Best Places to Live in North Carolina Near the Beach

Best Places to Live in North Carolina Near the Beach

North Carolina offers a variety of beautiful beach towns to live in. Whether you enjoy the bustling city life or the quiet charm of a small town, there is a perfect place for you. In this article, we will explore the best places to live in North Carolina near the beach, the cost of living in these towns, the activities and attractions they offer, and the schools and education options available. Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Wilmington, Outer Banks, and Emerald Isle are some of the best places to live in North Carolina near the beach.
  • The cost of living in North Carolina beach towns includes housing, transportation, and utilities.
  • Beach activities, water sports, and fishing are popular attractions in North Carolina beach towns.
  • Public schools, private schools, and higher education options are available in North Carolina beach towns.

Best Places to Live in North Carolina Near the Beach


Wilmington is a vibrant coastal city located in southeastern North Carolina. Known for its historic charm and picturesque riverfront, Wilmington offers a great mix of urban amenities and beachside living. The city is home to several top-rated schools and has a thriving arts and culture scene.

Residents and visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities, including boatingfishing, and surfing. With its mild climate and beautiful beaches, Wilmington is a popular destination for both tourists and those looking to relocate. The cost of living in Wilmington is relatively affordable compared to other beach towns in North Carolina. The table below provides a comparison of the cost of housing, transportation, and utilities in Wilmington with other beach towns in the state.

Category Wilmington Outer Banks Emerald Isle
Housing Affordable Expensive Moderate
Transportation Convenient Limited Limited
Utilities Reasonable Expensive Expensive

Wilmington offers a perfect blend of coastal beauty and urban convenience, making it an ideal place to live for those seeking a beach town with a vibrant community.

Outer Banks

The Outer Banks is a popular destination for beach lovers in North Carolina. With its stunning coastline, pristine beaches, and historic lighthouses, it offers a unique and picturesque setting. Visitors can enjoy a variety of water sports such as surfing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

The area is also known for its fishing opportunities, with charter boats available for deep-sea fishing excursions. In addition to its natural beauty, the Outer Banks is home to a number of charming towns with quaint shops and delicious seafood restaurants. It’s a great place to relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Important Information
Climate: Mild and humid
Population: Varies by season
Cost of Living: Higher than average
  • Best time to visit: Summer months
  • Must-see attractions: Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Wright Brothers National Memorial

The Outer Banks truly offers a unique coastal experience that combines natural beauty, outdoor activities, and a laid-back lifestyle. It’s a place where you can unwind and appreciate the wonders of the beach.

Emerald Isle

Emerald Isle is a picturesque town located on the southern Outer Banks of North Carolina. With its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and stunning sunsets, it is no wonder that Emerald Isle is considered one of the best places to live in North Carolina near the beach. The town offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including swimming, surfing, and boating.

Additionally, Emerald Isle is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options, ensuring residents have plenty to do in their free time. The cost of living in Emerald Isle is relatively affordable compared to other beach towns in the area, making it an attractive option for those looking to enjoy the coastal lifestyle without breaking the bank.

Housing | The cost of housing in Emerald Isle is reasonable, with a variety of options available, including beachfront properties and cozy cottages.

Residents of Emerald Isle enjoy a high quality of life, surrounded by natural beauty and a strong sense of community.

  • Outdoor activities
  • Beautiful beaches
  • Variety of shops and restaurants

Cost of Living in North Carolina Beach Towns


In North Carolina beach towns, transportation options are convenient and accessible. Residents can choose from various modes of transportation, including private vehiclespublic buses, and bicycles. The coastal towns have well-maintained road networks, making it easy to travel within and between different areas. Additionally, there are ferry services available for those who want to explore nearby islands and coastal destinations. Whether you prefer to drive, take public transportation, or enjoy a scenic bike ride, getting around in North Carolina beach towns is a breeze.

Mode of Transportation Availability
Private Vehicles High
Public Buses Moderate
Bicycles High
Ferry Services Limited

Living in a North Carolina beach town allows residents to enjoy the convenience and flexibility of different transportation options, making it easy to explore the surrounding areas and enjoy all the coastal attractions.


In North Carolina beach towns, utilities such as electricity, water, and internet are essential for daily life. The cost of utilities varies depending on the location and the size of the property. It is important to consider the availability of utilities when choosing a place to live. Some towns offer reliable and affordable utility services, while others may have higher costs or limited options. It is advisable to research and compare utility providers in the area before making a decision. Here is a table summarizing the average monthly costs of utilities in popular North Carolina beach towns:

Town Electricity Water Internet
Wilmington $100 $50 $60
Outer Banks $120 $60 $70
Emerald Isle $110 $55 $65

Additionally, residents can take advantage of various energy-saving programs and initiatives offered by the utility companies. These programs aim to promote sustainable living and reduce energy consumption. It is recommended to explore these options to lower utility bills and contribute to a greener environment.

Living in a North Carolina beach town provides the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the coast while still having access to essential services and amenities.

