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Old 04-15-2017, 04:54 PM
 
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Hello-

Looking for a suggestion for the best NC beach for our family for a week in July. We can go anywhere on the coast. We will most likely try to rent a house or condo with a kitchen. ideally we would like an area with a boardwalk and little town or restaurants to enjoy. We have two kids under 2 so lots of kid activities are not that important to us but a few things appropriate for a 2 year old would be nice.

For those familiar with NJ, we like beaches with the feeling of Avalon or Stone Harbor (if that exists in NC)

Thanks in advance
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Old 04-16-2017, 06:57 AM
 
Location: Garbage, NC
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I'm not familiar with New Jersey, but I really like Carolina Beach. It has a nice little boardwalk area that you can easily walk to from the hotels and condos in the area; there are plenty of little restaurants and shops there to keep your family entertained for the week. Then, if you are getting antsy sometime in the week, you can drive to Fort Fisher to the aquarium (North Carolina has some really great aquariums, in my opinion) or can head into Wilmington to see the battleship or to explore the downtown area, where the family can take a carriage ride.
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Old 04-16-2017, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
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I grew up going to Cape May (and still do!), but have been to Avalon and Stone Harbor. I have been to some but not all of the beaches in North Carolina, and I think that Duck or Corolla on the Outer Banks may have a bit of an Avalon/Stone Harbor feel. None of the NC beaches have a boardwalk like Ocean City, NJ, but since you weren't asking for that, I think you'll find something you like.
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Old 04-16-2017, 01:36 PM
 
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thank you!
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Old 04-16-2017, 04:33 PM
 
Location: Chapelboro
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Do you think you will spend a lot of time on the beach itself? Sand and surf?

I really liked the southernmost NC Brunswick County beaches, Sunset Beach and Ocean Isle (and Holden Beach is nice, too, but we didn't go there) when our kids were little because the beach is so wide and so nice there. Often at low tide little tide pools form in the sand which are perfect for toddlers and babies to splash in w/o having to deal with waves. Ocean Isle is a nice mix of shops, restaurants, and a little museum. That area is really low key and super family-oriented, though, so if you're looking for more "Stuff To Do"™ then you might prefer Carolina Beach or Wrightsville.

It's been a long time since I've been to Carolina Beach (like 13 yrs) and we did not like the beach then. It was rough and not nearly as nice for little kids to play on. I'm thinking of going down there for the day tomorrow, though, now that my kids are teens and want more things to do. We have done day trips to Wrightsville, too, and Surf City and Topsail. Wrightsville has Wilmington right at it, so plenty to do there.

Depending on where you're traveling from South Carolina beaches can be as close or closer than many NC beaches — especially from Charlotte and west. From the Triangle and east the NC beaches are usually closer.

Emerald Isle is nice. Good aquarium there at Pine Knoll Shores. There are 3 big coastal NC Aquariums, at Fort Fisher near Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach, and Southport; Pine Knoll Shores, near Emerald Isle and Atlantic Beach; and Roanoke Island at the Outer Banks and a smaller one at Jeanette's Pier at Nags Head on the OBX that also has events for bigger kids like learning to fish. Cape Lookout lighthouse is nearby (www.nps.gov/calo) and the quaint town of Beaufort.

The Outer Banks has a lot of stuff going on and is great for history and pirates, etc. The wave action is usually significantly bigger here than at other beaches in NC. It's a favorite area for surfers, kite boarders, wave surfers and other water sports enthusiasts. Lots of lighthouses. (www.nps.gov/caha).

Check www.visitnc.com/coast for an overview of the different areas.
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Old 04-17-2017, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Southern, NJ
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We lived in Eastern NC for 13 yrs., before returning back to the Jersey Shore last year. Our favorite beach very close to the way Stone Harbor and Avalon are is Emerald Isle. Beautiful, tranquil and close to stores, etc.

We will be taking a trip this Summer to our home in NC and will spend a couple of days in Emerald Isle, we just love the peacefulness.

Have a great time!
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Old 04-18-2017, 11:41 AM
 
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I think Emerald Isle/Pine Knoll Shores is perfect actually. Its quiet but with places to go as well. And the beach faces a little more south which is better for small kids playing on the beach. For that reason I would not recommend Carolina or Kure Beach...or the Outer Banks...and the wind is pretty strong on the Outer Banks as well (which lots of really small children don't like).

Brunswick County would be my other recommendation...you can always take the ferry to the aquarium from Southport.
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Old 04-29-2017, 07:31 AM
 
Location: Concord NC
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My wife and I are considering a mid-July visit and were thinking of Nag's Head. Hotels seem reasonable, it's close to a State Park and not too far from seeing the Wild Horses (maybe) further north. I personally miss the Ocean beaches from my native LI NY (we've lived in Concord NC now for about 4 years). My question is: if staying at an ocean-front hotel does that mean that that stretch of beach will be open for swimming? I know conditions can change, but I also remember from Long Island that there were some sections that were never safe to swim in. Are there "public beach" alternatives? Also, how's the water temperature mid-July? I need my salt-water fix! Thanks!
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Old 04-29-2017, 07:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RP2C View Post
My wife and I are considering a mid-July visit and were thinking of Nag's Head. Hotels seem reasonable, it's close to a State Park and not too far from seeing the Wild Horses (maybe) further north. I personally miss the Ocean beaches from my native LI NY (we've lived in Concord NC now for about 4 years). My question is: if staying at an ocean-front hotel does that mean that that stretch of beach will be open for swimming? I know conditions can change, but I also remember from Long Island that there were some sections that were never safe to swim in. Are there "public beach" alternatives? Also, how's the water temperature mid-July? I need my salt-water fix! Thanks!
Yes, all the beach is safe to swim in. The only regulation is that there is no swimming within 300 feet of a pier, but besides that you are fine. All of the beaches are public, so even if you stay in an ocean front hotel, other people can hang out on that beach, not just the hotel guests. But Nag's Head is generally not crowded at all - it is mainly houses with just a few hotels. The waves are generally small that time of year, but there can be some bigger days where there could be rip currents. Signs are posted to tell you how to recognize rip currents and what to do if you find yourself caught in one - mainly remain calm, swim parallel to the beach 20 yards or so, and then swim back in, but I am sure it is similar in Long Island. We have gone many times to the Outer Banks that time of year and the water temperature can be variable. Usually it is in the mid to upper 70's, but one year we had offshore winds that pushed away the warmer surface water, so the temps that year were mid 60's - we went to the surf shop and rented shorty wetsuits! But the water will surely be warmer than on Long Island - have fun!
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Old 04-29-2017, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Concord NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luschen View Post
Yes, all the beach is safe to swim in. The only regulation is that there is no swimming within 300 feet of a pier, but besides that you are fine. All of the beaches are public, so even if you stay in an ocean front hotel, other people can hang out on that beach, not just the hotel guests. But Nag's Head is generally not crowded at all - it is mainly houses with just a few hotels. The waves are generally small that time of year, but there can be some bigger days where there could be rip currents. Signs are posted to tell you how to recognize rip currents and what to do if you find yourself caught in one - mainly remain calm, swim parallel to the beach 20 yards or so, and then swim back in, but I am sure it is similar in Long Island. We have gone many times to the Outer Banks that time of year and the water temperature can be variable. Usually it is in the mid to upper 70's, but one year we had offshore winds that pushed away the warmer surface water, so the temps that year were mid 60's - we went to the surf shop and rented shorty wetsuits! But the water will surely be warmer than on Long Island - have fun!
Thanks for the information! We're looking forward to a great trip!
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