One of the most beautiful beaches in North Carolina
Beaches, State Navigation

The 18 Best Beaches in North Carolina

The coastline of North Carolina is a trove of sandy shores and picturesque views. So, it can be tough to determine which among the manyNorth Carolina beaches is the “best.” Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the 18 most popular beaches in North Carolina, based on ratings and reviews from various online sources. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day by the ocean or some exciting waves to surf, this list has got you covered. Let’s take a look!

One of the most beautiful beaches in North Carolina
One of the most beautiful beaches in North Carolina

Best Beach in North Carolina

Carolina Beach Boardwalk

  • Address: Carolina Beach Ave S, Carolina Beach, NC 28428, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.5 (5507)
  • Phone: +1 910-458-8434
  • Website: Link
  • Opening hours:
    Monday: Open 24 hours
    Tuesday: Open 24 hours
    Wednesday: Open 24 hours
    Thursday: Open 24 hours
    Friday: Open 24 hours
    Saturday: Open 24 hours
    Sunday: Open 24 hours
One of the most beautiful beaches in North Carolina
One of the most beautiful beaches in North Carolina

5 Replies to The 18 Best Beaches in North Carolina

  1. #1 Bring that cash money! Cash is king in these parts!

    Loved people watching!

    The carnival rides were a huge hit with the kids!

    No to go orders. Unless you got that CASH.

    The beach, they had live fireworks!

    Crab hunting.

    Did I mention the fun toddler rides!

    Tons of places to spend that cash money!

    Arcade

    Donuts

    Funnel cakes!

    Oyster shots!

    Then shake it all up on a carny ride!

    Truly was memorable!

  2. Interesting fact: the Carolina beach boardwalk was originally built in 1887 but the latest improvements/additions were finished in the early 2000’s which brought it up to its current 1/4 mile length.

    My visit was on hot and lazy mid-July day. I traveled here on a Wednesday to avoid the weekend crowds but there were still a decent about of beach goers stretched out along the sands.

    As a California transplant, I’m quite taken by North Carolina beaches. For one, the coastline is not nearly as developed as Southern California with stifling traffic and miles of concrete.

    The eastern NC coastline is, by contrast, sparsely populated (Wilmington is the only “large” city) and is dotted with quaint, cozy little villages. Many, from my view, give almost a Caribbean vibe and feel, if that makes any sense.

    Then there are the unique physical features such as the sand dunes and wide variety of marsh vegetation. And of course, the warm water! It was 81º in water here today compared to a chilly 65 in Santa Monica beach.

    On the boardwalk, I particularly loved the shaded overlook that offered expansive views of the beach in all directions.

    Also impressive was how clean the are is maintained, I didn’t see any litter along the path.

    The only slight disappointment was that many of the cafes and eateries close after lunch and don’t reopen till around 4 of 5 pm for dinner.

    In all, a great place to bring the family and spend a the day…

  3. I had a wonderful time , it was so nice,sunny, & clean. The people was extremely helpful , friendly, & nice.
    I’m disable & have to use a can because of mobility issues. I so fell too many times . So if you have these issues get a beach walker/ float device. All summer long on Thursday nights they have a live band & fireworks at gazebo.

  4. Fun memories and fun times for family. If your looking to ride a lot of rides and not wait in line I highly recommend the ride bracelets on the weekends! Bathrooms at night needed attention. It is fun and crowded at night. Nice to cool off and hang out.

  5. I love that this place has been ranked as one of the top 10 boardwalks in the country by Food & Wine magazine. We are just leaving after another fun family getaway. Our children loved the fair and rides when they were young and of course the beach is still a favorite. The boardwalk makes for a great walk along the beach if you don’t want to get your toes sandy. Would be great if it could be extended. Love the commemorative fish and the swing chairs the overlook the ocean. There are plenty of good options for casual beachfront dining and satisfying any sweet cravings.

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Top 18 Most Beautiful Beaches in North Carolina

One of the most beautiful beaches in North Carolina
One of the most beautiful beaches in North Carolina

