Sandy beach
Hike-in Required
Snorkeling / SCUBA
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Atlantic Beach is one of the finest stretches of sand on the Crystal Coast, and the town of the same name is also a great place to explore. Like most beach communities in the region, crowds here swell in the summer and thin way down in the winter. Atlantic Beach feels fairly laid back all the time, though, because of its location on a barrier island some distance from major metro areas. Shops and restaurants are almost all local, most accomodations are modest, and the expansive beach makes it possible to lose the crowds. Atlantic Beach faces due south, a rarity for East Coast beaches, and this means more sun than others when the days shorten. Thus, Atlantic Beach has a slightly longer comfortable season.

There are several public beach access points. The most obvious is at the end of the causeway road that leads to the island. This is Circle Regional Beach Access, which has an especially wide stretch of sand and lots of things to do. There is a boardwalk, benches and picnic areas, outdoor showers, public volleyball nets, and restrooms. Snack shacks and gear shops are nearby. Other public access points with similar amenities are Tom Doe Memorial Beach on Ocean Boulevard and Les and Sally Moore Beach on New Bern Street. Parking spots at all these locations are paid during summer, but they are generally free in the off season.

You can swim, surf, or fish almost anywhere along the beach on this island. During summer there may be designated swimming areas with lifeguards on duty. Fishermen may want to visit the 1,000-foot fishing pier located at the Oceanana Family Resort on East Fort Macon Road. Daily fishing passes and gear rentals are available for a fee. There is also a restaurant, motel, and private beach access available at the resort, but you do not have to be guest to buy a daily fishing pass.

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Multiple access points. Boardwalk. Facilities.


Vehicles on beach. Pier privately owned.

Pets allowed

Allowed with Restrictions


ADA accessible
Picnic tables
Boat ramp(s)
Family friendly
Flushing toilets


Nearby Adventures

Tidewater + Outer Banks, North Carolina
Tidewater + Outer Banks, North Carolina

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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