What a gift, those great shifting sandbars — a 325-mile-long string of them, clustered up and down the Carolina coast, looming so large in the history of our state and in our lives. The bridges and ferries, the wild dunes and crashing waves, the beach houses and fish dinners. Year after year, we return to the islands.
Where in the world is Ocracoke? For many mainlanders, the island accessible only by ferry, boat, or plane remains a mystery. For those who live there, it is home to past and present, change and stasis, a tight-knit village and wild woods filled with centuries of secrets.
There are no bridges to Cape Lookout, no roads along the 56 miles of islands. In the seven years that Ron and Joan Preloger have come here to watch over its iconic lighthouse, they’ve survived raging storms and swarms of stinkbugs. They wouldn’t have it any other way.
A summer camp, a beach resort, and a community retreat: Hammocks Beach State Park in Onslow County — and its epic, sugar-sand beach — inspired generations of teachers and their students. Now, it awaits rediscovery.
Relax. Sandy toes, salty hair, and big appetites are welcome here. Whether you’re looking for a shrimpburger, a fish taco, or a double-scoop ice cream cone, these restaurants know that a beach vacation should never stray too far from the sea.
Pioneering environmentalist Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, began her writing career on a 2,300-acre network of islands a short paddle south of Beaufort. At the reserve that now bears her name, marine scientists follow in her wake.
A bottom fisherman will fish with anything — even a yardstick. But a fly fisherman requires more precision from his equipment, especially when casting from a kayak off Masonboro Island. Either way, a successful trip isn’t measured by what you catch.