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11 Best Beach Hotels in North Carolina

The state of North Carolina is home to 300 miles of barrier island beaches. This means if you’re looking for a beach vacation for your family this summer that’s a little less hustle and bustle and a little more about rest and relaxation, North Carolina is the place to go. From small beach towns to larger seaside cities, the Tarheel State has a wide variety of sandy destinations to choose from, each with its own offering of unique, comfortable, and affordable beach hotels.

The Sunset Inn - Sunset Beach The Sunset Inn
Credit: The Sunset Inn by thesunsetinn.net

The Sunset Inn - Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach, a small seaside town near Bird Island, is the perfect place for a relaxing beach vacation, away from all the commercial chaos. In fact, it was named one of the 21 Best Beaches in the World by National Geographic because of its long stretches of pristine beaches and marshes with no boardwalk or high-rise buildings on site. It only makes sense then that one of the best places to stay in Sunset Beach is The Sunset Inn – a bed and breakfast that resembles a grand Southern home from the 1940s. From the beautiful guest rooms with private screened porches, wet bars, and luxury linens to the breakfast buffet and large wrap-around porches, the inn offers everything you need to feel right at home.

Key Amenities:

  • Guest rooms feature private screened porches, wet bars, and luxury linens

  • Daily breakfast buffet

  • Large wrap-around porches

Courtyard Carolina Beach Oceanfront - Carolina Beach Courtyard Carolina Beach Oceanfront
Credit: Courtyard Carolina Beach Oceanfront by https://www.marriott.com

Courtyard Carolina Beach Oceanfront - Carolina Beach

Located on the opposite end of Wilmington is another quaint little beach town – Carolina Beach. This beach is full of nostalgia and charm and features miles of beachfront, as well as a state park with hiking trails and an old-time style boardwalk, complete with restaurants, shops, amusement park rides, live music, and a giant Ferris wheel. And the Courtyard Carolina Beach Oceanfront is the perfect place to stay if you want to be in the middle of it all. From the oceanfront rooms with private balconies to The Bistro restaurant and on-site Starbucks, there are plenty of upscale amenities but at affordable prices.

Key Amenities:

  • Oceanfront rooms with private balconies

  • Restaurant and Starbucks on the property

  • Easy access to the restaurants, shops, and amusement park rides of the Carolina Beach boardwalk

Sanderling Resort - Duck Sanderling Resort
Credit: Sanderling Resort by Sanderling Resort

Sanderling Resort - Duck

The newly-renovated Sanderling Resort in Duck offers a beach experience that feels exclusive, thanks to its quiet surroundings and oceanfront luxury. Made up of spacious rooms and suites, as well as five individual vacation homes, the resort offers elegant accommodations for every budget. You’ll also find a wide variety of amenities here, including views of the ocean or sound, a Beach House bar and fire pit, private balconies or patios, and a world-class spa that offers coastally and seasonally-inspired massages, facials, and other body treatments with views of the Currituck Sound. Plus, you’ll be in the town of Duck – where the infamous Duck Donuts was born! So, be sure to stop in for a warm donut during your stay!

Key Amenities:

  • Spacious rooms, suites, and vacation homes with private balconies or patios

  • Beach House bar with fire pit

  • World-class spa with coastal-inspired massages, facials, and body treatments

Blockade Runner Beach Resort - Wrightsville Beach Blockade Runner Beach Resort
Credit: Blockade Runner Beach Resort by Blockade Runner Beach Resort

Blockade Runner Beach Resort - Wrightsville Beach

Located just outside of Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach consists of a cozy four-mile-long island lined with cute beach house rentals, a couple of high-end resorts, two fishing piers (including one with a gift shop and snack bar), and a variety of delicious restaurants and cute shops, as well as plenty of sandy beach for sunbathing. For over 50 years, the Blockade Runner Beach Resort has been one of the most popular hotels on the beach, thanks to its charming boutique style and its long list of amenities, including a beachfront bar, an indoor/outdoor pool, sauna, hot tub, fitness center, oceanfront dining and the Aquarium Bar, where you can unwind with your favorite cocktail while watching colorful fish and overlooking the hotel’s lush gardens. Keep your eyes peeled for the bunnies that like to hang out there too!

Key Amenities:

  • Oceanfront dining and beachfront bar

  • Indoor/outdoor swimming pool and hot tub

  • Access to a fully-equipped fitness center

Sea Ranch Resort - Kill Devil Hills Sea Ranch Resort
Credit: Sea Ranch Resort by Sea Ranch Resort

Sea Ranch Resort - Kill Devil Hills

A family-friendly beachfront resort and one of the best in the Outer Banks, Sea Ranch Resort offers oceanfront rooms with balconies as well as condo-style units with full kitchens and laundry rooms. All come with standard amenities like microwaves, minifridges, coffeemakers, and flat-screen cable TVs with HBO. In addition to spending time on the sand and in the waves, activities like beach yoga, drumming lessons, and water Pilates are busy during the busy summer season. There’s also an indoor pool in a solarium, a bar with indoor and outdoor seating, live music, and a bistro with a focus on the catch-of-the-day and seafood items.

