Fodor's Expert Review Coquina Beach
In the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, but just a few miles south of Nags Head off North Carolina Highway 12, at mile marker 26, Coquina is considered by locals to be one of the loveliest beaches in the Outer Banks. The wide-beam ribs of the shipwreck Laura Barnes rest in the dunes here. Driven onto the Outer Banks by a nor'easter in 1921, she ran aground north of this location; the entire crew survived. The wreck was moved to Coquina Beach in 1973 and displayed behind ropes, but subsequent hurricanes have scattered the remains and covered them with sand, making it difficult, if not impossible, to discern. Amenities: lifeguards (late May–early September); parking (no fee); showers; toilets. Best for: sunrise; swimming.