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15 Top-Rated Beaches In North Carolina: Best Time To Visit

Beaches In North Carolina

15 Top-Rated Beaches In North Carolina: Best Time To Visit

North Carolina’s beaches have been a top destination for families since the 1930s. People come to the coast and rent cabins and beach houses to escape the heat, have fun in the Atlantic waters, enjoy the ocean breeze. Sea ​​and generally have a good time with friends and family.

The beaches along the North Carolina coastline stretch from the Virginia state line to Georgia and come in many shapes and sizes. Still, most of them are on sand barrier islands, with limited development in the rear. This tends to create a relaxed, small-town feel, despite hundreds of thousands of people descending to these areas in the peak season. The names of the beaches are usually synonymous with the nearest city.

Whatever you’re looking for on a beach vacation, whether it’s walking, swimming, shelling, trying your luck the best shore fishing along the East Coast, surfing, kitesurfing, or just sitting in a beach chair-watching the waves. Come closer. You can find it on the beaches of North Carolina.

If you are traveling with your furry four-legged friend, you’ll be pleased to know that dogs are allowed on most Outer Banks beaches, and in some cases, they don’t even need a leash.

To help plan your trip, read our list of the best beaches in North Carolina.

15 Top-Rated Beaches In North Carolina:

Beaches In North Carolina
Beaches In North Carolina

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

Beaches In North Carolina

Known for its wide sandy beaches and deep blue waters, Wrightsville Beach is one of North Carolina’s finest beaches, 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 scattered throughout the stretch so that you won’t be fighting for a seat.

Wrightsville Beach is also a popular destination for eaters and surfers. Even inexperienced surfers can practice their skills here, as in the summer season, the waves are quite gentle, and the water is shallow. Please note that surfing in front of the lifeguard counters is strictly prohibited.

3. Nail Head Beach

Beaches In North Carolina
Beaches In North Carolina

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.

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 Beach

Beaches In North Carolina
Beaches In North Carolina

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 in the area. 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 supermarkets here either.

The royal beaches are extremely clean, and the water is warm, especially in the summertime. Carova beach might not be the best place for families with children due to its 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

Beaches In North Carolina
Beaches In North Carolina

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

If you’re 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, like the Venus Fly Trap located in the park’s wetland area.

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

6. Topsail Island

Beaches In North Carolina
Beaches In North Carolina

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

Beaches In North Carolina

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

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

Beaches In North Carolina
Beaches In North Carolina

Bald Head Island, located near the town of Wilmington in Brunswick, is only accessible by ferry from Southport and is home to many sea turtle nests. Beach-goers will love to hear that the coastline along Cape Fear is a great vacation spot.

There are not a lot of cars on the island, and people here prefer to use their golf carts to get from beach to beach.

There are three main beaches on the island. North Beach is the largest and perfect place to relax at low tide. Water sports such as paddleboarding and kiteboarding are some of the most popular activities but be careful when the tide is high and the currents are strong.

If looking for amazing views, go to West Beach, where beautiful views await, but the breaking currents are strong, so swimming is often impossible and inadvisable.

South Beach is the most popular beach for families due to its warm water, refreshing breeze, and easy access to the water. In addition to its stunning beaches, Bald Head Island is also home to one of the state’s oldest lighthouses, Old Baldy.

9. Lake Lure Beach

Beaches In North Carolina

Situated on the River Broad, Lake Lure Beach is an artificial lake surrounded by the amazing Blue Ridge Mountains. The lake covers 700 acres with over 20 miles of coastline. Sunbathers can relax in the sun, swim in the calm waters, or enjoy a picnic on the sandy lakeside beach.

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 you can buy necessities such as towels, drinks, water toys, and sunscreen for a beautiful day at Lake Lure beach.

10. Kitty Hawk Beach

Beaches In North Carolina
Beaches In North Carolina

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 is linked 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

Beaches In North Carolina

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

Travelers who want 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.

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

12. Salvo Beach

Beaches In North Carolina
Beaches In North Carolina

There is one of the Outer Banks, North Carolina area’s best beaches, Salvo Beach. You won’t find a lot of shopping or attractions in this small town, but the beach itself is enough to attract visitors from all over the place.

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

Vacationers considering staying here should be aware that the accommodation options consist of private rental homes only. If you’re interested in kitesurfing, head to the Salvo day-use area where your fellow kitesurfers show off your skills

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

13. Frisco Beach

Beaches In North Carolina

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 several restaurants and grocery stores in the area to avoid being hungry for long. If you’re looking for a place to stay, travellers 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

Beaches In North Carolina

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.

Thanks to the calm and warm waters, the Canadian Hole attracts many young families. The seas 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

Beaches In North Carolina
Beaches In North Carolina

If you are looking for white-sand beaches and nature trails for hiking, Harkers Island is the destination for a summer seaside vacation. The small town is known for building boats, hunting ducks, building wild boars and carving decoys for waterfowl.

The beaches are perfect 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!

Frequently Asked Questions: Top-Rated Beaches In North Carolina

What beach in NC has the clearest water?

Shackleford Banks Has The Absolute Bluest Water In North Carolina | North carolina beaches, Crystal coast north carolina, Harkers island.

What is the least crowded beach in North Carolina?

Beaches are not usually crowded, making it a good place for swimming, body boarding, and shelling – just watch out for its population of nesting sea turtles.

What is the cheapest beach to visit in North Carolina?

Although Wrightsville Beach made the most affordable beach list, it’s the most expensive on the list in North Carolina. HomeToGo based the rankings on the prices for the following items: Parking.

What is the safest beach in North Carolina?

Carolina Beach is the safest beach in North Carolina and features a wide coastline with shallow ocean floors, lifeguards on duty, and generally calm waves towards the shores. If you want to spend a relaxing vacation, this shoreline is also a great option.

Can you swim in North Carolina beaches?

North Carolina is located on the East Coast of the U.S. Beaches in North Carolina are wide, beautiful Atlantic beaches. Emerald Isle’s beaches give swimmers the option to wade into both ocean and sound water.

Are the beaches in North Carolina warm?

The water at beaches in North Carolina and South Carolina stays warm enough from May to mid-October for most people to enjoy swimming. Ocean temperatures normally peak at over 80 °F (high 20s °C) during summer. The farther south you go, the warmer the sea. But the Atlantic Ocean cools sharply in late fall.

What is the quietest beach in NC?

This quiet beach community of 500 residents is located on the southernmost tip of Topsail Island, a 26-mile barrier island off North Carolina’s coast.

Is Carolina Beach NC safe?

The chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime in Carolina Beach is 1 in 30. Based on FBI crime data, Carolina Beach is not one of the safest communities in America. Relative to North Carolina, Carolina Beach has a crime rate that is higher than 75% of the state’s cities and towns of all sizes.

What is Carolina Beach known for?

Visitors can enjoy exceptional fishing, shelling, and surfing along the coastline which extends all the way to the borders of the Carolina Beach Inlet, and can even camp overnight to enjoy a wholly rugged and scenic beach environment.

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