Which Carolina beach is the best fit for your family?


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 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 the 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

Tally your answers. Did you answer mostly A, B or C? Consider these suggestions for a memorable Carolina beach vacation.

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.

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.


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.

  • Holden Beach — Midway between South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach and Wilmington, Holden Beach’s 9-mile shoreline has a number of houses, quaint cottages and condos for rent. Enjoy the fishing pier, mini-golf, water slide and a variety of locally owned restaurants. 

  • Topsail Beach — 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.

  • 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. Nearby attractions include Cape Lookout Lighthouse and N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

  • Edisto Island, S.C. — This Lowcountry beach is about 45 minutes south of Charleston, S.C., and vacationers will love the casual flavor of this 68-square-mile island.

  • 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.


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 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.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

15 Must-Visit Small Towns in North Carolina

If you love the small-town vibe, pack a suitcase to discover the irresistible charm of these North Carolina road-trip worthy destinations.

Must-See Holiday Light Shows Across North Carolina

’Tis the season for dazzling light displays. Here are our top picks of holiday light show extravaganzas across the state.

Applying to NC Colleges? Take an Inside Look at 16 NC Public Schools

These profiles detail everything from student-to-faculty ratios to acceptance rates and the percentage of students who successfully graduate in four years.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Newsletter Sign-Up

Stay connected to what's going on for kids and families in the Triad by signing up for our FREE e-newsletters!


Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Annual Guides

GPS [Go. Play. See]

It's your complete family guide to Triad living. Parents are busy and on the go. Use this guide to help you explore all this great area offers for families in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point and surrounding communities.

Exceptional Child

For parents of kids with special needs, finding help and support can be challenging. We've compiled valuable resources for Triad parents in our latest annual publication, Exceptional Child, which is also available as a digital guide.