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 Raleigh National Historic Site

    Historic District/Site

    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

  • 2. Portsmouth Village

    Portsmouth Island | Ghost Town

    This coastal "ghost town" is like nowhere else on the southeastern Atlantic coast, and the few thousand people that make it here each year are...Read More

  • 3. Airlie Gardens

    Midtown | Garden

    This garden's 67 lush acres feature azaleas, magnolias, and camellias that flourish near two freshwater lakes that attract waterfowl. This is...Read More

  • 4. Cape Lookout Beach


    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

  • 5. Elizabethan Gardens


    These lush gardens are a 10-acre re-creation of 16th-century English gardens, established as an elaborate memorial to the first English colonists...Read More

  • 6. Island Farm


    Outer Banks Conservationists operates this demonstration farm that lets visitors experience 19th-century life on the island. Reenactors in period...Read More

  • 7. Lake Phelps

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    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

  • 8. National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    In a new LEED-certified facility run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, you'll find lifelike dioramas and fun interactive exhibits, including...Read More

  • 9. New Hanover County Arboretum

    Midtown | Garden

    Lose yourself along magnolia-lined natural trails that wind through rose beds and dozens of varieties of shade-loving camellias on this 7-acre...Read More

  • 10. North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher


    This small but beautiful oceanfront aquarium features a 235,000-gallon saltwater tank that's home to sharks, stingrays, and a Goliath grouper...Read More

  • 11. North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island


    Occupying 68,000 square feet of space overlooking Croatan Sound, this modern aquarium includes exhibits on sea turtles, shipwreck marine life...Read More

  • 12. Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    Heading south from Nags Head, Pea Island's miles of undeveloped coastline kick off one of the East Coast's most scenic drives. The refuge consists...Read More

  • 13. Shackleford Banks


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

  • 14. Springer's Point Preserve

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    This quarter-mile trail through a 124-acre preserve leads to Springer's Point, a sound-side beach where Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard) gathered...Read More

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