Which Carolina Beach is Best for Your Family?


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Courtesy Sarah Jessup/Shutterstock.com

Headed to the coast this summer?

Take our quiz to find out which beach best matches your family's vacation personality.

Where do you like to stay on vacation?

A. We usually rent a house or condo.

B. A small family-friendly hotel or rental house with a pool.

C. We love high-rise hotels with spectacular views of the beach, or a resort with a lazy river and indoor and outdoor pools.

How do you feel about other vacationers?

A. We prefer very quiet beaches and solitude. We would LOVE to have the beach to ourselves.

B. We don't mind people, but dislike large crowds and heavy traffic.

C. The more, the merrier!

What are YOUR favorite beach activities?

A. Simply spending time with family.

B. Fun in the sun by day and a good game of mini golf or other family-friendly attraction at night.

C. Surfing, parasailing, arcades, go-carts, live shows, amusement parks, mini golf - you name it, we love it!

What are your KIDS' favorite beach activities?

A. They are happy as long as there's water.

B. Splashing in the surf and perhaps a day trip to a nearby aquarium or museum.

C. They are constantly on the go enjoying a variety of activities. It's something different every day: water parks, ziplines, watersports, etc. My kids love adventure!

Describe your family's eating habits on vacation.

A. We cook most of our meals.

B. We enjoy the occasional mom-and-pop style cafe or deli.

C. We prefer a large variety of restaurants, especially national chains.

The Results

Did you answer mostly A, B or C? Tally your answers to find what Carolina beaches might be good matches for your family.

A Your family craves relaxation and quiet. Consider the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina, which spans 70 miles from Bodie Island to Ocracoke and includes Rondanthe, Salvo, Avon, Waves and Buxton. You'll have no problem finding a quiet spot along this seashore even during peak season, and there are a variety of homes available for rent. (nps.gov/caha)

If seclusion is your No. 1 priority, consider Carova Beach in the northern portion of the Outer Banks in Currituck County. Four-wheel drive is a must, though, as there are few paved roads, and you'll have to drive on the beach and possibly through water to get there. There are no fast food restaurants or malls, but a number of houses, many quite luxurious, are available for rent here. (carovabeach.info)

B You dislike large crowds, but don't like feeling like Tom Hanks in Castaway either. You prefer a beautiful beach near a few family-friendly attractions. These Carolina beaches are your best bets:

Kure Beach or Carolina Beach - These small but scenic beaches are just 15-20 minutes from Wilmington and near the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher and the Fort Fisher State Historic Site and Museum. Enjoy shelling, shopping and local family-friendly restaurants. (visitkurebeachnc.com, carolinabeach.com)

Holden Beach - Midway between South Carolina's Myrtle Beach and Wilmington, Holden Beach's 9-mile shoreline has houses, quaint cottages and condos for rent. Enjoy the fishing pier, mini golf, water slide and locally owned restaurants. (holden beachnc.com)

Topsail Beach - Located midway between Wilmington and Jacksonville in North Carolina, Topsail is the perfect beach for fishing, relaxation, swimming and more. Visitors will enjoy several unique shops and restaurants. (topsailbeach.org)

Emerald Isle - Emerald Isle is perhaps the most well-known area of North Carolina's Crystal Coast, which includes Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Morehead City and Cape Lookout. Attractions include Cape Lookout Lighthouse and N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. (emeraldisle-nc.org)

Edisto Island, S.C. - This Low country beach is about 45 minutes south of Charleston, S.C., and vacationers will love the casual flavor of this 68-square-mile island. (edistobeach.com)

Pawleys Island, S.C. - This resort island is 4 miles long and is 20 miles south of Myrtle Beach. The island is known for golfing, fishing, boating, shelling and more. (townofpawleysisland.com)

C Your family loves a variety of activities and wants to stay on the go. Myrtle Beach spans 60 miles and has numerous activities for the adventure-loving family. From oceanfront skyscrapers to family-friendly resorts, there's no shortage of places to stay. There are more than 100 golf courses, numerous waterparks, amusement parks and watersports including boat rides, jet skis, parasailing, surfing and more.

