Jacksonville is located directly adjacent to North Carolina's pristine Crystal Coast, which stretches for 86 miles between the New River and the Cape Lookout National Seashore. Visitors can access many of North Carolina's best beaches easily via Interstate 40 or the Intracoastal Waterway, including the world-renowned beach towns of the 60-mile Grand Strand, which is home to the lively family-friendly attractions of Myrtle Beach. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach
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Carolina Beach is a laid-back, down-to-earth beachfront destination along North Carolina's Atlantic Ocean coastline, located approximately an hour and a half from Jacksonville near the city of Wilmington. The lively beach town is one of Pleasure Island's most popular family-friendly tourist destinations, home to the historic Carolina Beach Boardwalk, ranked as one of the nation's top 10 boardwalks by Food and Wine magazine. Seaside amusement rides are offered at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk Amusement Park, with a plethora of ice cream, fudge, and other vendors still serving up classic delicacies right at the waterfront. Excellent fishing opportunities are offered along the Cape Fear River and the Intracoastal Waterway, as well as the classic-style Carolina Beach Fishing Pier. Nature buffs can also enjoy excursions to the 761-acre Carolina Beach State Park, home to the Flytrap Trail, which preserves natural habitats for carnivorous Venus flytraps.

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2.Emerald Isle

Emerald Isle
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Emerald Isle is one of the Crystal Coast's most beautiful beachfront getaways, named for its the contrast of its lush green habitat against the region's sparkling blue waters. The island, which is also known as Bogue Banks Island, is a veritable watersport enthusiast's paradise, offering opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, sailing, and kayaking. Calm and laid-back swimming opportunities are offered at The Point, providing a respite from some of the area's more heavily-touristed resort beaches. Young visitors can also splash and play at the Salty Pirate Water Park, offering high and mild thrill rides in a family-friendly atmosphere. Anglers can cast their lines at the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier, while disc golf enthusiasts can get in a round or two at the 41-acre Emerald Isle Woods Park.

7500 Emerald Drive, Emerald Isle, NC 28594, Phone: 252-354-3424

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3.Kure Beach

Kure Beach
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Kure Beach provides an off-the-beaten-path alternative to neighboring Pleasure Island community Carolina Beach, located approximately an hour and a half from Jacksonville near the city of Wilmington. The beach town is known as one of North Carolina's top spots for history buffs, home to the Fort Fisher State Historic Site and Museum, which preserves the American South's largest earthen fort and offers a wealth of information about the Civil War. Visitors can also explore the NC Military History Museum, which details the state's service in international conflicts, or behold the impressive 230,000-gallon saltwater tank of the North Carolina Aquarium, home to a wide variety of marine species. Fishing, scuba diving, and eco-tourism opportunities abound at sites such as the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, a protected loggerhead sea turtle nesting site, and the 712-foot Kure Beach Fishing Pier, located along an historic beachfront boardwalk area.

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4.Masonboro Island

Masonboro Island
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Masonboro Island is the longest undisturbed natural barrier island in North Carolina, spanning nearly 8.5 miles throughout New Hanover County at the state's southern coastline area. Much of the island is preserved today as Masonboro Island Reserve, a designated North Carolina State Natural Area that is owned and operated by the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve. Stunning sand dune, tidal flat, and salt marsh ecosystems provide a safe natural habitat for endangered loggerhead sea turtles to nest. Visitors must arrive on the island via boat, canoe, or kayak, with ferry service available for a nominal fee from a number of regional ferry companies. Beachgoers on the island should take care not to disturb sensitive natural habitats for endangered species. Overnight camping is provided at a number of sites throughout the island with permit.

Masonboro Island Reserve, Wilmington, NC 28409, Phone: 910-962-2998

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5.Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach
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Myrtle Beach is one of the East Coast's top summer tourism destinations, located within South Carolina's famed Grand Strand coastal region, which offers more than 60 continuous miles of exciting family-friendly beachfront. The bustling beachfront, which has been separated from the contiguous United States via the Intracoastal Waterway since 1936, attracts more than 14 million annual visitors today, including more than 100,000 international tourists. The new Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, opened in 2010, has been acclaimed as one of the top boardwalks in the United States by National Geographic and Travel and Leisure, home to attractions such as the 200-foot-tall Myrtle Beach SkyWheel observation wheel. Other major attractions include the gorgeous beachfront Myrtle Beach State Park, the Family Kingdom amusement park, and the Carolina Opry, which presents musical and variety shows nightly. Over 460 hotels are offered for visitor stay, along with more than 1,900 casual and upscale restaurants and bars.

