View webcams along the coast of North Carolina and discover places to visit at the beach. This page provides live cams, accommodations, attractions and visitors information for your favorite coastal towns in North Carolina. Check in anytime to see what’s happening at the beach.
The Tarheel State has 301 miles of coastline, from the Outer Banks to the South Carolina border, and nearly all of it is accessible . But don't go expecting one single style of Carolina beach: whether you're looking for or peaceful places to unplug, North Carolina has something that will suit you. This gallery was originally published in 2016. It has been updated with new information. Pine Knoll Shores is like the smaller, quieter sister of popular Atlantic Beach, which sits right next door on the Bogue Banks strip south of Morehead City.
Cross the Bogue Sound causeway, hit the beach, and head west till the crowds thin out—that's how you'll find the stretch Coastal Living called "North Carolina's best-kept beach secret." And if you get tired of the dunes, the wide stretches of sand, and those famous Atlantic waves (they don't call it the "Crystal Coast" for nothing), you can pass your time at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, which has seasonal exhibits as well as conservation projects throughout the year.
The salt marsh that makes up the aquarium's back yard is worth a visit all by itself. —Brad Rickman Early European settlers arriving on Shackleford Banks found mounds of oyster shells—a sign left by members of the Coree tribe who originally inhabited the area, and also a testament to the rich shell deposits that are the main reason collectors keep coming to this windblown strip at the base of the Cape Lookout National Seashore.
But while Shackleford is one of the East Coast's best shelling destinations, that's not what you'll remember. You'll remember the horses—a whole herd of them, roaming wild over the island's shrub-dappled northern fringe.
It's said they've been there for four hundred years, and that local residents once rounded up their yearly offspring to supply the mainland. Shackleford makes a great day trip from Emerald Isle or Atlantic Beach; just grab the ferry from Harkers Island. Be sure to bring a camera for the horses, and a bag for your shells.
—B.R. If you're in the mood to and really get away, Bald Head Island—only reachable via 20-minute ferry from the mainland town of Southport—is the place to do it. Most residents of the island (who reportedly include John Travolta and Governor Pat McCrory) get around by golf cart, and the beach is a habitat for sea turtles and wild grasses.
—Lilit Marcus Topsail is a long, thin stretch of land just south of Camp Lejeune. The shape gives it beach on both sides, whether you want the warm Atlantic waters perfect for swimming and playing with the kids or the calmer inlet prime for kayaking and fishing.
Just keep one thing in mind: It's pronounced "topsle." —L.M. Close to the mouth of the iconic Cape Fear River and bordering an eponymous state park, Carolina Beach checks all the right boxes: wide expanses of white sand abutting gentle seagrassed dunes, a water line that's tame enough for body-surfing youngsters, and—best of all—a boardwalk complete with , hot dog vendors, and a smattering of carnival rides.
The best view comes from atop the ferris wheel, naturally; but save time to hit the park for an easy hike through its sandy pine-bound trails. —B.R. Maybe the best thing about Wrightsville is its ease of access: directly off I-40 from the state's Raleigh-and-Durham business hub, close to picturesque Wilmington (where there is, yes, an airport), straddling the intracoastal waterway so it's easily reached by boat.
You get the convenience of proximity without sacrificing broad stretches of sand and an easy surf. The downside? All that convenience is no secret. If the crowds get thick (which can happen during major holidays like or Labor Day), plot a trip south to Masonboro Island, a protected reserve that's minutes away, but reachable only by boat. —B.R. Pick the time of your visit right—i.e., not during college week—and stick to the western half of Emerald Isle's narrow strip. You'll find a relaxed vibe that blends serious boating (on the sound side) and serious beach-going.
Be sure to head down to the Point, where a vast plain of sand plumes into Bogue Inlet, offering virtually limitless space for frisbee tournaments and kite contests. —B.R. Kill Devil Hills is best known as the actual location of the Wright Brothers' flight in 1903 (the town didn't exist back then, so nearby Kitty Hawk stole the glory).
And the monument here is certainly worth a visit—what, after all, could be more important to modern travelers than the birthplace of aviation?
