Are you on the hunt for the best beach towns in North Carolina? Look no further. We have got you covered! These destinations do not disappoint.
North Carolina is the perfect place for a beach vacation. There are more than 150 miles of beaches along the shores of Cape Fear and the Outer Banks. Did you know that they’re dozens of islands in North Carolina that you can also visit while you are here?
With so many quaint North Carolina beach towns to choose from, you can visit several for a genuinely fantastic southern getaway!
On your next trip to the south, visiting beach towns in North Carolina should be high on your to do list! This list will help you get started!
12 Best Beach Towns In North Carolina
If you are looking for beach towns in North Carolina, Edenton should be one of your first choices! Located on the shores of Albemarle Sound at the mouth of the Chowen River, Edenton is the entrance to North Carolina’s Coast.
This town of approximately 5000 people has retained so much of its heritage and charm. The town was founded in 1722. With over 300 years of history, there is so much to learn about this region. Did you know that Edenton once served as the capital of the state?
From Edenton, you can enjoy stunning views from North Carolina’s inner banks. There are several beaches and lighthouses, great for a day of adventure and exploration.
One of the reasons you should visit Edenton if you are planning to visit beach towns in North Carolina is because some say it is one of the prettiest small towns in the south.
Bags dead is hands down one of the best small beach towns in North Carolina on The Outer Banks. There are vast views. Take them in from Bodie Island, Dowdy Park, and the Outer Banks Fishing Pier. If you are lucky, Nags Head is also a fantastic place to watch dolphins! Don’t forget to check out some of the best things to do in Nags Head.
There are many things to do near Nags Head, such as visiting Jockey State Park or taking a boat ride to headquarters island. With golf clubs, adventure parks, adorable shops and tasty restaurants, there is something in nags head for everyone. While you are here, make sure to check out some of the best restaurants in the Outer Banks!
Nags head is also known for having the most giant sand dunes on the east coast! The views are one of a kind. The most popular attraction in Nags Head, apart from beaches include the Roanoke Trail, part of the Nags Head Preserve.
Small beach towns in North Carolina on the banks are some of the most beautiful hidden gems in the United States. Locals know how special this place is, and now you will too! Nags Head is on the list of the prettiest Outer Banks towns you should visit.
Of all the small beach towns in North Carolina, the tiniest on the list is Duck. With less than 600 residents during the off-season but a population that grows to nearly 20,000 on holidays like spring break and Memorial Day. Even though it is small, there are so many things to do in Duck!
Duck is recognized as one of the best family beach towns in North Carolina! Many families from across America have made duck their annual summer vacation spot. See for yourself why Duck is often the first choice for folks for spending time by the sea.
The Duck town boardwalk is a fantastic place to watch a bright orange sunset. The wooden walkway follows the Currituck Sound shoreline. The waterfront is lined with cute boutiques and terrific dining. There is everything you need to have a beach day!
There is lots to do in small beach towns in North Carolina. In Duck, you can enjoy premier sailing, kayaking, wineries, and golfing. There are also several spas in Duck, NC, which are great for relaxing after your day of activities. It is a must-visit on your next trip to the beach!
Without a doubt, Wilmington is one of the best beach cities in North Carolina. It is a top favourite destination on the Atlantic coast. While it is a larger destination than most beach towns in North Carolina, it is the perfect place to kick off your exploration of the coast.
There are plenty of things to do in Wilmington, NC including water parks, and historical and cultural activities. Wilmington also has terrific seafood that you can enjoy while dining on one of the piers.
From Wilmington, you can visit other beach towns in North Carolina like Kure Beach, Carolina Beach, Wellington Beach and Surf City. All of these places are reasonable if you are looking for day trips near Wilmington.
Wilmington, NC, is also best known for being the backdrop to many famous Hollywood productions, including Dawsons Creek, One Tree Hill and the Outer Banks. Its location on Cape Fear creates a district lifestyle that provides a unique setting and contributes to the development of stories.
Don’t forget to check out the best restaurants in Wilmington while you are nearby!
For those seeking the best small beach towns in North Carolina, Kitty Hawk is another popular option. Kitty Hawk is known across the globe for being the home of flight. The Wright Brothers launched the first successful controlled flight south of the town in 1903.
To the west of Kitty Hawk lies the beautiful Kitty Hawk Bay is to the south. North of Kitty Hawk, there are terrific views of the Atlantic Ocean. Finally, to the east is point harbour and the Intracoastal.
The Kitty Hawk Coastal Reserve is home to so many wildlife species. Those who are lucky spot turtles and otters. The Avalon Pier is an excellent spot for fishing. Many locals and tourists line up at sunrise to cast a line. There are truly so many things to do in Kitty Hawk that you shouldn’t miss!
This destination is the perfect mix of beach town and historic outpost. There is no doubt that Kitty Hawk is one of the best small beach towns on the Outer Banks in North Carolina that you must visit.
Oak Island is one of the best family beach towns in North Carolina. Separated from the mainland of the state by the Intracoastal, this seaside town in the southeast corner of the state is beautiful. Oak Island offers more than 10 miles of coast with immaculate sandy beaches.