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6.North Myrtle Beach

North Myrtle Beach
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North Myrtle Beach is part of North Carolina's spacious and lively Grand Strand, stretching 60 miles along the state's coastline and offering a plethora of summer fun for visitors of all ages. The city, which was incorporated in 1968 out of four municipalities north of the Myrtle Beach area, is home to some of the Carolina Coast's most beautiful natural scenery, preserved alongside bustling attractions such as the Barefoot Landing shopping complex, which is home to the country-music-focused Alabama Theatre, the live music venue House of Blues, and the historic O.D. Pavilion amusement park. Its charming Main Street district is lined with a selection of eclectic shops, restaurants, and bars, with oceanfront hotels and condominiums along Ocean Boulevard offering stunning ocean views. Other attractions include the Alligator Adventure animal park, which is home to a wide variety of reptile species and hosts daily live animal shows.

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7.Surfside Beach

Surfside Beach
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Surfside Beach is a charming family-friendly beach along the Grand Strand, located in Horry County, South Carolina. The beach town, which was developed as a tourist area in the mid-2oth century following destruction by Hurricane Hazel, is often called as "The Family Beach" for its youth-friendly attractions such as the Wild Water and Wheels seasonal water park. Though the Surfside Beach Pier was damaged during 2016's Hurricane Matthew and is awaiting redevelopment, beachfront attractions such as Surf Diner, Pier Outfitters and Licks Ice Cream remain open for business in the city's downtown beachfront district. A variety of beautiful oceanfront hotels are also offered in the city, which is commonly referred to as the "South Strand."

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8.Topsail Island

Topsail Island
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Topsail Island is an historic island located along the southeastern coastline of North Carolina, approximately half an hour from Jacksonville's city center. The island, which is believed to be named for the topsails on its 18th and 19th-century populations on pirate ships that frequented its shores, is best known as the site of a World War II-era anti-aircraft training base that served as a precursor for the Cold War-era Operation Bumblebee guided missile development station. Today, three laid-back beachfront communities thrive on the 26-mile-long island, including Topsail Beach, North Topsail Beach, and Surf City. Visitors can enjoy a plethora of family-friendly beachfront attractions, including the Jolly Roger Fishing Pier, the Topsail Island Skating Rink, the Queen Jean headboat, and the Patio Playground miniature golf course. For history buffs, the Missiles and More Museum preserves the island's extensive military history.

820 S. Anderson Blvd, Topsail Beach, NC 28445, Phone: 910-328-5841

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9.Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville Beach
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Wrightsville Beach is North Carolina's most accessible beach from Interstate 40, located in New Hanover County just east of the city of Wilmington. The beach town, which is known throughout the country for its pristine blue waters and world-class stand-up paddleboarding opportunities, has been voted as one of North Carolina's best beaches by top national publications such as U.S. News & World Report, Southern Living, and USA Today. Excellent opportunities for outdoor water sports such as swimming, fishing, and surfing are offered along the beach's white sand shoreline stretch, with opportunities for athletics on land offered at the Loop fitness trail. Family-friendly attractions abound, including history museums, children's surf camps, and narrated harbor cruises. The town is also home to some of the Intracoastal Waterway's most spectacular seafood restaurants, serving up daily catches and gourmet entrees.

305 W Salisbury St, Denton, NC 27239, Phone: 910-256-8116

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9 Beaches Near Jacksonville, NC



More Ideas: North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, NC

The North Carolina Maritime Museum is a new maritime museum system of three regional museums that fall under the North Carolina Museum of History, comprised of the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport, the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort and the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras.

The three North Carolina Maritime Museums collaborate to preserve, protect and present North Carolina’s coastal history maritime culture that includes boat building, fishing, the seafood industry, underwater archaeology, piracy, boating, and shipwrecks, life-saving, decoy carving, and marine life, science, and ecology. Each museum is unique in its own right, offers year-round exhibitions and educational programs and has free admission.

