Best North Carolina Beach Towns For Tourists (Besides Wilmington and Carolina Beaches!)

North Carolina has many beaches, each offering its own unique beach experience. From loud and exciting to quiet and relaxing, there is a beach for everyone who visits this area.

When one takes a vacation, there are often certain things that locals and vacationers consider tourist attraction areas.

When most people think of touristy beaches in North Carolina, the two most popular ones that come to mind are Carolina Beach and Wilmington beach.

These beaches offer fun and adventure with many attractions and things to do for every traveler who visits, but a lot of people visit these beaches when there are so many other great NC beach spots for tourists.

What are the best North Carolina beach towns for tourists…besides Wilmington and Carolina beaches?

If you’re looking for a tourist-friendly beach town in North Carolina besides the usual Wilmington and Carolina Beaches, try heading to Atlantic, Nags Head, and Topsail beaches. These three NC beaches offer all the same great attractions, surf, and sand as Carolina and Wilmington but may save you some money and avoid the crowds.

These beaches have a diverse series of things for beachgoers to do when they have tired of sitting on the beach and playing in the water.

Atlantic Beach

It is a small beach town with a lot of bang for the buck. Families will love its clean beaches and numerous oceanfront entertainments that will delight everyone in their travel party.

With a boardwalk and state park that offers a glimpse of history while reconnecting with nature, Atlantic beach has much to delight in inspire.

For those who want to take a fishing adventure, they can do that here, as well as walk the pier and take a tour of the Cape Lookout.

Those who love nature can take a one-mile hike along the Hoop Pole Creek and explore a maritime forest. The walk is easy with a mixture of terrain that both children and seasoned hikers will enjoy. Wildlife can be heard and seen along the short scenic hike.

The kids can enjoy a skatepark or laser tag when they get bored of the beach and water.

Nags Head Beach

Best North Carolina Beach Towns For Tourists Besides Wilmington and Carolina Beaches

For a touch of history, there is one of the numerous lighthouses along the coast here in Nags Head, the Bodie Island Lighthouse. 

With a fishing pier, outlet shopping, and kart track, kids and those young at heart won’t ever be bored.

If an outdoor adventure sounds exciting, or you want to tour an art gallery, you can do that between a trip to the beach and dinner. 

There is even a zip line course, horseback riding, and a surf school for those who need a bit of thrill with their relaxing beach vacay.

If there is outdoor water or seaside adventure sport or activity a traveler is looking to do, they should look no further than right here as the possibilities are endless.

Should that not be enough, there is dolphin watching, mini-golf, and a plethora of other unique experiences for everyone in the travel party to enjoy.

Wind down with some unique shopping and dining, followed by some great late-night entertainment, and everyone will be nodding off moments after their heads hit the pillow.

Topsail Beach

The Topsail beach area has the ticket with the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center for those who want a bit of wildlife rescue sprinkled in with their vacation.

With museums and a pier, there is much to feast the eyes upon.

Add in a few art galleries, jet ski, and boat rentals, and a quick retreat for a spa adventure, and everyone in the travel party, including tried and overworked mom, will be smiling.

This area has unique shopping, great tour options, and bike rentals for those who want to get on two wheels. Kids might enjoy a diversion to the popcorn factory after taking a mini adventure in an escape room.

There are numerous outdoor adventures to be had here, as well as great dining and draft samplings and unique after-hours entertainments to be had. 

What makes a beach a tourist attraction?

What makes a beach a tourist attraction is the amenities it has in and around it. For instance, if a beach area has a boardwalk, amusement park, dining, wildlife exploration, sporting adventures, and shopping, these would all be tourist attractions.

Tourist attractions are all things that will draw the tourist as a traveler is known to that area.

The larger number of tourist attractions in one area often means more people will visit during a season or time. Also, the more unique, interesting, or exciting the tourist attractions are, the more vacationers will flock to that area.

Of course, certain attractions seem to go hand and hand with the beach. These include great dining and shopping, amusement ride, sporting adventures, and places to reconnect and learn about nature.

Historic sites and museums can also be a top choice for a tourist area for travelers, including children. 

How do I know which North Carolina beach is the right tourist attraction for me?

The best way to know which North Carolina beach is the right tourist attraction for you is to investigate the beaches before you go. Through the internet, you can find valuable information about each beach area and its attractions.

There are many questions to ask yourself before deciding which beach area is best for your vacation. They will relate to what type of activities you want to participate in and who will participate with you, as in your travel companions.

The budget will also factor into which beach is right for you and offers the best tourist attraction options and the length of your vacation stay.

Once all of these details have been explored and a beach area is chosen, you and your travel companions can stay in between beach locations, which can offer a sprinkling of many tourist attractions that can be visited during your beach vacation stay.

Depending on the amount of time you and your travel companions have in the North Carolina beach area, it may be possible to visit a good number of tourist attractions throughout the coastal region.

Your travel plans might be geared towards fun at a bit slower pace. For instance, you are traveling to the North Carolina beach area, and you have a senior citizen and two children as your travel companions.

You might want activities that engage the children but aren’t too fast-paced and crazy for either them or the senior citizen.

Therefore, you might pick a beach tourist attraction area that welcomes families and has attractions geared towards their needs and wants.

It is important to note that every travel party is unique. Therefore, planning your trip around your needs is highly important. North Carolina beaches have something for every tourist regarding the attractions and fun. You have to investigate and choose what best suits you.

Closing Points

Tourist attractions can be found in all North Carolina beach destinations. Some have more to offer than others, but each will have something unique and original.

While Carolina and Wilmington beaches are the most recognized, they are not the only spots where tourists can have fun and be entertained and delighted!

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