The North Carolina Coast

We’ve compiled the best of the best in The North Carolina Coast - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Buxton Village Books

    This independent bookstore in an old cottage on North Carolina Highway 12 has been a fixture for decades and hosts local book launches and readings....

    This independent bookstore in an old cottage on North Carolina Highway 12 has been a fixture for decades and hosts local book launches and readings. The knowledgeable owner stocks a large selection of regional books, as well as used and new books in all genres, plus greeting cards and gifts. The bookshop is open year-round but only three days a week in winter.

    47918 NC 12, Buxton, North Carolina, 27920, USA
    252-995–4240
  • 2. Surf, Wind and Fire

    This fun outfitter sells clothing designed for the outdoors, from brands like Patagonia and Free Fly, plus outdoor gear and attractive New Bern souvenirs. The...

    This fun outfitter sells clothing designed for the outdoors, from brands like Patagonia and Free Fly, plus outdoor gear and attractive New Bern souvenirs. The in-store Surfing Pig taproom includes sidewalk seating and stocks local craft beers.

    230 Middle St., New Bern, North Carolina, 28560, USA
    252-288--5823
  • 3. Books to be Red

    Ocracoke Village

    In an 1898 cottage, this independent book store features a large children's selection, the latest novels and nonfiction, and everything ever published related to Ocracoke....

    In an 1898 cottage, this independent book store features a large children's selection, the latest novels and nonfiction, and everything ever published related to Ocracoke. A section of the building serves as a gift shop and local pottery gallery.

    34 School Rd., Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, 27960, USA
    252-928--3936
  • 4. Carolina Creations

    Fine American crafts and fine art represented by regional and national artists of every genre are the focus at this art gallery and gift shop....

    Fine American crafts and fine art represented by regional and national artists of every genre are the focus at this art gallery and gift shop. You can find blown glass, pottery, jewelry, wood carvings, and all manner of paintings and prints.

    317 Pollock St., New Bern, North Carolina, 28560, USA
    252-633–4369
  • 5. Cotton Exchange

    Downtown

    Once the headquarters for the largest cotton exporter in the world, this historic warehouse complex now comprises a dense concentration of locally owned boutiques and...

    Once the headquarters for the largest cotton exporter in the world, this historic warehouse complex now comprises a dense concentration of locally owned boutiques and restaurants—nearly 30 of them—in a rambling maze of courtyards and hallways. Clothing and footwear, arts and crafts, gourmet food supplies, books, and comics are all here. While you're here, check out the Wilmington Walk of Fame honoring local celebrities like David Brinkley, Michael Jordan, Charlie Daniels, Roman Gabriel, and nearly a dozen more.

    321 N. Front St., Wilmington, North Carolina, 28401, USA
    910-343–9896

    Shop Details

    Rate Includes: Mon.–Sat. 10–5:30, Sun. noon–4
  • Recommended Fodor’s Video

  • 6. Downtown Books

    With strong local support, this enduring mainstay has survived hurricane flooding to stock an admirable collection of literature on the Outer Banks, cuisine, history, nature,...

    With strong local support, this enduring mainstay has survived hurricane flooding to stock an admirable collection of literature on the Outer Banks, cuisine, history, nature, lighthouses, shipwrecks, and folklore, as well as related fiction. Local author readings are frequent.

    103 Sir Walter Raleigh St., Manteo, North Carolina, 27594, USA
    252-473–1056
  • 7. Gallery Row

    A two-block side street off the beachfront S. Virginia Dare Trail road, now known officially as Gallery Row, is home to several local artist studios...

    A two-block side street off the beachfront S. Virginia Dare Trail road, now known officially as Gallery Row, is home to several local artist studios and retail displays, including the Glenn Eure Ghost Fleet Gallery and the Seagreen Gallery, where works are created from driftwood, buoys, and other reclaimed maritime items. There's plenty of parking on this quiet residential street, meaning you can easily walk from gallery to gallery.

    Nags Head, North Carolina, 27959, USA
  • 8. Moonraker Tea Shop

    Ocracoke Village

    Hundreds of loose-tea varietals line the walls of this quaint shop devoted to wellness. Pick up a bag of the local yaupon holly tea, sample...

    Hundreds of loose-tea varietals line the walls of this quaint shop devoted to wellness. Pick up a bag of the local yaupon holly tea, sample the day's tea special, and treat yourself to a magic color-changing lemonade (sparkles are 25 cents extra).

