I magine pitching your tent among the sand dunes of North Carolina’s barrier islands. Picture parking your RV in the Carolina Beach State Park, with the beach just steps away from your site. The state’s many seaside campsites offer grand vistas of rolling seas, coastal birds swooping amidst the foam of breaking waves and stunning sunsets. Enjoy saltwater fishing and crabbing,Â cast your line off the great piers stretching out into the Atlantic, or just lie on the beach and let the peaceful sounds of the ocean ease your mind.
The Outer Banks of the coastline offer eight historic lighthouses; climb their spiral staircases and view the beaches from an outstanding vantage point. Other exciting points of interest include the site of man’s first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina’s Maritime Museum in Beaufort and the tranquil, fascinating world of the Currituck Sound. Whether you spend the day exploring or relaxing, a restful evening around the campfire will surely prepare you for another day of tackling the outdoors.
Things To Do in North Carolina’s Coastal Plains
Fort Mason State Park – This unique state park offers visitors public access to the beaches of the Crystal Coast as well as an historic landmark. Explore the salt marshes, estuaries, and hike the nature trail. Swimming, fishing, and picnicking are other popular activities. The fort has 26 casements to explore, as well as exhibits and displays, including the restored quarters of officers and soldiers. Visitors can join a guided tour or explore on their own.
Belhaven Memorial Museum - Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this museum houses the personal collection of Eva Blount May, which includes 30,000 buttons, antique dolls & toys, war artifacts, old money, furniture, farm tools, period fashions, and other interesting items. It’s like spending the day in your grandmother’s attic.
Charlotte Regional Farmer’s Market - Pick up some locally grown produce, handmade crafts, baked goods, and plants. Talk to the farmer who harvested the produce you are buying. If you’re not used to buying fruits and vegetables this way, you’ll be hooked after one visit.
Paramount’s Carowinds - The 100-acre water and theme park is one of the most popular family attractions in the Carolinas. The park has more than 50 attractions for all ages. Thrilling rides include Top Gun: The Jet Coaster, a Water Works water park, and musical shows and venues. There are plenty of family rides and a special Zoom Zone children’s area.
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum - There are more than 1,000 shipwrecks off the Atlantic Coast, many of which can be studied at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. As one of the finest, most innovative museums in the nation, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum offers more than a collection of artifacts. Learn about pirates, the Ghostship of Diamond Shoals, and sunken U-boats.
Beach Fun Rentals - Beach Fun Rentals has everything you need to enjoy the beach. Rental equipment includes beach chairs, umbrellas, bikes, bocce ball sets, boogie boards, horseshoe sets, surfboards, linens, baby equipment, kayaks, and much more.
Exploration Station - Welcome to Exploration Station where kids can learn while having fun. Bring your family to visit and watch your kids play doctor, examine real x-rays, milk a cow, put on a play, or watch the ducks cascade down a waterfall. There is something for all ages, even adults. Visit the cafe and gift shop for a unique souvenir.
Oak Island Lighthouse - Built in 1958 standing 17 stories tall, the Oak Island Lighthouse can be seen 24 miles offshore and is the brightest light in the Western Hemisphere. Visitors can view the lighthouse from the outside.
The Lost Colony - The Lost Colony tells the story of the first colony of the New World established in 1587. The 120 men, women, and children vanished suddenly and has been an unexplained mystery for archaeologists and historians alike. The dramatic outdoor drama takes place on the very shores where the colonists made their home over 400 years ago.
Battleship North Carolina - The Visit one of the most popular sites in North Carolina where you walk the decks of the Battleship North Carolina.Â A self-guided tour takes you to nine decks, where you can view the crew’s quarters, the restored bridge, and exhibits displaying WW II era experiences of crew members.
Cape Fear Riverboats - The The Henrietta III offers visitors several cruises including sightseeing, dinner, holiday, and themes on the Cape Fear River. The Capt. J. N. Maffit, a vintage WWII Navy Launch, offers sightseeing tours and a taxi service to the Battleship North Carolina.
Wilmington’s Historic District - Beginning at Water and Market streets and extending outward for 230 blocks, Wilmington’s Historic District is one of the state’s largest. Year-round tours include horse-drawn trolley and carriage, riverboats, trolley car tours, or walking tours. Seasonal themed tours of homes, gardens, churches, and haunted sites are also available. Don’t miss out on the various museums, antiques, live shows, and exceptional shopping & dining opportunities.
DID YOU KNOW . . . The tallest natural sand dune on the East Coast is Jockey’s Ridge at Nags Head, North Carolina. It stands 138 feet tall!
Pictures courtesy of North and South Carolina’s Departments of Tourism.