Shoppers will enjoy factory outlets, malls and specialty shops, and foodies will have their pick of numerous restaurants from local delis, seafood eateries, steakhouses, chain restaurants and fine-dining options.

And when the sun goes down, Myrtle Beach comes to life with live shows, music and more.

With thousands of activities and attractions, Myrtle Beach is the best choice for the family seeking excitement. (visitmyrtlebeach.com)

Family Getaways: Vacation Destinations & Day Trips!315x205-odile-travel.jpg

Find more vacation and travel ideas on our Travel page.

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February 2017

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Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC
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Durant Nature Preserve
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Raleigh, NC  27614
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Chase away the winter blues with a hike through the winter garden. After the walk, warm up inside with a book and winter craft. Meet at the visitor center. Ages 3-12. Register online.

Cost: $5/child

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JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University
4415 Beryl Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Telephone: (919) 513-7011
Contact Name: Elizabeth Overcash
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East Regional Library
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East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
Knightdale, NC  27545
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Cost: Free

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East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
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Cost: Free

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Barnes & Noble
760 S.E Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Cost: Free

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East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
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Cost: Free

Where:
West Regional Library
4000 Louis Stephens Dr.
Cary, NC  27519
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Sponsor: Camp S.W.A.G. (Students With Ambitions & Goals)
Telephone: 919-443-5866
Contact Name: Sherry Pulcher
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Cost: Free

Where:
CCB Plaza
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Sponsor: Durham Mardi Gras
Contact Name: Kathy Violette
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Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
Knightdale, NC  27545
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Cost: Free

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760 S.E Maynard Rd.
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Cost: $1/member, $3/nonmember

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N.C. Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Telephone: 919-807-7988
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Cost: Free

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Center
950 Peterson Street
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-2760
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
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Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
Knightdale, NC  27545
View map »


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Cost: Free

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Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
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East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
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Durham Arts Council
120 Morris St.
Durham , NC  27701
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Durham Performing Arts Center
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Cost: $1/member, $3/nonmember

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N.C. Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: Free

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Durant Nature Preserve
8305 Camp Durant Rd
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Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Enjoy a craft, activity and a guided walk along the greenway. Ages 2-6.  Register online. Choose course #199101.

Cost: $3

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Center
950 Peterson St.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-2760
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
Knightdale, NC  27545
View map »


Website »

More information

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Telephone: 919-828-3344
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Durham Performing Arts Center
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Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
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Sponsor: Advocates for Health in Action (AHA)
Telephone: 919-210-0310
Contact Name: Michele McKinley
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Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Cost: free

Where:
Garden Supply Company
1421 Old Apex Rd.
Cary, NC  27513
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Sponsor: Garden Supply Company
Telephone: 919-460-7747
Contact Name: Gretchen
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Cost: Free

Where:
St. Paul AME Church
402 W. Edenton St
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Youth Exploration Services, PreparednessMojo Media & Triangle Tribune
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Cost: Free. Suggested donation of $1/person.

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Historic Stagville
5828 Old Oxford Hwy
Durham, NC  27712
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Sponsor: Historic Stagville
Telephone: 919-620-0120
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Families enjoy stories.

Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
Knightdale, NC  27545
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $5/family

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
760 S.E Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Cost: Free

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Durham Bulls Athletic Park
409 Blackwell St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Cost: $8/member, $10/nonmember

Where:
North Carolina Botanical Garden
100 Old Mason Farm Rd
Chapel Hill, NC  27517
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Sponsor: North Carolia Botanical Garden
Telephone: 919-537-3370
Contact Name: Elisha Taylor
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Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Bond Park Community Center
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Cost: $6/child

Where:
Durant Nature Preserve
8305 Camp Durant Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


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Cost: $1/person

Where:
American Tobacco Trail
1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park and the American Tobacco Trail
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
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Cost: $12/person

Where:
Stewart Theatre
2610 Cates Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27695
View map »


Sponsor: NC State LIVE
Telephone: 919-515-1100
Contact Name: Mark Tulbert
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