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Old 03-11-2008, 06:48 PM
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Wrightsville beach does seem much more residential, although we have not stayed there just drive through whenever we go to Carolina or Kure Beach.

Carolina Beach has much more activity on a regular basis. If you are looking for things to do with the family without leaving the island, CB has the basics. From ice cream parlors to bicycle rentals, there is something for everyone to do.

Kure Beach, which is just further down the island, is a little quieter than CB. Once we stayed in CB at Cabana Suites. That is a mistake if you have small children. The hotel is directly across the street from an OUTDOOR bar that was really hoppin' the 2 days we were there. As it turns out, there is a small area right there where there are local bars and the night life is a little more active than families may want. Since that time we have been down there several times and stayed at other places that did not have the noise problems.

Myrtle Beach is MUCH more tourist oriented. Anything and everything anyone wants to do on vacation is at Myrtle Beach. Restaurants get crowded quick during prime vacation times and the traffic gets pretty busy too. With that said, we have stayed at OCEAN LAKES on the south side of town where they have campsites, home rentals and RV parking. Really neat place because it is directly on the beach and they have their own swimming pool and you can rent golf carts. We found that the kids loved just riding around in the golf carts when they got tired of the beach.

We found that traveling from Carolina Beach to Myrtle Beach took around 1.5 hours. I think that is because it takes around 30 minutes to get over to Wrightsville from the island, then about 1 hour to the north side of MB.

Good luck.
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Old 03-12-2008, 06:09 AM
Location: Durham, NC
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Of all the OBX beaches, Nags Head is the most developed and would most certainly have plenty to keep everyone in the family entertained. The surfing there is among the best on the east coast, and you can definitely find placed to rent a board. Kayaks are rented, too, and kayaking on the sound side is hard to beat! One thing not to miss is Kitty Hawk, the site of the Wright Brothers' first flight. Near there is Jockeys Ridge, the tallest sand dune on the east coast and a great place for a walk or some hang gliding.
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Old 03-12-2008, 12:35 PM
Location: Piedmont NC
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Growing up in Wilmington, I would have turned my nose down at Carolina Beach, and sent you to Wrightsville. As an adult now, I would tell you that you and the kids might enjoy CB better, too. What you find to do, and things you'll rent like kayaks and surfboards, are much more reasonable at CB. The beach itself is less congested, and while not upscale like Wrightsville, you won't be made to feel like you are not welcome. Years ago, residents at Wrightsville had bumper stickers made that read, "Welcome to Wrightsville Beach. Now GO HOME." A lot of people have forgotten about the bumper sticker, but some of the sentiment is the same.

I used to love Wrightsville. But it is not the beach where I played as a child, or partied as a young adult. Too crowded. Too over-priced.

Topsail Island is 30-40 minutes west of Wilmington, and is a beautiful area, but teens may be bored there. It is, or was, quiet and restful, and where I enjoyed going and taking my little one 10-15 years ago. She is currently in school down in Wilmington, and she actually prefers surfing at Carolina Beach -- little less restrictive, friendlier kids to hang on the shore with.

You can also access anything you may care to do in downtown Wilmington, from CB -- little easier drive from CB to the downtown area of Wilmington, if just a little longer. It will take you 30 minutes, easily, to get to Chandler's Wharf and The Cotton Exchange along the riverfront. Another nice day trip, is to take the Fort Fisher ferry across to Southport, quaint little fishing village, but again, teens may be bored doing that with you. You can take the ferry back, too.
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Old 03-13-2008, 04:57 PM
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Okay, so it's a toss up! Wish we had longer to enjoy all of the areas and attractions mentioned I really appreciate everyones posts. At this point I think we'll want to stay in either Carolina Beach or Nags Head. Both sound like they have alot to offer. Are they close enough from one to the other for a good day trip? The other areas mentioned...definitly a rain check!
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:26 PM
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Default Oak Island Beaches, the non crowded alternative

Originally Posted by ferrickhead28 View Post
Wrightsville. Hands down. If you are looking to spend some time on the beach, head to Fort Fisher. Its about 20 minutes from wrightsville, just follow the signs to the aqurium. Right before the aqurium, there is a parking lot on the left for public beach access. Clean restrooms, a place to change, refreshment stands, grills, picnic area, etc. I love it because its better than parking on some side street where you have to pay $10 a day to park only to have to walk a mile to find a restroom (most dining places only allow restroom access to paying customers.) Oh, its also FREE to park there too! You can also access the aquarium too so its like an added bonus.

Myrtle Beach is a straight shot away from Wrightsville, about a 45 minute drive if I remember correctly. (Its been awhile!)

Have fun!
Oak Island Beaches, are the non-crowded alternative, Not as much to do as Wrightsville, but really laid back if you really get into just relaxing on the beach.

By the Way...Myrtle Beach is more like an hour and 45 from Wrightsville. I live in Southport and it takes me all of an hour and a quarter to get to North Myrtle Beach. When I install electronic dog fences in Wrightsville Beach the trip back here takes at least 45 minutes. Maybe you were remembering the drive to Southport?
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