Best Beaches in North Carolina For Families


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    North Carolina is undoubtedly the most popular beach state in the United States. This is prominent because of its 300 miles-long pristine coastline. 

    Apart from the white sandy beaches, the state also has diverse wildlife, various historic sites, exciting water sports, and exquisite golf courses.  

    North Carolina has lively coastal cities, family-friendly destinations, and the best beaches in North Carolina for swimming

    North Carolina also offers stunning beachfront rental houses and conserved dunes at the sandy beaches, having a laid-back approach to life. 

    The best beaches in North Carolina for families that are worth visiting during summer vacations are discussed in the given article.


    So, If you are planning your next trip to North Carolina, remember to keep these amazing beaches on your bucket list. Let’s delve into the details!

    Does Northern Carolina have good beaches?

     Yes, NC is an amazing beach state. Moreover, North Carolina is considered the top beach destination in the United States due to its pristine coastline that stretches out for 300 miles. 

    Which beach in Northern Carolina is the best for the family?

    Wrightsville Beach is considered one of the best beaches in North Carolina for families and kids. Hence a perfect place for families to spend their day in. 

    9 Top Rated Beaches in North Carolina For Families

    North Carolina is a place worth spending your summer vacations, due to its sandy stretches.

    Besides this, the beaches offer various amenities and a considerate natural beauty that will leave a mesmerising effect on your mind and body.

    So, if you are planning a tour or moving from New York to North Carolina, consider the following 9 best beaches in NC to visit: 

    1. Emerald Isle Beach – Best Crystal Clear turquoise water

    The Emerald Isle beach is truly a hidden gem in the stunning coastal landscapes of North Carolina.


    Located at Bogue Bank Island, The crystal-clear waters of Emerald Isle Beach are excellent for relaxation and interestingly an amazing spot for fishing. 

    Emerald Isle Beach is one of the most popular family and kid-friendly beaches in North Carolina and also offers plenty of outdoor activities including jet skiing, kayaking, swimming, fishing, paddle boarding, and surfing.

    The 12-mile-long shoreline of Emerald Isle Beach offers visitors a rich beachside dining scene where they can try a variety of delicacies prepared by local chefs.

    Some of the best dining places are Surf’s Up Grill and Bar, Fish Hut Grill, and Snapperz of Emerald Isle. 

    Emerald Isle Beach also has some of amazing hotels providing accommodation to visitors at reasonable costs.

    A few of the best places to stay include Islander Hotel & Resort, Oceanview Inn, and Lighthouse Inn & Suites. 

    Is Emerald Isle a crowded beach?

    No, Emerald Isle Beach is not much crowded and is an excellent calming place away from the hustle and crowded areas. 

    Does Emerald Isle Beach have clear water?

    Yes, Emerald Isle Beach has clear water. Moreover, Emerald Beach is an amazing place to relax and enjoy an unbeatable coastal experience. 

    2. Bald Head Island- Best for serene natural Beauty 

    Bald Head Island is located near Southport. Visitors can access this place by golf cart, ferry, bicycle, cart, or foot.

    This island has about 14 miles of beautiful beaches, where you can soak yourself in the sand, look for seashells, or just surf in the sparkling waters.

    If you are a nature lover and want to enjoy a calm and tranquil beachy location, away from the hustle & bustle of city life, you must visit Bald Head Island. 

    Bald Head Island is home to various maritime forests, unspoiled beaches, and splendid salt marshes that are worth discovering.

    Not only this, but the oldest lighthouse in the state is also a centre of attraction on Bald Head Island. 

    Bald Head  Island also has rich wildlife cover and turtle nesting spots, which attracts zoophilists the most. 

    Apart from this, the island has some of the most beautiful accommodation options, such as; Marsh Harbour Inn, The Inn at Bald Head Island, and Sabal Palm Cottages. 

