13 Best Beaches Near Charlotte, NC You’ll Love

Charlotte, NC may not have its own beaches, but it is within driving distance of several stunning coastal getaways. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick beach day trip or a week-long vacation, Charlotte’s nearby beach destinations offer something for everyone. From the picturesque shores of Lake Norman to the sandy stretches of the Outer Banks, there are plenty of options to satisfy your sun, sand, and surf cravings.

In this guide, I’ll take you on a virtual tour of the 13 best beaches near Charlotte, NC, showcasing their unique features and attractions. So pack your sunscreen and towels, because we’re about to embark on a beach adventure just a short drive away from the Queen City.

Key Takeaways:

  • Charlotte, NC is surrounded by stunning coastal getaways with beautiful beaches.
  • From lakefront destinations like Lake Norman and Lake Wylie to barrier islands like Wrightsville Beach and Topsail Beach, there are plenty of options near Charlotte.
  • These nearby beaches offer a wide range of activities, including swimming, boating, fishing, and surfing.
  • Whether you’re planning a day trip or a longer beach vacation, Charlotte’s coastal retreats have something for everyone.
  • Soak up the sun and enjoy the sand and surf at these top beaches near Charlotte, NC.

1. Lake Norman — Cornelius (Editor’s Choice)

Source: charlottesgotalot.com

When it comes to beach destinations near Charlotte, NC, one name stands out: Lake Norman. As North Carolina’s largest and most popular lake, Lake Norman offers a fantastic getaway just a short drive from the city. Located in Cornelius, Lake Norman boasts an expansive shoreline and is surrounded by charming towns like Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville.

With its crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches, Lake Norman provides the perfect setting for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. Families and outdoor enthusiasts flock to the lake to enjoy a wide range of activities, including boating, jet skiing, paddleboarding, and fishing.

Take a leisurely stroll along the lake’s sandy shores, where you can soak in the sunshine and breathe in the fresh air. If you’re feeling adventurous, rent a boat or a kayak and explore the lake’s stunning coves and hidden spots.

“Lake Norman is a true gem for water lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Its proximity to Charlotte makes it an excellent choice for a day trip or a weekend getaway.” – Local Resident

When you’ve had enough fun in the sun, head to the nearby towns for some delicious dining options. Cornelius, in particular, is known for its waterfront restaurants, where you can indulge in fresh seafood and take in breathtaking views of the lake.

To help you plan your visit to Lake Norman, here are some popular swimming areas:

Swimming Area Location
Ramsey Creek Park Cornelius
Mooresville Lakefront Mooresville
Blythe Landing Huntersville
Lake Norman State Park Troutman

Whether you’re seeking a day of relaxation or an adventure-filled weekend, Lake Norman has something for everyone. So pack your sunscreen, grab your beach towel, and get ready for an unforgettable beach experience at Lake Norman!

2. Lake Wylie — Rock Hill

Source: visityorkcounty.com

Looking for a quick beach getaway near Charlotte? Look no further than Lake Wylie, conveniently located between Rock Hill and Charlotte. With its sandy beach access areas and a range of water activities, Lake Wylie is the perfect destination for fun in the sun.

Whether you’re looking to swim, boat, or fish, Lake Wylie has it all. The lake offers designated swimming areas where you can cool off and enjoy the water. You can also rent a boat and explore the lake’s scenic shoreline or cast a line and try your luck at catching some fish.

Lake Wylie is well-maintained by Duke Energy and the SC Department of Natural Resources, ensuring a clean and safe environment for visitors. So you can relax and enjoy your time at the lake without any worries.

With its proximity to both Rock Hill and Charlotte, Lake Wylie is easily accessible for a day trip or a weekend getaway. Pack your sunscreen, beach towels, and picnic baskets, and head to Lake Wylie for a memorable beach experience!

