20 AMAZING ISLANDS IN NORTH CAROLINA,  North Carolina is an extensive state on the eastern seacoast, offering mountainscapes, big metropolises, small municipalities, and beachy ocean breaths. This different state also has an instigative chain of hedge islets. There are around 300 named islets in North Carolina along the seacoast.



house by the rocks
Pea Island is one of the Outer Banks islands in North Carolina.

Pea Island is part of the Outer Banks of North Carolina and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The island got its name from the wild pea vine growing there.

There are plenty of attractions and activities on Pea Island, such as the 5,800-acre (2,347 ha) Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, pristine beaches, saltwater and freshwater fishing, and other water activities, including kayaking and canoeing through the salt marshes.

You can get to Pea Island by crossing the William B. Umstead Memorial Bridge and the Washington Baum Bridge and then following North Carolina Highway 12 south past Rodanthe and Salvo.



Shores Of Wrightsville Beach In Wilmington, North Carolina
Wrightsville Beach is near Masonboro Island in North Carolina.

This barrier island gained the nickname “Unspoiled Island,” because it is the hidden gem of North Carolina’s barrier island.

It has untouched beaches and forests that allow diverse ecosystems to thrive.

The longest undisturbed island ecosystem in southern North Carolina is the perfect spot for nature lovers to explore.

Whether you are strolling the beach, hiking through the forest, observing native species, kayaking or camping, there’s plenty to do.

Masonboro Island is off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina, just south of Wrightsville Beach and is only accessible by boat.

Luckily, this is just a 30-minute ride on the North Carolina Ferry.



Bald Head Island, NC
Bald Head Island is one of the delightful islands of North Carolina.

Visiting Bald Head Island is like travelling back in time to an oasis away from the bustling city.

This North Carolina island is only accessible by boat, and no cars are allowed there.

The only modes of transportation are bikes and golf carts.

Some of the best things to do on Bald Head Island are touring the Bald Head Island Conservancy, fishing at the Shoals of the Cape Fear, hiking through the Bald Head Woods Maritime Forest Preserve, relaxing on South Beach and playing golf at Bald Head Island Club.

Bald Head Island is on the east side of the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County, south of Fort Caswell and Southport.

There is a ferry that runs to the island, it is best to get there early.


Bird Island is on the border of North and South Carolina between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean.

There’s an NC/SC State Line Point that visitors love to visit and photograph.

Driving over the Sunset Beach Bridge is the easiest way to get to Bird Island.

As you may have guessed by the name, Bird Island is full of … birds and is a magnet for keen bird watchers who flock to the island to look for pelicans, herons, egrets and other shorebirds.

The island is also one of the last known nesting sites of the endangered painted bunting.


Shackleford Banks is a unique island of the Cape Lookout National Seashore, where a population of wild horses roams freely.

This herd is believed to be from the Spanish shipwrecks of the 1500s.

Other wildlife on the remote island and in the surrounding water are shorebirds, sea turtles and dolphins.

The island is well-preserved, so the activities are limited to outdoor fun such as hiking, fishing, relaxing on the shores and observing the native species.

Shackleford Banks is south of Harkers Island, separated by the Back Sound.

The North Carolina Ferry runs along the Crystal Coast to the island.



The Bodie Island Lighthouse On The Outer Banks Of North Carolina
Bodie Island Lighthouse.

This coastal treasure is a fantastic island in North Carolina to visit if you want the serenity of a preserved island with some fun activities.

One of the best attractions on Bodie Island is the Bodie Island Lighthouse, which has been around since 1872 and offers breathtaking views.

Other attractions are the Nags Head Outlets, Jurassic Putt Miniature Golf, Whalebone Park and Jennette’s Pier.

The beautiful beach offers amenities such as restrooms and showers.

Bodie Island is a beautiful barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pamlico Sound, west of Roanoke Island and the Alligator River.

You can quickly get to Bodie Island by driving across the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge.



Sound Class Ferry Cedar Island At The Terminal In Ocracoke
Take the Ocracoke Island ferry to Cedar Island in North Carolina.

