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Old 02-24-2009, 11:20 AM
 
140 posts, read 377,711 times
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I would like to venture away from Raleigh this spring or fall to the beaches. I have been to Wilmington but not to any other parts of the coast. Where would you suggest I visit , I am looking for a beach without a lot of tourist traps (like Myrtle beach )but lots of sun and sand and perhaps a little history and I would like to visit or even see a lighthouse !! I know enough not to plan on going in the dead of summer .What I didn't realize was that there are so many areas to choose from.
Thanx
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:11 PM
 
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Two of my (many) favorites:

Bald Head Island:

Bald Head Island, NC | Beach Vacations, Rentals, Property For Sale

A wonderful resort, accessible by ferry south of Wilmington. Stay at Theodosia's B&B if you can:

Theodosia's Bed and Breakfast Inn, Bald Head Island, North Carolina

Charleston, SC. A 5 hour drive from Raleigh. Many beach areas like Isle of Palms and Folly Beach, plus all the history of Charleston.
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:58 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic east coast
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Me? Three special places I'd go would be:

1. I'd go to Beaufort, stay there and take a ferry to Cape Lookout National seashore to see the lighthouse and the wild beaches. Beaufort's rich with history, friendly folks and good eateries.

2. Ocracoke Island, voted beach beach last year. Bring your bike and pedal the little lanes of this cute and quirky place. You'll feel miles away from the city. You could take a ferry from the island to the OBX to see the lighthouse on Hatteras...

3. Cape Carteret/Swansboro. Swansboro's a personable little sea village and from there you can go to Bear Island or paddle on the White Oak River--or take the short drive to Emerald Isle and their great beaches. Sorry, no lighthouses here.

Those would be my choices, in no particular order. Come back three times and you can see all three!

Little Dolphin
Village Scribe
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Cape Carteret, NC
713 posts, read 3,473,645 times
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Smile Some suggestion for your beach trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfalady View Post
I would like to venture away from Raleigh this spring or fall to the beaches. I have been to Wilmington but not to any other parts of the coast. Where would you suggest I visit , I am looking for a beach without a lot of tourist traps (like Myrtle beach )but lots of sun and sand and perhaps a little history and I would like to visit or even see a lighthouse !! I know enough not to plan on going in the dead of summer .What I didn't realize was that there are so many areas to choose from.
Thanx
You have gotten some great suggestions from the previous answers. I have also enjoyed Theodosia's Bed & Breakfast on Bald Head and over the years have spent so much time on Ocracoke that the word "Ocracoke" is usually part of my screen names. Of course Beaufort is one my special places, and I even had a picture of the fireplace at the Beaufort Inn as my home screen on my last cell phone. Finally we now live in Cape Carteret and enjoy the whole Crystal Coast.

I think a lot depends on what kind of place you would like to stay and how close you want to be to the beach. Theodosia's on Bald Head has the advantage of a golf cart to let you drive to the beach areas. However, it is not quite like having a beach house on Bald Head or other beaches where you can just fall out of bed and wander down to the beach. The "disadvantage" of Bald Head is that you have to haul everything over there and leave your car on the mainland, and there are limited places to eat.

Beaufort has a mix of great places to stay. There are some very nice B&Bs and also a place like the Beaufort Inn which is just slightly less personal than a B&B but still very nice. We have stayed in both B&Bs and the Beaufort Inn. I prefer the Beaufort Inn because it is on the water, and I love Katie's breakfast pie. You can walk to shops in Beaufort and the Maritime Museum is my favorite on the coast. It and the Aquarium are two places I recently enjoyed once again. Beaufort is not a cheap spot for dining, and getting to the real beaches requires driving through all of Morehead City and then either going down to Fort Macon or driving even further down to perhaps the Eastern Regional Access on Emerald Isle. You can paddle over to Carrot Island, but that's not quite the same.

It is an easy drive (under 30 minutes) from Beaufort up to Harker's Island where you take a quick ferry over to Cape Lookout and see the lighthouse. We were up there yesterday and took the linked picture from the shore. We have really enjoyed taking the ferry over and playing on the beaches at Cape Lookout. Of course you can take a longer ferry directly from Beaufort to Cape Lookout, Shackleford Banks, or Carrot Island.

Whether or not you want to be right on the beach would be the key deciding point for me. If you do and and want reasonable access to restaurants, grocery store, drug store etc, I would suggest Emerald Isle. If you are going to stay a week, you can pick a home along the shore and really get a great beach experience and enjoy as much privacy as you want.

Most of the rental agencies have pictures similar to this (http://www.bluewatergmac.com/images/aerials/MAP56A.jpg - broken link) that let you see where the homes are in relation to the beach and beach access. If you cannot stay a week you might want to look into a condo or if you just want a few days try the Islander Inn which is small, cozy, and oceanfront.

The nice thing about staying somewhere around the middle of Emerald Isle is that you can get almost everything you are looking for plus you are either on or very near the beach. It is hard to beat a beach sunrise (http://coastalnc.org/morningwaters - broken link) like the linked one which was taken the pier in Emerald Isle. Beaufort and its history would be less than one half hour away. Swansboro and its cute shops would under twenty minutes depending on where you rent, and it would be ten minutes to the center of the town of Emerald Isle which has a few more shops, a grocery store, a small shopping center, and drug store. In the town of Emerald Isle, you would find some reasonable places for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We enjoy Mike's, Chowdaheads, Jordans, and Ballyhoos. It you want fancier restaurants, there's Riverside Seafood & Steak in Swansboro and Kathryn's right in Emerald Isle.

I love Ocracoke as much as the next person, but the real Ocracoke beach experience comes from camping at the campground. Since all commercial development is concentrated in one small area on Ocracoke, it can feel crowded in the summer.

You can judge for yourself in these pictures of Ocracoke, Beaufort, and the Emerald Isle beaches.

You can get a feel for the distances from this area map. You can see some pictures of the area placed on this aerial photo.

Finally I have travel guides for Beaufort (http://coastalnc.org/beaufortnctravelguidecd - broken link), Emerald Isle (http://coastalnc.org/emeraldislenctravelguidecd - broken link), and Swansboro.

What place will best suit you depends on what you are looking for in accommodations and beach access. It I can answer further questions, just send me a note or post here.

Last edited by dsobotta; 02-24-2009 at 02:44 PM.. Reason: Left out word
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Old 02-25-2009, 05:42 AM
 
Location: Morehead City, NC
1,676 posts, read 5,358,872 times
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Little Dolphin,
I sure do like your number 1 and 2 suggestions!
Warning!! Beware of a Ocracoma!!

The single best word that desceibes coastal NC is diversity. OBX is different from the Crystal Coast just as they both differ from the Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach area.
Heck-Even where I live/work-Carteret County-It is extremely diverse in waters, environment and people.
Bill
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:41 PM
 
140 posts, read 377,711 times
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thanks for all the suggestions..
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