Fort Macon State Park

  • Address: 2303 E Fort Macon Rd, Atlantic Beach, NC 28512, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.8 (5192)
  • Phone: +1 252-726-3775
  • Website: Link
  • Opening hours:
    Monday: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
    Tuesday: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
    Wednesday: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
    Thursday: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
    Friday: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
    Saturday: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
    Sunday: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Reviews:
    Great place to bring the kids to learn about history and runoff some extra energy and it’s free! I return to this beautiful state park at the end of the crystal coast time and time again with my young children and they enjoy it every time.
    The well kept grassy areas around the top of the Fort and the mysterious arched tunnel ways and large brick rooms are always fun to traverse.
    The cannons and munitions all around are interesting and fun for the children to climb on and explore. Sunsets at the fort are incredibly beautiful.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Justin Porto (10 months ago)
    This was a great stop on a work trip before leaving to head home. Historical places are something I just enjoy and this is a great one. And it’s free to explore! Definitely keep an eye on little ones if you have them with you due to no safety rails around the top. Posted a few of the pics from the trip but definitely couldn’t post them all. So much history to learn here! Will definitely visit again!
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By J (3 weeks ago)
    This is a beautiful and historic state park. There’s plenty to explore at the fort and many museum displays to check out. There’s also guided tours that give you a lot of information about the history of the fort. Outside of the fort, there’s some hiking trails around the grounds. There is a lot to experience at this fort and it’s all free of charge. I’d totally recommend checking out Fort Macon.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Frenite (3 months ago)
    Fort Macon State Park is a beautiful place to take the whole family to learn about the local history. They have the best staff. The front desk representative gave us the best service. She went above and beyond to make sure our visit was everything we were looking for and more. Highly recommend coming to check out Fort Macon State Park.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Sarah Storm (5 months ago)
    Fort Macon is a really robust historic state park and If you’re close by it’s definitely worth a visit!
    The Fort itself is very cool to explore but then they have an extensive collection of artifacts, exhibits snd educational materials in hand.
    There are even tours available if you want an even deeper experience.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By C. J. Valentine (5 months ago)

Carolina Beach State Park

  • Address: 1010 State Park Rd, Carolina Beach, NC 28428, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.7 (2828)
  • Phone: +1 910-458-8206
  • Website: Link
  • Opening hours:
    Monday: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM
    Tuesday: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM
    Wednesday: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM
    Thursday: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM
    Friday: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM
    Saturday: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM
    Sunday: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Reviews:
    Carolina Beach State Park is sure to impress with its numerous trails and offerings. The campsites are clean and private creating the perfect escape from life’s hustle and bustle. Getting out to the trails is easy with well marked signposts and color coded maps. There is some hiking through loose sand, so even though the trails are marked ‘easy’, those with mobility issues or who struggle with walking through loose sand may want to find other options (or stick to the fitness trail) for a nature trek. Be sure to pack your binoculars as there are ample birding opportunities on the Live Oak Loop as well!
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Nicholas Whittington (10 months ago)
    Great park with great trails! The visitors center is well kept and the staff is very knowledgeable of the park. There are also kayak rentals and a marina for boaters. Entry and parking is free. Make sure you are wearing mosquito repellent for your hike because there are a lot of them and they are ruthless. Sugarloaf trail is long, but very rewarding as you get to experience a little bit of all the features of the park.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Kevin McCuen (4 months ago)
    The park is absolutely beautiful with great trails and access to the Cape Fear river bank. The campsite was affordable. The bathrooms need a little bit more maintenance considering it was a holiday weekend. And perhaps not allow large campers with generators to camp out amongst people who pitched tents… otherwise clean campsites.
    ✭✭✭✭ By CinCoEnTodo (Cinthia Cotto) (5 months ago)
    I HIGHLY recommend visiting this park! We fell in love with the views here. It’s a charming little 2 mile or so walk round trip. We just stopped by and were so surprised to find this beautiful little beach! It’s a very easy walk and took us less than an hour but we also took a break to enjoy the views on the beach. We even came back and did it again during our trip. It’s a must see 🙂
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Courtney Jones (9 months ago)
    Nice camp facilities. Friendly ranger at boat marina camp store. Beautiful quiet surroundings. Minutes bicycle ride
    To the shore and civilization… Your missing out if you don’t plan a bucket list trip. Off-season is the most available and quiet time. November through mid-March. 72 F day on March 3, 2022.
    ✭✭✭✭ By Leif Rowles (8 months ago)

Freeman Park

  • Address: 1800 Canal Dr, Carolina Beach, NC 28428, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.6 (1947)
  • Phone: +1 910-458-4614
  • Website: Link
  • Opening hours:
    Monday: Open 24 hours
    Tuesday: Open 24 hours
    Wednesday: Open 24 hours
    Thursday: Open 24 hours
    Friday: Open 24 hours
    Saturday: Open 24 hours
    Sunday: Open 24 hours
  • Reviews:
    Love coming out here with our jeep and dog, so relaxing and love the sounds of the ocean. We really enjoy the off season as it’s less crowded and peaceful. We aren’t campers but you can camp and have camp fires as well, fun to take a night drive and see/smell the firewood burning. Plus it’s fun to light up the beach with our different color halos, light bars and rock lights. It’s always busy and never know who or what you may see stuck….
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Cindy G (2 weeks ago)
    Freeman Park is one of the best places in coastal NC for a sunrise. You’ll have to navigate through the parking lot of Jeeps on a summer day, but once you get through that first half mile of 4×4 accessible beach, you’re in for a treat with pristine white sands and the calming sounds of the ocean. Be sure to check out this place at low tide to find the best shells and widest beach as it tends to be quite narrow at high tide.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Nicholas Whittington (10 months ago)
    Our family had a wonderful time here at the beach. The beach was clean and kids found shells offshore to play with. Since we went off-season, this place was not crowded as expected. This park allows driving any 4×4 vehicle on the beach and got the thrilling experience driving our 4×4 vehicle on the beach.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Mahalakshmi Yuvaraj (10 months ago)
    What an amazing spot! My partner and I decided to set up camp here for a night when travelling through NC and we were not disappointed! The beach was beautiful and dog friendly! Camp fires are permitted in the camping area and to top it all off there were even dolphins swimming by!
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By B K (10 months ago)
    Went with the family it was great not having to worry about parking or did we forget something in the jeep it was all there it was $50 for a day pass yes you can come and go as you please make sure you have a 4×4 vehicle not an option. We went during the day time and night time found lots of seashells and not crowded at all it was awesome!!!!!
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Drew Henderson (4 months ago)

