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. Fort Fisher State Historic Site

    Military Site

    This is one of the South's largest and most important earthworks fortifications from the Civil War, so tough it was known as the Southern Gibraltar...Read More

  • 2. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

    Museum/Gallery

    Fort Raleigh is a restoration of the original 1584–90 earthworks that mark the beginning of English-colonial history in America. The site has...Read More

  • 3. North Carolina Maritime Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    An exhibit about the infamous pirate Blackbeard includes artifacts recovered from the discovery of his flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge, near...Read More

  • 4. Ocracoke Island Beaches

    Beach–Sight

    The 16 miles of undeveloped shoreline here are often considered some of the best beaches in America. These beaches are among the least populated...Read More

  • 5. Ocracoke Light Station

    Ocracoke Village | Nautical Site/Lighthouse

    This lighthouse is a photographer's dream. Built in 1823, it's the second-oldest operating lighthouse in the United States (Sandy Hook, New...Read More

  • 6. Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    This refuge, at the north end of Hatteras Island, consists of 5,834 acres of marsh on the Atlantic Flyway, plus 25,700 acres of refuge waters...Read More

  • 7. Birthplace of Pepsi-Cola

    Store/Shop/Mall

    In honor of the soda's 100th anniversary in 1998, the local bottling company opened the Birthplace in the same corner store where teacher-turned...Read More

  • 8. Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson State Historic Site

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    About 10 miles north of Southport, you can explore the ruins and excavations of a colonial town and see the Civil War earthworks of Fort Anderson...Read More

  • 9. Cape Lookout Beach

    Beach–Sight

    White sand beaches, blue-green waters, and a tall lighthouse mark this quiet beach at the southern tip of Cape Lookout National Seashore. A...Read More

  • 10. Carolina Beach

    Beach–Sight

    With ice-cream cones and paddleboats, flashing arcade lights and seashell souvenirs, Carolina Beach's old-fashioned boardwalk is steeped in...Read More

  • 11. Coquina Beach

    Beach–Sight

    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...Read More

  • 12. Jockey's Ridge State Park

    Museum/Gallery

    The 420 acres of this park encompass the tallest sand dune system on the East Coast (about 80 to 100 feet). Walk along the 384-foot boardwalk...Read More

  • 13. Lake Phelps

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    At 16,600 acres, 5 miles across, and about 4 feet deep, Lake Phelps is North Carolina's second-largest natural lake. It's also part of Pettigrew...Read More

  • 14. National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center

    Information Center

    If you've ever wondered what actually constitutes a national wildlife refuge, this is the place to find out. In a new LEED-certified facility...Read More

  • 15. New Hanover County Arboretum

    Midtown | Garden/Arboretum

    Lose yourself along magnolia-lined natural trails among dozens of varieties of shade-loving camellias on this 7-acre site, 6 miles east of downtown...Read More

  • 16. Ocracoke Pony Pen

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    From the observation platform, 6 miles southwest of the north Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry landing, you can look out at the descendants of the Banker...Read More

  • 17. Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum

    Ocracoke Village | House/Mansion/Villa

    Run by the local preservation society, the museum is located in a restored American Foursquare house built more than 100 years ago. It was moved...Read More

  • 18. Shackleford Banks

    Beach–Sight

    Wild, wooded, and undeveloped, this 7½-mile-long barrier island, the southernmost part of Cape Lookout National Seashore, is made even more...Read More

  • 19. Somerset Place

    House/Mansion/Villa

    Drive about an hour inland (or a short detour if you're arriving on U.S. Route 64 from the west) to see one of North Carolina's best-preserved...Read More

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