Nags Head is a popular North Carolina beach town on the Outer Banks, the 130-mile-long string of barrier islands. While in Nags Head, you can stroll dune-swept beaches, fish off historic Jennette’s Pier, and watch hang gliders in Jockey’s Ridge State Park.
Where to Stay: Holiday Inn Express Nags Head Oceanfront, First Colony Inn
Another popular North Carolina beach town is Duck, a casual coastal village in the Outer Banks with miles of Insta-worthy beaches, family-owned oyster bars, and a boardwalk along the Currituck Sound — the place to be for sunset! The town’s top resort is Sanderling, which was named one of the Best Resorts in the World on Conde Nast Traveler’s 2018 Reader’s Choice Awards list.
Where to Stay: Sanderling Resort
You need to take a ferry to reach car-free Bald Island, which is home to North Carolina’s oldest lighthouse and a whopping 14 miles of pristine beaches. The top strand is family-friendly South Beach, while East Beach attracts surfers and West Beach brings in sunset viewers.
Where to Stay: Marsh Harbour Inn, Robert Ruark Inn
For a truly off-the-grid beach getaway, catch the ferry to Ocracoke Island, which boasts 16 miles of undeveloped golden-sand beaches. Ocracoke is home to North Carolina’s second-oldest lighthouse, and it’s the former hideout of notorious pirate Blackbeard (take a cruise aboard the Windfall II schooner, which traces his nautical steps).
Where to Stay: Anchorage Inn & Marina, The Castle Bed and Breakfast
Wrightsville Beach is a family-friendly NC beach offering something for everyone. After a dip in the ocean, try water sports like kayaking and surfing, take a scenic harbor cruise, and dine on fried oysters and mahi-mahi tacos at seafood restaurants like Fish House Grill.
Where to Stay: Blockade Runner Beach Resort, Holiday Inn Resort Wrightsville Beach