the sound created by the Masonboro inlet. In March, the azaleas are in full bloom and the colorful flowers are completely captivating to see with your own eyes. As you drive down the street, there is a running trail lined with palm trees, and it seems like everyone had the same idea to go running at the same time. Between running, kite surfing, and sailing, Wrightsville Beach is a very active community.

It is here, where old-fashioned beach cottages line the streets and have adorning characteristics that make it easy to see beach living is where it’s at. But living by the sea isn’t always easy; these structures have been reinforced and preserved to withstand hurricanes and repaired after many horrendous storms. The people here are a resilient bunch who have restored the area after fires, numerous hurricanes, and the surf that pulls the sand away from the island. To say the least, the people of North Carolina love their barrier islands, and Wrightsville Beach is no different. The willpower to save these islands from disappearing is enormous, and the intense connection between people and place here is undeniable.

Carolina Beach: A Relaxing Vacation Destination

With its stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and its quaint beachfront shops, it is easy to understand why this charming location has become such a hot spot for summer travel.

For those looking to take in some sun and sand, Carolina Beach offers plenty of fun activities from swimming in the ocean to playing games on the beach or taking a leisurely stroll with an ice cream cone. There are also several local seafood restaurants offering fresh seafood dishes sure to please any palette. For those seeking outdoor recreation opportunities, there are many options including fishing charters or boat rides around the area’s picturesque islands.

The Outer Banks

The beaches along the Outer Banks of North Carolina offer a ninety-mile-long stretch of beautiful barrier islands that are considered to be the most beautiful in the state. On the east side of these islands are white sandy beaches and the clear blue Atlantic Ocean.

With miles of beaches, stunning views, and endless activities, these barrier islands offer something for everyone.

The Outer Banks
Outer Banks of North Carolina

Known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” due to its turbulent waters, the Outer Banks is made up of over 200 miles of barrier islands stretching along the coast. It’s home to some of the most beautiful beaches in North Carolina, with crystal blue waters and white sand that stretches for miles. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful beach town getaway or an action-packed adventure spot, there’s something for everyone on these iconic shores.

Surfing is one popular activity on this stretch of coastline – from Kill Devil Hills to Hatteras Island – offering waves suited for beginner and advanced surfers alike.

Ocracoke Island: A Unique Getaway

The island is home to several attractions such as beaches, historical sites, boat tours, and charming shops. Visitors can spend their days exploring the island’s many wonders or simply relaxing on the pristine shores of its beaches.

Ocracoke Island
Ocracoke Island

Ocracoke Island is especially famous for its stunning natural beauty and tranquil atmosphere – perfect for a romantic getaway or a family vacation. Stroll along the shoreline and take in the magnificent sights of Pamlico Sound or explore Ocracoke Village’s historic district with its cobblestone streets and original cottages from centuries past. Take a boat tour around the harbor to spot dolphins playing in their natural habitat or head out on an adventure excursion into surrounding waters for some fishing fun!

Crystal Coast

An 85-mile stretch of coastline in North Carolina that extends from the Cape Lookout National Seashore, which includes 56 miles of protected beaches, westward to the New River. It is also known as the Southern Outer Banks. With beautiful beaches, great food, and lots of water activities, this may be one of your great vacation spots.

Spanning from the Cape Lookout National Seashore to Atlantic Beach, the Crystal Coast features numerous beautiful beaches that are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing in the sand.

Visitors can enjoy their day at Emerald Isle Beach or Salter Path Beach – two popular spots among locals and tourists alike. Emerald Isle is known for its crystal clear waters while Salter Path provides a calm atmosphere with plenty of activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and boating available nearby.

Emerald Isle: Miles of Sandy Beaches

Whether it’s swimming at Bogue Inlet Pier or fishing off the pier at Atlantic Beach, there’s something special waiting for everyone. If you’re looking to soak up some sun, then grab your towel and head over to one of Emerald Isle’s pristine beaches that stretch far along the coast. Here, you can relax with a cold drink while taking in stunning views of the ocean horizon. Don’t forget to explore nearby towns like Morehead City and Beaufort too; they offer unique shopping experiences as well as delicious seafood restaurants!