Less well known, though, is the that stretches on its east. It's dotted with colorful cottages, so we suggest you keep it old school, and just walk. —B.R. Nag's Head is classic Outer Banks, windswept and dune-straddled but navigable: a place where the wild and tame collide. Wandering the shrub-grizzled expanses of Jockey's Ridge State Park can make you feel like you're in the desert, or on the moon—but that makes it the perfect spot to get your Orville on at the Kitty Hawk Kites Hang Gliding School.
If that's not your thing, cast a line from the charmingly antiquated Nag's Head Fishing Pier. (Don't worry: It's sturdier than it looks.) —B.R. Our Sites • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • © 2018 Condé Nast. All rights reserved. Use of and/or registration on any portion of this site constitutes acceptance of our (updated 5/25/18) and (updated 5/25/18).
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best dating north carolina beaches towns to visit - 8 Best Beaches In North Carolina To Spend Your Vacation
Places to visit in North Carolina are much more than you can imagine! It is the birthplace of country music, blues, and Cherokee Indians, which has a great number of must see places. Now it is a fairly conservative and prosperous state in the northern part of the so-called South Atlantic states.
It shares borders with the state of Virginia and Tennessee in the north to the west, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean.
North Carolina’s capital is Raleigh, known for its dense oak forests. The word “Carolina” appeared in the 17th century – King Charles II called the state, which later was divided into two parts – North and South in honor of his unhappy father, the King of England, Scotland and Ireland, Charles I, the deposed and executed during the English Revolution.
North Carolina, has also the official nickname – Tar Heel State. According to legend, the nickname should remind of the bare feet of the workers, who brewed tar and as a result their bare feet were caked with black resin all year round.
North Carolina is quite interesting in terms of tourism – there is much to see and to do. With such a varied terrain and climate, you can do both winter sports (skiing, snowboarding, skating, snowkiting, ice hockey) in the mountainous part of the state, and do sports in summer as well (swimming, surfing, kayaking, diving) in the coastal area.
Well, in the central accounts traditional hiking, camping, biking and hiking in the woods, excursions to waterfalls and, of course, golf are all almost the national kinds of sport of North Carolina. Curiously, North Carolina is the second Film Centre in the US, sure after Hollywood. There are a lot of production companies, large-scale film festivals are held, which attract thousands of tourists. Contents • • • • • • • • • • • Place to visit number 1: Atlantic Beach This is a small American provincial town in North Carolina with a population of about two thousand people.
Charm of Atlantic Beach is hidden in its amazing nature and national flavor that will capture you in its arms. Tourists gladly stroll along the coast and take pictures of the local lighthouse, go shopping to souvenir shops, snack in local restaurants or taverns.
By the way, here you can enjoy perfectly cooked fish dishes. Young people can spend their time with pleasure being busy with: • sunbathing, • swimming, • dancing in nightclubs.
Couples arrange lovely picnics in Fort Macon National Park. Walk through the reserve with an experienced guide who will reveal to you the secrets of the history and tell the details of the civil war. Those tourists who love water sports will be offered mass entertainment, and for those who prefer spending time with a fishing rod there is a chance to take part in several fishing competitions, which take place every year. Interesting: The most famous fishing tournament that is being held annually is called Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Tournament.
Place to visit number 2: Cape Hatteras Cape Hatteras is located in the United States, on the coast of North Carolina, on the same island Outer Banks and presents its bending. The waters around the Cape are very turbulent due to the collision of two oceanic currents. These turbulent waters in conjunction with shoals are often the cause of numerous shipwrecks in this place, making the area around the Cape known as “the graveyard of the Atlantic”.
The history of the name of the Cape Hatteras dates back to 1585. Some facts from the history of this place: • In 1803, lighthouse was built at Cape, • in 1870, it was replaced with a brick lighthouse Hatteras.
The height of the lighthouse is 60.50 meters, it is one of the highest stone lighthouses in the world and the highest in the United States. Lighthouse is a part of the National Reserve called “Cape Hatteras.” Interesting: Cape Hatteras Beach is among the ten best beaches in America.
The beach provides excellent opportunities for surfing and fishing. Place to visit number 3: Carolina Beach The small town of Carolina Beach in New Hanover County, North Carolina, is famous for its beautiful beach of the same name. The city beach is located in the north of Pleasure Island. This is a great place for a family vacation or if you want to have fun with your friends. It perfectly combines: • beautiful views of nature, • state park, • exciting fishing, • numerous festivals and competitions.
