NC Beaches Are the Best

The NC beaches on the coast are referred to has The Outer Banks(OBX) and the Southern Outer Banks (SOBX) which is  also referred to as The Crystal Coast. The chain of barrier islands that form the NC beaches are a long ribbon of sand that runs from the Virginia state line down the coast toward South Carolina. It is over one hundred miles long and at its widest part only about three miles in width. It is a vast landscape of blue ocean waters, sand dunes, sea grass, gnarled brushes and tress and peaceful sound waters.  Along the NC beaches and coast are many lighthouses. Each different in size, appearance and pain scheme.

 

 

The Outer Banks and The Crystal Coast of North Carolina

The history of the Outer Banks go way back to first the Native Americans, English settlers, marauding pirates, wartime events and the ever present destructive Cape Hatteras Lighthouseweather that constantly erodes the beaches, dunes and even highways of the area. The changing landscape of the Outer Banks is due to the tides, erosion, nor’easters, hurricanes, storms and human impact. Geographical landscape changed are constant and continue to change the appearance of the islands. High tides and blowing sand can alter the sand dunes and cause beach erosion. A storm referred to as a nor’easter can cause extensive damage to the fragile islands. But the most damage comes from the frequent hurricanes that brush the coast or take direct aim. When Hurricane Isabel hit the Outer Banks in 2003 a new inlet was formed just north of Hatteras Village, separating the island in two. Hatteras Village was unable to be accessed for months except by boat until the inlet was filled in by pumping sand into the inlet. Highway 12 was completed destroyed and had to be rebuilt. The most recent Hurricane Irene in August 2011 did it again. Highway 12 was breached in several locations along the Outer Banks. The almost famous Highway 12 was repaired again so islanders could access other islands and the mainland by road.

 

For such a narrow strip of land the Outer Banks of North Carolina offers a long list of activities and adventures for those looking for sun, sand and fun. NC beaches rentals for a vacation are very popular. Activities are surfing, fishing, wind surfing, hang gliding, kayaking, pier fishing, surf fishing, golf, sand dune climbing, parasailing, jet skiing, lighthouse climbing, sailing, shell hunting, and beach combing to name just a few of the exciting sports and activities one can experience on the Outer Banks of North Carolina! And getting married on the Outer Banks next to the ocean or with a beautiful sunset in the background is a perfect setting for all those wedding pictures.

The North Carolina coast has several lighthouses with each one unique in appearance, size and paint scheme. The Currituck Beach Lighthouse located in Corolla is a red brick 158 foot tall structure and can be seen 18 miles out over the ocean waters. The Bodie Island Lighthouse is located on the sound side in South Nags Head. Standing 150 foot in height with horizontal black and white stripes it has a 19 mile beam of visibility. Heading south to Hatteras Island the next lighthouse is one of the most famous lighthouses. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse stands a majestic 208 feet tall and has the black and white candy cane strips. Its beam can be seen 20 miles away and help ships navigate the dangerously shallow Diamond Shoals located just off the coast. Ocracoke Lighthouse is on Ocracoke Island. The shortest of the Outer Banks Lighthouses, it stand at 75 feet tall and is painted solid white. The beam can be seen 14 miles away and the lighthouse marks the entrance to Silver Lake on Ocracoke Island.

Ocracoke Island
Ocracoke Island

The way of transportation to and from some of the islands is unique. The Ferry System of the Outer Banks adds a fun way of island hopping. The ferry service is from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island, Ocracoke to Hatteras, Ocracoke to Swan Quarter, and Ocracoke to Cedar Island. The Hatteras/Ocracoke ferry run takes about 45 minutes. The Ocracoke/Cedar Island trip and the Ocracoke/Swan Quarter trip take about 2 1/2 hours. Its a fun way to site see with the sea gulls circling the ferry or the waves breaking over the bow and unto the cars! Make sure to check the ferry schedules, some require reservations. If there has been a recent storm the ferry schedule can bed altered or all to gather suspended for emergency situations.The waiting time in line can be long in the busy summer season at the Outer Banks.

NC Ferry System
NC Ferry System

The coastal communities up and down the coast have plenty of beach hotels, motels, condos and vacation rentals to provide whatever accommadations you need. From affordable to luxury there is a place for you to enjoy the NC beaches. No matter which area you choose The Outer Banks or the Crystal Coast, a North Carolina beach vacation is awesome. Pack your swimsuit, flip flops, hat and sunscreen and head to the beaches for a great time. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Take a look at all the fun you can have at the NC beaches!

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