West Bay, Cedar Island Bay and Pamlico Sound surround this tiny, unincorporated island.

The Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge covers much of the island, 14,480 acres (5,859 ha).

This area is excellent for hiking, wildlife observation, photography, boating, fishing, and hunting.

Wildlife in the refuge are mink, otter, deer, ducks and songbirds.

Startropolis is a scenic spot on the island’s north side that offers views of the beautiful star-studded night sky.

You can get to Cedar Island by driving North Carolina Hwy 12 or taking the Ocracoke to Cedar Island Ferry.


Figure Eight Island is a private barrier island off the coast of North Carolina, just north of Wrightsville Beach, which offers exclusivity and tranquillity to residents and visitors.

The Figure Eight Island Drawbridge separates this private island from the mainland.

Stunning beachfront homes line the shores of the beautiful beaches, which provide views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracostal Waterway.

There are rarely crowds on the beaches, which makes for a peaceful and calming escape.

The island is full of natural beauty and there’s a private yacht club, tennis courts and a boat ramp.


Sand Sculpture Of A Merman
A sand sculpture on Emerald Isle, North Carolina.

Emerald Isle is on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast, just east of Bogue Banks and Harkers Island.

The isle is known for its lush greenery, hence the word “emerald” fits its name.

To get to Emerald Isle, take the Emerald Isle Causeway by car.

The island is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Bogue Sound, which provides opportunities for water-based activities, including swimming, jet skiing, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding and even deep-sea fishing.

One of the best activities on the island is to cycle the Emerald Isle Bike Path and explore the island’s natural beauty as you pedal along.

When it comes to dining, Emerald Isle has a ton of local options.

If you’re looking for a casual spot with live music, check out Gaffer’s, and for fine dining, we recommend Kathryn’s Bistro & Martini Bar.



Harkers Island is the gateway to the Cape Lookout National Seashore, offering a tranquil coastal environment for fishing, birdwatching and camping.

A popular activity is to climb to the top of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse to enjoy the stunning views.

The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum is a great place to learn about the native wildlife on the island.

Harkers Island also has a wonderful local community that puts on festivals such as the Core Sound Decoy Festival, seafood and music festivals.

The island sits between the Core Sound and the Atlantic Ocean; you can access Harkers Island only by boat.

The North Carolina Ferry runs from Harkers Island to the other islands within the Cape Lookout National Seashore.


The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse In Manteo, North Carolina
Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse In Manteo, North Carolina.

Roanoke Island is significant to American history because it was the English settlers’ first attempt at establishing a colony in the New World.

This area is called the “Lost Colony” and can be viewed at the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Roanoke Island Festival Park and the Waterside Theatre.

Enjoy the gorgeous outdoor scenes within the marshes, maritime forests and waterways.

Near Bodie Island, the island is between the Croatan Sound and the Roanoke Sound.

From Manns Harbor, you can drive the William B. Umstead Memorial Bridge or the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge to get to Roanoke Island.



Ocracoke Island Lighthouse On The Outer Banks Of North Carolina
Ocracoke Island is the southernmost of the barrier islands of North Carolina.

This 16-mile (25.7 km) barrier island is between Hatteras Island and Portsmouth Island, surrounded by the Pamlico Sound, Ocracoke Inlet, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Ocracoke is the Outer Banks’ southernmost island and is easy to access.

There are many ferries to the island, including the Swan Quarter Ferry, the Cedar Island Ferry, and the Hatteras Ferry.

From here, you can take the ferry to other islands as well.

Besides relaxing sandy beaches, you can visit attractions such as Ocracoke Island Lighthouse, Springer’s Point Nature Preserve, Teach’s Hole Blackbeard Exhibit and Pirate Store, and Hammock Hills Nature Trail.

Ocracoke Village has restaurants, shops and scenic historic homes.


Knotts Island is a small, unincorporated community that straddles North Carolina and Virginia.

It is named after Captain James Knotts, who sailed through the area in the 1500s and is surrounded by Knotts Island Bay and Coinjock Bay.