    You can also try some of the delicious cuisines at the Delphinia Coastal Cuisine, Sandpiper Coffee and Ice Cream, and The Shoals Club. 

    What is special about Bald Head Island?

    Bald Head Island is home to a special unique barrier island community, where people live together in the harmony of nature. Also, the place has a unique ecosystem which comprises a beachfront, maritime forest, dune ridge, and marsh. 

    Are cars allowed on Bald Head Island?

    No, Cars are strictly prohibited on Bald Head Island. Cars can cause a disturbance in the mesmerizing ecosystem spread across the island. 

    3. Ocracoke Island- Rich maritime history 

    Ocracoke Island is considered the pearl of the Outer Banks area and is also one of the hardest spots to reach in the entire Outer Banks. 


    Ocracoke Island is home to pristine white sandy beaches and is a quiet place, perfect for the ones who want to settle down in the secluded beaches in North Carolina

    Moreover, Ocracoke Island will give you a glimpse of some historical sites such as; the Ocracoke Preservation Museum and Ocracoke Island Lighthouse. 

    Ocracoke Island Beach is perfect for recreational activities such as surfing, fishing, kayaking, and sailing.

    Visitors who are eager to explore Ocracoke Island and the nearby trails can rent either a golf cart or a boat. 

    By the time the day ends, people here can enjoy the sunset along with a scrumptious meal at Jason’s Restaurant, Plum Point Kitchen, and Howard’s Pub. 

    Moreover, The best accommodation options are The Ocracoke Harbor Inn, Captain’s Landing Waterfront Inn, and Pam’s Pelican. 

    Can you swim at Ocracoke Island?

    Yes, Ocracoke Island is good for swimming. But you should be highly aware of the tides and currents constantly barging into the barrier islands. 

    Do you need a permit to drive on the beach in Ocracoke?

    Yes, you must have a permit from the National Park Service if you want to enjoy driving on Ocracoke Beach. 

    4. Topsail Island – Best Fishing opportunities

    Topsail Island is one of the best worth visiting beaches, which you must visit once you move to North Carolina.

    This is a less-crowded island that stretches over a long 26-mile of sand coast, just south of Jacksonville. 

    Topsail Island is divided into three iconic beaches, i.e., Surf City, North Topsail Beach, and Topsail Beach. 

    Topsail Island is one of the great destinations for tourists as here they can indulge themselves in the serene natural beauty with a laid-back vacationing view. 

    Not only this, but you can also enjoy watching turtles nesting and laying eggs along the coast of Topsail Beach. 

    You can elevate your beach experience in the true sense, by visiting this uncrowded, sunkissed beach. 

    You can also enjoy many water-based activities like fishing, boating, surfing, and jet skiing. 

    Topsail Island has various oceanfront and inland vacation rentals that offer you the best accommodation amenities.

    Some of these are; Tiffany’s Motel, Island Inn, and Saltwater Suites. 

    You can also enjoy some of the signature dishes at the local eateries, such as; New York Corner Deli, Shaka Taco, and Michaelangelo’s.

    This tourist spot also provides you with various shopping locations and entertainment zones. 

    Is Topsail Island crowded?

    Yes, Topsail Island remains crowded all year round. But as the weather gets cold from January to March, the beaches start to get less crowded. 

    Is Topsail Island in the Outer Banks?

    No, Topsail Island is not a part of the Outer Banks. 

    What is the difference between Topsail Beach and Topsail Island?

    There is no place by the name of Topsail Island. Instead on the coast of southeastern North Carolina, is the town of Topsail Beach, which is further subdivided into three communities. 

    5. Oak Island – Nostalgic Charm

    Oak Island is a family-friendly beach and is a perfect destination for those, looking for a nostalgic charm, with modern-day water sports. 


    By the beach, you would also find Oak Island Lighthouse, from where you can enjoy the scenic views of Bald Head Island and Caswell Beach. 