Tourists are always invited to something interesting, everyone will be able to plunge into adventure, wander through the hiking trails or cycling. The great pleasure can be obtained from the sea walk with the family on a sailboat or kayak. The city is famous for not only the beach, there is also State Park Carolina Beach State Park with unique species of trees and plenty of places for picnics, fishing, as well as convenient bays for water sports enthusiasts.
Carolina Beach State Park is also popular with visitors as it offers great entertainment. One of the exciting adventures can be fishing and boating. No one comes back to shore without fish, which is in the waters of a huge amount: perch, flounder, bluefin tuna and many other species. Carolina Beach State Park – one of the best places for fishing in North Carolina, secluded spot for camping, with a lot of tall trees and a lot of hiking trails.
Here there is a unique carnivorous plant – Venus Flytrap. In the park there is a lake where you can take a boat ride. Location is ideal for bird watching. You can see the cormorant, snowy egret, the black vulture, and even bald eagles.
The visitors will be satisfied with a visit to the park, where there is everything necessary for great relax. Interesting: Place is considered to be the recreational fishing center. Every spring in Carolina Beach there is a competition of fishermen being held.
Place to visit number 4: Ocean Isle Beach Ocean Isle Beach is worth visiting as it is considered to be one of the most beautiful American beaches, which is situated in North Carolina, USA. Its sandy strip’s length is 2.5 km and width is 10 meters. It attracts tourists from the whole world with its: • magnificent scenery, • pure waters, • convenient location to the city.
It is easy to reach this place by car or public transport, which is not expensive- not more than 5$. As for the beach infrastructure, you will be surprised even how well it has been developed. Here tourists will find restaurants, bars, massage rooms, changing rooms and toilets.
The water in this area is almost always warm because of the shallow part. Ocean Isle is a perfect destination for those who are planning a family holiday. On the territory of the Ocean Isle Beach you will see exotic flora – unique ancient broad-leaved trees and reed bushes can’t leave you indifferent as they look wonderful. There are a variety of hotels and villas in the surrounding area, so it won’t be difficult to find a place to stay during your vacation.
Interesting: Lovers of active pastime will find here diving and surfing centers. Place to visit number 5: Wrightsville Beach One more beach that will be the perfect place for a family holiday. This sandy beach is known for its extraordinary beauty of the dunes and the old pier, which is situated in the middle of the beach. Wrightsville Beach is also suitable for fishing, fortunately the underwater world in this area is rich and varied.
What can you enjoy here: • You can fish from the pier or enjoy fishing from the boat on the high seas. • Surfing enthusiasts can freely ride on the waves. • Beginners-surfers can visit master classes and rent all necessary equipment. After relaxing on the beach, it is recommended to visit local cafes and restaurants that are located nearby. Interesting: In addition to the usual dishes you should taste the delicacies from the sea, lobster, fish and seafood. Place to visit number 6: Blue Ridge Parkway If you prefer to spend time admiring the pristine and natural beauty of the mountains, then head straight to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
This, covering 500 miles of land has a very scenic view. Here there is the famous biozone – Great Smoky Mountain recognized by the UN.
A walk through the rocking bridge Mile High means to experience the exciting moments. It is necessary to hold fast to the railing of the bridge, because the bridge is swinging like a seesaw. Admire the spectacular views of surrounding areas, which are opening from the bridge.
When you travel the Parkway, you will see the sky so close above your head, it seems you can touch it with your hand, and endless lush vegetation will cause you a sense of awe.
Local attractions are numerous, no doubt, will awaken in you the feelings of romance, and will encourage to have new trips. Keeping your way through the Parkway, don’t forget to visit Cherokee – House of the Eastern Group of Cherokee Indians. The local people will warmly welcome you in their traditional robes, and with pleasure will tell you about their history and traditions.
There are a lot of things to see and to enjoy, for example, you will definitely like the following activities: • Take a ride with the chair lift in the mountains, • visit the Cherokee Trading Community. And from June to August, you can rest directly on the open fresh air. Local places will tell you the story of a mysterious tribe of the Cherokee Indians, and the atmosphere of the dark, fresh summer nights will provide you with a romantic mood.
