Which NC Beach You Should Visit This Summer

Life’s a beach—and NC is blessed with over 300 miles of coastline and 25+ beautiful beaches, each with their own distinct vibe and offerings. Not sure which is the best fit for your vacay style? Take our quiz to seas the day this summer.

Top priority while at the beach?
A. Check out the local foodie scene
B. Lay out in the sand with a good book
C. Take a stroll through town
D. Ride the waves
E. Grab your rod and go fishing

Who are you taking with you?
A. My SO
B. The gals
C. My wife/husband
D. The fam
E. The guys

How are you getting to the beach?
A. Convertible
B. Jeep
C. Sedan
D. Minivan

Activities on your agenda?
A. Couples’ massage
B. Shopping & sunning
C. Seeing the sights
D. Building sandcastles
E. Fishing & boating

Fave beach attire (besides a swimsuit, of course)?
A. Golf shirt for him, Lilly Pulitzer for her
B. Swimsuit cover-up
C. Sundress and slacks
D. J. Crew T-shirt and shorts
E. Columbia/Patagonia gear

In the morning, you’re most likely to…
A. Stroll to a coffee shop
B. Do a quick yoga sesh
C. Rent a bicycle
D. Take a family surf lesson
E. Buy bait

Your ideal beach dinner?
A. Oysters
B. Shrimp cocktail
C. Surf and turf
D. Grilling on the patio
E. Fresh catch of the day

Song you’re jamming to throughout your trip?
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

Go-to sunset drink situation?
A. Martini overlooking the ocean
B. Daiquiri at a beach bar
C. Glass of wine on the porch
D. Homemade margaritas
E. Beer on a boat

Reading material you’re packing?
A. A Nicholas Sparks novel
B. A magazine
C. My book club book
D. The Harry Potter series
E. No book

Know Your Beach Personality

Kitty Hawk Kites, Rodanthe, NC (visitnc.com)

If you picked mostly A’s, you’re headed to a romantic getaway in the Outer Banks.

Summer lovin’, had me a blast… With 100 miles of barrier islands sprinkled with lovely beaches, cute towns and historical attractions, the Outer Banks allows couples to live out their juiciest Nicholas Sparks romantic fantasies. Adventurous types will thrive via kayaking, kiteboarding and windsurfing, and horseback riding tours on the water (really), while lax lovers will appreciate a sunset cruise, spa sesh or just simply lounging in the sand—bev in
hand, natch. 

Must-go’s: Sanderling Resort, Beach4x4 jeep rentals, Miller’s Waterfront, Jockey’s Ridge State Park, Sunset Grille & Raw Bar


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 margs with your gal pals (talk about good times and tan lines!). The closest beach to Raleigh, Wrightsville makes for a perf girl’s trip to shop, sip and sun—no boys allowed. By day, lay out by the ocean to soak up those rays in between stops at the myriad local restos and shops, and when the sun sets, hit up the beach bars to dance the night away or take a short excursion to Wilmington for a fun-filled GNO.

Must-go’s: Hallelu, Tower 7, Adapt Kitchen & Juice Bar, Wrightsville Beach Park


If you picked mostly C’s, get a sitter for a kid-free weekend away at Bald Head Island.

No kids, no problem. A weekend away from the youngins allows you to fully immerse yourselves in all this picture-perfect island has to offer—from exploring Old Baldy, the state’s oldest standing lighthouse, to relaxing at the spa to dining and drinking sans kids’ menu. The southernmost of North Carolina’s cape islands, Bald Head is accessible only by a 20-minute ferry ride—so you won’t have to worry about packing those car seats either. Let the peace and quiet commence!

Must-go’s: Island Retreat Spa and Salon, Bald Head Bottle, Delphina Coastal Cuisine, Bald Head Island Club, Riverside Adventure Ghost Walk 


If you picked mostly D’s, pack up the family and head to Emerald Isle.

Family fun abounds at this Crystal Coast gem located about 2.5 hours from Raleigh—think watersports and other outdoor activities, historic sites, ice cream shops, playgrounds, fam-friendly fests and more. NTM the slow-paced vibe (read: lack of loud nightlife and other adult entertainment) makes it the perfect place to let your kiddos roam free. Nevertheless, there are plenty of activities to keep them entertained between trips to the beach. An easy, breezy fam vacay, indeed.

Must-go’s: Salty Pirate Water Park; Sweet Spot; Fort Macon State Park; Hot Wax Surf Shop surf lessons, rentals and excursions; Surf’s Up Grill & Bar

If you picked mostly E’s, you and the boys are going fishing at Topsail Island.

Drop the bass. It’s time to gather the guys for a solid retreat of “just guys being dudes”—beach edition. Because of its access to both the warm Gulf Stream and cool in-shore waters, Topsail—comprised of North Topsail Beach, Surf City and Topsail Beach—is a prime area to catch a plethora of sea life, from mackerel, bluefish and trout to shrimp, oysters and crabs. When you’re not casting lines, hit up the designated 4×4 beach driving areas, take a boat tour, get an adrenaline rush via watersports rentals, and refuel at local restos and watering holes. 

Must go’s: Jolly Roger Ocean Pier, Daddy Mac’s Beach Grille, A&B Saltwater Adventures fishing charter, Surf City Jet Ski Rentals, Salty Turtle Beer Co.

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About the Author

Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.