Best NC beach?

Old Jun 12th, 2002, 01:40 PM
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Best NC beach?

A friend and I (we’re twentysomethings) are driving from Charleston, SC to DC and want to stop along the way at a NC beach community for a few days. We're looking for a quaint, historic town with outdoor activities, a few good restaurants and some shopping. I've read about Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, Cape Hatteras, Atlantic Beach, Kule Beach and Bald Head and Okracoke islands... Any advice? Also, I've seen a lot of negative feedback about the Outer Banks. I would appreciate any thoughts. Thanks!
Old Jun 12th, 2002, 02:28 PM
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What negative feedback have you heard about the Outer Banks? Just curious.

Kitty Hawk and Nags Head are more touristy. If you go to the Outer Banks, stay on Hatteras Island or Ocracoke. There are several communities on Hatteras Island. Your best bet might be to stay in Buxton or Hatteras Village. Ocracoke makes for a nice day trip. In Hatteras Village, there are several restaurants, a marina, you're close to one of the lighthouses. It is beautiful on the beach, not very crowded.
Let me know where you decide to go, or if you have any more questions.
Old Jun 15th, 2002, 04:15 PM
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Hi there --

I'd skip Ocracoke and Hatteras if I were you. Altho I do enjoy spending time in Hatteras, it's more a remote-type setting for a weeklong stay, not a stopping off place. You have to take a ferry to Ocracoke from Hatteras -- and Cape Hatteras itself is at least 2-3 hours from the main Outer Banks towns of Nags Head/Kitty Hawk.

In other words, you will have to travel several hours south on the Banks to get there and then retrace your route to get back to the Nags Head highway leading to points north.

A better choice on the Outer Banks, IMHO, if you're looking for a quaint, historic town would be Manteo. It is a harbor town with nice shops, a small artistic community, B&Bs, and good restaurants. It's about a 20-30 minute drive to the beach from Manteo. There are also historic sites in the area to visit -- Elizabethan Gardens, etc. It's also not too far off the main highways leading up to DC.

If you prefer to stay nearer the beach, I would consider staying at one of the northern beaches of the Outer Banks -- Duck would be a good option if you're headed for D.C. Great restaurants and shops here, too. Corolla is more remote, but perhaps a possibility as well. If staying overnight in Duck, you could perhaps drive to Corolla for scenery, historic sites, like the Corolla Lighthouse, etc.

I agree with above poster to stay away from Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, and I will add to that, Atlantic Beach.

I've never been to Bald Head Island but have heard great things about it....very nice and very exclusive. Wilmington is a nice town as well with historic sites, etc., and is pretty close, I believe, to Bald Head Island.

I don't know anything about Kule Beach??

Hope that helps some. (I'm native North Carolinian transplanted to D.C., so I thought my insight might help some!)
Old Jun 15th, 2002, 07:53 PM
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I have to also agree about Nags Head and Kitty Hawk.....not enjoyable. However, I stayed in Corolla for a week last year and loved it. It's the most northern of towns on the Outerbanks, but the drive to get there is beautiful, and oh, some of the most beautiful & unbelievable homes you will see along the way. The beach was very nice and uncrowded. Lot's of quaint little shops too. Duck is also a good choice.
Old Jun 19th, 2002, 06:49 PM
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We just spent a week in Avon which is on Hatteras Island. It only took us 45 minutes to get there from Nags Head. Admittedly, this was second week in June and probably before the beach is really crowded. I really liked the beaches at Avon. Very quiet - we were at least 100 ft from nearest person. However water was quite cool and the waves were strong. I have been to Myrtle, Emerald Isle, Edisto, Ocean Isle and Kiawah, and the waves and undertow at Avon were by far the strongest of any of the others. I would not have felt comfortable allowing older children in the water without an adult right there. We were just several miles north of the lighthouse. I enjoyed the visitors center (lots of history) there as well as watching the surfers. Really liked watching all the windsurfers and kite surfers on the sound side. I learned a lot about the history of Hatteras and Ocracoke by reading the tourist publications and newspapers available everywhere.

We went to Ocracoke one day and spent some time in Hatteras Village. There are several very nice artsy shops between Avon and Hatteras Village and of course in Ocracoke.

It did bother me to see all the huge homes (some with private pools) going up in Avon and Hatteras. I hadn't been to this area in over eight years and I was dismayed to see all the construction- I think it will lose some of its character and charm. But the good thing is there are definitely limitations on development due to so much of the area's designation as National Seashore.

To get back to Britt's question, I would suggest one of the beaches near Wilmington. I think Southport (south of Wilmington) is a charming town with a very nice art gallery and shops. It is the departure point for Bald Head Island. I also liked going to Beaufort when we stayed at Emerald Isle. When we were at Emerald Isle we took a boat over to Hammock State Park which is completely undeveloped beach - beautiful.

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