Interesting: If you find an opportunity to travel to these places in October, you can visit the most authentic fair of Cherokee Indians. Place to visit number 7: Outer Banks Outer Banks is the perfect vacation spot in North Carolina.
Outer Banks – a long strip of sand along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, which stretches 320 kilometers along the coast of North Carolina. Outer Banks start from southeast Virginia and extend along most of the coast of North Carolina. It is not only the perfect vacation spot in North Carolina, it is also a place of wild beauty, which is attractive and alluring with its magnificence.
Sand dunes like a fence erected by nature along the highway are hidden from curious tourists with the eagerly growling ocean. Omnipotent sea breeze customizes multicolored grains and makes play catch-up on the dazzling white sand.
Radiant joyful sun envelops the Outer Banks radiant light, plunging into the deep blue sky, in which only occasionally tiny white sheep are swimming. The sand strip is little known among foreign tourists, but it is a popular place of recreation for residents of North Carolina, Virginia and New Jersey. As the road to the Outer Banks is not very close, most travelers spend here at least 4-7 days.
Some come here with the house on wheels and live here most of the summer. What else is necessary for a perfect holiday: • sea, • sun, • beach. In addition, Outer Banks is full of many interesting places. For example, this place is known for the first flight of an aircraft operated by the Wright brothers. And the other reason of being famous has been already mentioned here, it is a lighthouse at Cape Hatteras, which attracts thousands of tourists every year. In northern part of Outer Banks there is a tourist town known as Kitty Hawk with: • a lot of great restaurants, • wonderful souvenir shops, • playgrounds for mini golf, • as well as paragliding school.
The main influx of tourists is accounted for the summer period. Tiny villages come alive during the season: cafes and restaurants open, souvenir shops, entertainment for holidaymakers. Cafes and shops are decorated very colorfully! Students come to the summer holidays in search of work. The snow-white beach with dazzling sand covers the entire coast Outer Banks. There are popular sports like surfing, kite skiing and kayaking.
Outer Banks of North Carolina is considered one of the best places in the world for aspiring athletes to fly the kite. The depth from the bay – on the knee, which is very convenient to set up the equipment and do not worry that you will be taken anywhere.
The beaches of the Atlantic Ocean are free. Interesting: The Outer Banks is home to several tent camps where tourists move exclusively on machines for golf.
Place to visit number 8: Hot Springs This is a resort, located in the mountains of North Carolina. The majestic mountain fortress gives a rush of energy, the mountain air is intoxicating freshness and aroma of rhododendrons. There is a window that is wide-open to all times, and still there are geothermal sources. Steep hillsides are the frontiers of wonders, where water and steam escapes from under the earth, absorbing and dissolving all diseases, restoring health.
Dive into this luminous water, which is able not only to strengthen the vitality, but also serve a source of true knowledge of ourselves. After all, the thermal water – a symbol of wisdom and spiritual life. This liquid has a lot of properties, it is able to clean, restore, open the secret of life.
Come to the place where Mother Nature, waving a magic wand, has created one of the most natural wonders- its hot mineral springs. Heated deep underground, these crystal clear carbonated waters are known worldwide for: • the legendary healing properties, • a high content of minerals and salts. Interesting: Thermal water pipes have the temperature of 106 F are connected to the modern baths, such as an outdoor Jacuzzi, located on the picturesque banks of the French Broad.
Place to visit number 9: Amusement park Carowinds Carowinds is a huge amusement park, which is located on the border of South and North Carolina, Charlotte. The park covers an area of 161 hectares. Carowinds was opened March 31, 1973, as part of a large spa area. Currently, the park is a popular place for recreation and entertainment among the locals and tourists. Its territory has dozens of the most popular and exciting attractions, among them: • the roller coaster of different types, • go-karting, • various rides • hot air balloons, • boats, • aircraft flying scooters, • mini-helicopters and more.
Interesting: In addition, Carowinds area includes a water park called Boomerang Bay, where you should go to have a rest with your family. Place to visit number 10: The Eiffel Tower in Fayetteville The Eiffel Tower in Fayetteville is an inaccurate copy of the Eiffel Tower, located in the suburbs of Fayetteville, at the intersection of Owen Drive and Village Drive, markedly three miles south-west of the city center.
