Travel to NC Beaches
July 28, 2004 10:38 AM   Subscribe

I have two days and two nights to spend on the beach along the N.C. coast. The optimal place would be no more than 2.5 hours from Raleigh. Not remote and not like Myrtle Beach. What city/beach would you choose? Any suggestions much appreciated.
posted by repoman to Travel & Transportation around North Carolina (16 answers total)
Emerald Isle/Morehead City? Sleepy, unassuming beach towns for the most part.
posted by dhoyt at 10:42 AM on July 28, 2004

Went to Wrightsville Beach last weekend, just outside Willmington... nice place.
posted by mhaw at 10:55 AM on July 28, 2004

I spent all my summers on the Outer Banks when I was a kid working and surfing. Here is what I would recommend, but I am biased)

Cape Hatteras - A little out of the way to get to, but the greatest surf break on the east coast. Also a National Seashore, clean and still not too over run with people.

Ocracoke - you have to take a ferry to get to ocracoke, the main industry is small fishing boat building, and the long time locals on the island speak their own wierd dialect.
posted by trbrts at 10:56 AM on July 28, 2004

Wrightsville Beach is nice and not at all like Myrtle Beach.

Southport... about 45 mins south of Wilmington if I remember correctly... is a neat, nice, and quiet little town.

Wilmington itself is actually a nice place to. Good shopping and drinking downtown.
posted by auzten at 11:04 AM on July 28, 2004

Here is some further information about the Ocracoke Dialect and some photos.
posted by trbrts at 11:06 AM on July 28, 2004

i add my vote for wrightsville. wrightsville is good. the town is crap, but the beaches have never been very crowded when i've been there; the water is a good temperature and the ghost crabs really fun to chase at night. we always see dolphins, too.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:12 AM on July 28, 2004

I've been to Wrightsville twice, and it is very nice. The water is actually too warm for my tastes (I'm a northern gal) but it's clear, the beaches are clean and wide, and as suggested above, there is lots of ocean wildlife (we saw porpoises, dolphins, and others). And it was only about 2 hours from Raleigh, if I remember correctly.

There's also some decent restaurants and other amenities nearby, although we were vacationing with my rarely-seen cousins so we spent most of our time hanging out together, not sight-seeing. We did go to Myrtle Beach for one day, and you are very right to stay away from that nightmare.
posted by livii at 11:16 AM on July 28, 2004

Emerald Isle is nice, Wrightsville Beach is good too.

Around Wilmington can be good as well, and New Bern is a charming little town.

Hammocks Beach State Park is great. Primitive camping and you have to take a ferry, but it's worth it.

And I've enjoyed the northern Outer Banks, up Route 12, between Duck and Corolla.
posted by Vidiot at 11:18 AM on July 28, 2004

I've heard good things about Carolina Beach State Park, too, but I haven't been there.
posted by Vidiot at 11:20 AM on July 28, 2004

Topsail Beach!
posted by corpse at 12:26 PM on July 28, 2004

Carolina and Kure beaches are much nicer than Wrightsville IMHO. Not nearly as commercialized or traffic laden, and still close enough to Wilmington (which is about 20-30 mins North of Kure & Carolina beaches) to enjoy its riverfront. There is also an aquarium and state park area at Ft. Fisher. Wilmington is about 2 hours from Raleigh, BTW.
posted by yoga at 3:10 PM on July 28, 2004

The Wilmington area gets my vote. And Oak Island is just a ferryride away.
posted by konolia at 5:50 PM on July 28, 2004

I live in Wilmington and second the recommendation for Carolina/Kure Beaches over Wrightsville -- Carolina Beach (the town) is a bit poorer but the beaches themselves are less crowded, and there's a great dive bar there called the Fat Pelican. Wrightsville is cleaner but disgustingly touristy, developed, and commercial for my taste.

Southport is gorgeous, no beaches though -- it's more of a fishing village than a beach town. Downtown Wilmington is worth stopping by also.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 5:57 PM on July 28, 2004

Holden Beach, NC. It's small, peaceful and just beautiful. We spent multiple vacations there when I was growing up.
posted by SuzySmith at 7:36 PM on July 28, 2004

I'd say Ocracoke, but that probably qualifies as "remote."

Another nice thing about Wilmington is the USS North Carolina, a WW2 battleship converted into a museum to itself. Very well done.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:41 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]

Hey Ishmael I'll ping you my next trip down - I'll have to see how the Fat Pelican measures up to Front Street Oyster Bar. ;) The partner and I killed many hours and beers one afternoon there a couple weeks ago. Not to mention 1 1/2 pounds of crab legs, and half a dozen oysters. :D
posted by yoga at 6:28 AM on July 29, 2004

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