Beautiful beaches can be found in North Carolina. Since the 1930s, North Carolina beaches have been a top destination for families. You could visit the Outer Banks, Wrightsville Beach, or even Topsail Beach. Rental cottages and beach houses are popular on the coast as people go to escape the heat, enjoy the ocean breezes, swim in the Atlantic waters, and have a good time with friends and family.

Warm weather is here and so is beach vacation time! This year, make sure you head to your favorite beaches to enjoy some fun in the sun. Whether you want to catch a tan, take a nap, or swim in the ocean North Carolina has some great beach options just for you. From a family-friendly getaway to a nice baecation, you won’t have to travel far for the perfect vacation destination.

U.S. News put together a list of the best beaches in North Carolina to help you plan your next getaway. They considered scenic views, nearby amenities, and the opinions of travel experts to compose the list. Have you been to each of these destinations? If not, check out these North Carolina beaches and start planning your next vacation.

  • 14. Kure Beach

    Kure Beach, NC | Events, Outdoor Adventures & Special Deals

    Experience natural wonders and outdoor activities on the beach and beyond the sand. Take a break from your deadlines to see why life's a little less hectic at Kure Beach. Located just 18 miles from Wilmington, here you'll find the kind of small-town beach you visited as a kid.

  • 13. Kitty Hawk

    Things to Do in Kitty Hawk, NC | Find Hotels & Restaurants

    Of all the beach towns on the Northern Outer Banks, Kitty Hawk may have the most-lovely name but it's one whose roots are lost to time. Some say it's the Anglicization of the native word , for which we have no translation.

  • 12. Carolina Beach

    Carolina Beach, NC | Fun, Festivals, Fishing & The Beach

    With outdoor adventures, island tiki bars and more, coastal fun beckons all season long. Trade your ordinary beach vacation for an extraordinary one! Find your laid-back beach vibe at Carolina Beach, one of the most down-to-earth, good-time beaches on the Atlantic Coast located just 15 miles from Wilmington.

  • 11. Nags Head

    Nags Head, NC -

    Nor'Banks Sailing & Watersports beautiful location and top-of-the-line equipment, together with a friendly and professional staff make it one of the premier water sports centers on the Outer Banks. Nor'Banks' sound front location has a huge grassy lawn, restrooms, showers, a 200 foot pier and plenty of room for you to spend the day.

  • 10. Duck

    Duck, NC | Restaurants, Hotels & Outdoor Recreation

    Duck, the northernmost town on the Outer Banks, earned its name at the turn of the 20 th century thanks to the popularity of duck hunting in the Currituck and Albemarle Sounds.

  • 9. Atlantic Beach

    The Atlantic Beach Official Website! | Official Website

    The City of Atlantic Beach, City of Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach Police Department, and Neptune Beach Police Department are paying homage to this fallen officer, a historical figure in the Beaches community. Paul M. Patrick was Town Marshal Read on...

  • 8. Wrightsville Beach

    Wrightsville Beach, NC | Events, Fishing & Activities

    Enjoy scenic beauty on water tours, relax in coastal gardens or get active with wellness adventures. From active lifestyles with plenty of watersports and outdoor healthy and wellness activities to friendly community gatherings, there's never a shortage of something happening year-round in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina's most accessible beach located just 8.5 miles from Wilmington.

  • 7. Oak Island

    Oak Island, NC

    Situated on the southern end of North Carolina's picturesque coastline, the Town of Oak Island encompasses nearly 20 square miles; offering 10 miles of pristine beachfront, along the 12 mile-long island from which the Town derives its name.

  • 6. Topsail Island

    History of Topsail Beach

    Situated at the southern end of Topsail Island, off the coast of southeastern North Carolina, the Town of Topsail Beach is the smallest of the three communities located on the 26-mile long island. North Topsail Beach occupies the northernmost section, and Surf City, the largest town on the island, is in the center.

  • 5. Ocracoke Island

    Ocracoke Island Photo Tours and Travel Information

    The Ocracoke Harbor is easily the busiest quarter mile stretch of Ocracoke Island. Consisting of a small, lagoon-like section of saltwater, and lined by a semi-circle of docks, restaurants, shops, marinas and motels, visitors will find that any and all of the activities on Ocracoke Island can most certainly be found harbor front.

  • 4. Corolla/Currituck Beach

    Outer Banks Beaches | Corolla, Currituck County Beach Access

    Overlooking the vast expanse that is the Atlantic Ocean, you'll find Currituck's northern Outer Banks beaches of Corolla and Carova - more than 20 miles of windswept remote seascapes where you can enjoy strolling along our unspoiled shoreline, shelling or simply relaxing in the sun with a good book.

  • 3. Cape Hatteras

    Cape Hatteras National Seashore (U.S. National Park Service)

    The sound of ocean waves, the starry night sky, or the calm of the salt marshes, you can experience it all. Shaped by the forces of water, wind, and storms these islands are ever changing. The plants, wildlife, and people who live here adapt continually.

  • 2. Bald Head Island

    Bald Head Island NC

    On February 25, 2022, Bald Head Island Transportation, Inc. (BHIT) provided initial public notification as required by law of a change in checked-baggage policies ordered by the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC). The NCUC order becomes effective April 1, 2022.

  • 1. Emerald Isle

    Emerald Isle, NC | Bogue Inlet & Emerald Isle Beach

    Emerald Isle greets Crystal Coast visitors at the western end of Bogue Banks, offering 12 miles of pristine shoreline and incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean and Bogue Inlet.