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Beaches Near Raleigh, North Carolina

author image J. Lang Wood
J. Lang Wood's stories, essays and articles have been seen in journals across the country and online. She is a published short story and essay writer who specializes in travel topics, pets, medical subjects, Florida history, environmental issues, political and business topics. She is the author of the novel "Strays" and holds an Associate of Arts in chemistry from College of DuPage.
Beaches Near Raleigh, North Carolina
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse near the shore at Nags Head. Photo Credit Jill Lang/iStock/Getty Images

Art galleries, concerts, historical sites, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife are all part of Raleigh’s vibrant energy. Outdoor recreation abounds around Raleigh, from the beautiful beaches just hours away on the Atlantic Coast to North Carolina’s nearby state parks. Hiking, fishing, boating, canoeing, water sports, and swimming on sandy beaches are all readily available to visitors to the city.

North Carolina's State Park Beaches

North Carolina’s state park system offers quite a bit to those who enjoy the outdoors. Beach-lovers can take the plunge at Falls Lake Recreation Area just north of Raleigh, where there are three sandy beaches at Sandling Beach, Rolling View, and Beaverdam. Restrooms and changing facilities are available. Just west of Raleigh lies Jordan Lake State Recreation Area, which also has sand beaches at Parker’s Creek Seaforth, White Oak, and Ebenezer Church. A short drive northwest of Raleigh takes you to Lake Norman State Park, where a sand beach, restrooms, changing stalls, showers, concessions, a fishing pier, and a picnic area can provide a great day at the beach.

Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville Beach, an hour and a half drive south of Raleigh, near Wilmington, North Carolina, is a five-mile-long white sand beach with a surfing scene, fishing and boating, and quaint historic cottages, according to Tripcart.com. Lounging the sands at Wrightsville, watching the surfers ride the wild waves, and enjoying the many amenities available for visitors to the area makes for a relaxing day at the beach.

Topsail Island

Topsail Island, just two hours southeast of Raleigh, offers a laid-back attitude and fun on the water. Swimming, beach-combing, surfing, scuba-diving, para-sailing, and pier fishing are just some of the activities you can enjoy on this 26-mile barrier island. Topsail Island is one of the most northern areas where loggerhead turtles lay their eggs and is the home to a sea turtle hospital.

Kure Beach

Kure Beach is an area on North Carolina’s Cape Fear Coast, just south of Raleigh, with numerous activities for the whole family. A fishing pier, aquarium, historic Fort Fisher, cycling, parks and playgrounds, and plenty of scheduled events, all within walking distance, make Kure Beach a favorite for both residents and visitors.

Nags Head

A three-hour drive due east will take you to Nags Head, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, one of the most enjoyable barrier islands on the East Coast. Endless stretches of beach, sand dunes, and a wealth of water activities make it one of the most popular vacation areas in the country. With historical attractions, numerous lodgings and restaurants, and a variety of scheduled event, Nags Head makes a great beach destination for all ages.

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