Highlights of Lake Wylie:

  • Sandy beach access areas
  • Swimming areas
  • Boating opportunities
  • Fishing spots

Table: Lake Wylie Beach Amenities

Beach Amenities Details
Swimming Areas Designated swimming areas with lifeguards
Boat Rentals Various boat rental options available
Fishing Spots Abundance of fishing spots along the shoreline
Picnic Areas Designated picnic areas with tables and grills
Restrooms Convenient restroom facilities

3. Wrightsville Beach

Source: fishingbooker.com

When it comes to the best North Carolina beach, Wrightsville Beach takes the crown. With its sparkling turquoise waters and pristine shoreline, it’s no wonder this beach attracts visitors from near and far. Located near Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach is just a four-hour drive from Charlotte, making it an accessible destination for beachgoers.

Wrightsville Beach offers a wide range of activities to keep you entertained throughout your visit. Whether you’re a surfing enthusiast or a beginner looking to catch some waves, the beach provides excellent surfing conditions for all skill levels. If you prefer a different water sport, you can try kiteboarding or stand-up paddleboarding, taking advantage of the beach’s perfect conditions and strong winds.

Not only is Wrightsville Beach a haven for water sports enthusiasts, but it also boasts a family-friendly atmosphere. The beach offers complete amenities, including lifeguards, restrooms, picnic areas, and convenient parking options. It’s the perfect place to spend quality time with your loved ones and create unforgettable memories.

“Wrightsville Beach is a paradise for beach lovers with its stunning turquoise waters and variety of activities for all ages.”

So, if you’re looking for the best North Carolina beach experience near Charlotte, Wrightsville Beach has it all. From its beautiful shoreline to its thrilling water sports opportunities, this beach is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking fun in the sun.

4. Atlantic Beach

Source: 365atlantatraveler.com

Located on the picturesque Bogue Banks, Atlantic Beach is a tranquil coastal town that offers a breathtaking beach experience. With its miles of pristine shoreline, Atlantic Beach is a haven for beach enthusiasts seeking solace and relaxation.

One of the highlights of Atlantic Beach is its charming boardwalk, which stretches along the coastline, providing panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Take a leisurely stroll or rent a bike to explore the boardwalk and soak in the refreshing sea breeze.

For those who enjoy fishing, Atlantic Beach boasts a fishing pier where you can cast your line and try your luck at catching some local seafood. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a beginner, the fishing pier offers a peaceful and serene spot to enjoy the sport.

In addition to its stunning beach and boardwalk, Atlantic Beach is also connected to charming parks and historical sites. Take a break from the sand and visit Fort Macon State Park, where you can explore a historic fort and enjoy nature trails. Or, visit the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores to discover the underwater wonders of the Atlantic Ocean.

Beach Amenities at Atlantic Beach

Atlantic Beach offers a range of amenities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable beach vacation. Here are some of the amenities you can expect:

  • Restrooms and outdoor showers for convenient cleaning up after a day at the beach
  • Beach access points with designated parking areas for easy and convenient beach access
  • Lifeguard stations to ensure the safety of beachgoers
  • Picnic areas and pavilions for enjoying a beachside meal or gathering with friends and family
  • Beachfront rental shops offering equipment such as umbrellas, chairs, and bikes

With its stunning natural beauty, charming boardwalk, and convenient amenities, Atlantic Beach is a must-visit destination for beach lovers. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an active beach getaway, this North Carolina gem has it all.

Attractions Distance from Atlantic Beach
Fort Macon State Park Less than 2 miles
North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores Less than 5 miles
Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area Approximately 7 miles
Beaufort Historic Site Approximately 10 miles
Shackleford Banks Approximately 12 miles

5. Topsail Beach

Source: nctripping.com

Topsail Beach, located on a barrier island off the coast of North Carolina, is a hidden gem for beach lovers. This quiet and laid-back beach town offers opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, fishing, and cruising. With its sleepy fishing town charm and delicious seafood restaurants, Topsail Beach is the perfect spot for a relaxing beach vacation.

If you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, Topsail Beach is the place to be. The pristine sandy beaches stretch for miles, providing ample space for sunbathing and beach activities. Whether you’re building sandcastles with the kids or enjoying a leisurely stroll along the shore, Topsail Beach offers a serene and family-friendly atmosphere.