Some facts about the tower: • The tower height is 45 meters. • The Eiffel Tower in Fayetteville was built on a scale of one to six on the size of the original creation of the Eifel. It is difficult to call it replica, but if you do not nitpick, the tower is worthy to be called “Eiffel”. On the tower there are advertising banners with the name of the shopping center can be seen.
Interesting: It was built in the early 1970s specifically for the shopping center Bordeaux Center. Video
See where the Wright Brothers took flight, American history was made, and wild horses still roam with this list of best beaches in North Carolina for the perfect relaxing vacation. Hundreds of miles of pristine waterfront strung together by barrier islands characterize North Carolina’s beaches, but each destination varies in its character.
Choose from quiet seaside retreats and charming historic towns to bustling kid-friendly getaways. No matter what vibe you’re seeking, will help you find a great place to stay. North Carolina’s Best Beaches: Where To Stay The best beaches in North Carolina are made better by the perfect vacation rental: a breezy beach house, modern condo, or classic cottage, perhaps?
That’s why at , we’ve identified which cities and towns have the highest-rated rental properties in the whole state, according to traveler review ratings on our site. What’s left is this list of best North Carolina beaches for your next vacation, where your accommodation will be as warm and welcoming as the sand itself!
And once you decide on a destination, , too. Our new 24-hour cancellation policy means you can pre-book before arriving, but still have the flexibility to cancel if your itinerary changes.
Affordable prices plus 11 miles of beachfront make Nags Head one of the best North Carolina beaches you can visit. In this Outer Banks gem, guests can spend the day hang-gliding, sailing, kayaking through the waves, or , and then come home to a vacation rental with an open deck and beachfront views.
The most popular attraction is , two of the highest sand dunes on the East Coast of the United States. It’s no doubt a must-see. Family reunions, special occasions, and weekends with the gang are made more fun when you spend them in a spacious vacation rental in Holden Beach.
The local beach has been known as a family favorite for many years, and fun activities include fishing charters, tubing adventures, and the kid-friendly . Golf enthusiasts should also hit the links at Lockwood Folly Country Club just a few miles away—the course winds through challenging salt marshes, creeks, and forests. Holden Beach has bookable vacation rentals large enough to fit you and up to 20 of your closest friends (or family!), for a North Carolina beach vacation that everyone can enjoy.
This is one of the best North Carolina beaches for relaxing, but it’s not just the sun and sand that attract vacationers. TripAdvisor users love the comforts and amenities of a Sunset Beach rental, like screened-in porches, pool access, and fitness centers. One cool and unique attraction here is the , a lonely mailbox located at the end of a long nature walk to an uncrowded beach area.
For decades, travelers far and wide have left notes in the mailbox for the next visitor to find—and pass along their own message to the next person, and so on.
Reviewers rave that it’s an incredibly memorable moment of their Sunset Beach vacation. Take it slow on Bald Head Island: no cars are allowed on this barrier island, making it one of the best beaches in North Carolina for escaping the hustle and bustle of city life. Cruise down its 14 miles of pristine coastline on a golf cart, bicycle, or by foot, and come home to a breezy vacation rental with oceanfront views.
Be sure to check out the Bald Head Island Lighthouse, the oldest in North Carolina having been built in 1817. The local beaches are great for crabbing, fishing, and shelling during low tide. Between time spent exploring, relax at the house. Sip lemonade from a wraparound porch, grill up dinner on a barbecue, or spend the night cozied up with your closest friends and family.
Your beach vacation is about more than just relaxation when you visit Carolina Beach. An , kid-friendly restaurants, and amusements like mini golf and water sports make Carolina Beach a popular spot for families. Parents looking for an adult refreshment will want to stop at Good Hops Brewing, a traveler favorite for craft beers. At the end of the day, send the kids up to bed and enjoy having your own space to unwind in your rental.
While many Outer Banks spots could be considered among the best North Carolina beaches, the village of Hatteras on Hatteras Island boasts some of the highest-rated rentals. This historic community is known for its remoteness and ideal fishing conditions.