This is one of the top fishing destinations on the Outer Banks. There are two public fishing piers for you to check out, The Oak Island Pier and The Ocean Crest Fishing Pier. You can also visit the Oak Island Nature Centre to learn more about fishing and wildlife in the Brunswick Islands.
If you are looking for more things to do in the outer banks there is no shortage of activities that everyone will love. From horseback riding to historical and natural landmarks, this place is a wonder.
Biking around Oak Island is the best way to get around. After you arrive on a ferry, bike along the coast and see the Oak Island Lighthouse, your beach paradise awaits. This is one of the beach towns in North Carolina you must visit.
Visiting Surf City is a must if you are hoping to see beach towns in North Carolina. The name alone tells you this is the ultimate beach town. Located on Topsail Island, it is an underrated place to spend some time by the beach.
Unlike other beach towns in North Carolina, Surf City is far less touristy. On Topsail Beach, do not expect there to be the same level of commercialization. However, there are still amazing attractions like the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre.
Topsail Island is known for having lush maritime forests, sea turtles, and fresh crystal blue water. The beaches here are so calming. The best time to visit Surf City is from May to September, as this is when the conditions are best to get the whole experience.
Beat the crowds and visit Surf City. Catch jaw-dropping sunsets while you relax at one of the loveliest beach towns in North Carolina. You will make one of a kind memories here.
If you are hoping to visit small beach towns in North Carolina, look no further than Kure Beach is a perfect choice! Located near Wilmington, it is only 15 minutes south from the city.
Kure Beach is most well known for having the oldest fishing pier on the Atlantic Coast. The atmosphere in this town is peaceful and family-friendly! The beach is free and is open to the public year round.
There are many beach towns in North Carolina near Wilmington. However, Kure Beach is a favorite among locals! This town is the central point of Pleasure Island. Cape Fear is an exceptional choice for a spot to spend a day by the sea taking in the surroundings.
Come catch the sand and oceanside breeze at Kure Beach, one of the best small beach towns in North Carolina. It will feel like your home away from home.
Emerald Isle is easily one of the best small towns on the outer banks. Hitting the beach here will be the highlight of any southern vacation. Emerald Isle is on Bogue Banks Island. It is your gateway to the Crystal Coast of North Carolina.
You will find so much beauty in the Bogue Inlet region. It is nicknamed the Crystal Coast because it has some of the clearest water in The Carolinas. Beach towns in North Carolina like, Emerald Isle are a great place to start your vacation.
This small town is a hub for outdoor activities and water sports. It is an amazing place for ocean and adventure enthusiasts. With more than 12 miles of shoreline, there is so much of the natural environment to see.
The best part about visiting Emerald Isle is that compared to other beach towns in North Carolina, the waterfront here is uncrowded. This beach has a lot of privacy and it is perfect for a quiet day by the water. Make sure to check out some of the Best Things To Do In Emerald Isle!
Are you looking for beach towns in North Carolina to visit? If that is the case, Morehead is for you. The town of approximately 9000 people is more than happy to welcome you to enjoy the beauty of their home.
Morehead City is another place to escape to on the crystal coast. Take a self-guided stroll on the Fish Walk or the Promise Land Heritage Trail. There are many ways to experience the artful, historical and cultural charm Morehead City is known for.
This is one of the best beach towns in North Carolina because of the variety of attractions Morehead City has to offer. From Fort Macon State Park, The North Caroline Seafood Festival, public beaches and amazing bars, restaurants and nightlife, you will love it here.
Finally, Morehead City is a year round destination. This coastal community lies on Bogue Sound, one of the most beautiful areas in this part of the east coast. You do not want to miss it!
Carolina Beach is one of the quaint North Carolina coastal towns you must visit. Along the coast of Cape Fear, Carolina Beach is a fantastic place to enjoy views of the Atlantic Ocean.
If you are looking for the best beach towns in North Carolina, this is a perfect destination for those of all ages. There are many amenities that will make Carolina Beach your favourite spot to vacation in the south.
Home to the Flytrap Trail, which is a place designated for the carnivorous venus flytrap plant. You can also visit Carolina Beach State Park for great fishing. Another activity is the Carolina Beach Boardwalk which has dozens of shops and restaurants as well as amusement park rides.
Last but not least, of all the quaint beach towns in North Carolina, Sunset Beach is the most relaxing. The town is named after the routine gorgeous sunrises and sunsets that fill the sky with bright warm colors.
Sunset Beach was once named one of the world’s best beaches. The clean white sand and calm warm water make this the perfect place to spend a summer day. The views of the ocean are picturesque, don’t forget your camera. The scenery here looks like the background of a post card!
The most popular attraction other than the sand and water in Sunset Beach is golfing. The area is home to 6 top-notch championship courses. This is one of the best beach towns in North Carolina that you should not miss!
Located on North Carolina’s Barrier Islands, the small town of Sunset Beach is the southernmost beach in the state. If you are completing a road trip on the southern east coast, this is a great final stop in North Carolina before moving onto South Carolina.