The coast of North Carolina is primarily made up of a number of barrier islands all offering a wide variety of Island Living Lifestyles.
NC’s Brunswick Islands:
At the southern border where North Carolina meets South Carolina are NC’s Brunswick Islands. These islands all face south and enjoy the northernmost subtropical climate on the east coast!
While they are located in NC all of them are to the south of every major city in SC (except Myrtle Beach, Orangeburg, and Charleston, SC) including the Capital of SC, Columbia!
In fact, this area of NC was part of SC until the border was redrawn in 1725! For this reason, this area is sometimes known as NC’s Low Country. Starting at the border there is Bird Island an uninhabited nature preserve.
Also known as North Carolina’s Golf Coast, the Brunswick Islands offer more than 30 top-rated courses for golfers of all levels of play. Golfers will appreciate a variety of designs by greats like Arnold Palmer, Rees Jones, Dan Maples, Willard Byrd, Tim Cate, and Fred Couples among others.
Wilmington, NC’s Island Beaches:
At Bald Head Island, the coast takes a sharp left turn and begins running from south to north with the islands of:
Carolina Beach (Pleasure Island), Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach and the private Island of Figure Eight Island. These Islands are all close to the city of Wilmington, NC.
The next barrier islands heading up the coast is Topsail Island with its towns of Topsail, Surf City and North Topsail.
Heading up the coast you then encounter the island of Emerald Isle with its beach towns of Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, and Atlantic Beach. These beaches are all in close proximity to Morehead City, Beaufort, and Harkers Island.
Famous for its wild ponies, Shackleford Banks is also known for its surf fishing luring (no pun intended) hundreds of avid fishermen to its shores each season.
Heading North again one begins to enter the barrier Islands that make up the world-famous Outer Banks of North Carolina. The southern end of the southernmost of the Outer Banks is home to the Undeveloped Islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore.
A boat ride three miles off-shore brings you to the barrier islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore. Horse watching, shelling, fishing, birding, camping, lighthouse climbing, and touring historic villages–there’s something for everyone at Cape Lookout. Be sure to bring all the food, water, and supplies you need (and carry your trash out of the park) when visiting these remote beaches.
At Cedar Island, you can take the Cedar Island Ferry to quaint Ocracoke Island.
From the north end of Ocracoke Island, another Ferry can bring you to Hatteras Island.
From Hatteras, you can drive up famous HWY. 12 almost all the way to the VA border. This final barrier island is home to the towns of Buxton, Avon, Salvo, Waves, Rodanthe, Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Duck, and Corolla.