Busco Beach and ATV Park

  • Address: 1243 Bryan Blvd, Goldsboro, NC 27530, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.7 (1318)
  • Phone: +1 919-222-9614
  • Website: Link
  • Opening hours:
    Monday: Open 24 hours
    Tuesday: Open 24 hours
    Wednesday: Open 24 hours
    Thursday: Open 24 hours
    Friday: Open 24 hours
    Saturday: Open 24 hours
    Sunday: Open 24 hours
  • Reviews:
    This was my first time here at Busco Beach & ATV Park. My first time at any ATV Park for that matter, lol. It was AMAZING & so much fun!! Definitely will be back & have already recommended to others! Lots of land to ride & just enjoy being out in the country. Everyone we met was super nice, friendly & always willing to help!!! LOVE this ATV park & can’t wait to come back!!!❤
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Jessica Crenshaw (8 months ago)
    Just got home from another great weekend at Busco. It’s always a good time. Something for everybody.. trails, mud, hills, dirt road riding, drag strip.. whatever you like, they’ve got it.

    See y’all again soon ?

    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Savannah Sanders (in the last week)
    Busco is Busco. They have come a long way in the last couple of years. Not sure if it was local competition or just new management that have come in. They have always done a great job keeping the camping part of the park up, but now they do a much better job grooming trails. I honestly fly from Oregon 2-3 times of year just to come out and ride my RZR here because I enjoy this place that much.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Dave Byrum (3 months ago)
    This place is amazing! We had an awesome time. Great atmosphere, relaxing and fun! The kids had a great time riding ATVs. The staff at the ATV rental place were fantastic! Definitely an experience!
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Penny Russell (3 months ago)
    Beautiful maintained place with 2000 acres of fun, dirt, mud and memories!! Modern conveniences but feels like you are totally away from it all! Everyone is respectful and there to have fun!!
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Charlotte Krantz (3 weeks ago)

Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

  • Address: 1000 Loggerhead Rd, Kure Beach, NC 28449, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.8 (1196)

Hammocks Beach State Park

  • Address: 1572 State Rd 1511, Swansboro, NC 28584, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.7 (1097)

Carolina Beach Lake Park

  • Address: 400 Lake Park Blvd S, Carolina Beach, NC 28428, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.7 (849)

Seaforth Beach

  • Address: 35°43’39.4″N 79°02′, W 2nd St, Pittsboro, NC 27312, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.6 (599)

Bird Island Reserve

  • Address: 8468 Bay St, Sunset Beach, NC 28468, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.8 (396)

Carolina Beach State park Campground

  • Address: C Rd, Carolina Beach, NC 28428, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.5 (178)

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

  • Address: Buxton, NC 27920, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.9 (160)

Lifeguarded Beach

  • Address: Ocracoke, NC 27960, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.8 (110)

Coquina Beach

  • Address: Coquina Beach, North Carolina 27959, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.8 (108)

Jordan lake beach

  • Address: Jordan lake beach, North Carolina 27312, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.5 (78)

Jordan Lake Seaforth Beach

  • Address: Seaforth Beach Rd, Pittsboro, NC 27312, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.4 (65)

Frisco Beach

  • Address: Frisco, NC 27936, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.9 (58)

Seaforth Recreation Area

  • Address: Seaforth Beach Rd, Pittsboro, NC 27312, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.8 (18)

Ocracoke Beach

  • Address: Ocracoke, NC 27960, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 5 (6)
One of the most beautiful beaches in North Carolina
One of the most beautiful beaches in North Carolina

See also: The 3 Best Beaches In South Carolina and Where to Stay

That’s it for our list of the best beaches in North Carolina! If you have any arguments or additional information, please leave a comment. We love to hear from our readers. And don’t forget to check out some of the other posts on our blog for more travel inspiration. Happy beachcombing!

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Brishon Azura

Statenavi.com is a website that shares photos of beautiful memories from vacationers at beaches around the world, hopes to be more love beach.

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