The Carolina Coast: Family Vacation Destinations

The North Carolina coast has so much to offer for families on top of being completely relaxing. We try to pick a week each year to spend at a North Carolina beach and enjoy some uninterrupted family time. In my mind I wanted to pick the perfect beach to go to year after year. A place that we could call our spot. But we have seriously gone to a different beach almost every year and I kind of like it. There are so many to choose from, why settle with one.

Here is a list of my favorites and why I love them. Maybe you can settle down in one area, or beach hop like we do.

Photograph by Sara Anne Photography
  • Ocean Isle/Calabash/Sunset Beach/ Holden Beach- This may be my favorite area! There is a ton to do and the beaches are low key and relaxing. You are close to Myrtle Beach if you want more to choose from, but I prefer to stay in the calmer area. With plenty of restaurants, beautiful coast lines and fun activities, it is one area that keeps us coming back.

Top Picks:

  1. Enjoy the water at Ocean Isle Beach
  2. Museum of Coastal Carolina Turtle Talks- Monday and Tuesday
  3. OIB Concerts and Movie Nights (Friday and Wednesday)
  4. Ocean Isle Beach Yoga
  5. OIB Farmers Market- Tuesday Morning
  6. OIB Ghost Walk
  7. Sharky’s Waterfront Restaurant
  8. Inlet View Bar and Grill
  9. Drift Coffee & Kitchen
  10. Bagel Dock Cafe
  11. Provisions Company
  12. Silver Coast Winery
  13. Jinks Creek Waterfront Grill
  14. Sunset Beach Swing Bridge Museum
  15. Swamp Park
  16. Kindred Spirit Mailbox
Calabash Waterfront
Outdoor Concert
Dinner at Provisions Company
Holden Beach
  • Oak Island/Southport/Bald Head Island- If you love lighthouses and history, this might be the area for you. With two lighthouses and a historical downtown, this beach vacation can be relaxing and educational. Rent a house in Oak Island and enjoy the beach, then drive over to Southport and catch a ferry to Bald Head.

Top Picks-

  1. Soak in the Sun at Oak Island
  2. Oak Island Lighthouse
  3. Ferry to Bald Head Island and explore on Bike
  4. Old Baldy Lighthouse
  5. Southport Fun Tour
  6. Fishing at the Pier
  7. Turtle Island Restaurant, Oak Island
  8. The Pepperoni Grill, Oak Island
  9. Flavas Ice Cream, Southport
  10. Fishy Fishy Cafe, Southport
  11. Mojo’s on the Harbor, Bald Head Island
Old Baldy
Oak Island Lighthouse
Sunset on Oak Island
  • Atlantic Beach/ Morehead City/ Beaufort: This is a fun and beautiful area as well. There are activities for all ages, along with some delicious restaurants. We normally will stay at a house in Atlantic Beach and drive in nightly to Morehead City or Beaufort for dinner or ice cream. This area offers a lot of tours and educational opportunities.

Top Picks

  1. Relax at Atlantic Beach
  2. Amos Mosquito’s Restaurant and Bar, Atlantic Beach
  3. Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, Morehead City (June)
  4. Ruddy Duck Tavern, Morehead City
  5. Visit Cape Lookout Lighthouse
  6. Explore Downtown Beaufort
  7. Shackleford Banks
  8. Hungry Town Tours- Bike, Brunch and Bubbles, Beaufort
  9. Beaufort General Store for Ice Cream
  10. NC Aquarium at Pine Knolls Shores

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