Coastal North Carolina is one of the most unique places on earth. Once a remote region whose waters were home to both pioneers and pirates, Eastern NC is now a place famous for sunny stretches of sandy beaches, world-class fishing, charming coastal towns, and remarkable scenic beauty. Come explore these coastal destinations with a ride on a North Carolina Ferry:
Southport – For more than 200 years, the historic coastal community of Southport has guarded the mouth of the Cape Fear River and continues to be the lightkeeper of its history. Come enjoy charming downtown shops and eateries, explore the fascinating history of a nearby town wiped off the map by the British, or enjoy the laid-back beaches and beautiful golf courses of the Brunswick Islands.
Fort Fisher – Once known as "The Gibraltar of the South", Fort Fisher is now home to a historic Civil War site and a first-class aquarium. From here, you can explore Kure, Carolina, and Wrightsville Beaches, and try to spot some stars in Wilmington (a.k.a. "Hollywood East"), which as played host to hundreds of film and television productions such as "Revolution", "Under The Dome", and "One Tree Hill".
Cherry Branch – Home to the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, the communities of Cherry Branch and Havelock are military communities set in the breathtaking beauty of the Croatan National Forest, a 160,000 acre park of pine forests and saltwater estuaries ideal for hiking, fishing, canoeing, and camping. Cherry Branch is also a short drive away from the historic towns of Beaufort and New Bern, North Carolina's first colonial capital.
Minnesott Beach – A quaint small town perched on the Neuse River, Minnesott Beach is known as an golfing, sailing, and retirement community with the ultimate laid back lifestyle. Here, the coastal beauty of the river and the sound surround you, and you're just a short drive away from Oriental, a fisherman's paradise and self-proclaimed Sailing Capital of North Carolina.
Aurora – Located on the south side of the Pamlico River, Aurora is famous for the Aurora Fossil Museum, a free facility that displays a large variety of ancient fossils unearthed by the nearby phosphate mine. For a small fee, visitors can also dig for their own fossils in two spoils piles from the mine. Aurora also serves as a gateway to several coastal communities in Beaufort and Pamlico Counties.
Bayview – Bayview is a residential community on the north shore of the Pamlico River that is just a few miles away from Historic Bath, North Carolina's first town and first port, as well as the "hometown" of the notorious pirate Blackbeard. Here, a State Historic Site details colonial life here and struggles with political rivalries, Indian wars and piracy, and allows visitors to walk through some of the oldest buildings in the state.
Cedar Island – The gateway to North Carolina's Crystal Coast, Cedar Island is the ideal place to access the undeveloped beaches of the Cape Lookout National Seashore, complete with wild horses and a stately lighthouse. Or, enjoy time on the visitor-friendly oceanfront communities of Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Salter Path, Indian Beach, and Emerald Isle.
Swan Quarter – Take the "road less traveled" to this birder and sportsman's paradise. Swan Quarter is just a few minutes from Lake Mattamuskeet, a spectacular wildlife refuge where thousands of swans, herons, geese, ducks, and other winged creatures spend the winter months. It's also an ideal place for stunning nature photography.
Ocracoke – This little island packs a lot to do in a small space. An idyllic seaside village, 16 miles of pristine ocean beaches, fascinating historic sites, charming shops and restaurants, night life, fishing charters, watersports, a stately white lighthouse, and even an offshore ghost town make Ocracoke a "must-see" destination on any trip to the Outer Banks.
Hatteras – Hatteras Village is your gateway to everything the Outer Banks has to offer, whether it's beautiful pristine beaches, watersports on the Sound, fantastic fishing, wild horses, or visiting sites where the English first tried to settle America or where man first took to the skies. Enjoy the family-friendly, laid-back atmosphere of life on this one-of-a-kind coastal jewel.
Currituck - Enjoy a wide variety of golfing opportunities and some farm-to-table goodness in this rural community in North Carolina's northeastern corner. Currituck is home to the popular monster truck Gravedigger, the Weeping Radish farm, restaurant, and brewery, and the Cotton Gin. It's also a short drive from Elizabeth City and the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
Knotts Island – Tucked away into the middle of Currituck Sound, this remote island is a perfect day trip during your stay on the northern coast. Enjoy the beautiful serenity of the Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge, go wine tasting in a local vineyard, or pick your own produce at a local farm. The island is also home to a handful of horse stables and a small but thriving artistic community.
Need more information about the beautiful North Carolina coast? Log onto http://www.visitnc.com/coast.