Fishing Paradise

Topsail Beach is known for its excellent fishing opportunities. Cast your line from the pier or charter a boat for an offshore adventure. From flounder and red drum to king mackerel and marlin, the waters around Topsail Beach are teeming with a variety of fish species. Fishing enthusiasts of all skill levels will find plenty of excitement in these waters.

For those who prefer a more leisurely experience, Topsail Beach is also home to several scenic boat tours. Embark on a relaxing cruise and soak in the breathtaking views of the island’s coastline, marshes, and wildlife. It’s a great way to explore the area and appreciate the natural beauty of Topsail Beach.

After a day of sun, sand, and fishing, treat yourself to a delicious seafood feast at one of the local restaurants. From fresh shrimp and oysters to mouthwatering crab cakes, Topsail Beach offers a delectable culinary experience for seafood lovers.

So, if you’re looking for a charming and laid-back beach destination, look no further than Topsail Beach. With its picturesque scenery, abundant fishing opportunities, and family-friendly atmosphere, Topsail Beach is truly a hidden gem on the North Carolina barrier island.

6. Outer Banks

Source: cntraveler.com

The Outer Banks of North Carolina is a 200-mile string of barrier islands known for its stunning beaches and seaside villages. With more than 100 miles of shoreline, the Outer Banks offers endless opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, and exploring. The area is also rich in history, with sites like the Roanoke Colony and the Graveyard of the Atlantic.

Beach Bliss and Historical Wonders

When it comes to beach destinations, the Outer Banks beckons with its pristine stretches of sand and crystal-clear waters. From family-friendly spots to secluded coves, these beaches cater to every beachgoer’s preferences.

“The Outer Banks provides a coastal haven where you can bask in the beauty of nature and immerse yourself in history.”

– Outer Banks Vacation Guide

Aside from its breathtaking beaches, the Outer Banks is steeped in history, offering a glimpse into the past. Explore the mysteries of the Roanoke Colony, the first English settlement in North America, or visit the Graveyard of the Atlantic, where numerous shipwrecks tell stories of dangerous waters and treacherous conditions.

Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, ride the waves, or delve into history, the Outer Banks has something for everyone.

7. Emerald Isle

Source: reddit.com

Located on the same barrier island as Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle is a family-friendly beach destination with an array of amenities. Its pristine white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and laid-back atmosphere make it the perfect spot for a beach vacation with the whole family.

Emerald Isle offers a variety of beach activities to keep everyone entertained. Whether you’re building sandcastles, swimming in the ocean, or simply relaxing under an umbrella, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The town also provides convenient beach amenities such as showers, restrooms, and picnic areas, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience for visitors.

For those looking for outdoor adventures beyond the beach, Emerald Isle offers plenty of options. The town is surrounded by natural beauty, including nearby parks and trails that are perfect for hiking, biking, and exploring. Whether you want to go birdwatching or take a leisurely stroll along one of the many nature trails, you’ll find plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy.

Ultimately, Emerald Isle’s combination of beautiful beaches, family-friendly amenities, and outdoor activities make it a must-visit destination for those seeking a relaxing and fun-filled beach vacation near Charlotte.

Emerald Isle Highlights: Emerald Isle Amenities:
  • Family-friendly atmosphere
  • White sand beaches
  • Clear waters
  • Laid-back atmosphere
  • Variety of beach activities
  • Showers
  • Restrooms
  • Picnic areas
  • Convenient parking
  • Beach rentals

8. Myrtle Beach

Source: telegraph.co.uk

When it comes to beach vacations, Myrtle Beach in South Carolina is a top choice for many tourists. Known for its beautiful beaches and a wide range of attractions, Myrtle Beach offers something for everyone. With a 60-mile stretch of coastline, visitors can enjoy the sun, sand, and surf to their heart’s content.

One of the main attractions of Myrtle Beach is its pristine beaches. The golden sands and clear blue waters make for a perfect beach getaway. Whether you’re looking to relax under an umbrella and soak up the sun or take a refreshing swim in the ocean, Myrtle Beach has it all. The beach is also ideal for activities like beach volleyball, building sandcastles, or simply strolling along the shoreline.

