July has come up pretty quickly, but there's still plenty of sunshine left for beach vacations to make this summer one to remember. North Carolina's coastal beaches each have something different to offer, but all have waves to ride and sands to sink your toes into. You can start at the top of the state and make your way down to hit the most amazing sandy shores along the way.
Whether it be a holiday or just a quick day trip, there's always an excuse to hit the coast. You can even grab a cheap Airbnb on the water for a night if you can't get enough of those scenic views. Even better? Most of these spots are free to visit!
You can pretend you're living the actual Outerbanks Pouge life for a weekend if you're trying to really live like John B. and Sarah Cameron.
Kitty Hawk Beach OBX
Address: 3840 N Va Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk, NC
Why You Need To Go: Located in the Outer Banks, this one beach has plenty of restaurants, shops, places to stay, and even a huge maritime forest that you can hike through.
Address: E Hargrove St, Nags Head, NC
Why You Need To Go: This is a more well known and populated beach in the OBX because of its long stretch of beaches, upscale restaurants, historical museums, and monuments you can explore. One of their best-known attractions is Jockey's Ridge State Park where you can scale some sand dunes.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Price: Free, with additional activities available for small fees.
Address: Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Nags Head, NC
Why You Need To Go: This beach is mainly known for its fishing excursions and ideal fishing spots. The other side of the beach has great spots to layout and swim if you're not into catching fish.
Address: 201 W Atlantic Blvd, Atlantic Beach, NC
Why You Need To Go: This barrier island is known for its beautiful beaches and many parks for those who like to explore the outdoors and go hiking. This beach is only one of many spots you can stop for a day on the sands.
Address: 302-398 Ocean Dr, Emerald Isle, NC
Why You Need To Go: There are plenty of public beach access points and it's known for its huge pier that you can buy daily fishing passes for to reel in some big catches.
Address: Kure Beach, Wilmington, NC
Why You Need To Go: This beach is home to the oldest fishing pier on the Atlantic Coast and even has a state aquarium on the island.
Bald Head Island
Price: $23; parking fees may also apply.
Address: 1301 Ferry Rd., Southport, NC
Why You Need To Go: This island is accessible by ferry or private boat. When you arrive, you'll be on a secluded beach and it even has the oldest standing lighthouse in the state.
This beachy road trip totals about 348 miles round trip; you might wanna grab all your besties for this one.
Gear up the car, get your playlist ready, and don't forget the sunscreen on your road trip to some of North Carolina's best coastal beaches!
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.