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6 Famous Beach Towns in North Carolina (United States)

6 Famous Beach Towns in North Carolina (United States)

North Carolina is a state blessed with a diverse coastline that stretches for around 3000 miles. It offers stunning views, sandy beaches, and plenty of activities for visitors.

In the state, you will find several mesmerizing beach towns that can satisfy your need for a relaxing getaway, a family-friendly vacation, or an adventure-filled trip.


Each of these locations is wind with beautiful attributes and offers an amalgamation of experiences that offer something for everyone, from history buffs and nature lovers to surfers and foodies.

In this article, you will get to know about some of the most famous beach towns in North Carolina,

  1. Nags Head
  2. Carolina Beach
  3. Beaufort
  4. Wrightsville Beach
  5. Oak Island
  6. Edenton

Let’s see each of these places and the factors that will make you visit them repeatedly.

1. Nags Head

Nags Head, NC

Situated in the Outer Banks (NC), this beach town is home to the country’s largest natural sand dunes, which rise up to 100 feet above sea level. It’s a tranquil and stunning destination, where you can experience nature, history, cuisine, and fun in abundance.

Here you can explore the attractions of Jockey’s Ridge State Park, Jennette’s Pier, Dowry Park, Seaside Art Gallery, Bodie Island Lighthouse, and more. You can also discover the local flora and fauna at the beautiful beaches.


If you’re looking for some excitement, this town has plenty to offer. Ride a jet ski on the sparkling blue waters, or try sandboarding, kite flying, and hang-gliding on the dunes for an exhilarating adventure. You can also climb up the lighthouse and admire the seaside art gallery.

The dolphin tours are another activity here that lets you see these amazing creatures up close. Traversing the Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve is also an adventure on its own. Walk through the hiking trails and be in nature for some time. Other activities here include go-karting, golfing, parasailing, paddle boating, kayaking, etc.

Taste the delicious sea foods that are fresh and local, such as crab cakes, oysters, shrimp, and scallops, and soak in the views of the coastal town that are breathtaking. Watch the sky change colors and the sunsets that paint the horizon with fiery hues over the ocean breeze.

2. Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach, NC

Carolina Beach is a short drive from Wilmington and a popular surfing spot in North Carolina. It is a wonderful place with a relaxing vibe along with the sea breeze.

The vintage broad walk will take you along the sandy beach and the blue water. You will also admire the lush greenery of the Carolina Beach State Park and Freeman Park. There are many other places to discover and explore around the beach.

You will never get bored at Carolina Beach, as there are so many activities to choose from. Kayaking around Zeke’s Island, fishing, golfing, and visiting the Fort Fisher Aquarium and the Kure Beach Pier, are some of them.

There are plenty of food and shopping options at Carolina Beach. You can try some of the local seafood dishes, such as crab cakes, shrimp, and oysters while enjoying the evening sun. Also, shop for some souvenirs and gifts at the local shops and markets.

Being by the sea is always rejuvenating and the places around here are beautiful. Remember to take photos of the stunning landscape and the sparkling water. You will surely have a memorable time at Carolina Beach.

3. Beaufort

Beaufort, NC

Beaufort is a charming town that dates back to 1713, making it the fourth oldest in the state. It is located in the Inner Banks region and boasts a rich maritime heritage. The town’s beauty is enhanced by its old houses and architecture, which tell stories of its bygone days. It was also honored as “America’s coolest small town” by a magazine in 2012.

Some of the attractions in Beaufort include the North Carolina Maritime Museum, Rachel Carson Reserve, Olde Beaufort Farmers Market, Beaufort Historic Site Old Burying Ground, and Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge.


You can also find a variety of restaurants while strolling along the front street, where you can savor a delicious meal. Make sure to shop whatever you want Downtown.

One of the most serene and intriguing places to visit is the old burying ground. You can also take a trip to Cape Lookout, where you can see the iconic lighthouse and enjoy the pristine beach, or go kayaking.

4. Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville Beach, NC

Wrightsville Beach is a beautiful town in the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, known for its clear blue waters. It is an excellent vacation destination adorned with mind-boggling natural terrain, long wide beaches, gentle rolling waves, and laid back atmosphere.

The town has a rich history and culture that you can discover at the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History. It displays art and artifacts from different eras. You can also explore the natural beauty of the town at places like Harbor Gardens, Airlie Gardens, Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pie, and Crystal Pier.

Wrightsville Beach is often termed North Carolina’s Favorite Beach destination. If you love water sports, you will find plenty of options here, such as scuba diving, kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boating, surfing, and more. You can also take a boat trip to the Masonboro Island Coastal Estuarine Reserve, a protected area with diverse wildlife and habitats.

This is also a great place to relax and unwind. You can watch the sunset, stroll along the shoreline, taste some delicious seafood, and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere. A sunset cruise is a perfect way to end your day in this wonderful town.

5. Oak Island

Oak Island, NC

Oak Island is situated in the southeastern part of North Carolina and is secluded from the mainland by an intercoastal waterway. It is lined with 10 miles of beautiful beaches and serene landscapes.

This place is ideal for a coastal getaway with plenty of attractions and activities. You can swim, surf, sunbathe, or build sandcastles at the beach. You also visit the historic Fort Caswell ruins or admire the views from the Oak Island Lighthouse. Other activities that you can do here are golfing, fishing, and ferry rides.


If you want to explore nature and the local wildlife, visit the Oak Island Nature Center, where you can see birds, turtles, and other animals. Oak Island also houses one of the longest piers on the eastern coast, the Ocean Crest Fishing Pier. You can watch spectacular sunrise and sunset over the water from here.

Shop, eat, and relish each moment of your vacation here.

6. Edenton

Edenton, NC

This is another famous beach town in North Carolina with a rich colonial history and stunning Georgian architecture. It was the first capital of North Carolina and a major port for trade and commerce.

Its cypress trees and lighthouses create a scenic backdrop for the town, which lies on the shore of the Albemarle Sound. Here, you can explore the Inner Bank region of North Carolina and immerse yourself in its heritage and culture.

Visit the Roanoke River Lighthouse, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Queen Anne Park, and Cupola House. You can also see the Historic 1767 Chowan County Courthouse and sit at the gallery as well as the Judge’s seat.

If you are looking for some fun and adventure, you can enjoy the Edenton Bay Cruises or the Historic Edenton Tours. For some spookiness, you can join the Original Edenton Ghost Walk, which reveals the haunted history and legends of the town.

The town is peaceful and welcoming. There are also many restaurants offering local specialties such as seafood and barbecue, which you can try.

These are some of the popular beach towns that you can visit in North Carolina. 

If you are already planning your next trip, go for any of them. May it be any season, the places and their features will not disappoint you in any way. 

Have fun all throughout your holidays and buy gifts for the ones back home. And remember to click a ton of pictures when you are at such marvelous destinations.

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