Planning Your Time
The North Carolina coast is a string of beach and inland towns, each with its own character. Pick one and plan day trips from there. Boisterous Nags Head and sophisticated Wilmington provide dining, shopping, and nightlife, but they are only short drives from lovely gardens, quiet beaches, dense woodlands, and historic landmarks. Front-porch-friendly Beaufort is a brief, private ferry ride away from barrier islands where wild horses roam. Southport is a living backdrop for movie filming. Just an hour inland are New Bern's charming downtown and historic Tryon Palace and gardens, and nearby Edenton’s outstanding collection of colonial structures. In summer, secondary roads and some major highways are lined by fresh-seafood vendors and colorful produce stands.