The beaches offer pedestrian access, so you need not a car or boat to cast away. Hatteras Landing, the main waterfront complex, has great shops and restaurants with serene ocean views, while equestrian-loving folks can take a guided horseback ride along the pristine sands.
Booking a vacation rental opens up options for how you enjoy your Oak Island getaway. Sip your morning coffee from a balcony with ocean views, walk along the beachfront (just minutes from your door), or recline poolside at your vacation home. Golf courses, historical attractions, and a laid-back atmosphere make Oak Island one of the best North Carolina beaches for a coastal getaway. If you’re seeking an activity a bit more thrilling, travelers rave about the local guided . Make sure to bring your camera!
Home to a branch of the North Carolina Aquarium and the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, Kure Beach is one of the best beaches in North Carolina for nature-lovers. It’s located just south of the more built-up Carolina Beach, making for a quieter refuge within close distance of all your vacation amenities. If you don’t want to go into town though, stock up your vacation rental with dinner ingredients, board games, and movies for fun nights staying in with the family.
Bring your own boat to Topsail Beach if you’d like: some vacation rentals offer boat launches and parking areas so that you can set sail on your own schedule. While you’re not on the water, check out a local military history museum, beachfront restaurants, and fun activities like a putt-putt course. If you have kids in tow, the nearby education center Ecological Marine Adventures is a huge hit, where children can learn about ocean creatures. A Topsail Beach rental home offers the perfect home base no matter what activities you get into.
Wrightsville Beach is a top destination for a North Carolina beach vacation among families and active travelers. If you don’t bring your own surfboard, kayak, or paddle board along, look for vacation rentals that offer them as part of the package. Other activities like fishing at Johnie Mercer’s Pier, strolling through the Airlie Gardens, or visiting the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History ensure that you’re vacation can be as pleasantly packed with activities as you’d like.
For a beautiful stroll at sunset, hit up Crystal Pier and its accompanying beach. Or, take it easy and read a book and hang out in the air conditioning at your vacation rental—we won’t judge!
Whether you come for the maritime forest, estuary kayaking, or beautiful beaches of the Crystal Coast, Pine Knoll Shores makes for one of the best North Carolina beach vacations.
Find an affordable rental just minutes from the shore, or opt for a more luxurious home-away-from-home with amenities like private beach access, backyard decks, and swimming pools. Spend your days exploring the local aquarium—one of the better small aquariums in the country—or hitting the links at the country club and golf course. If you want to enjoy the quiet beaches and vibrant community in Duck, a vacation rental is your best bet.
This small beach town in the Outer Banks doesn’t have any hotels or resorts. With plenty of good rental options including bike rentals and close beach access, though, you’re not missing a thing. Make your booking in advance to guarantee the perfect spot, as these rentals fill up fast during peak summer season. You can go parasailing, kayaking, or canoeing in the morning, hit the charming shops at Scarborough Lane in the afternoon, and enjoy boardwalk sunsets at night.
Ahhh…the perfect vacation day. A vacation rental is the most popular way to stay in Corolla, a trending Outer Banks community that offers low-key and luxury lodging alike.
Hike to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, catch sight of wild horses at the Spanish Mustang Reserve, or peek into local history at the Whalehead Club. Corolla sports a couple of the best beaches in North Carolina, with Currituck and Carova both being traveler favorites.
Booking a vacation home gives you more bang for you buck, as you’ll have extra living space, private outdoor areas, and a full kitchen for home-cooked meals. Ranking Methodology, Best Beaches In North Carolina: We analyzed the lifetime average vacation rental review scores for all North Carolina destinations, identifying which beach spots were among the highest-rated for their vacation homes.
Cities and towns needed at least 100 total reviews to be considered, and no less than a 4.00/5.00 average score. Do you prefer a mountain vacation over the beach? Outdoor recreation over relaxation? Check out our post “?” Georgia peach, coffee addict, and Bananagrams champ (in no particular order), Olivia is a travel writer and designer based in Central America. She has a particular affinity for road trips to warm Southern cities and down the California coast, with frequent pit stops for local fare at roadside stands.
Follow her on Instagram for lots of nature pics and keep up with her travels at . You might also like
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