Top 7 Reasons to Visit the North Carolina Coast in the Winter

Booking a trip to the North Carolina coast is spectacular in the winter months. Specifically in January, February and March, you’ll find many fun winter activities in North Carolina while enjoying some serious perks. Keep scrolling to see some of the top reasons to visit North Carolina in the winter.

#1 Beat the Crowds

Couple in North Carolina

The winter is the perfect time in North Carolina to enjoy the beaches, the downtown areas, and more without having to fight the crowds. It’s the perfect way to shop for the holiday season or enjoy a lovely getaway after the hustle and bustle of it all.


#2 Enjoy Exceptional Dining

Top Restaurant in Manteo, NC
While some restaurants close during some of the winter months, many do not. Enjoy shorter waits and exceptional food. Below are some of our favorite restaurants to enjoy.

Manteo Restaurants

  • 1587 Restaurant & Lounge is the place to go for incredible waterfront Manteo dining. Enjoy delicious dishes and craft cocktails in a casual setting with a relaxed ambiance and exceptional views.

Surf City Restaurants

  • Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar – Enjoy oysters, surf & turf, shrimp and American cuisine in a casual setting. There’s something for everyone at this popular Surf City seafood restaurant and bar.
  • Topsail Steamer – For a new twist on take out, enjoy a seafood boil to enjoy at home or in your lodging with kitchen facilities. Enjoy a unique but delicious experience where you just take home, steam and eat!

Oak Island Restaurants

  • Bar-B-Que House – You’ll quickly see why this Oak Island restaurant is dubbed the best BBQ on the beach.
  • Old Bridge Diner – Dine where the locals do to enjoy a wonderful breakfast or lunch.

#3 Visit the Stunning Lighthouses

Bodie Island Light House in North Carolina
Hit the road and embark on fun day trips to our world famous lighthouses. While you are not generally able to climb them in the winter, but they are a sight to behold and are worth the trip. Below are some of our favorite lighthouses on the North Carolina coast.
  • Oak Island Lighthouse – Caswell Beach, NC
  • Bodie Island Light House – Nags Head, NC
  • Cape Hatteras Lighthouse – Buxton, NC
  • Currituck Beach Lighthouse – Corolla, NC
  • Cape Lookout Lighthouse – Harkers Island, NC

#4 Explore the Most Visited North Carolina State Park

Sand Dune, a top North Carolina winter activity
There’s a reason Jockey’s Ridge State Park, located in Nags Head, is one of the most visited North Carolina State Parks. It features the tallest sand dune system in the United States and it is simply breathtaking! Come visit the park this winter while it isn’t too crowded.
Tips to Enjoy Jockey’s Ridge State Park:
  • You can rent sandboards from Kitty Hawk Kites.
  • Wax the bottom of the board about every three trips down.
  • Walk towards the center of the hills so you can see the ocean and the sound for a beautiful view.

#5 Go Tasting at a Brewery

Salty Turtle Brewery in NC

Image Provided by Salty Turtle Beer Company and City2SeaMedia

North Carolina is home to some incredible breweries and distilleries. There is nothing better in the winter months than enjoying a beer or spirits tasting at a local hot spot. Here are some top breweries and distilleries.
Manteo
  • Lost Colony Tavern and Brewery – Patrons can enjoy blondes, nut browns, stouts, IPAs and more. You can even grab a bite to eat with your flight of beers.
Surf City
  • Salty Turtle Beer Co – Get a taste of the North Carolina coast at Salty Turtle. Offering incredible local beers, food trucks, drink specials, live music and more. This Veteran owned brewery is one that should not be missed! With 16 beers on tap at any given time and 4-packs to go, there is something for everyone and they are open 7 days a week.
Oak Island
  • Solar Brewing – This is Oak Island’s very first brew pub! The head brewer has over 35 years experience so you can rest assured you are going to have a great brew. You can book a tour with the head beer master Mike or sit and sip some of his incredible creations. Open every day but Wednesdays.

 #6 Learn & Discover at a Historical Site

uss north carolina battleship memorial in wilmington north carolina
Whether you are a history buff or not, a visit to the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington is sure to leave you in awe. You can book a tour or go at your own pace at this WWII warship. This is one of the best ship museums in the country.

#7 Enjoy the Best Rates of the Year

North Carolina Vacation Inn
Stay at the most stunning North Carolina Coast properties and enjoy the best rates of the year.
  • Tranquil House Inn – Manteo, NC: Enjoy this waterfront boutique hotel with onsite dining during an escape to the Outer Banks.
  • Loggerhead Inn – Surf City, NC: Stay in Surf City at this affordable and family friendly hotel located steps from the beach. You’ll find a variety of lodging to suit your style, from single queen rooms to two bedroom cottages with kitchens, and pet friendly lodging too!
  • The Beach House at Oak Island: Guests love the ocean views from their rooms or apartment style suites. A vacation in Oak Island will be one to remember, no matter which time of year you visit.