North Carolina – What to SEE in ’23
Coastal Communities in NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina’s geographical diversity includes culturally rich mountain towns and Piedmont cities that are national leaders in business, education, and medical services. But it’s the unique communities along the North Carolina coast that make the state such an inviting destination.
The historic port city of Wilmington is North Carolina’s coastal hub of commerce and culture. The lively downtown area features the two-mile Wilmington Riverwalk that USA Today readers chose as one of the nation’s 10 Best. Nearby are shops, art galleries, and museums to visit, along with natural attractions like the renowned Arlie Gardens. With so many exciting new local restaurants, Yelp named Wilmington among the 2022 Top 10 Foodie Cities, while the 2023 calendar of signature events include the North Carolina Jazz Festival (February 2-4) and North Carolina Azalea Festival (April 12-16). Ten oceanfront communities are just a short drive away, and the expanded Wilmington International Airport has non-stop flights from Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, D.C.
The Brunswick Islands
South of Wilmington are North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands and two of the state’s most unique coastal communities. Southport’s picture-perfect downtown has been a setting for feature films and TV shows. At the same time, Calabash is the renowned “Seafood Capital of the World.” In between, you’ll find 45 miles of uncrowded shorelines on Oak Island, Holden Beach, Ocean Isle, and Sunset Beach, all offering family-friendly seaside accommodations and fishing piers that stretch out more than 300 yards above the surf. The area also offers nature museums, wildlife refuges, water-sports outfitters, and 30 championship golf courses.
Located on the state’s Crystal Coast, Beaufort is such a welcoming place that Budget Traveler magazine named it “America’s Coolest Small Town.” Along the downtown waterfront, you can enjoy casual restaurants with outdoor dining, peruse galleries that feature local artists, and stroll along the Front Street Boardwalk to the North Carolina Maritime Museum. The town’s unique water-taxi service takes you to the pristine Rachel Carson Coastal Reserve and the Cape Lookout Nature Preserve, while the Beaufort Music Festival (May 19-20) tops the list of 2023 events.
The scenic town of New Bern was founded in 1701, served as North Carolina’s first state capital, and is set on the high banks of two rivers that flow into Pamlico Sound. As such, it’s both a natural destination for kayaking, boating, and fishing as well as a home to four neighborhoods on the National Register of Historic Places. The downtown area also features outdoor art walks, farmers markets, the sublime Tryon Palace & Gardens, and the drugstore soda fountain where Pepsi-Cola was invented.
The Outer Banks
Every visit to the North Carolina coast should include a tour of the Outer Banks, a 150-mile stretch of barrier islands with protected National Seashore beaches and laid-back oceanfront towns. Among the featured attractions are the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kitty Hawk, the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, and the historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
For more about these great coastal destinations in North Carolina, go to VisitNC.com or get the facts about relocation at RetireNC.com.
Find Your Ideal Home in North Carolina
There are many reasons people choose to relocate to or retire in North Carolina. For one, the cost of living is hard to beat. There’s no state income tax, and property prices are notably reasonable. Find your ideal home here.
By JG Walker