    587 Irvin Garrish Hwy., Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, 27960, USA
    252-928--0443
  • 9. Old Books on Front Street

    Downtown

    If you're intoxicated by the smell of well-worn books, you'll be addicted as soon as you step inside this store. Among its thousands of treasures...

    If you're intoxicated by the smell of well-worn books, you'll be addicted as soon as you step inside this store. Among its thousands of treasures are rare paperbacks, gently used cookbooks, and recent novels. Grab a coffee or a local beer from the small bar while you peruse the largest collection of African American literature in town and a huge selection of Judaica, plus theater books and movie and film scripts. The shop hosts events, such as a book club and literary walks.

    249 N. Front St., Wilmington, North Carolina, 28401, USA
    910-762–6657

    Shop Details

    Rate Includes: Mon.–Sat. 10–6, Sun. noon–6 (closing times variable)
  • 10. Outer Banks Distilling

    Tour the production room and take home a bottle of Kill Devil Rum from this small-batch distillery, where the Wheel House Lounge bar doubles as...

    Tour the production room and take home a bottle of Kill Devil Rum from this small-batch distillery, where the Wheel House Lounge bar doubles as a popular hangout for locals sipping sweet rum cocktails.

    510 Budleigh St., Manteo, North Carolina, 27954, USA
    252-423--3011
  • 11. Bear Essentials

    Closed Permanently

    This shop specializes in earth-friendly products ranging from cosmetics and lotions to 100% organic cotton baby clothes and women's wear made from bamboo fiber. It...

    This shop specializes in earth-friendly products ranging from cosmetics and lotions to 100% organic cotton baby clothes and women's wear made from bamboo fiber. It also sells inspirational toys and clothes for children, jewelry, candles, and giftware.

    309 Middle St., New Bern, North Carolina, 28560, USA
    252-637–6663

    Shop Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun.
  • 12. City News Cards & Book Store

    Closed Permanently

    Part bookstore, part newsstand, this no-frills shop in the heart of downtown is the place to peruse major newspapers, hundreds of magazines, and all kinds...

    Part bookstore, part newsstand, this no-frills shop in the heart of downtown is the place to peruse major newspapers, hundreds of magazines, and all kinds of books.

    514 Arendell St., Morehead City, North Carolina, 28557, USA
    252-726–6320
  • 13. Fine Art @ Baxter's Gallery

    Closed Permanently

    This art gallery, located in a former jewelry store with beautiful oak cabinets and black-and-white tile floor, features work by regionally and nationally known artists...

    This art gallery, located in a former jewelry store with beautiful oak cabinets and black-and-white tile floor, features work by regionally and nationally known artists and craftspeople. Among the work are oil and watercolor paintings, sculpture, functional and decorative pottery, glasswork, and jewelry.

    323 Pollack St., New Bern, North Carolina, 28560, USA
    252-671–2724

    Shop Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun.
  • 14. Fraser's Wine & Cheese Gourmet Shoppe

    Closed Permanently

    This specialty gourmet shop showcases international selections of wine and beer, as well as imported chocolates and cheeses and entertainment gift ideas....

    This specialty gourmet shop showcases international selections of wine and beer, as well as imported chocolates and cheeses and entertainment gift ideas.

    210 Middle St., New Bern, North Carolina, 28560, USA
    252-634–2580
  • 15. Morales Art Gallery

    Closed Permanently

    Since 1975 Gallery Row has been a small cluster of art-related businesses that sell everything from beach crafts to original seascapes to diamond earrings. Morales...

    Since 1975 Gallery Row has been a small cluster of art-related businesses that sell everything from beach crafts to original seascapes to diamond earrings. Morales Art Gallery is the fine-arts store that started it all. Most of the gallery owners live on-site.

    207 E. Gallery Row, Nags Head, North Carolina, 27959, USA
    252-441–6484

    Shop Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun.
  • 16. Styron's General Store

    Closed Permanently

    In 1920 Albert Styron set up Styron's General Store in Ocracoke; three generations later, the store is a place to pick up not dry goods...

    In 1920 Albert Styron set up Styron's General Store in Ocracoke; three generations later, the store is a place to pick up not dry goods and fishing equipment but souvenirs and gifts. Still, the building is interesting to see in that it is one of the island's oldest structures. An old red Coca-Cola cooler today holds Nehi, Cheerwine, and Sun-Drop sodas and serves as a candy stand.

    300 Lighthouse Rd., Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, 27960, USA
    252-928–2609

    Shop Details

    Rate Includes: Closed at times offseason -- check locally for hours and dates

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