Activities and Attractions in North Carolina Beach Towns

Beach Activities

When it comes to beach activities in North Carolina, there is something for everyone. From sunbathing and building sandcastles to surfing and kayaking, the coastal towns offer a wide range of options. If you’re a nature lover, you can explore the beautiful hiking trails along the coastline or go birdwatching in the nearby marshes. For those seeking adventure, there are opportunities for parasailing and jet skiing. And if you just want to relax and enjoy the view, you can take a leisurely beach walk or simply sit back and watch the waves. With so many activities to choose from, North Carolina beach towns are the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Water Sports

In North Carolina beach towns, water sports are a popular activity for both locals and visitors. From surfing to kayaking, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the water. The Outer Banks, in particular, is known for its great surf breaks and attracts surfers from all over. If you prefer a more leisurely water activity, you can try paddleboarding or jet skiing.

Exploring the coastline on a kayak or paddleboard allows you to see the beautiful scenery up close. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, parasailing and kiteboarding are thrilling options. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced water sports enthusiast, there’s something for everyone in North Carolina beach towns.

Here are some popular water sports in North Carolina beach towns:

Water Sport Description
Surfing Riding ocean waves using a surfboard.
Kayaking Paddling a small boat through the water using a double-bladed paddle.
Paddleboarding Standing on a wide board and propelling oneself with a paddle.
Jet Skiing Riding a small motorized watercraft.

Water sports provide a great way to stay active and enjoy the beautiful coastal environment in North Carolina beach towns.


Fishing is a popular activity in North Carolina beach towns, offering residents and visitors the opportunity to catch a variety of fish species. Whether you prefer surf fishingpier fishing, or deep-sea fishing, there are plenty of options available. Some of the popular fish species you can expect to find include red drumflounder, and bluefish.

Local fishing charters provide guided trips for those who want to experience the thrill of offshore fishing. Additionally, there are several fishing tournaments held throughout the year, attracting anglers from all over. If you’re a fishing enthusiast, North Carolina beach towns offer abundant opportunities to indulge in your favorite pastime.

Fish Species Best Fishing Spots
Red Drum Cape Hatteras
Flounder Topsail Island
Bluefish Wrightsville Beach

Fishing is not just a hobby, it’s a way of life for many residents in North Carolina beach towns.

Schools and Education in North Carolina Beach Towns

Public Schools

Public schools in North Carolina beach towns offer a high-quality education for students. The schools focus on providing a well-rounded curriculum that prepares students for future success. Extracurricular activities such as sports teams, clubs, and community service opportunities are also available to enhance students’ learning experience.

Teachers in these schools are dedicated and experienced, ensuring that students receive the best possible education. Additionally, public schools in North Carolina beach towns prioritize the safety and well-being of students, providing a nurturing and supportive environment. Overall, the public schools in these beach towns are an excellent choice for families seeking a top-notch education for their children.

Features Benefits
Well-rounded curriculum Provides a comprehensive education
Extracurricular activities Enhances students’ learning experience
Dedicated and experienced teachers Ensures high-quality education
Safe and supportive environment Prioritizes students’ well-being

Private Schools

In addition to the excellent public school options, North Carolina beach towns also offer a variety of private schools for families seeking alternative education. These private schools provide a unique and personalized learning experience for students. Some of the notable private schools in the area include:

  • Seaside Academy: A prestigious school known for its rigorous academic curriculum and emphasis on character development.
  • Coastal Preparatory School: A college-preparatory school that focuses on academic excellence and offers a wide range of extracurricular activities.

In the words of a local parent, “Private schools in North Carolina beach towns provide an exceptional education with a strong sense of community and individualized attention.”

Higher Education

In addition to the excellent public and private schools, North Carolina beach towns also offer a variety of higher education options. University of North Carolina Wilmington is a top-ranked university located in Wilmington, providing a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs.

Another notable institution is the North Carolina State University Coastal Science and Engineering Program, which focuses on coastal and marine research. Additionally, there are community colleges and technical schools that provide specialized training and education for various careers. With these options, residents of North Carolina beach towns have access to quality higher education opportunities.

Here is a table showing some of the higher education institutions in North Carolina beach towns:

Institution Location
UNC Wilmington Wilmington
NC State Coastal Science and Engineering Program Raleigh
Cape Fear Community College Wilmington

Please note that the table only includes a few examples and there are other institutions in the area.

In terms of extracurricular activities, students and residents can enjoy a vibrant college life with numerous clubs, organizations, and events happening throughout the year. Whether it’s attending a lecture by a renowned professor or participating in a beach cleanup initiative, there are plenty of opportunities for personal and academic growth in the higher education institutions of North Carolina beach towns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any pet-friendly beaches in North Carolina?

Yes, there are several pet-friendly beaches in North Carolina. Some popular ones include Topsail Beach, Oak Island, and Atlantic Beach.

What is the best time to visit the North Carolina beach towns?

The best time to visit the North Carolina beach towns is during the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is warm and the water is perfect for swimming and other water activities.

Are there any beachfront rentals available in North Carolina beach towns?

Yes, there are beachfront rentals available in North Carolina beach towns. You can find a variety of options ranging from beach houses to condos.

Some popular water sports in North Carolina beach towns include surfing, paddleboarding, kayaking, and jet skiing.

Are there any public transportation options in North Carolina beach towns?

While public transportation options may vary depending on the specific beach town, most towns have local buses or shuttles that provide transportation within the town and to nearby attractions.

What are the average home prices in North Carolina beach towns?

The average home prices in North Carolina beach towns vary depending on the location and size of the property. Generally, beachfront properties tend to be more expensive compared to properties further inland.


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