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12 Top-Rated Beach Resorts in North Carolina

Written by Carri Wilbanks
Dec 16, 2019

Sandy barrier islands; gentle waves; warm water; and a laid-back, family-friendly vibe make North Carolina's 300 miles of coastline and the beach resorts along it a perfect place to spend a summer holiday. Catch a sunset on Emerald Island, play in the golden sand at Kitty Hawk in the Outer Banks, or take a stroll along the historic wooden boardwalk on Carolina Beach near Wilmington. Whatever you are in the mood for, the beautiful beaches North Carolina indulge.

Many of the resorts listed here are on the barrier islands making up the Outer Banks, places like Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, and Corola, which are in the northern part of the state near Virginia. There are also beaches along the mainland, however, with a few top choices filled with hotels and resorts just outside Wilmington, at the southern end of the state near Georgia. In this area, you'll discover lodging around Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach.

Find a great place to stay with our list of the top beach resorts in North Carolina.

1. Sanderling Resort

Photo Source: Sanderling Resort

The 4-star Sanderling Resort on the beach in Duck is the only full-service resort in North Carolina's beautiful Outer Banks area. Set between the Atlantic Ocean and Currituck Sound, most of the 120 rooms and suites and five vacation home rentals have water views. They also have contemporary decor, lovely marble bathrooms, and furnished balconies.

On-site amenities include two outdoor swimming pools (one is for adults-only; the other is family friendly) and an indoor pool with hot tubs. There are also three restaurants, as well as a spa and fitness center.

On chilly nights, the outdoor fire pits are great for roasting s'mores around. There is also direct beach access.

Address: 1461 Duck Road, Duck, North Carolina

Accommodation: Sanderling Resort

2. Outer Banks Beach Club I & II

Photo Source: Outer Banks Beach Club I & II

Right on the oceanfront in Kill Devil Hills, the Outer Banks Beach Clubs I & II are a cluster of vacation condo rentals in a resort set up. The condos have one-, two-, or three-bedrooms, so they are a great choice for families with kids, as there is plenty of space to move around. They also come with full kitchens and private decks. Some have Jacuzzi bathtubs as well.

The beach can be accessed via a boardwalk, and resort amenities include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, including two dedicated to children (this is a very family-friendly property). There is also a hot tub, tennis courts, a kids' club, and shuffleboard courts.

Address: Mile Post 9 Virginia Dare Trail, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Accommodation: Outer Banks Beach Club I & II

3. Sea Ranch Resort

Photo Source: Sea Ranch Resort

Experience Kill Devil Hills and the beauty of the Outer Banks with a stay at Sea Ranch Resort. In a great location right on the beach, the family-friendly resort offers a mix of rooms and condos.

The most affordable rooms don't have ocean views, but they are still comfortable and feature fun retro tropical decor. The oceanfront rooms are larger and come with either two queen beds or a king bed with a sleeper sofa. The balconies facing the Atlantic Ocean are a wonderful place to watch the sunrise. For larger families or groups there are two-bedroom, two-bath condos, some of which are pet friendly.

Amenities include an American bistro restaurant, cabana rentals on the beach, an indoor swimming pool, and a gym. During summer there are free yoga and pilates classes offered to guests.

Address: 1731 N Virginia Dare Trl PO Box 325, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Accommodation: Sea Ranch Resort

4. Blockade Runner Beach Resort

Photo Source: Blockade Runner Beach Resort

The vintage eclectic Blockade Runner Beach Resort sits on a gorgeous section of Wrightsville Beach outside of Wilmington, and there are great ocean views around the property.

The rooms and suites come in a variety of sizes and color palettes. Our favorites are the oceanfront king suites with a bright turquoise accent wall, white leather furnishings, and a zebra striped rug. Even the more basic oceanfront rooms come with red and white pinstripe curtains and matching pillows, cool tile floors, and balconies facing the sea.

Amenities here include direct access to the beach, and guests can take out kayaks or surfboards to play in the Atlantic Ocean. There is also a pool, seasonal kids' club, spa, and a restaurant with an oceanfront balcony for outdoor dining.

Address: 275 Waynick Boulevard, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Accommodation: Blockade Runner Beach Resort

5. The Winds Resort Beach Club

Photo Source: The Winds Resort Beach Club

On Ocean Isle Beach, The Winds Resort Beach Club is a family-owned resort with a relaxing ambience. The accommodation comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, including rooms and suites (some with ocean views) and multi-bedroom cottages with full kitchens that are a top pick with families or even groups of friends. The grounds here are also lovely, with banana trees, palms, and sweet-scented flowers.

A free Southern breakfast buffet is served each morning. There are also indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a hot tub, and a gym on-site. Bike rentals are also available. The resort is also pet friendly.

Address: 310 E First St, Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina

Accommodation: The Winds Resort Beach Club

6. Holiday Inn Resort Wilmington E-Wrightsville Beach

Photo Source: Holiday Inn Resort Wilmington E-Wrightsville Beach

On Wrightsville Beach and about 20 minutes from downtown Wilmington, this Holiday Inn Resort is a family favorite. It has a kids' club on-site, as well as indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a hot tub, and a fitness room.

