North Carolina Beaches

North Carolina Beaches
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The North Carolina coast stretches 300 beautiful miles. You’ll find barrier-island beaches and quaint waterfront towns. Each has their own unique vibe and a variety of things to do. Families love the wide, sandy beaches and roomy oceanfront rental homes and resorts. Add the scenic beauty and nearby amenities and it’s easy to see why generations of families keep coming back to the Tar Heel state.

North Carolina Beaches

Estimated Drive from Knoxville: 6-7 Hours

Atlantic Beach—Located on a barrier island and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Bogue Sound, Atlantic Beach is known for an abundance of public beaches. Fishing, cycling and sailing are just some of the activities people enjoy while visiting Atlantic Beach. The Walk Atlantic Beach paved loop trails are also popular ways to explore and get some exercise.

Atlantic Beach North Carolina
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Bald Head Island—If you want to get away from it all, Bald Head Island is a great choice. The island is only accessible by ferry. You’ll need a golf cart or bicycle to get around once you’re there. Besides quiet and pristine beaches, the Bald Head Island Club golf course is a big attraction. The Bald Head Island Conservancy offers lots of kid and family-friendly programs including hikes, kayaking trips and even camps. Be sure to climb Old Baldy while you’re there. It’s North Carolina’s oldest standing lighthouse.

Bald Head Island North Carolina
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Carolina Beach—For centuries, people have been vacationing in Carolina Beach. The wooden pedestrian boardwalk lined with shops, restaurants and an amusement park is part of the appeal. (Not to mention amazing surf and soft sand!) Carolina Beach State Park is another popular attraction. It’s home to the Venus flytrap. Try and spot one while you’re there!

Emerald Isle—There are 12-miles of beautiful and clean beaches to enjoy in Emerald Isle. It’s a haven for watersports and fishing (onshore and offshore). Even if you’re not an angler, it’s fun to take a stroll on the 1,000-foot Bogue Inlet Pier. You can enjoy the view, eat a great meal and watch what people reel in. Emerald Isle is popular with families because of all those activities and the variety of lodging options.

Emerald Isle North Carolina Beach
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Holden Beach—This small seaside town nestled in the Brunswick Islands brings families back year after year because of the beautiful beach, quaint community and the delicious seafood. Holden Beach is no longer a secret. National Geographic Traveler named it “one of the best family beaches in the country.” Families can enjoy the natural surroundings and also take part in fishing and golfing.

Oak Island—If you’re looking for a perfect backdrop for a classic family beach vacation, look no further than Oak Island. Visitors have been coming here since the early 19th century. All these years later, it’s the scenic views and uncrowded beaches that still keep bringing people back. Beyond the beach, there are two fishing piers, public boat and kayak ramps, a marina and the popular Oak Island Nature Center for you and your family to enjoy.

Oak Island North Carolina
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Outer Banks—This slim line of barrier islands offers more than 100-miles of gorgeous beaches. There are several towns and villages along the Outer Banks including Corolla, Duck, Hatteras, Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Ocracoke and more. Each has its own flavor, but all offer a true getaway. There is much to explore in the OBX. Cape Hatteras National Seashore offers visitors a chance to get in touch with nature. You can also see history at The Wright Brothers National Memorial. Fishing is a way of life here so cast a line or enjoy the fresh catch at local restaurants.

North Carolina Outer Banks
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Topsail Island—Once a popular hiding spot for pirates, Topsail Beach is now a popular vacation destination. There are three low-key beaches popular with both people and sea turtles. That’s why visiting the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue is a must-do activity. Fishing and water sports are also fun ways to explore the island. Don’t miss out on the amazing sunsets at the southernmost tip of the island appropriately called Serenity Point.

Topsail Island Beach North Carolina
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Wrightsville Beach—For a higher energy summer vacation, check out Wrightsville Beach.  This vibrant beach town is one of the top surfing towns in the world according to National Geographic. That’s just one of the outdoor activities you can enjoy here. Visitors especially love the walkability of the island. You can stroll to restaurants, boutiques, surf shops and open-air villages. Families gravitate to the full-service resort hotels offering daily kids’ activities and camps.

Wrightsville Beach
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For more information on North Carolina’s beaches, click here. Be sure to check out our other beaches in driving distance




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