History

The North Carolina Maritime Museum began life as a small collection of natural history specimens the laboratories of the U.S. Fisheries on Pivers Island in the early 1900s. It was established as the North Carolina Maritime Museum in 1984 with the addition of the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center in 1992. Branch museums on Roanoke Island and at Southport were added to the system expansion in 1999 due to growth and expansion, followed by the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in 2007. Today, the North Carolina Maritime Museum consists of the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport, the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort and the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras and are part of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras

Named after the name for North Carolina’s treacherous coastline that was renowned for having a record number of shipwrecks, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum tells the horrific stories of the more than 2,000 shipwrecks that lie on the Outer Banks. The Museum’s informative and fascinating exhibits explore the major wrecks in the region, such as the Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge, the USS Monitor, the USS Huron and U-85, among others. The museum pays particular focus to the involvement the region and its communities had in various wars, including the Civil War, World War I and World War II.

The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum also offers a variety of educational programming for all ages throughout the year, including family-friendly Maritime Crafts workshops, scavenger hunts, demonstrations, and lectures. The Salty Dawg Series includes everything from seafood cooking and maritime art and music to history and culture talks on the Civil War and WWII and life-saving stories.

North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport

The North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport is dedicated to the maritime history and heritage of the Lower Cape Fear region and features a variety of exhibits and displays that include models of ships, shipwrecks, nautical instruments, shells, commercial and sports fishing, pirates and hurricanes.

Boasting an exterior of white wooden clapboard planks, a navy blue entrance sign, and lovely landscaping, the Museum exudes the ambiance of a charming coastal cottage or a boat house, evoking a sense of maritime nostalgia. The interior of the museum resembles that of the hull of an old ship with crisscrossing arc-like wooden beams overhead, flying flags and many exhibits, displays, and artifacts that tell the story of North Carolina's unique maritime history and heritage.

North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort

The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort is dedicated to exploring the maritime cultural heritage of North Carolina. The museum features interesting exhibits and displays that include models of fish, shells from over 100 countries, various types of watercraft used in the past, fishing and whaling equipment, and more.

Other exhibits in the museum include displays that focus on the history of the United States Lighthouse Service, the Revenue Cutter Service, the United States Life-Saving Service, and the Steamboat Inspection Service. The Museum is also home to a separate boat shed that houses a collection of traditional working watercraft and the John S. MacCormack Model Shop where visitors can discover the art of ship model-making.

The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum: 59200 Museum Drive, Hatteras, NC 27943, Phone: 252-986-2995

North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport: 204 E. Moore Street, Southport, NC 28461, Phone: 910-457-0003

North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort: 315 Front Street, Beaufort, NC 28516, Phone: 252-728-7317

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More Ideas: The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University features a collection of more than 10,000 works of art, with its permanent collection covering four main areas, namely Medieval Art, Art of the Americas, Classical Antiquities, and Modern and Contemporary Art. In addition to the permanent collection, other collections in the Museum include Traditional African Art, Pre-1945 European and American Art, Asian Art, and Russian Art.

Founded in 1969 as the Duke University Museum of Art, The Nasher Museum began its collection with the acquisition of over 200 medieval works from the Ernest Brummer Collection. The $24 million museum was designed by renowned architect Rafael Viñoly and opened a brand new 65,000-square-foot facility in 2005 to house the ever-growing collection. The Duke University Museum of Art was then renamed the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, after the late Raymond D. Nasher.

The Nasher Museum is home to one of the best collections of medieval art to be found in any of the North American university museums, which include a sharp focus on significant works by contemporary artists of African descent, making the Museum one of the few educational institutions to do so.

The Nasher Museum features several galleries that display rotating installations from the Museum's permanent collection and include selections of European and American paintings, contemporary art, ancient American (Pre-Columbian) art, African art, classical antiquities, and Outsider art.

The Nasher Museum's African Collection features over 300 objects with a particular focus on pieces from Nigeria, including 172 rare masks from the Yoruba tribe.

The Museum's collection of American artworks presents an array of work by Hudson River School painters, as well as other nineteenth-century American landscape painters, such as Edward Potthast, Andrew Wyeth, Charles Burchfield and Thomas Hart Benton.

The Museum is also home to an exclusive collection of traditional Asian art, including Qing and Ming Dynasty porcelains and jades, Japanese woodblock prints from the Edo period, a 19th-century Indian miniature, several Arabic illustrated manuscripts, and several works by contemporary Chinese artists, such as Zhang Dali and Hong Lei.

There is also a significant collection of Russian art, including modern and contemporary paintings, sculptures, and works on paper with a focus on post-Soviet works by Russian émigrés. Most of the collection features works by artists from the Brezhnev era into the post-Soviet period, such as including Melamid and Komar.

