North Carolina Leisure

                                         Coastal Activities

USS North Carolina
The USS North Carolina (BB 55) now resides permanently in Wilmington, NC, welcoming visitors aboard one of the finest battleships of the war, not to mention the world's greatest sea weapon, of World War II. The ship's crew consisted of over 2,000 enlisted men at the time of her debut in World War II.

This self-guided tour usually takes about two hours to complete. An orientation film is offered at the visitor's center, and is recommended viewing before beginning the tour. Nine decks on board are partially opened so visitors can view many different aspects of the ship. Some areas available to the public include:  inspecting the bridge, viewing officer's and crew's quarters, sick bay, engine room, and entering gun turrets are just a few of the USS North Carolina's accessible areas.
Guests are welcome aboard the USS North Carolina 365 days a year since it is a national memorial. Memorial Day through Labor Day the battleship can be viewed from the hours of 8:00am until 8:00pm. The battleship closes at 6:00pm on the Fourth of July in preparation for its fireworks display. From Labor Day through Memorial day, during the winter, the USS North Carolina opens daily at 8:00am and closes at 5:00pm. The battleship opens up at noon on Christmas Day.

Family Beaches

Many times it is sometimes difficult to find beaches that are "kid friendly".  There are several choices of great family beaches along  the North Carolina coast and the Outer Banks. A family beach that has enough to keep even the most restless children and teens occupied is Atlantic Beach, NC. For those who enjoy a more laid back pace, and have children who enjoy sandy beaches, go-carts, and putt-putt, try a trip to Holden Beach, NC.

 North Carolina Aquariums

North Carolina Aquariums, three in all, exist along the NC coast. They were constructed in 1976 as a promotional effort aimed at bringing awareness, appreciation, and more understanding to the subject of conservation of our oceans and marine life. Roanoke Island, Fort Fisher, and Pine Knoll Shores are the locations of the North Carolina Aquariums.

The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is a 68,000 square foot aquarium located just three miles north of Manteo. The theme of this aquarium is Waters of the Outer Banks. Some marine life and animals that one can expect to see at Roanoke Island include: alligators, sharks, and river otters.

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher's theme is The Waters of the Cape Fear, and is home to a rare albino alligator named Luna. Other marine life and animals found here include: sea turtles, sea urchins, stingrays, horseshoe crabs, stingray, and view a shipwreck.



 Shell Collecting

Shell hunting NC beaches can produce many wonderful finds for the serious collector or hobbyist. Ocracoke Island was Coastal Living magazine's 2008 choice for the second best shelling beach in the country, so it stands to reason that many of North Carolina's beaches are great for hunting a variety of nice shells.

No matter whether you collect shells or not, the North Carolina coastline is a great place to find enough shells to pass around as souvenirs when you return home. Some that can be found include: helmet conchs, scallops, moon snails, whelks, and olive shells. Some of the top NC beaches for finding a varity of seashells include: Cape Lookout National Seashore, Shackleford Banks, and Hammocks Beach State Park.


 Metal Detecting

Metal detecting can produce many hidden treasures, some possibly from sunken vessels deep in the Atlantic Ocean. Metal detecting beaches can be simpler if you know a few tips & tricks....



North Carolina's coast has nine original lighthouses that still stand today, lighting the way for ships and other ocean vessels. Find out more about the Lighthouses of North Carolina. 


Wild Horses of Corolla

Corolla is a small town located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and is home to a herd of wild Spanish Mustangs. Take a two hour guided tour along coast to see the Wild Horses of Corolla.



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