Let’s talk about the best beaches near Raleigh. Raleigh, North Carolina, may be nestled in the heart of the Piedmont region, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the coastal beauty and relaxation of a beach getaway.
Fortunately, there are several incredible beaches just a short drive away from Raleigh, offering sandy shores, sparkling waters, and a range of outdoor activities.
Here are the Best Beaches in and Near Raleigh, North Carolina
In this guide, we’ll explore the top beaches near Raleigh, providing you with their addresses, phone numbers, and websites, so you can easily plan your next coastal adventure.
Located just two hours southeast of Raleigh, Wrightsville Beach is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. This barrier island offers pristine white sand beaches, inviting surf, and a laid-back coastal atmosphere.
With its crystal-clear waters and excellent waves, Wrightsville Beach is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, including surfers, paddleboarders, and kayakers.
Address: Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480
Phone: (910) 256-8116
Situated approximately two and a half hours southeast of Raleigh, Topsail Beach is a tranquil and family-friendly coastal retreat. Known for its uncrowded beaches and picturesque sunsets, Topsail Beach offers a relaxing atmosphere and opportunities for beachcombing, fishing, and wildlife spotting.
Explore the pristine coastline, visit the Topsail Island State Preserve, or embark on a scenic boat tour to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
Address: Topsail Beach, NC 28445
Phone: (910) 328-5841
Located around three hours southeast of Raleigh, Atlantic Beach is a charming seaside town with a wide, sandy beach and a lively waterfront area. With its inviting waves and gentle sea breeze, Atlantic Beach is a perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and building sandcastles.
The area also offers various water activities such as fishing charters, boat rentals, and dolphin-watching tours. After a day of fun in the sun, visit the local shops and restaurants for a taste of fresh seafood.
Address: Atlantic Beach, NC 28512
Phone: (252) 726-2121
Approximately three and a half hours southeast of Raleigh, Emerald Isle is a picturesque barrier island known for its pristine beaches and stunning ocean views. With 12 miles of uninterrupted shoreline, visitors can enjoy long walks along the sand, collect seashells, or simply relax under the warm sun.
The crystal-clear waters of Emerald Isle are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and boogie boarding. Additionally, the island offers nature trails, parks, and kayak rentals for those seeking a break from the beach.
Address: Emerald Isle, NC 28594
Phone: (252) 354-3424
Situated about three and a half hours southeast of Raleigh, Oak Island is a hidden gem on the southern coast of North Carolina. This charming beach town offers 10 miles of sandy shoreline and a range of recreational activities.
Whether you’re fishing from the pier, strolling along the beach, or birdwatching in the nearby nature preserves, Oak Island provides a peaceful and unspoiled coastal experience. Don’t miss the opportunity to climb the Oak Island Lighthouse for panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Address: Oak Island, NC 28465
Phone: (910) 278-5011
Located just three hours southeast of Raleigh, Carolina Beach is a vibrant coastal town known for its lively boardwalk, vibrant entertainment, and beautiful sandy beaches. This family-friendly destination offers a range of activities, including swimming, sunbathing, beach volleyball, and fishing.
Explore the Carolina Beach State Park, where you can hike scenic trails, go kayaking, or spot the rare Venus flytrap plants. Indulge in fresh seafood at local restaurants and enjoy live music at the beachfront venues.
Address: Carolina Beach, NC 28428
Phone: (910) 458-2999
Situated just south of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach is a charming coastal community known for its peaceful atmosphere and natural beauty. With its wide sandy beaches and gentle surf, Kure Beach is an excellent spot for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing.
Visit the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, where you can discover fascinating marine life and even touch a stingray. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the historic Fort Fisher State Historic Site and the nearby Carolina Beach State Park.
Address: Kure Beach, NC 28449
Phone: (910) 458-8216
Situated around four hours southeast of Raleigh, Holden Beach is a quiet and family-friendly beach destination known for its serene atmosphere and pristine shoreline.
With its wide sandy beaches and gentle waves, Holden Beach is perfect for leisurely walks, shell collecting, and building sandcastles.