Pine Knoll Shores

Pine Knoll Shores is a charming coastal town located in beautiful North Carolina. This unincorporated community is situated on the Atlantic coast, just a short drive from popular cities like Wilmington and Beaufort. Pine Knoll Shores offers an abundance of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy, including swimming, kayaking, fishing and more.

The area is home to several nature preserves and marine sanctuaries that are great for exploring or simply taking in the view of the crystal blue waters. In addition to its natural beauty, Pine Knoll Shores boasts a variety of shops and restaurants that offer something for everyone. From world-class seafood dining experiences to eclectic boutiques with unique gifts and souvenirs, the town has something special for every traveler.


A quiet beach community located at the southern tip of Topsail Island. Two other towns, Surf City and North Topsail Beach, occupy the rest of the Island. Located at the southern end of Topsail Island, off the coast of southeastern North Carolina, the Town of Topsail Beach is the smallest of the three communities located on the 26-mile-long island. Topsail Beach is a friendly, family-oriented style of the beach.

Topsail offers miles of serene beaches backed by towering sand dunes and surrounded by lush marshes, making it the perfect spot for soaking up some sun and taking in the scenery.

The beaches of Topsail are renowned for their crystal clear waters, soft white sands, and abundance of marine life. Visitors to the area can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, fishing and so much more. Whether you’re looking to relax on the shore or explore all that nature has to offer, Topsail is sure to provide an unforgettable experience. With its tranquil atmosphere and stunning natural beauty, this coastal paradise is one of North Carolina’s most cherished places.

New Hanover

A great, unpopulated spot to catch some rays or look for seashells. Fishermen and sportsmen enjoy the beaches near Wilmington because the area offers many different piers, flourishing fishing spots, and great waters for recreational activities no matter what the sport.

Located along the Southeastern coast of the Tar Heel State, New Hanover is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in all of North Carolina. Whether you’re looking for an action-packed day at the beach or a quiet night under a starry sky, New Hanover is sure to have something for everyone.

At New Hanover, you’ll find miles and miles of pristine white sand beaches that are perfect for swimming, boating, fishing or just soaking up the sun. With calm waters and gentle waves that make it ideal for snorkeling and kayaking as well, there’s no better way to explore this amazing coastline than by taking advantage of everything this gorgeous area has to offer.

Brunswick Beaches

The Brunswick Beaches in North Carolina are a favorite destination for beachgoers from all over the country. With miles of untouched shoreline and crystal-clear waters, the Brunswick Beaches offer an unforgettable coastal experience. Whether you’re looking to have a relaxing day in the sun or explore some of the area’s many attractions, there is something for everyone at these picturesque beaches.

From ocean-side camping and fishing to renting a kayak and enjoying some time on the water, visitors can find plenty to do when they arrive at one of these stunning beaches. Whether it’s a weekend getaway with friends or family or an extended stay in search of rest and relaxation – there is no shortage of things to do while visiting the Brunswick Beaches.

Brunswick County’s beaches encompass more than 45 miles of white sandy beaches and with a slow, relaxed pace, it’s the perfect vacation spot.

Holden Beach: An Unexpectedly Charming Gem

Holden Beach is an unexpected gem located along the coast of North Carolina. This beautiful beach community offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With stunning views and miles of shoreline, Holden Beach is sure to delight even the most seasoned traveler.

The sandy beaches are perfect for relaxing with friends or family during the day while taking in breathtaking sunsets at night. During your stay, be sure to take advantage of all that Holden Beach has to offer including kayaking, fishing, golfing, shopping, and delicious local restaurants. You can also explore some fascinating historical sites such as Fort Fisher or visit nearby attractions like Wilmington’s Riverwalk or Bald Head Island Lighthouse.

Whether you’re looking for a place to relax on a romantic getaway or a fun-filled family vacation – Holden Beach will exceed your expectations!

Final Word

There are so many awesome beaches in North Carolina to visit and they all offer different things. The one thing they all have in common is their sheer beauty. If you love the beach and want to see some of the most unusual and beautiful beaches, you’ll want to visit these NC Beaches. From the tranquil seclusion of Ocracoke Island to the bustling beach towns of Wilmington and Morehead City, North Carolina offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous day on the water or a relaxing getaway, these beaches offer an ideal escape.

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