    Apart from this, the beach also offers a variety of shopping and dining options that includes; Tranquil Harbor, Swain’s Seafood, and Shagger Jacks. 

    If you are planning for an overnight stay, then you can check in any of the classic motels, hotels, and rentals in the area.

    Some of the best places here are; The Beach House, Ocean Crest Motel, and Oak Island Inn. 

    As you are aware that the cost to move to North Carolina, in terms of transportation is quite affordable.

    Thus, you can easily visit this place and enjoy the pristine beaches and the amenities that the place has to offer you. 

    Is Oak Island a crowded beach?

    No, Oak Island is not a crowded beach. 

    Is Oak Island a private beach?

    No, Oak Island is a public beach where the residents and visitors are allowed to perform any activity, until and unless it is offensive in the eyes of the law. 

    6. Wrightsville Beach- Best Atlantic ocean Shoreline

    Wrightsville Beach is a must to go place, for active beachgoers. Located close to Wilmington, this beach is a great vacation spot. 

    Wrightsville Beach has an island lifestyle, with crystal clear water, pristine, & spacious beaches, and a busy nightlife. 

    Wrightsville Beach serves as a great destination for adventure seekers as it offers various activities to its guests and tourists.

    These activities include; shopping, surfing, scuba diving, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, and dining. 

    If you are not interested in water activities, you can also relax on the sand, enjoy the golf course, and the jogging trails. 

    Wrightsville beach town of Atlantic also keeps its guests entertained through the various souvenir shops, best shopping stores, fancy beachy boutiques, and various restaurants and clubs. 

    A few of the worth-visiting restaurants are; Poe’s Tavern, Oceanic, and Bluewater Grill.

    You can also spend a night at the nearby accommodation options, such as; Holiday Inn Resort, Blockade Runner Beach Resort, and Shell Island Resort. 

    Is Wrightsville Beach a party beach?

    Yes, of course, Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina, is a party beach. This sandy shore is famous for a year-long vibrant & social life, and enthusiastic nightlife. 

    Can you swim at Wrightsville Beach?

    Yes, you can enjoy swimming at Wrightsville Beach. This is a popular community beach, where visitors and residents can enjoy various water activities

    7. Atlantic Beach – Family-friendly atmosphere

    The Atlantic Beach, located on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina is one of the best family beaches in the state.


    Located just 12 miles away from Emerald Island, this beach is nestled between the Bogue and Atlantic Sounds. 

    The various amenities offered to the visitors here will make you fall in love with the Atlantic beach. You can take a pristine walk with your family or build sandcastles with kids. 

    Moreover, Atlantic Beach is a great place that offers activities to serve the needs of people with varied interests.

    The Atlantic Beach is also a popular nesting place for turtles. As every year, from May to October, they lay their eggs on the beach. 

    You can go for a chartered fishing trip or enjoy water activities such as; swimming, scuba diving, and surfing.

    You can also catch up on the various events by the beach while gazing at the panoramic sunset view. 

    Nearby the Atlantic beach, there are various dining options that serve its customers from fine seafood to classic American dinners.

    Some of the best places to enjoy lip-smacking delicacies by the beach are; Shark Shack, Table 9, and Roma Pizza and Subs. 

    After a tiring and fun-filled day by the beach, you can spend your nights at; Caribbe Inn, Pam Suites, and Island Inn. 

    Is Atlantic Beach NC in the Outer Banks?

    Yes, Atlantic Beach is located on the Southern Outer Banks.  Atlantic Beach is a part of the chain of the barrier island and is located at the Bogue Banks. 

    Can you swim at Atlantic Beach NC?

    Yes, you can swim at Atlantic Beach. The Atlantic Beach has a beautiful sandy shore along with the oceanfront. Thus, this proves to be one of the best beaches in North Carolina for swimming

    8. Duck NC – Best for recreational activities

    Duck Beach is located on the northern stretch of North Carolina’s barrier island. This is a mesmerizing secluded beach in North Carolina with a relatively small area.

