With more than 300 miles of coastline, the Tar Heel state has a plethora of beaches and dozens of quaint waterfront towns. From the Outer Banks to Sunset Beach, there’s a place for everyone and every kind of vacation. Take our quiz to learn where you’re headed this summer!
When you head to the beach, what is your top priority?
A. Check out the local foodie scene.
B. Grab a surboard and get into the waves.
C. Take a stroll through town.
D. Lay in a hammock and read a book.
E. Grab your rod and go fishing.
What’s your go-to sunset drink situation?
A. A martini overlooking the ocean
B. A daquiri at a beach bar
C. A glass of wine on the porch
D. Homemade margaritas
E. A beer on the boat
What’s your favorite beach attire—besides a swimsuit of course?
A. Golf shirt for him, Lilly Pulitzer for her
B. A stylish beach cover-up
C. Sundress and slacks
D. J. Crew T-shirt and shorts
E. Columbia shorts and insect shield apparel
What song title captures you when it comes to a beach vacation?
A. “In the Summertime” by Jerry Mungo
B. “Let’s Get It Started” by Black Eyed Peas
C. “Carolina Girls” by General Johnson
D. “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles
E. “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffet
Who is going to the beach with you?
A. My SO
B. Girl’s weekend
C. My wife/husband
D. Family vacation
E. Guy’s weekend
What kind of reading material did you pack along?
A. No book
B. People magazine or Sports Illustrated
C. My book club book
D. The Harry Potter series
E. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
What’s your idea of a great beach dinner?
B. Shrimp cocktail
C. Surf and turf
D. Grilling on the patio
E. The fresh catch of the day
How are you getting the beach?
What activities are you planning to do?
A. Couples’ massage
B. Shopping & sunning
C. Visiting lighthouses
D. Building sandcastles
E. Fishing & boating
In the morning, you’re most likely to…
A. Stroll to the coffee shop
B. Run the “Booty” Loop
C. Rent a bicycle
D. Take a family surf lesson
E. Buy bait
If you picked mostly A’s, you’re headed to a romantic getaway in Duck, NC.
One of the northern-most towns on the Outer Banks, Duck offers a charming retreat for those in search of a romantic getaway, with elegant restaurants overlooking the sound, a boardwalk perfect for an intimate stroll and wide-open beaches.
Tucked between the sound and the ocean, the Sanderling Resort is a luxurious escape for couples and one of the few places where you can watch the sun rise and set over the water. The adults-only tranquility pool, direct access to the beach, several restaurant options (including the award-winning Kimball’s Kitchen) and tennis offer visitors plenty to do onsite. Additionally, the award-winning spa overlooks the Currituck Sound and features a robust menu of services, including couple’s experiences. In town, enjoy a candlelit dinner at Blue Point or Aqua Restaurant. Both choices pride themselves on regional cuisine in elegant settings. Blue Point serves up a white tablecloth experience with homemade pasta and freshly caught seafood with stunning views of the sunset over the sound. The more casual Aqua has a firepit on the deck where you can watch the sunset and a cocktail menu worthy of raves.
If you picked mostly B’s, you’re off to a girl’s getaway in Wrightsville Beach.
In just under two hours, you can be sitting on the beach sipping a margarita with your friends. As the closest beach to Raleigh, Wrightsville makes a perfect girl’s getaway to surf, sip and sun.
Plenty of beach inns and larger hotels offer varied choices for accommodations and easy access to enjoy the local nightlife. You don’t have to stay at the hip, boutique resort, the Blockade Runner, to enjoy the Sea Escape poolside bar. People watch at Lagerheads Tavern, enjoy live music at The Palm Room or dance the night away at the iconic Red Dogs nightclub. Just steps from the Carolina Yacht Club, book a BYOB sunset cruise. Several tours offer them, including Sail Wilmington NC and Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours. Beyond the numerous beach attractions and activities, take a break from the sun and check out the local surf shops and beach boutiques. Clothing shop Hallelu is well worth the visit, showcasing chic, beach-inspired fashions—a perfect souvenir from your girl’s weekend away!
If you picked mostly C’s, a weekend away from the kids in Southport is in your future.
One of the oldest maritime communities sits where the Cape Fear River joins the Atlantic; Southport is rich in history with plenty of cultural sites to visit.
A historic downtown tour takes you past the Old Brunswick County Jail, City Hall and the Old Smithville Burying Ground. More than a dozen historic bed and breakfasts offer charming accommodations, the Robert Ruark Inn being one of the most well known. The beautifully appointed rooms are complemented by full breakfast in the morning, wine and cheese in the afternoon, and complimentary bicycles for languorous rides about town. Though technically not on the beach (Southport is situated on the Intracoastal Waterway), you can be at Caswell in ten minutes or take the ferry to Bald Head Island. In fact, Southport provides easy access to several of NC’s famed lighthouses including Oak Island, Price Creek, Cape Fear and the state’s oldest one, Old Baldy.
If you picked mostly D’s, pack up the family and head to Emerald Isle.
Situated on the Crystal Coast, Emerald Isle is the perfect spot for family fun, with plenty of outdoor activities, ice cream shops and vacation rentals offering space for everyone.
The Salty Pirate Water Park boasts the largest waterslide on the Crystal Coast; or explore maritime wildlife at one of the isle’s best kept secrets, Bear Isand. The 892-acre barrier island can only be reached by ferry or canoe. Legend has it that some of Blackbeard’s most treasured items are buried there. Ready to learn to surf? Hot Wax Surf Shop and Camp offers lessons for everyone in the family—from a 2.5-hour morning lesson to all-day sessions. Every family-friendly beach town has a fun-loving candy shop, and Emerald Isle doesn’t disappoint. Sweet Spot has almost 50 different ice cream flavors, candy and taffy, plus a selection of jewelry and crafts. Undoubtedly you’ll be grilling at the rental, so on your way home stop by Cap’n Willis Seafood Market and pick up freshly caught fish, crabcakes, homemade tarter sauce and Key lime pie.
If you picked mostly E’s, you and the boys are going fishing on Hatteras.
If you love being outdoors and spending time in nature, Cape Hatteras is the perfect retreat for fishing, boating and hanging with the boys.
More than 75% of the island is undeveloped and in its natural barrier island state, so enjoy the rugged environment by staying at the Hatteras Sands Campground. The park offers several different accommodations, including campsites, RV, cottage and cabin rentals at reasonable prices. Amenities include an Olympic-size swimming pool, air-conditioned bathhouse, a large clubhouse with pool tables, pingpong and free WiFi. The canals offer immediate access to the area’s world-famous fishing—pick up bait and other beach supplies at Frisco Tackle. Within a 15-minute’s walk, you can also grab coffee at The Dancing Turtle, stock up on essentials at the Lee Robinson General Store, or enjoy a drink at Dinky’s Waterfront.