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Moon Travel Guides: Make Your Escape
Stunning stretches of sand, salty air, and the promise of adventure: answer the call of the ocean with Moon North Carolina Coast. Inside you'll find:
- Strategic, flexible itineraries, from a weekend getaway to the Outer Banks to a week covering the whole coast, designed for beach bums, outdoor adventurers, history buffs, families, and more
- Must-see highlights and unique experiences: Visit the North Carolina Aquarium, walk through a Civil War fort, see the remains of sunken pirate ships, or climb to the top of a historic lighthouse. Kayak through misty marshes, take a moonlight paddling tour of a wildlife refuge, surf the powerful swells, or hike the largest sand dune on the East Coast. Order the catch of the day at a local seafood shack, sample fresh oysters, or indulge in some authentic North Carolina barbecue. Relax on a sandy beach, spot wild ponies on the shore, and watch the sun set over the glittering Atlantic
- The best beaches for your trip, with lists of the top spots for sunbathing, water sports, wildlife viewing, solitude, and more
- Honest insight from North Carolina local Jason Frye on when to go, where to eat, and where to stay, from historic inns to budget campgrounds
- Full-color photos and detailed maps throughout
- Thorough background on the culture, environment, wildlife, and history
With Moon North Carolina Coast's diverse activities, expert tips, and local perspective, you can plan your trip your way.
Exploring inland? Check out Moon North Carolina. Hitting the road? Try Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip.
About the Author
Raised deep in the mountains of West Virginia, Jason Frye first fell in love with North Carolina as a kid during family vacations to the Outer Banks. In 2002, he swapped his mountains for sand dunes and his river for an ocean when he moved to Wilmington to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. There, his love for North Carolina deepened into a longing to stay, settle, explore, and be a part of the people, culture, and history of the state.
Along with his wife, Lauren, Jason has kayaked the marshes and waterways near his home; hang glided off the Outer Banks; explored the cityscapes of Charlotte, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem; and wandered the woods and wilds around Asheville.
Jason has contributed stories to VisitNC.com, AAA's Go Magazine, Our State magazine, and the Wilmington Star News, where he's a restaurant reviewer. He is also a food blogger for Our State Eats.
Read an Excerpt
The Outer Banks
Corolla: Best for Wildlife
Visit Corolla to view the Banker Ponies, wild horses that have lived along the Outer Banks for hundreds of years.
Duck: Best for Sunbathing, Sunsets
The beach at Duck is at a slight incline that provides maximum sun exposure and great ocean views. The wide wash of sound and marsh behind the thin strip of beach makes Duck a favorite for sunsets.
Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills: Best for Family Fun
Family vacations to the Outer Banks include seafood buffets, golf carts, mini golf, sunburns, and the occasional carnival ride. Recreate my childhood at Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills, beaches I haunted as a kid.
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge: Best for Wildlife
This refuge on Hatteras Island is an incredible spot for watching migratory waterfowl.
Hatteras: Best for Beachcombing, Water Sports
The village of Hatteras on Hatteras Island is a popular surfing destination and also good for shelling.
Other Hatteras Island Beaches: Best for Solitude
The villages of Salvo, Buxton, Rodanthe, Waves, and Avon provide privacy along with modern conveniences.
Ocracoke: Best for Beachcombing, Solitude, Sunrises
Ocracoke Island has the benefits of a vacation town, but you’ll find shell-strewn beaches you have almost all to yourself. Watch the sunrise over what seems like endless miles of ocean.
Beaufort and the Crystal Coast Cape Lookout National Seashore: Best for Long Walks, Solitude
With 56 miles of coastline, you can quickly find yourself alone in nature at Cape Lookout National Seashore. It’s hard to beat these unbroken stretches of beach for long walks.
Shackleford Banks: Best for Wildlife
Shackleford Banks in Cape Lookout National Seashore is a fantastic place to spot wild Banker Ponies.
Atlantic Beach: Best for Water Sports
For great diving, including the chance to explore offshore wrecks in the Graveyard of the Atlantic, go to Atlantic Beach on the Bogue Banks and arrange for a dive charter to pick you up in nearby Morehead City.
Emerald Isle: Best for Family Fun, Water Sports
This Bogue Banks town, popular with surfers for its south-facing beach, is a laid-back, family-friendly getaway.
Wilmington and the Cape Fear Region
Topsail Island: Best for Water Sports
Experienced surfers should head to this island, where the surf is consistent year-round and the wind shapes waves into steep peaks, allowing for aerial maneuvers and sharp cutbacks.
Wrightsville Beach: Best for Sunbathing, Water Sports
This wide, flat beach has sand that’s not too packed, not too powderyperfect for catching some sun. It’s also popular with new and experienced surfers.
Carolina Beach: Best for Family Fun
Carolina Beach State Park offers an abundance of hotels, a pier for fishing, a boardwalk crowded with shops and arcades, and a small carnival groundall great for when kids need a break from sea and sand.
Bald Head Island: Best for Long Walks, Sunrises, Wildlife
My favorite spot for long walks is the 14 miles of beach on Bald Head Island. On south-facing South Beach and east-facing East Beach, there’s ocean on one side and a high dune ridge or maritime forest on the other. More than 225 species of birds have been spotted here. The sunrise over the tumultuous Frying Pan Shoals, which extend toward the ocean from the island’s easternmost tip, is a sight to behold.
Holden Beach, Ocean Isle, and Sunset Beach: Best for Beachcombing, Sunsets
These Brunswick beaches are rich with delicate sand dollars. The aptly named Sunset Beach comes to life when the day’s last rays stretch over the marsh.