North Carolina is one of the more interesting and unique states to visit in America’s south. The state has long been a destination for travelers from all over the Atlantic Seabord and beyond as it offers a great combination of beautiful scenery, historical sites and exciting things to do. One of the best ways to explore the state, especially the coastal region, is to visit and even stay overnight at the coastal state parks of North Carolina. These parks offer the chance to see historical sites set against beautiful natural surroundings. The chance to experience a bit of American history while still being able to enjoy the ocean, beaches and wildlife of North Carolina is a chance that any visitor should take advantage of. North Carolina has four state parks that border on the Atlantic Ocean.
Carolina Beach State Park
One of the finest examples of a lowland forest that stretches right up to the Atlantic Ocean can be found at Carolina State Park. Though located near Carolina Beach, one of the more popular beaches in the area, Carolina Beach State Park actually resides on Pleasure Island, sharing the island with the Sunny Point Army Terminal and Fort Fisher. The park and island are accessible by Highway 421 as well as by ferry. One of the more unique features this island bound state park has is its wide variety of plants, many unusual plants like the Venus flytrap are found to grow here naturally. Camping is popular on the island as are the many hiking trails that weave in and out of the beaches and forestland. Camping on the island is a great way to have access to many of the popular fishing areas that surround it too.
Fort Macon State Park
Located near Atlantic Beach, Fort Macon State Park opened in 1936 and is on the site of the Battle of Fort Macon which was fought early on in the Civil War. The highlight of the park is the fully restored fort which gives a great look at what a 19th century military fort looked like. The park is located on Bogue Banks which is a barrier island along the North Carolina coast. Many people flock to the park and spend their valuable free time exploring the sandy beaches and enjoying the sun and surf. Fort Macon State Park became the second state park in North Carolina when the state purchased it from the federal government in the early 1900s. Between the beautiful scenery available there and the wealth of historical information, it is no surprise how popular Fort Macon State Park is.
Hammocks Beach State Park
For anyone traveling to or through North Carolina, there is a great opportunity to see the Atlantic Ocean and the wonderful scenery that the state has to offer. Hammocks Beach State Park is located near Swansboro and consists of a section of coastline as well as a number of small coastal islands including Bear Island, Huggins Island and Jones Island. There are a number of things to do at Hammocks Beach State Park including playing and exploring on the beach, swimming in the ocean, fishing in the surf, camping, hiking and more. This is one of the most beautiful areas in the entire state of North Carolina and has earned its reputation as a crowd pleaser over the years. The islands are only accessible by ferry or personal watercraft and are a great way to truly get away from it all. The small forest surrounded by sand dunes is a popular destination on Bear Island with many people camping on the island overnight. Hammocks Beach State Park has something for everyone, especially if they are interested in outdoor recreation.
Jockey’s Ridge State Park
One of the most visited features of Jockey’s Ridge State Park is the tallest sand dune on the Atlantic Coast. There is a small but interesting museum and visitor’s center located at the park that is a great way for visitors to learn more about the local area. There are many things to do in and around Jockey’s Ridge State Park including hiking, hang gliding, kite flying, swimming, picnicking, fishing, kayaking, sandboarding, sailboarding and more. The huge expanse of sandy dunes is a unique contrast to most of the scenery found within the state of North Carolina. Jockey’s Ridge State Park, with its massive sand dunes and close proximity to the ocean, is one of the more unique areas in the entire Eastern United States.
North Carolina has played an important role in the history of the settlement and development of the United States. The settlement of Roanoke was located in North Carolina and was the first English settlement in the Americas, North Carolina was the last southern state to secede and join the south in the fight against the north in the American Civil War and North Carolina was also home to the Wright Brothers’ legendary flight at Kitty Hawk. The state of North Carolina has a lot to offer the traveler that comes its way, and one of the best ways to see the state and take advantage of all it has to offer is to visit or stay at the coastal state parks that it operates. These parks are loaded with historical attractions as well as opportunities to participate in some great outdoor recreational possibilities. The state parks located in the coastal region of North Carolina have many unique things to offer the travelers that head their way, and few people leave the area disappointed.