Key Amenities:

  • Oceanfront rooms and condo-style units with private balconies, full kitchens, and laundry rooms

  • Activities like yoga, drum lessons, and water Pilates

  • Solarium with indoor pool

  • On-site restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating and live music

Shell Island Resort - Wrightsville Beach Shell Island Resort
Credit: Shell Island Resort by Shell Island Resort

Shell Island Resort - Wrightsville Beach

Shell Island Resort provides all ocean-view suites, located in a tranquil area at the north end of Wrightsville Beach. All have multiple rooms with a full kitchen, two flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and sliding glass doors that lead to balconies where guests can enjoy the sea breeze and the sounds of the crashing waves. Enjoy the wide, sandy beach and take advantage of watersports rentals, including kayaks, paddleboards, surfboards, and boogie boards. There are indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness room, and an on-site restaurant serving everything from seafood to steaks too.

Key Amenities:

  • Ocean-view, multi-room suites with balconies

  • Watersports rentals, including kayaks, paddleboards, surfboards, and boogie boards

  • Access to indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, and an on-site restaurant

Islander Hotel & Resort - Emerald Isle Islander Hotel and Resort, Emerald Isle, NC
Credit: Islander Hotel and Resort, Emerald Isle, NC by Islander Hotel and Resort

Islander Hotel & Resort - Emerald Isle

Located just a 5-minute walk to the Water Boggan of Emerald Isle water park, the Islander Hotel & Resort is the only oceanfront property in Emerald Isle. You’ll be steps from white powdery sands while being able to enjoy a beachfront swimming pool with a poolside bar and cabanas. There’s a picnic area with grills for cookouts and volleyball courts too. If you want to go exploring, complimentary bike rentals are also provided. Rooms feature kitchenettes and flat-screen TVs while suites come with patios or balconies.

Key Amenities:

  • Beachfront swimming pool with poolside bar and cabanas

  • Picnic area with volleyball courts and grills for cookouts

  • Complimentary bike rentals

  • Rooms and suites featuring kitchenettes and patios or balconies

Golden Sands Beach Resort - Carolina Beach Golden Sands Motel
Credit: Golden Sands Motel by Golden Sands Motel

Golden Sands Beach Resort - Carolina Beach

The five-story Golden Sands Beach Resort offers direct beach access, facing the sands of Carolina Beach. A family-friendly hotel ideal for those on a budget, it’s clean, comfortable, and features resort-like amenities. There are two pools, an oceanside outdoor pool with a whirlpool and a heated indoor pool that’s available year-round, but the highlight with many is the property’s own pier that hosts a tiki bar with live music on summer weekends. Kayak and standup paddleboard rentals are available nearby, as are surfing lessons. The hotel also has an attached seafood eatery that serves lunch and dinner with alfresco dining available on a covered deck.

Key Amenities:

  • Direct beach access to Carolina Beach

  • Two pools, including an oceanfront outdoor pool and heated indoor pool

  • Private pier with a tiki bar

  • On-site seafood eatery with alfresco dining

Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks/Kitty Hawk - Kitty Hawk Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks
Credit: Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks by Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks

Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks/Kitty Hawk - Kitty Hawk

Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks/Kitty Hawk offers rooms with private balconies that have either partial or direct ocean views located just across the street from the Kitty Hawk Fishing Pier. All are beach themed and come with amenities like flat-screen TVs, minifridges, microwaves, and coffeemakers. Some feature whirlpools too. The grounds include a seasonal outdoor pool, an indoor pool, and a gym with a good mix of cardio and weight training equipment, everything you need for a well-rounded weekend getaway in North Carolina. Guests also enjoy a free cooked-to-order breakfast in the on-site all-day restaurant.

Key Amenities:

  • Rooms feature private balconies, microwaves, minifridges, and coffeemakers

  • Multiple pools, including a seasonal outdoor pool and indoor pool

  • Complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast daily

  • Access to a gym with mix of cardio and weight training equipment

Sea Trail Resort Villas - Sunset Beach Sea Trail Resort/Villas, Sunset Beach, NC
Credit: Sea Trail Resort/Villas, Sunset Beach, NC by Sea Trail Villas

Sea Trail Resort Villas - Sunset Beach

Sea Trail Resort Villas is especially popular with golfers, nestled among three world-class courses on 2,000 acres. Beautiful stretches of sand are about a five-minute drive away and on the grounds, you’ll find indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, and two restaurants, casual Brassie’s Pub serving southern comfort fare, and Magnolia’s for fine dining. A wide range of other activities is available in addition to golf, including horseback riding, deep-sea fishing, kayaking, Zumba and yoga classes. Accommodation is in suites with kitchenettes and vacation rental villas with full kitchens and one- to four-bedrooms.

Key Amenities:

  • Multiple pools, including an indoor and outdoor pool with hot tubs

  • Two on-site restaurants, including one casual and one fine dining

  • Activities, like golf, horseback riding, and deep-sea fishing

  • Suites feature kitchenettes and villas feature full kitchens

Sea Vista Motel - Topsail Beach Sea Vista Motel
Credit: Sea Vista Motel by Sea Vista Motel

Sea Vista Motel - Topsail Beach

Although the Sea Vista Motel may look unassuming from the outside, you’ll find tons of charm and comfort on the inside. Each of the units at the Sea Vista are privately owned and, therefore, individually furnished. You’ll find lots of beach-themed décor, private balconies, full kitchens or kitchenettes (depending on the unit), and many rooms that are dog friendly as well. Just outside the motel, you’ll find a private crossover to the beach, plus plenty of quaint shops and restaurants just a few minutes away.

Key Amenities:

  • Rooms feature private balconies and full kitchens or kitchenettes

  • Option to book a dog-friendly room

  • Private crossover to the beach

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