Beautiful Beach Getaways in NC

It’s just that time of year to be thinking about getting away for summer vacation. Like many North Carolinians, you may be dreaming of hot, sandy beaches and sand dunes…oceanfront rental houses, rocking chairs, porches, breezes and sunsets. You can find all these things and a laid back atmosphere at any of the following must-visit North Carolina oceanside vacation spots. With so many appealing options, the tough part is deciding which one to choose. 

Cape Hatteras

Known for its iconic black-and-white-striped lighthouse, one of the tallest in the United States, Cape Hatteras is also renowned for its nearly 70 miles of unspoiled beaches. Off-road vehicles are allowed on the sand with a permit, and there are four campgrounds available. You may be able to catch a glimpse of sea turtles during their nesting season. 

Where to eat: 

Hatteras Sol Waterside Grill – for unfussy waterside local seafood.

The Wreck Tiki Bar – for hot dogs, paninis and beer with live music and sunsets.

Emerald Isle

Many families return to Emerald Isle year after year for its relaxed atmosphere, 12 miles of clean beaches and a well loved fishing pier. Emerald Isle offers a beautiful setting and great amenities, including ample parking and delicious restaurants. Emerald Isle is part of the Crystal Coast section of North Carolina with Indian Beach nearby.

Where to eat: 

Fish Hut Grill – for fresh local seafood.

Topsail Island

Located about 40 miles from Wilmington, this barrier island is rumored to have gotten its name from the local legend that pirate ships hid behind the inlet with their topsails showing. Today, this 26-mile-long island is better known for its three main beach areas – Topsail Beach, North Topsail Beach and Surf City. If you visit, make sure to check out the southernmost point of the island (known as Serenity Point) for amazing sunset views.

Where to eat: 

Daddy Mac’s Beach Grille – for some of the island’s best beachside views and seafood.

New York Corner Deli – for a great deli sandwich to take to the beach.

Kill Devil Hills

Kill Devil Hills offers some of the best East Coast beaches as well as ample amenities and activities that will appeal to all types of beachgoers. Families in particular love this town for its wide coastline and array of accommodations. Kill Devil Hills is less remote than some of the other Outer Banks beaches, and visitors can enjoy a variety of restaurants, boutiques and coffee shops. Make sure to plan a visit to the Wright Brothers National Memorial where the world’s first successful airplane flight took place in 1903.

Where to eat:

The Kill Devil Grill – for casual American fare and wine in a former diner on the National Register of Historic Places!

Goombays Grille & Raw Bar – for a kid friendly atmosphere with Caribbean-accented dishes and tropical drinks.

Holden Beach

Holden Beach is a small seaside community located about 25 miles from the North Carolina-South Carolina border. A favorite among families, there are so many ways to enjoy your time here, whether you love watersports or prefer laid-back pastimes like beach combing and birdwatching. Others may enjoy a round of golf, fishing or trying one of the island’s delicious restaurants. 

Where to eat: 

Provision Co. – for no frills seafood and sandwiches with views of the Intracoastal Waterway.


Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Currituck Sound, Corolla is known for its seclusion along the northern coast of the Outer Banks. While there are activities like exploring the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and strolling through Historic Corolla Village, the main appeal here is relaxing on the wide, sandy beaches. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are common on the beaches in Corolla; as are the wild Spanish horses that roam the island. 

Where to eat: 

Uncle Ike’s Sandbar and Grill – for a down-to-earth tavern atmosphere serving seafood, steaks and cocktails.

Sundogs Raw Bar & Grill – for live music, karaoke and sports on TV while you enjoy fresh local seafood.


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