Holidays On The Beach
After a few summer vacations along the North Carolina shoreline, you might think you have seen everything the beaches have to offer, but for a new twist on a typical beach vacation, there is nothing like exploring the beaches during a holiday.
Halloween can be a spooky and fun place along the coast, and many local museums and communities offer fun events to celebrate. On the Outer Banks, the North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island offers Trick or Treat Under the Sea for spooky candy collecting, creepy crafts and even a dive with the sharks show. On the Crystal Coast, the Halloween Carnival offers fun for the whole family including creating a glow in the dark mural, face painting, liver toss, hanging donut eating contest and more. Visitors to Wilmington and the Cape Fear Coast can enjoy a good scare aboard the Battleship North Carolina with a special ghostly tour through the bowels of the ship. For a slightly less scary Halloween, head down to Brunswick County and enjoy the NC Festival by the Sea, or simply relax and indulge in the Holden Brothers Farm Market for fresh fall veggies.
The winter holidays of Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanza might seem like a strange time to visit the beach, but if you like uncrowded quiet towns, and the feeling that you have the beach all to yourself, it's the perfect time to go. Don't think that the local communities close up shop just because it's the off-season, as the winter holidays are actually a fun and exciting time in the coastal towns of North Carolina.
On the Outer Banks, head to Corolla for an old-fashioned tree lighting ceremony at the Whalehead Club, or enjoy an Elizabethan Christmas at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo as interpreters recreate a holiday in the American wilderness. On the Crystal Coast, you can enjoy some great off-season deals with a holiday open house at the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, or at the Friday Free Flicks, featuring cozy outdoor movies- just don't forget the hot chocolate.
There's lots to celebrate along the Cape Fear Coast, including the Holiday Lighting of the Battle Ship, the Island of Lights Holiday Flotilla which features fishing boats decorated with thousands of lights, and of course, the Island of Lights parade with an astounding evening light display. For a quieter coastal celebration, head to Shallotte in the Brunswick Beaches and enjoy the Bluefin Tuna Blitz and the Christmas By The Sea Shallotte Christmas Parade.
Once Spring arrives, the beaches truly come to life, and local communities start celebrating the opening weekend of the summer season. Easter Egg hunts are available all along the coast, from Nags Head to Wilmington, and many local churches offer spectacular sunrise services right on the beach. No matter what time of year you come, chances are there's a festival or a celebration waiting, and you should check your local Visitor Bureau's calendar of events before you start your vacation.