North Carolina’s Atlantic Coast, protected by barrier islands and warmed by the Gulf Stream, stretches 301 miles from Virginia to South Carolina. Seasonal rates and minimum stays are common at oceanside hotels in North Carolina, but the beaches are less crowded and the pace less frantic during the off season, when rates are better.
Corolla is one of the beaches farthest north along the North Carolina shore. The town has very few permanent residents, and the summer time doesn’t draw as many tourists as more popular beaches along the Outer Banks. It’s possible to find a secluded spot year round. Hampton Inn & Suites, a AAA Three-Diamond property, has an outdoor pool, lazy river and kiddy pool in addition to an oceanfront location. The hotel provides guests with a complimentary hot breakfast, and an adjacent diner serves fresh caught seafood at dinner.
Kill Devil Hills
While Kitty Hawk to the north is famous as the site of the Wright Brothers' first flight, Kill Devil Hills is where the pilots performed their glider experiments. The Wright Brothers National Memorial commemorates their feat. Oceanfront and street side rooms at the Sea Ranch have microwaves and mini-fridges. An indoor heated pool is open year round. The Pearl, located at the hotel, is the only restaurant in Kill Devil Hills directly on the beach. Chef Marc-Jean Berruet oversees the preparation of classic French cuisine cooked with local ingredients.
Wrightsville Beach, near Wilmington, North Carolina, is an East Coast surfing destination. Sea turtles nest on the beach, and volunteers coax them to the ocean once the hatchlings emerge. The Surf Suites provides guests with oceanfront suites with furnished patios and balconies. A freshwater pool, sundeck and gazebo have ocean views. Pets are banned from the beach during most of the year, and they aren’t welcome at Surf Suites. The hotel accommodates handicapped visitors, and adjoining suites combine for large families or groups traveling together.
Ocean Isle Beach
Ocean Isle Beach, on the southernmost part of the North Carolina coast, provides easy access to Wilmington and busy Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The family-oriented Ocean Isle has seven miles of beach with gentle surf where strong currents are uncommon. The Islander Inn, winner of the 2010 Ocean Isle Beach Visitors Guide Editors Choice Award, offers both oceanfront and sound view rooms. A fitness room, indoor heated pool and Jacuzzi compliment the outdoor pool and deck. Thirty-six championship golf courses are within a 10-minute drive of Ocean Isle Beach.
- Emerald Isle Beach 20080714-1210305 image by SIGNSofMIND from Fotolia.com