The island also offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and kayaking. Take a break from the beach and explore the nearby Holden Beach Marsh Walk, where you can spot various bird species and enjoy the picturesque marsh views.
Address: Holden Beach, NC 28462
Phone: (910) 842-6488
Hammocks Beach State Park
Located around three and a half hours southeast of Raleigh, Hammocks Beach State Park offers a unique coastal experience with its secluded beaches and unspoiled natural beauty.
Accessible only by ferry, this undeveloped barrier island provides a peaceful retreat where visitors can enjoy pristine beaches, go for nature hikes, and explore the scenic salt marshes.
Take a kayak or paddleboard to explore the waters or embark on a guided educational program to learn more about the diverse ecosystems in the park.
Address: 1572 Hammocks Beach Rd, Swansboro, NC 28584
Phone: (910) 326-4881
Ocean Isle Beach
Situated approximately four hours southeast of Raleigh, Ocean Isle Beach offers a serene coastal escape with its beautiful sandy beaches and relaxed atmosphere. This family-friendly destination is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and fishing.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the shoreline or rent a bike to explore the island. Golf enthusiasts can tee off at one of the championship golf courses in the area. Ocean Isle Beach also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, providing entertainment for visitors of all ages.
Address: Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
Phone: (910) 579-2166
Situated approximately four and a half hours southeast of Raleigh, Sunset Beach is a serene coastal retreat known for its beautiful sunsets and pristine shoreline. This tranquil beach offers wide stretches of sandy beaches, perfect for long walks and relaxing under the sun.
The Kindred Spirit Mailbox, located on the beach, provides an opportunity for visitors to share their thoughts and reflections. Explore the Bird Island Coastal Reserve, a protected area that is home to various bird species and offers scenic hiking trails.
Address: Sunset Beach, NC 28468
Phone: (910) 579-6297
Bald Head Island
Located around four and a half hours southeast of Raleigh, Bald Head Island offers a secluded and picturesque coastal experience. Accessible only by ferry, this car-free island provides a tranquil escape with its unspoiled beaches, lush maritime forests, and abundance of wildlife.
Explore the island on a bicycle or golf cart, visit the iconic Old Baldy Lighthouse for panoramic views, and relax on the pristine beaches. Bald Head Island is a perfect destination for nature lovers, birdwatchers, and those seeking a peaceful retreat.
Address: Bald Head Island, NC 28461
Phone: (910) 457-9700
Situated approximately three and a half hours southeast of Raleigh, Surf City is a vibrant beach town located on Topsail Island. Known for its laid-back atmosphere and excellent surf conditions, Surf City attracts surfers and beach lovers alike.
Enjoy the wide sandy beaches for sunbathing and swimming, or try your hand at fishing from the Surf City Ocean Pier. Explore the local shops and restaurants, and indulge in fresh seafood. Surf City also hosts various events throughout the year, including festivals and concerts.
Address: Surf City, NC 28445
Phone: (910) 328-4131
Located around four hours southeast of Raleigh, Caswell Beach is a peaceful and scenic beach destination on Oak Island. With its uncrowded shoreline and tranquil ambiance, Caswell Beach offers a relaxing coastal getaway.
Spend your days lounging on the sandy beach, taking refreshing dips in the ocean, or exploring the nearby Oak Island Lighthouse. Nature enthusiasts can visit the nearby Oak Island Nature Center, which provides educational exhibits and nature trails showcasing the island’s diverse ecosystems.
Address: Caswell Beach, NC 28465
Phone: (910) 278-5471
Conclusion on the Best Beaches near Raleigh, North Carolina
With an array of stunning beaches just a short drive away from Raleigh, residents, and visitors have ample opportunities to escape to the coast and enjoy sun-soaked days, picturesque shorelines, and a range of outdoor activities.
Whether you prefer the lively atmosphere of Carolina Beach, the serene beauty of Holden Beach, or the secluded paradise of Hammocks Beach State Park, these coastal destinations offer something for everyone. Pack your beach gear, grab your loved ones, and embark on a memorable coastal getaway near Raleigh.