Aside from its gorgeous beaches, Myrtle Beach is also famous for its wide array of attractions and entertainment options. Visitors can explore the famous Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, home to various shops, restaurants, and amusement parks. The boardwalk offers a vibrant and lively atmosphere, perfect for a fun-filled day with family and friends.

For those who enjoy golf, Myrtle Beach is a golf lover’s paradise. The area boasts over 100 golf courses, attracting avid golfers from around the world. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll find a course that suits your skill level and provides incredible views of the beach and surrounding landscapes.

When it comes to dining, Myrtle Beach doesn’t disappoint. The city is known for its fresh seafood cuisine, offering a wide selection of restaurants that serve up delicious dishes. From casual beachside cafes to fine dining establishments, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

Myrtle Beach is located just a few hours’ drive from Charlotte, making it a convenient beach vacation option for residents of the Queen City. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, Myrtle Beach has everything you need for a memorable beach experience.

Myrtle Beach Highlights:

  • 60-mile stretch of beautiful beaches
  • Myrtle Beach Boardwalk with shops and restaurants
  • Amusement parks and entertainment options
  • Over 100 golf courses
  • Fresh seafood dining

Comparison of Myrtle Beach Attractions

Attractions Features
Myrtle Beach Boardwalk Shops, restaurants, amusement parks
Golf Courses Over 100 courses, stunning views
Beachfront Dining Fresh seafood, variety of cuisines
Water Sports Jet skiing, parasailing, paddleboarding


In conclusion, Charlotte, NC may not have its own beaches, but that doesn’t mean beach lovers have to miss out. With a variety of stunning coastal getaways just a short drive away, there are plenty of options for sun, sand, and surf near Charlotte.

Whether you prefer the serene beauty of Lake Norman and Lake Wylie, or the breathtaking barrier islands like Wrightsville Beach and Topsail Beach, there is something for everyone. These nearby destinations offer a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure, making them ideal for both quick day trips and longer beach vacations.

So, if you’re looking for the best beaches near Charlotte, NC, look no further. This Charlotte beach guide showcases the top 13 coastal getaways, each with its own unique charm and attractions. Whether you’re craving a day of swimming and boating, or a week of coastal exploration, these beaches are sure to satisfy your beach cravings.

So pack your sunscreen, grab your beach towel, and get ready to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf in Charlotte’s nearby beach destinations. It’s time to create unforgettable memories and embrace the coastal beauty that North Carolina has to offer.

Source: redfin.com


Are there any beaches in Charlotte, NC?

No, Charlotte does not have its own beaches. However, there are several beautiful beaches near Charlotte that are within driving distance.

How far are the beaches from Charlotte?

The distance varies depending on the beach, but most are within a few hours’ drive from Charlotte.

Can I visit these beaches for a day trip?

Yes, many of these beaches are great for day trips from Charlotte.

Are these beaches family-friendly?

Yes, many of them offer family-friendly amenities and activities.

Can I swim at these beaches?

Yes, swimming is allowed at all of these beaches.

Are there water activities available at these beaches?

Yes, many of these beaches offer water activities such as boating, fishing, surfing, and paddleboarding.

Are there accommodations near these beaches?

Yes, all of these beaches have nearby accommodations ranging from hotels to vacation rentals.

Are there dining options near these beaches?

Yes, there are plenty of dining options near these beaches, including seafood restaurants and beachside cafes.

Can I visit these beaches year-round?

Yes, these beaches are open year-round, but the best time to visit for beach activities is during the summer months.

Are pets allowed on these beaches?

Pet policies vary depending on the beach. It’s best to check with the specific beach for their pet regulations.

Can I rent beach equipment at these beaches?

Yes, many of these beaches have rental services for beach equipment such as chairs, umbrellas, and water sports gear.

Are there lifeguards on duty at these beaches?

Yes, most of these beaches have lifeguards on duty during the summer months.

Are these beaches easily accessible?

Yes, these beaches are easily accessible by car.

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