A Week At The Beach
You can easily spend a week at a North Carolina beach framing an ocean view between your feet and just lazing in the sun. But once you find out how much there is to do on our coast, lying around won’t be at the top of your list. Here’s an itinerary for a week at the beach, North Carolina style.
Day 1 – On the water
Clearly, outdoor activities – like surfing – are a huge draw to our beaches. Our waters are warmer than New England’s and tend to have more consistent waves than Florida beaches. North Carolina has a unique combination of swells, wind and wave patterns, particularly along the northern Outer Banks. The original site of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is a favorite of North Carolina surfers, but you can find good surfing spots all along the coast. Wind surfing and kiteboarding also are very popular on our coast. If surfing is not your thing, rent a sea kayak or a personal watercraft and hit the waves. Hungry? Fresh seafood is everywhere.
Day 2 – Water under glass
Take a trip to one of North Carolina’s three state-owned aquariums. No matter where you are on our coast, you are not too far from one of them. You’ll find them at Roanoke Island, Pine Knoll Shores and Fort Fisher, near Wilmington. A must-see at the Roanoke Island Aquarium is the Graveyard of the Atlantic tank. Besides more than 1,000 sea creatures like turtles, tarpon and sharks, the tank features a replica of the 53-foot-long Civil War ironclad, USS Monitor. If you are at the Roanoke Island Aquarium, wrap up your day with a dip at the Old Swimming Hole, a beachfront park that is right next door. The gentle waves on the sound side are just right for little ones. Find a restaurant that serves Calabash-style seafood.
Day 3 – Above the water
Orville and Wilbur Wright were the first people to see North Carolina’s coast by air, and we encourage you to follow their lead. Take an airplane tour to get a feel for and appreciation of the North Carolina coast. You might swoop down over one of the many shipwrecks on our coast, or see a pod of dolphins frolicking offshore. One company even offers flights in an open cockpit plane and provides passengers with Red Baron-style goggles and a leather helmet for the flight. Our advice: take a camera and call a day in advance for reservations. If you’d feel safer flying if you were attached to a rope, parasailing operations abound. Check with the local Convention and Visitors Bureau to find out about air tours where you are vacationing. Try soft shell crab for dinner.
Day 4 – Under the water
Now that you have spotted those submerged shipwrecks, let’s take a closer look at them. Scuba divers from around the world visit the North Carolina coast just because of our shipwrecks. The Crystal Coast area that includes Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Emerald Isle and Morehead City is one of the prime diving destinations in North America. One of our most popular dives is at the: U-352, a vintage German U-boat. Off Wilmington, you’ll find a number of Civil War–era wrecks. Near Hatteras is the Tarpon, a US sub built in 1936 that sank in 1957 on its way to the salvage yard. Wherever you are on the coast, you’ll find dive instructors available to train the beginners and a number of dive companies that offer dive tours and charter services. For a change of pace, find a restaurant that serves North Carolina-style barbeque.
Day 5 – A line in the water
Today it’s more of a past-time, but not so long ago fishing was a way of life for many North Carolina coastal residents. There are many different ways to enjoy fishing along our 4,000 miles of shoreline. Aquatic life is found in the canals and sounds, off the piers and beyond the horizon. Your small fry may be happiest fishing from one of our piers. That way, they are never too far from a cooling dip in the surf if the fish aren’t cooperating. Bigger anglers looking for king-sized action may want to take a charter boat out in search of tuna, king mackerel, marlin and other off-shore denizens of the deep. Cook what you catch.
Day 6 – Off the water
Get ready for some serious shopping. From antiques to the latest fashions and jewelry to art, you can find it on our coast. Artists find the relaxing pace of coastal life to their liking. So, you’ll find jewelers making pieces from beach glass, potters making the functional and the fanciful, as well as painters and woodcarvers. Near the Cape Lookout National Seashore is the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum Gift Shop. Here you can find our famous carved wooden decoys, as well as other wildlife related objects. Be sure to try the hush puppies at lunch.
Day 7 – Buy the water
It’s almost time to leave but you have fallen in love with North Carolina. So, buy your own piece of the North Carolina coast and stay.
For More Information:
added: December 15, 2008
updated: December 22, 2008
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