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Old 06-25-2008, 10:56 AM
 
15 posts, read 57,976 times
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I want to plan a N. Carolina Beach vacation for my husband and I and our four-year old. Which is the nicest family friendly beach with an aquarium near by? Also, any suggestions for hotels? I would also like to stay in a nice hotel right on the beach. I moved to Raleigh from FL. a year ago and have never visited the Carolina coast so I have no idea where to start. Thanks!
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:57 AM
 
Location: Clayton, NC
1,515 posts, read 6,443,413 times
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Definately Fort Fisher!

There is a huge parking lot at the beach with free parking. It also has restrooms, changing rooms, snack bar, grills, picnic area and a very clean beach (with lifeguards). Right next door is the fort fisher aquarium.
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Old 06-25-2008, 11:10 AM
 
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I think Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington is a good first trip . It is a 2 hour trip. Sunspree Hotel there is nice and on the beach but pricey.
The aqurium is a close drive I think (check on drive time )
The NC Battle Ship is in Wilminton. I recall a ferry close by that
my kids loved. Good food in wilminton.
Outer Banks are farther/less crowded.
Atlantic Beach is a bit further than Wilmington/Wrightsville but
is nice with an aquarium. and my kids liked watching the fishing boats come in in Morehead which is near.
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Old 06-25-2008, 11:27 AM
 
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Wrightsville is great. Holiday Inn Sunspree is right on the beach but summer rates can go as high as $350 per night. Nags head is great about 4 hours from Raleigh but more relaxing. Enjoy!!
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Old 06-25-2008, 12:05 PM
 
Location: Ellicott City MD
2,270 posts, read 8,280,527 times
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I think so many beaches can be great with this age, but if I were rating aquariums they'd go in this order:

1) Pine Knoll Shores (by far)
2) Fort Fisher
3) Manteo

So I'd either go to Atlantic Beach and the Pine Knoll Shores aquarium, or to Carolina Beach or Wrightsville Beach and the Fort Fisher one. The Pine Knoll Shores aquarium was recently re-done and is wonderful.
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Old 06-25-2008, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Durham, NC
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I second the Atlantic Beach recommendation. That's where my parents always took us. You've got Fort Macon (with a public access beach) and the aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.
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Old 06-25-2008, 12:31 PM
 
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100% Kure Beach/Fort Fisher...

We took our three year old to Kure Beach a month ago. Stayed at Ocean Dunes...great place...three year old loved the beach and pools (indoor and outdoor)...

we had a great time...
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Old 06-25-2008, 12:51 PM
 
Location: Clayton, NC
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Oh! I missed the part about the hotel..

Myrtle Beach if you dont mind another hour drive.
Stay at "The Long Bay Resort" (do a google search)

Ripleys Aquarium is AWESOME! My kid still talks about it. There's so much to do in MB, you'll stay busy.
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Old 06-25-2008, 02:15 PM
 
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I agree...we've had great trips to Atlantic beach & also like Emerald Isle. Both close to the aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. My kids are in the same age range...
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Old 06-25-2008, 03:40 PM
 
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Atlantic Beach would be good because of the aquarium at PKS.

If you're willing to consider renting a house, I HIGHLY recommend Oak Island, which is a VERY family friendly beach (I've been going since I was 3 months old!). It's mostly houses and not too crowded. There aren't too many hotels though (but there is, at least, one on the beach). You would definitely have plenty of room to spread out on the beach and the water is pretty calm (perfect for wading with a small child).

Also, there is an aquarium at Fort Fisher and, even better, you can take a Ferry from Southport (NCDOT Ferry Division: Ferry Routes - Southport / Fort Fisher (http://www.ncdot.org/transit/ferry/routes/schedule/route008.html - broken link)) to Fort Fisher (even more exciting for kids). It's 2.5-3 hours from Raleigh and once you are there it's about 45 minutes from Wilmington and about 1 hr, 15 mins. from Myrtle Beach.
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