Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

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Summer is almost over and, if you’re anything like me, you can’t help thinking it’s gone by far too quickly. Luckily, there’s still some time left, so North Carolina natives won’t have to lock themselves up in their sunless Jamestown apartments again just yet. Want to make the most of these last few weeks of summer? Here are my picks for top 4 beaches North Carolina.

Top 4 beaches in North Carolina

Top 4 Beaches North Carolina includes Emerald Isle

Top 4 Beaches North Carolina

Emerald Isle

With a name like “Emerald Isle,” you know you’re in for something special. This beach lives up to its moniker. Emerald Isle offers miles of gorgeous white-sand beaches. It is surrounded by some of the most vibrant and clear blue-green waters you’ve ever seen.

Related: Swim with manatees in Crystal River, Florida

Rent a jet-ski and speed up and down the eye-popping Crystal Coast or take the kids to Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier to cast a line, watch the waves, and maybe catch a snack for later.

Avon Beach

North Carolina has a lot of wonderful, well-known beaches. The only downside to them is that they’re usually crawling with vacationing tourists. Sometimes you just want to get away and enjoy the shining sun in peace and privacy.

That’s when a hidden gem like Avon Beach really shines. This small town doesn’t have many of the amenities and attractions that draw visitors to other areas, but it does have a remote stretch of rolling, golden sand where you can unfold a beach chair and properly relax.

Carolina Beach

If you’re looking for a beach with more than just sand and seawater, Carolina Beach has the one thing the other hotspots on this list sadly lack: an old-fashioned boardwalk.

Carolina Beach

Top 4 beaches North Carolina – Carolina Beach. Wikimedia Creative Commons – By Mx. Granger – Own work, CC0,

Lined with shops, attractions, and restaurants, the historic Carolina Beach Boardwalk has fun in the sun to spare. This includes a permanent carnival-style midway. It is also completed with a full-size Ferris Wheel. If that isn’t enough, make sure to drop by the Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar for a tropical drink and some coastal cuisine.

Carova Beach

Most North Carolina locals have heard of the wild horses of the Outer Banks. But unless you’ve been to Carova Beach, you’ve probably never seen them with your own eyes. That’s an oversight that absolutely should be corrected immediately.

Descended from 16th century Spanish steeds, Carova’s untamed horses spend their days munching on marsh grass and wandering the sandy dunes. Although beach-goers are instructed to keep their distance, just glimpsing these majestic creatures is enough to make Carova a can’t-miss destination.

Adventure on!