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The beaches in North Carolina and South Carolina are popular not only for those of us who live in those states. Visitors from all over the United States and even Canada enjoy the sand and sea here in the South. But which are the best beaches to visit in fall?

This summer has been brutally hot, even with the breeze from the Atlantic Ocean. Once fall arrives, and the temperatures cool down a bit, our beaches are still quite popular. Since the temps aren’t frigid here in the fall and winter, the Carolina’s beaches are still a fun place for a vacation.

According to Southern Living, North and South Carolina have some of the best beaches to enjoy once fall hits. The magazine has released its list of the ’25 Best Fall Beach Spots for 2023.’ Check out which beaches in North and South Carolina made the list below.

North And South Carolina’s Best Beaches To Visit In Fall (Southern Living)

  • Hatteras Island, North Carolina

    Hatteras Island is in the top ten of Southern Living’s list, coming in at #9. This spot in the Outter Banks islands gives you access to the Atlantic Ocean and Pamlico sound. The sand and and sea are gorgeous! It’s a great place to relax and listen to the sound of the waves, or to fish, surf, or swim. If you enjoy lighthouses, there are two, including the black-and-white spiraled Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. This is one of North Carolina’s most serene beaches, and it’s a great place to get away from the rush of daily life.

  • Huntington Beach State Park, South Carolina

    As many times as I’ve been to Myrtle Beach and Murrels Inlet, I’ve never been to Huntington Beach State Park. It comes in at #10 on the list. It’s technically in Murrels Inlet, and it’s a nature lover’s perfect place. You can fish, hike, camp, and get in some amazing bird watching. There are two campgrounds within the park, and both have accessible sites, full hookups, restrooms, and access to the beach. If you’re an art lover, every September folks flock to the state park for the Atalaya Arts and Crafts Festival.  

  • Pawley's Island, South Carolina

    As a kid, I went to Pawley’s Island every summer with my mom and stepdad. When we started going in the 70’s/early 80’s, there wasn’t a lot to do. We’d stay in a house on the beach that had no television, and as a kid, I hated that! Now, as an adult, I’m all about it! When we went there was the fabulous beach, and that was about it. We’d go crabbing, swimming, and at night, play board games. Pawley’s Island has grown considerably since then! Now there are hotels, golf courses, food tours, and more. It’s not too far from Myrtle Beach, but despite its growth, still has a cool shabby, chic vibe. It’s definitely more touristy than I remember but is amazingly beautiful! Pawley’s Island is #18 on the list.

  • Sullivan's Island, South Carolina

    This tranquil South Carolina getaway is located on a two and a half-mile long barrier island near the mouth of Charleston Harbor. Sadly, I’ve never been here either. Sullivan’s Island is a great location if you’re looking for quiet and charming. The island is #23 on the list and it’s only 3.3 miles, so it’s a small area, but has lots of charm. It’s a great place for paddle boarding, kiteboarding, and fishing. If you’re into history, you can enjoy Revolutionary War landmarks. If you’re a fan of literature, Edgar Allan Poe was stationed at the fort there, and you can make a stop at Poe’s Tavern and pay homage to the Gothic novelist. 

  • Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

    This popular hot spot in Wilmington, North Carolina is #25 on the list. Wrightsville Beach is just east of Wilmington, and the actual beach is breathtaking. Since UNCW is right there, you’ll see lots of college kids around. There are tons of amazing food spots, great fishing, and an adorable laid-back beach town. I lived in Wilmington for a few months, and really enjoyed it. Carolina Beach, which is 20 minutes from Wrightsville Beach, is great too! Usually, it’s a bit less crowded. In fall in Wrightsville Beach there are fun festivals like Riverfest and The North Carolina Oyster Festival. There are always things to do and see there, no matter what time of year you go. Lots of cool bars to check out, and lots of family fun activities too!

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