Given that the majority of the oceans are undiscovered, there's a lot of mystery that lies beneath. Some of the waters off of Carolina's coast may pique your curiosity for the unknown, including this iconic spot known for hundreds of shipwrecks. It sits below a tropical island in North Carolina and you can discover its glory for yourself.

Frying Pan Shoals is off of Cape Fear about 30 miles south of Bald Head Island in North Carolina. The area, which gets its name from the frying pan shape, is often referred to as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, posing serious dangers for passing ships since the 1800s.

The iconic Frying Pan Tower, which was originally known as the U.S. Coastguard Frying Pan Light Station, was built in 1960 (and abandoned in 2004) to help guide ships through the treacherous waters.

The spot is now a favorite for maritime explorers, offering undersea adventures like snorkeling, fishing, scuba diving and spearfishing. The area is abundant in unique marine life and visitors sometimes even find ancient fossils and massive megalodon teeth here. 

According to Star News, over 130 shipwrecks have occurred at Frying Pan Shoals between 1994 and 2008.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can scuba dive here to discover the plethora of discoveries from massive, pelagic fish and sharks to remnants of the wrecks.

According to WB Diving, the shallow depths (about 30-50 feet) allow for long dives exploring the expansive ledge system that runs directly under the structure.

If you're planning a road trip for spring or summer and want to hit up the islands of NC, this can definitely add some excitement to your exploratory excursions.

Frying Pan Shoals

Price: Free

Address: Cape Fear, NC

Why You Need To Go: Tap into your sense of adventure by exploring waters full of shipwrecks and rare marine life.


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.

* Photos used for illustrative purposes

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