North Carolina is home to two of the South’s best beach destinations — so be sure to pack your sunglasses, according to a new report.
Wrightsville Beach ranks No. 7 and Ocracoke ranks No. 9 on a list of the area’s best places to soak up the sun, according to results published by Southern Living magazine this week.
Coastal destinations rose in the rankings after the magazine said more than 23,000 people were asked to rate their favorite places in the South. The M&RR agency conducted the survey online from July to September 2021.
“No one knows this region better than Southern Living’s audiences, and that’s why we tap into their experiences and solicit their opinions each year to determine the best of the South,” said Sid Evans, editor-in-chief of Southern Living, in a March 8 news item. Release. “This year’s detailed list is our most comprehensive yet, with some surprising new favorites as well as classics that keep reinventing themselves.”
Of the two North Carolina locations that made the top 10, Wrightsville Beach landed a higher spot in the rankings. Southern Living praised the Wilmington-area destination for its small-town feel and proximity to other locations along the East Coast.
“This waterfront town is uncrowded and very relaxing,” the magazine said in its report. “You’ll cross a drawbridge from mainland North Carolina to the town of Wrightsville Beach and feel the stresses of real life practically blow away in the salty breeze.”
Ocracoke, an off-coast destination accessible by boat or ferry, also earned a spot on the list. It has received nods for providing visitors with a tranquil setting close to other Outer Banks attractions.
Southern Living said “Barrier Islands offer wide beaches, quaint villages and a relaxed way of life that can entice even the most urban dweller to relocate.”
Although Ocracoke and Wrightsville Beach were recognized, North Carolina destinations were snubbed on another recent list.
No beach in the state has been named one of Tripadvisor’s top 10 places to enjoy sand and shoreline. The travel website compiled its national list after studying the ratings and reviews travelers left in 2021, McClatchy News reported in February.
This time around, the South’s premier beach destination was Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Tybee Island, Georgia rounds out the top five; Orange Beach, Alabama; Key West, Florida; and St. Augustine, Florida.
This story was originally published March 11, 2022 3 p.m.