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Boasting over 320 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline, North Carolina is an amazing summer getaway spot. Each of these top North Carolina beaches offers a wide variety of activities and experiences, each one providing an amazing day at the water. With swimming, boating, and dining galore, North Carolina is guaranteed to deliver a memorable day at the beach.

Keep reading to learn more about these amazing NC beaches to visit this summer.

Emerald Isle

Emerald Isle is one of the most scenic beaches in North Carolina. The isle is a long, thin stretch located just off of the coast of the state, across the Bogue Sound from the mainland.

Almost any beach activity imaginable is on Emerald Isle. There is boating, kayaking, paddleboarding and more. The beaches face both the Bogue Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. All of these activities plus the unbelievable views make Emerald Isle one of the most popular North Carolina beaches.

On the isle, you can find a disc golf course, picnic areas, playgrounds, boat launches and volleyball courts. There are also beautiful hiking trails through Emerald Isle Woods Park and even a part of the North Carolina Birding Trail.

When planning a trip to Emerald Isle, be sure to note that there is a small fee for parking. Free parking may be available to Emerald Isle taxpayers, if applicable. Be sure to get there early as parking can fill up quickly during the summer months!

Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach is a gorgeous stretch of white sand along the Atlantic Ocean. Located just 15 miles away from Wilmington, this beach makes a great weekend getaway for North Carolina locals or visitors going to the beach. This beach is packed with fun things to do.

Nearly 100-foot-tall Ferris wheel to open at Carolina Beach boardwalk

The Carolina Beach Boardwalk is famous for its vintage charm and fun activities. It is one of the most fun boardwalks in the country, with rides, restaurants, bars and shops. The Carolina Beach Boardwalk hosts live music and firework shows regularly throughout the summer.

At night, Carolina Beach comes to life. There are regular outdoor concerts and parties, including a massive music festival. The Carolina Beach Music Festival is the only music festival in the country that is hosted on a beach.

The beach itself is a great place for kayaking, boating, swimming and paddleboarding. There are boat tours, jet ski rentals, charter fishing tours and scuba lessons all along this beachside community. Sandy trails in the area make for amazing hiking.

There is a tiki bar, pubs, breweries and a variety of different ocean-front bars and clubs. There is something for everyone along Carolina Beach.

Bald Head Island

Located at the southernmost tip of the cape islands of North Carolina, Bald Head Island is a maritime dream. Full of activities and things to do, everyone is guaranteed a great time on Bald Head Island.

Located across the Cape Fear River and bordered on two sides by open ocean, Bald Head Island puts an emphasis on its natural beauty. 10,000 acres of this island are completely untouched natural areas. These preserves have kept the beauty of Bald Head Island alive for generations.

The nature of the island thrives under the protection of the Bald Head Island Conservancy. Every year, sea turtles lay their eggs on the shore. Hiking and biking are amazing ways to see the beauty of the inner island. If you love to kayak, you are able to kayak the creeks of the island for 360º views of the wildlife.

On the beautiful shores of the islands, there are three marinas available. The island has a wide variety of boating activities available, including fishing, kayaking, surfing and paddleboarding. With more than 14 miles of picturesque beaches, there is sure to be a slice of sand for you.

Bald Head Island also holds some historical significance, holding the state’s oldest lighthouse and historic battlegrounds. Once you’ve soaked up all the sun you can, enjoy one of the island’s historical tours, ghost tours, or museums.

At the end of the day, the island is packed with dining opportunities, including bars, restaurants and island clubs. Your family is sure to have an unforgettable getaway to Bald Head Island.

Nags Head

Of course, no North Carolina beach list would be complete without mentioning the Outer Banks. Vacationers have been flocking to Nags Head for generations, enjoying the incredible beaches and plethora of activities.

Boaters will love the variety of different boating opportunities. There are many companies that offer tours and rentals, including dolphin watch tours! Nags Head offers parasailing, fishing excursions and surfing. Any watersport you enjoy is available here.

The sand dunes of Jockey’s Ridge State Park cannot be missed on a trip to Nags Head. It is a common sight to see hang gliders and sand boarders flying through the dunes.

The beach itself is long and pristinely kept. The beautiful stretch of ocean is perfect for relaxing and enjoying the sun. The beaches are pet-friendly, so Fido can come along for the family fun.

If you are planning a trip to the Outer Banks, be sure to add Nags Head to the list.

Plan your ultimate vacation to NC beaches today

North Carolina is full of stunning coastline and beach communities. Whether you like the action of boating, walking on the beach, or just relaxing and listening to the waves, there is something for everyone.

The Donut Inn

With so many amazing beaches to choose from, the hardest part is choosing just one! Plan your dream vacation to the NC beaches this summer and enjoy them all!