One of the Nasher Museum's most significant collections is that of the Medieval and Renaissance works. Described as the "best university medieval collection in America" (Charles Little, Metropolitan Museum of Art), the collection numbers more than 300 medieval works from across Europe, dating back to the 9th Century, with a distinct focus on the Romanesque and Gothic periods. The collection includes illuminated manuscript pages, stained glass, stone, bronze, wood, and ivory sculptures, textiles, leather and a full illuminated book of hours.

The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University is located at 2001 Campus Driveat the Duke University in Durham and is open to the public from Tuesday through Sunday, closed on Mondays. Parking can be found on the east side of the building in a 100-space public parking lot, accessed from Duke University Roador Campus Drive. The Nasher Museum is accessible for visitors with disabilities, and three accessible parking spots are available at the Anderson entrance of the Museum.

The Nasher Museum hosts a variety of activities throughout the year, including Mural Bike Tours, which explores the beautiful murals of downtown Durham by bike, Special Artist Talks, Free Highlights Tours, Exhibition Openings and Closings, Family Days, Teacher Talks and Dance and Music Festivals.

Public guided tours of the Museum are available for individuals and groups on Tuesdays and Sundays and are free of charge, except for ticketed exhibitions. The new Family Guide is an interactive gallery guide that connects visitors with the works of art in the Nasher Museum's permanent collection, offers extra information about them, and suggests fun gallery activities for children.

The Art Cart is a free golf cart shuttle service provided by the Museum for visitors who might need a little extra help from the parking lot to the front entrance. The Nasher also has an award-winning café that serves a casual menu of light meals, snacks, sandwiches and beverages, and a comprehensive Museum Store that sells a unique selection of art-related books, jewelry, and gifts for all ages.

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2001 Campus Drive, Durham, North Carolina 27705, Phone: 919-684-5135

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More Ideas: New Bern Firemen’s Museum

In 1955, the New Bern Firemen’s Museum was established as a unique attraction in New Bern, North Carolina. The mission of the museum is the preservation of fire fighting history in New Bern. The town boasts the state of North Carolina’s first chartered fire fighting company. Visitors to the New Bern Firemen’s Museum can learn about the Atlantic Hook and Ladder Company, the first chartered fire department in North Carolina, as well as that of the New Bern Steam Fire Engine Company No. 1, which became known as the Button Company later down the road.

The New Bern Firemen’s Museum also shares the story of the Great Fire of 1922, a disastrous fired that left a large amount of New Bern in ruin, destroying more than one thousand buildings. Visitors, especially children, will enjoy talking to “Fred,” the famous fire horse of the city of New Bern. The museum provides both a fun and educational day full of learning through a large collection of historic memorabilia and a variety of hands-on exhibits.

Starting out as the Atlantic Hook and Ladder Company, the New Bern Fire Department is certainly unique compared to other fire departments. The company was founded in May of 1845, originally as a fraternal organization. It became inactive, however, after numerous members left to serve during the Civil War in the Confederate Army. Recognizing a need in the city of an active company to fight fires, the New Bern Steam Fire Engine Company No. 1 was founded by Union soldiers in January of 1865, beginning a rivalry between these two organizations. The Atlantic Hook and Ladder Company acquired a Silsby steam fire engine in 1879. Not wanting to be outdone by their rival, he New Bern Steam Fire Engine Company No. 1 obtained a “Button Steam Fire Engine” five years later, leading to the company being called the “Button Company.”

This rivalry between the Buttons and the Atlantics escalated even more when the two companies began competing against one another in several competitions in fire fighting throughout North Carolina. The two rival companies set several world records during these competitions. The Button Company, to this day, still holds the record for the fastest time running quick steam. Their time as one minute and forty-six seconds.

Today, the Atlantic Hook and Ladder Company and the Button Company rivalry is more good-natured, while several tradition still exist. The Atlantic and Button Companies are now one fire fighting organization known as the New Bern Volunteer Fire Department. A full-time Fire Chief was appointed by the City of New Bern in 2001.

Before the appointment of a full-time Fire Chief, the position rotated between the Button Company and the Atlantic Company every year. This is one of the reasons why the rivalry between the two companies has continued for so long, and also the reason why the city has had many different fire chiefs. Today, the Fire Chief appoints a Volunteer Chief who is also known as the Deputy Chief of Volunteers.

420 Broad Street, New Bern, NC, Phone: 252-636-4087

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