Coastal North Carolina

All Raleighites pride themselves on their choice of living in the Triangle in part because this area is equidistant to the mountains and the coast.

While K spent the first few years of our life in the Triangle in mourning because Virginia’s mountain’s weren’t visible from our kitchen window, we began to celebrate our location by visiting the NC coast and relishing its natural beauty during short stays each year.

In 2005, we took a tour from the top of the state’s coastline in Currituck down to the Crystal Coast–A lighthouse tour for K’s 27th birthday.

First, we made a pitstop in Edenton–where the Ablemarle Sound meets historic homes situated in the town’s waterfront district. As a town that makes all the lists of the state’s most romantic and quaint, we were suprised to see that it is quite small. But, it does live up to its reputation.

We stayed on Roanoke Island in a small inn where the owners also ran a dog kennel (bizarre! they don’t tell you those types of things in the listings…) on site. We befriended a small tabby kitten at the inn and considered rescuing it..then promptly reconsidered. We’re not cat folks.


From Roanoke Island, we headed north through Nags Head, to Kitty Hawk where we enjoyed a bit of wine seaside. Then, on to Duck and finally to Currituck where we witnessed sunset alongside the state’s northernmost lighthouse. A beautiful site for a gorgeous summer day. And enjoyed watching as children played along Currituck’s docks, catching small crabs and eating picnic dinners with their families.


The next morning, we awoke and drove south to Bodie and Hatteras Lighthouses. And we then caught the ferry to Ocracoke Island to live a day of old-time simple pleasures. Beaches with more gulls and ponies than people. And a root beer float to close the day as we caught a ferry to Cedar Island.


On our last day, we enjoyed one of our state’s most picturesque and pristine beaches–all alongside the Cape Lookout lighthouse. As families roamed the beaches in search of untouched conch shells, we enjoyed seeing crabs crawl along the shore all while gentle surf tickled the soft white sands.To get there (a favorite–comes with one of our highest recommendations), take a private motorboat from the mainland. Make sure to pack enough sunscreen, food and water for your day’s stay. The island does have bath houses, but little shelter for storms. Boardwalks will take you to the lighthouse and to the island’s best beaches.

On a separate trip in the fall of 2006 to the southern-most county in the state (Brunswick) we had an opportunity to see NC’s other two major lighthouses: Oak Island and Old Baldy.

And while two beaches (Atlantic and Wrightsville) have been favorites due to their proximity to the Triangle, we’ve now added Sunset beach, Ocean Isle and Bald Head Island to our list. Why? First, because when you visit, you own your space and aren’t cramped by the crowds that sometimes grace other beaches. And also because these they’re pristine and the people are friendly.

If you’re ever in the need for a beach holiday respite in NC, we highly recommend:

  • For small town charm and secluded beach appeal, choose Morehead: Stay in or around Morehead and commute out to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse and surrounding beaches by day.
  • For beautiful water and proximity to nighlife, choose Wrightsville beach: While its convenient location often attracts crowds, the crystal clear water and characteristically Southern charm more than make up for the trade. Highly recommended as a day trip from the Triangle
  • For a week-long family getaway, choose Ocean Isle: There are just enough people to support stores and markets, but the limits on local development have kept the beach healthy and natural. It’s the perfect canvas for happy times.

See photos from G&K’s travels along the NC Coast…

This entry was posted in Adventure Travel, North Carolina, United States and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.