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10 Amazing Spots in North Carolina That Have Sandy Beaches

Jun 06, 2023

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It’s no surprise that North Carolina ranks as one of the most popular vacation spots in the country boasting 300 miles of gorgeous coastline. The sandy beaches of North Carolina are ideal for your upcoming getaway this summer, offering everything from serene barrier islands to vibrant coastal towns and child-friendly vacation spots.

Naturally, these locations have magnificent white-sand beaches, but they additionally feature interesting historical sites, a wide variety of fauna, lovely golf courses, and thrilling aquatic activities.

For your upcoming trip to this southern state, we’ve compiled a list of North Carolina’s top 10 sandy beaches!

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Cape Lookout National Seashore has a lot to give tourists and locals. It’s home to over 50 miles of sandy beach that spreads across multiple barrier islands. Shackleford Banks is a great beach for relaxing and swimming, and there are around 100 wild horses living there.

People are able to scale the Cape Lookout Lighthouse in the heat of the summer. To find out the history of Cape Lookout and its animals, sign up for a ranger-led tour. Locals love this area for canoeing or kayaking.

You can explore the surrounding islands from the water, or go birdwatching. To really appreciate the unspoiled, natural splendor of this seashore, consider booking a stay for the night at one of the beachside cabins or campers in the area.

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Another one of the best sandy beaches in North Carolina is within Hammocks Beach State Park. The only way to get to Bear Island in Hammocks Beach State Park, like some additional barrier island attractions, is by ferry or boat.

This makes it the ideal choice for anyone seeking a peaceful, tranquil beach. The fact that this beach is mostly untouched and devoid of rows of eateries and beachfront nightclubs is precisely why people adore it.

You can learn all about the animals in North Carolina here. If you want to get out on the water, Bear and Huggins Islands provide paddle boards, canoes, and kayak rentals. You can prolong your vacation at this state park by staying at one of the numerous campsites on Bear Island.

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Atlantic Beach, which is ideal for families, is situated on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast. It’s right near Morehead City across the Causeway. Yes, this is one of the best sandy beaches in North Carolina, but you’ll also find a plethora of outdoor summer fun!

Whether they want to go swimming, fishing, or have a sandcastle-building competition! Sea turtles frequently come to Atlantic Beach to find a location to nest. They lay their eggs here each year between the months of May and October.

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Around the area of Wrightsville Beach, you’ll find a variety of surfing, eating, shopping, and entertainment options. The island’s beach, which has been dubbed one of the finest in the South, is renowned for its beauty, spaciousness, and cleanliness.

This location, which is close to Wilmington, is ideal for those who want to learn more about the region while on a beach vacation. Adventurers may choose to engage in surfing lessons to find out how to ride waves.

Visitors can also learn to scuba dive and explore one of the several sunken ships in the water. People of all ages will enjoy a trip to Wrightsville Beach!

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The crystal-clear seas of North Carolina’s Crystal Coast encircle Emerald Isle, which is situated on Bogue Banks Island. Anglers can cast a reel at the Bogue Inlet Pier, which shuts during the colder months and opens again in the spring.

You can also take advantage of any of Emerald Isle’s numerous boat charters. Play some disc golf or take a stroll along the North Carolina Birding Trail in Emerald Isle Woods Park. Naturally, this area also has several miles of stunning coastline, an extensive food scene, and a ton of accommodations at adjacent resorts and vacation homes.

Kitty Hawk, which is part of the northern Outer Banks, is perhaps best known as the location of the Wright brothers’ illustrious flight. The streets and beaches of Kitty Hawk offer plenty of amusement.

One of the Outer Banks’ most substantial existing marine forests is Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve. Try canoeing or kayaking in the Sound, or discover the forested dunes and marshes along the shore.

Keep an eye out for any potential turtles or regional otters that may be nesting close by. You can either choose an RV-friendly campground in the vicinity or lodge overnight at one of the neighborhood hotels, motels, or vacation rentals on the ocean.

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Are you looking for one of the best sandy beaches in North Carolina, but want to avoid the crowds? Consider Topsail Island. Located 26 miles south of Jacksonville, NC, lies this less populated beach area.

Animal enthusiasts will be ecstatic to learn that along Topsail’s coastline, loggerhead sea turtles walk onshore to lay their eggs from the beginning of May through August. You may learn more about the island’s conservation and protection initiatives here as well.

Enjoy surfing, fishing, sailing, or parasailing while out on the waves. Of course, visitors can always unwind on the beach. If you’re feeling lucky, you might look for pirate loot. This is a fantastic opportunity to make memories that your kids will never forget.

According to folklore, the island got its name because the region used to be a favorite hangout for pirates. Legend says that their top sails served as an alert to any incoming ships.

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With a name like Sunset Beach, you know you’re in for a treat. Sunset Beach is located on North Carolina’s southern coast, not far from the South Carolina border. Discover how this location acquired its name by exploring the south-facing beach.

From the end of autumn to the beginning of spring, you can quietly observe the sunrise and sunset over the water. Not only is this a gorgeous view, it makes for a great date spot! Although neighboring Bird Island has lovely beaches as well, it’s primarily known for the Kindred Spirit Mailbox, where visitors post their hopes, meditations, opinions, and aspirations.

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The well-known Carolina Beach is welcoming to families. The sandy beaches, boardwalk, and other points of interest, are only a 20-minute drive from downtown Wilmington. A traditional American boulevard with bars, eateries, game centers, and shops where you may rent bicycles and surfboards is the Carolina Beach Boardwalk.

Further outdoor activities are available close by at Carolina Beach State Park, which has a variety of hiking paths. Locals suggest the Flytrap Trail where you can find the native Venus flytrap plant.

This is a fantastic day trip location if you are lodging in Wilmington. If not, reserve accommodation at any of the nearby hotels or lease a beach house to take advantage of your getaway to the coast.

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Nags Head, which is situated in the center of the Outer Banks and is north of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, provides a variety of exceptional activities that anyone can enjoy. The Jockey’s Ridge State Park, which boasts the highest natural sand dune on the Atlantic coast, is possibly this region’s most well-known feature.

One might glide, stroll across a boardwalk, and discover a hiking trail nearby. As you can assume, Nags Head also has lovely beaches with hotels, dining options, nightclubs, and retail establishments on either side.

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