The North Carolina Coast: Places to Explore


  • Beaufort

    There's a feeling of having stepped back in time in the small seaport with a charming boardwalk; residents take great pride in the city's restored public buildings and homes—and in their homes' histories... Read more

  • Bodie Island

    Natives pronounce it "Bah-dy" not "Bow-dy." Folklore claims the local pronunciation harks back to the days when this corner of the Graveyard of the Atlantic was known as "Bodies Island" because of all... Read more

  • Cape Lookout National Seashore

    Extending for 55 miles from Portsmouth Island to Shackleford Banks, Cape Lookout National Seashore includes 28,400 acres of uninhabited land and marsh. The remote, sandy islands are linked to the mainland... Read more

  • Hatteras Island

    The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge arches for 3 miles over Oregon Inlet and carries traffic to Hatteras Island, a 42-mile-long curved ribbon of sand jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. At its most distant point... Read more

  • Kure Beach and Carolina Beach

    A resort community on a strip of sand locals know as Pleasure Island, Kure Beach contains Fort Fisher State Historic Site and one of North Carolina's three aquariums. In some places twisted live oaks still... Read more

  • Morehead City

    The quiet commercial waterfront at Morehead City is dotted with restaurants and shops that have put new life in its old buildings. The largest town on the Crystal Coast, it hosts a state port and charter... Read more

  • Nags Head

    It's widely accepted that Nags Head got its name because pirates once tied lanterns around the necks of their horses to lure merchant ships onto the shoals hoping to wreck the vessels and profit from their... Read more

  • New Bern

    This city of 29,899 was founded in 1710 by a Swiss nobleman who named it after his home: Bern, Switzerland. Since "bern" means "bear" in German, black bears are New Bern's mascot, peering from carvings... Read more

  • Northern Beaches

    The small northern beach settlements of Corolla and Duck are largely seasonal, residential enclaves full of summer rental homes and condominiums. Drive slowly in Corolla: here freely wandering wild horses... Read more

  • Ocracoke Island

    Around 950 people live here, the last inhabited island in the Outer Banks. The island can be reached only by water or air. The village itself is in the widest part of the island, around a harbor called... Read more

  • Roanoke Island

    On a hot July day in 1587, 117 men, women, and children left their boat and set foot on Roanoke Island to form the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Three years later, when a fleet with... Read more

  • Southport

    This small town, which sits quietly at the mouth of Cape Fear River, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. An increasingly desirable retirement spot, Southport retains its village charm... Read more

  • Wilmington

    The city's long history, including its part in the American Revolution, is revealed in sights downtown and in the surrounding area. The Cotton Exchange is a complex of old mills, warehouses and cotton... Read more

  • Wrightsville Beach

    Wrightsville Beach is a small (5-mile-long), upscale, and quiet island community. Many beach houses have been in the same families for generations, but lots of striking contemporary homes are here, too... Read more