    The Beach offers something to people of all sorts coming here. Thus, it proves to be a perfect vacation spot. 

    Duck, NC is a lovely beach location, bordering Atlantic and Currituck Sound, which makes it a perfect water sports location. 

    Besides this, Duck beach also offers stunning beach rental options, shopping complexes, fine dining restaurants, outdoor theatres, and a lot more. 

    Some of the best places to grab a bite near Duck beach are; Duck Donuts, The Blue Point, and AQUA Restaurant. 

    You can also enjoy various events held in the city all year round. Such as; the Duck Yuletide Celebration, the Duck Jazz Festival, and much more. 

    Some of the best places to stay near the Duck are; Sanderling Resort, Surf Side Hotel, and Hampton Inn and Suites. 

    Is Duck NC part of the Outer Banks?

    Yes, Duck is the northernmost town located on the Outer Banks. It got its name due to the popularity of duck hunting in the Albemarle and Currituck Sounds. 

    Where is Duck NC on the Outer Banks?

    The Duck Town is located in the north of the Outer Banks and is part of Dare County. It is bordered by Corolla in the North and Southern Shores in the South. 

    9. Kure Beach – Peaceful Coastal Atmosphere

    Kure Beach is one of the best beaches in North Carolina for families, as it serves as a perfect relaxing spot. Situated at about a 30 minutes drive from the south of Wilmington. 


    Kure Beach is a small seaside retreat that offers various natural wonders and local attractions on the sunny shore. 

    Kure Beach is a laid-back coastal beach offering  fishing opportunities on the Atlantic Ocean, surfing at the waves, paddleboarding, or kayaking in clear waters. 

    You can enjoy building sandcastles, and disc golf, and can also learn about the historic stories of Fort Fisher State Historic Site. 

    Apart from this, you can also visit the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, which is home to otters, gators, turtles, and other aquatic animals. 

    If you plan to stay overnight at the beach, then you could find various nearby lodging options including vintage motels, beach cottages, and side street-ins. 

    A few of the best hotels are; The Lighthouse, The Sand Dunes Motel, and LaPolena. 

    You can also eat scrumptious food near the beach at some of the most popular places, such as; Freddie’s Restaurant, Beach House Burgers, and Jack Mackerel’s Island Grill. 

    Does Kure Beach have a boardwalk?

    Yes, Kure Beach does have a Boardwalk, and it is quite ironic.

    Is Kure Beach the same as Carolina Beach?

    No, they are not the same. But they share the same island. Each of these beaches has its distinct personality. But the visitors are in luck, as they can visit both beaches together due to their close proximity.  

    Best beaches in North Carolina FAQs

    Are there any warm beaches in Northern Carolina?

    Yes, the beaches located on the south of the coastline can become considerably warm during the off-peak season. These beaches include; Sunset Beach, Kure Beach, Caswell Beach, and Ocean Isle Beach. 

    Can you swim on North Carolina beaches?

    Yes, you can swim on the scenic beaches of North Carolina. Some of the best beaches for swimming in North Carolina are; Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Emerald Isle, Bald Head Island, and Wrightsville Beach. 

    What is the cleanest beach in Carolina?

    The beach of Emerald Isle is the cleanest in the state with crystal clear waters and a serene & mesmerizing surrounding environment. 


    North Carolina’s family-friendly beaches provide a long-lasting experience to visitors.

    The Beaches in North Carolina is an amazing place to spend vacations for families and kids.

    These beaches offer all the basic amenities from the luxury waterfront hotels to the delicious foods, everything is just worth experiencing. 

    We hope the above article helped in choosing your next destination to spend a relaxing vacation and a happy family time. 

    If you are planning to become a permanent resident of North Carolina, you must check the average cost of living in Raleigh, NC.

    Thus, keep every detail in mind about the beaches, and plan your itinerary to any of the dreamy beaches mentioned above today.