Accommodation is in a mix of rooms and suites, which are clean and comfortable. All come with balconies and suites and also feature whirlpool baths, and pullout sofa beds in the living rooms. There are a few different dining options on-site, and room service is also offered.

Address: 1706 N Lumina Ave, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Accommodation: Holiday Inn Resort Wilmington E Wrightsville Beach

7. Hampton Inn & Suites Outer Banks/Corolla

Photo Source: Hampton Inn & Suites Outer Banks/Corolla

Right on the beach, surrounded by windswept dunes in Corolla, which is part of North Carolina's fragile Outer Banks ecosystem, this Hampton Inn & Suites is a relaxing resort. Many of the colorfully decorated rooms and suites come with ocean views. Some also feature furnished balconies.

On-site amenities include indoor and outdoor swimming pools (including one for kids) a lazy river, hot tub, fitness room, and private beach access. There is also a free hot breakfast in the morning.

If you want to golf, the property is just a few miles from Currituck Club golf course. The front desk can also help arrange area excursions, from kayaking tours to seeing wild horses.

Address: 333 Audubon Drive, Corolla, North Carolina

Accommodation: Hampton Inn Suites Outer Banks/Corolla

8. Golden Sands

Photo Source: Golden Sands

Facing Carolina Beach, Ocean Sands is a 5-story hotel less than 30 minutes' drive from downtown Wilmington. It is also just a mile from the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, which is filled with restaurants and an amusement park.

The rooms all feature pullout couches, as well as microwaves and mini-fridges, but some also come with balconies and ocean views. Suites add living space and kitchenettes.

Amenities here include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a hot tub, fitness room, and a fishing pier. There is also a restaurant on-site and direct beach access. Parking is also free.

Address: 1211 Lake Park Blvd S, Carolina Beach, North Carolina

Accommodation: Golden Sands

9. Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks/Kitty Hawk

Photo Source: Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks/Kitty Hawk

For a reliable, mid-range hotel, stay in Kitty Hawk on the Outer Banks, the Hilton Garden Inn is true to brand.

The rooms are clean and comfortable and feature private balconies with either direct or partial ocean views. The oceanfront king rooms are our favorites, with whirlpool bathtubs, and are great for romantic getaways. All rooms have microwaves, mini-fridges, and coffee makers.

On-site amenities include indoor and outdoor swimming pools and a gym. The hotel also does a complimentary hot breakfast.

If you like to cast a line, the Kitty Hawk Fishing Pier is just across the street.

Address: 5353 North Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

Accommodation: Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks/Kitty Hawk

10. Islander Hotel & Resort

Photo Source: Islander Hotel & Resort

A popular wedding venue, Islander Hotel & Resort is on the 12-mile-long Emerald Isle Beach.

The rooms and suites here are classy and comfortable, and most have some kind of ocean views. The interior design incorporates various shades of wood into floors and headboards, plus ocean-focused colors and artwork. All rooms have kitchenettes, and the suites also come with breakfast bars, full-sized refrigerators, and balconies (make sure to watch the sunrise).

Amenities include a beachfront swimming pool with cabanas, volleyball courts, and a picnic area with barbecues guests can use. There are also seasonal family activities arranged.

Address: 102 Islander Drive, Emerald Isle, North Carolina

Accommodation: Islander Hotel & Resort

11. Sandpeddler Inn & Suites

Photo Source: Sandpeddler Inn & Suites

Facing Wrightsville Beach, which is just outside of Wilmington city limits, the Sandpeddler Inn & Suites is right on the beach and within walking distance of shops and restaurants.

The all suite accommodation features contemporary rooms with fun colors and patterns and beach style furnishings. The family-friendly suites are condo style, and most have full kitchens inclusive of stoves and ovens.

Amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, and a complimentary continental breakfast. There is no on-site restaurant, but there are dining options within walking distance.

Address: 15 Nathan Ave, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Accommodation: Sandpeddler Inn & Suites

12. Best Western Ocean Reef Suites

Photo Source: Best Western Ocean Reef Suites

On a wide white-sand stretch of beach in Kill Devil Hills, the Best Western Ocean Reef offers all suites accommodation. The suites are clean and comfortable but not exceptionally fancy. Still, it is a good choice for families, as the price point is good and the rooms are spacious and feature kitchenettes.

Amenities include a swimming pool and hot tub, beach access, and a gym. A free breakfast buffet with hot and cold selections is put out every morning, but there is no restaurant on-site. That said, the location is great and within walking distance from a number of restaurants and shops.

Address: 107 S Virginia Dare Trl, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Accommodation: Best Western Ocean Reef Suites

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com

Best Beaches in North Carolina: We've given you a roundup of the best resorts here, but if you want to learn more about the beaches themselves, check out our article on the Top-Rated Beaches in North Carolina. Note that there are beaches like Atlantic Beach and Nags Head Beach on this list with awesome lodging options that are just not resort focused.

Around North Carolina: There is much more to North Carolina than its coastline, and in fact some of the state's best sights and attractions lie inland. The state is equally well known for its mountain culture. If you want to explore more, see our article on the Top-Rated Mountain Towns in North Carolina for the scoop on exploring this scenic part of the state.

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