Best beaches in NC

This Southern state with more than 3,000 miles of coastline (including 300 miles of barrier beaches alone) has so many wonderful towns on the water it was tempting to choose them all. Consider this collection—from the northern edge of the Outer Banks all the way to Cape Fear near the South Carolina border—the very best of the best.

At the southern end of the coast and a quick hop from buzzy Wilmington, this laid-back beach town on a four-mile-long barrier island has charm in spades, from a bird nesting sanctuary at the south end to its iconic Johnnie Mercers Pier. Mix in a surf vibe on the Atlantic, a boating and SUP-centric world on Banks Channel, miles of broad beaches and a deep bench of old-fashioned Carolina beach cottages for sale and rent, and you’ve got a sense of the magic that makes Wrightsville Beach one of the best real estate investments on the NC coast

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