Best North Carolina Beaches to Visit on Labor Day

Growing up, my family and I would pack a cooler and head to the beach every Labor Day. It is the perfect way to end the summer. As summer breathes its last breath, I want to enjoy the summer sun while it’s still around.

The beaches of North Carolina have a fun island lifestyle, fresh seafood cuisine, and outdoor activities for everyone’s ideal Labor Day.

Here are my favorite beaches I recommend giving a visit while you are enjoying your day off.


Highlights: Slushes, creamy desserts, Kindred Spirit Mailbox,

Sunset Beach is a paradise for several reasons. There is free public parking near the beach access, so a day trip is perfect. Just make sure to arrive early on Memorial Day to snag a coveted parking spot. This seaside town located in Brunswick County is great for a summer vacation or a weekend getaway over Labor Day. While strolling Sunset Beach, don’t miss the Kindred Spirit Mailbox. People from all over the world leave love letters and notes encouraging visitors and reminding them of the overall message that love endures.

Sunset Slush If you are looking for a light and refreshing treat after a warm day in the sun, Sunset Slush is the place to go. My favorite flavors are orange cream and watermelon.
Sunset Beach Trading Company is a local surf shop. I have been eating ice cream since I started visiting Sunset Beach.


waves on the beach
Carolina Beach in August

Highlights: Fresh seafood, relaxing beachfront access,

Carolina Beach is one destination I have spent Living only an hour away from Carolina Beach the ocean waves are irresistible for the short drive. The smell of fresh fish and sunscreen always remind me of Carolina Beach bumming it. There are many delicious seafood restaurants in the small beach town. If you are looking for somewhere to stay for a relaxing vacation I  always enjoy staying at Atlantic Towers.Atlantic Towers condos have full kitchens, bedroom, and a pull out couch, along with a private balcony. The balcony is my favorite because you can leave it open and wake up to the sound of the ocean.

Carolina Beach is also known for the loggerhead turtles that come out around this time of year to lay their eggs. The last time I ventured out to Carolina Beach I was lucky enough to spot one of these giant turtles. Seeing a loggerhead turtle is certainly a unique and breathtaking experience.

Michael’s Seafood restaurant is a must every time I visit Carolina Beach. My Dad loves their clam chowder. Each time we go we always buy several to-go jars of the famous chowder.
Flaming Amy’s is another great spot near the beach for yummy comfort food.


Highlights: Surfing culture, clear blue water, grills, and bars

Wrightsville Beach is one of the best beaches in North Carolina. It is a fun beach town with clear blue waters and local surfing culture. Festivals, fishing, and outdoor activities make this New Hanover County Beach a delightful place to celebrate Memorial Day. The only drawback to Wrightsville Beach is the need for more parking. Public parking can be complicated, so be prepared to wait for a spot. Wrightsville Beach is just east of the port city of Wilmington. Wilmington’s Riverwalk and the downtown area are excellent places for shopping and dining, so don’t limit yourself to just Wrightsville Beach.

Bluewater Grill is a waterfront grill with tasty seafood and live hip music.
Shark Bar and Kitchen is a great spot for a seafood lunch and dinner.


girl smiling on beach
Beach Camping Trip

Highlights: Beach town, museums, and wineries

With a population of 550, Ocean Isle Beach is a quaint beach town, but don’t underestimate this little town. It is packed full of treasures and summer adventures to be had.

Ocean Isle is for everyone. Whether you are relaxing with your family or living up your 21st birthday this beach has something for every celebration. The Museum of Coastal Carolina Planetariumis a great way to beat the heat of the outdoors for a little while and is kid-friendly. If you are 21 and older and looking for a retreat, distressing at the Silver Coast Winery is another great way to enjoy Ocean Isle Beach.

Ocean Isle Fish Company located just off the water, this restaurant is known for seafood and American classics.  
Drift Coffee and Kitchen– I can’t survive one day without my cup of coffee in the morning. If you are the same be sure to stop by Drift Coffee and Kitchen.


Highlights: Relaxing family-friendly beaches, biking, and mini golf

Holden Beach is a great place to enjoy fun restaurants and outdoor beach activities. While visiting Holden Beach, don’t miss the fishing pier. Holden Beach is more residential than other beaches in North Carolina, but don’t let that deter you from visiting. Plenty of vacation rentals are perfect for a quick trip or an extended stay at the beach for Labor Day.

Whether you want to adventure around town or read a book on the beach, Holden Beach is a relaxing slice of heaven perfect for people of all ages. Don’t miss some fun outdoor activities of miniature golf and ice cream at Fantasy Isle. 

You are in luck if you hope to keep up your fitness routine while on vacation. Holden Beach is 8 miles long. Let’s see if you can walk or run the whole thing. Waking up for a quick yoga session isn’t a bad. Holden Beach is one of the best beaches in North Carolina.

Mermaids Island Grillthis waterfront grill serves mouthwatering island-inspired dishes. 
Beaches & Cream Ice cream and the beach who could imagine a better combo? With a long list of flavors Beaches and Cream has pretty much any ice cream combination you could imagine, such as s’mores, strawberry margarita, or pineapple basil. 
The Scoop– Don’t miss the scoop! Stop by after a long day in the hot sun. Scoop also serves waffles, hots dogs, tacos, and more for all you brunch needs.

Other articles about North Carolina: 
A Weekend Of Camping At Lake Norman State Park & Climbing At Rocky Face, NC
Asheville Is My Favorite Free-Spirited Mountainous City In The U.S.


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