Visitors to the island can enjoy views from the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and see wild horses in the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge.

Hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing are popular in Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge.



This 26-mile (41.8 km) long barrier island is between the Crystal Coast islands and the beaches of Cape Fear.

You can reach this island using the high-rise bridge on the North End or the swing bridge, which drives into Surf City.

Topsail Island is a hot spot for spotting sea turtles, as these marine animals use secluded beaches as their nesting and napping areas.

Visit The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center to get a closer look.

Other popular activities are Soundside Park and the Surf City Ocean Pier.



Cape Hatteras National Seashore On Hatteras Island North Carolina
Hatteras Island is one of the North Carolina islands to explore.

Hatteras Island is the largest island in the Outer Banks, with something to offer everyone.

The island is 48 miles (77.42 km) long and offers plenty of secluded beaches for surfing, kiteboarding, windsurfing and kayaking.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a protected sanctuary for nature lovers but also has charming villages to explore, such as Waves, Avon, Buxton and Frisco.

To get to Hatteras Island, drive past Roanoke Island and Bodie Island taking North Carolina Highway 12 south.


Oak Island sits off the coast of North Carolina near Sunset Harbor, west of Bald Head Island and is separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway.

Oak Island is easily accessible via the Swains Cut Bridge or the G.V.
Barbee Sr Bridge.

This coastal gem offers natural beauty and recreational opportunities.

Attractions include Oak Island Nature Center, Oak Island Pier, and the Oak Island Lighthouse built in 1957.

Magic Mountain Fun Park is a popular waterpark that is a short drive away in Supply, NC.

For fresh local seafood, try Shagger Jacks or Coco Cabana.



road on Pleasure Island
Kure Beach on Pleasure Island, North Carolina.

This island’s name hints at what you can expect when visiting.

Hopping with events and activities, Pleasure Island has beautiful beaches such as Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wilmington Beach.

Stroll the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, the classic backdrop for shops, restaurants and amusement rides.

Fort Fisher State Historic Site features interesting exhibits on the area’s role in the Civil War.

Local events include festivals and parades celebrating seafood, local musicians, and artists.

The Sea Breeze Bridge separates Pleasure Island from the coast of Wilmington and is easily drivable.


Surf Fishing Outer Banks Beach, NC, USA
Surf fishing on the Outer Banks islands off the coast of North Carolina.

Portsmouth Island is a historically significant area, as it was once the largest settlement on the Outer Banks in 1753.

Over the years, devastating storms and the Civil War turned Portsmouth Island into a ghost town.

The remnants of historical buildings can still be seen and draws historians from all over.

The uncrowded beaches on the island provide some of the best fishing and shelling in the area.

Portsmouth Island is in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore, directly south of Ocracoke Island.

The North Carolina Ferry runs a 20-minute ride from Ocracoke to Portsmouth and the island is only accessible by boat.


This uninhabited island off the coast of Wilmington near Topsail Beach is truly breathtaking.

Activities are limited since no restrooms, facilities and marked trails exist, but nature lovers thrive on Lea-Hutaff Island.

Bird watching and shelling are among the most popular activities.

Shellers can find unique finds such as sand dollars, whelks and colourful scallops.

Bird watchers can expect to spot pelicans, seagulls and herons.

Lea-Hutaff Island is accessible only by boat (the North Carolina Ferry does not run here), but Tuck’s Water Shuttle offers scenic rides to the island.


Bogue Banks is on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina off the coast of Beaufort and offers many activities.

Some of the best things to do in Bogue Banks are hanging out on the tranquil beaches, fishing from the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier or on a deep sea charter.

Wander the nature trails at Fort Macon State Park or Emerald Isle Woods Park and make friends with the marine life at North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

Bogue Banks also has plenty of dining and shopping options.

If you’re looking for authentic seafood, check out On The Rocks.

To get to Bogue Banks from Beaufort, drive across the Atlantic Beach – Morehead City Bridge and head west on Fort Macon Road.

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