Nature April 28, 2017
There’s No Better Place Than This Underrated Beach In North Carolina
One of my favorite parts about this state is that it seems like almost daily, I’m discovering new places and things to do. While we know North Carolina is filled with some of the most beautiful beaches in the U.S., some that earn spots on coveted ‘Top 10’ lists, some of our more under the radar beaches are the true slice of paradise. When I learned about the whimsical and uniquely scenic Coquina Beach and the coquina rocks at Kure Beach, I couldn’t believe this had been hiding in my state and I had yet to discover it.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
Coquina Beach is located on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and not far from the historic Wright Brothers monument.
This undeveloped slice of paradise is a refreshing sight to other beaches dotted with residential and retail spaces. You get nothing but nature here and that's part of the draw. You'll find Coquina Beach 8 miles south of Nags Head off Hwy 12. Coquina Beach is named for the unique and colorful coquina clams that are spotted along the OBX. Coquina Beach also has a claim to fame - the final resting place of a four-masted schooner shipwreck. While many pieces of the 'Laura Barnes' were stripped, salvaged or sold, pieces can still be found at Coquina Beach and a mile south at Bodie Island Lighthouse.
People retreat to Coquina for the scenery and solitude. The moss-covered rocks that add a unique beach aesthetic are embedded with the small coquina and other clams. Just make sure to visit at low tide so you can witness the rocks! This section of the OBX is also famous for surf fishing as 4WD accessible makes it easy for anglers to haul materials (note, you will have to obtain a 4WD permit prior to this).
While nearby Nags Head is 'the' surfing destination of the OBX, an approaching, offshore hurricane or nor'easter producing swells make Coquina perfect for a little private surf practice. Even if you're not here to get active, the relatively low crowds make it perfect to relax and roam the beach in search of seashells or even just new views. Even if you're just visiting to enjoy the view, you're treated to crystal clear water and no commercial development, the only other signs of human life you'll see are your fellow beachgoers.
Writer's note -- it was brought to my attention there are actually TWO 'Coquina Beaches' in North Carolina. While one is the namesake, other colorful Coquina Rocks dot the shoreline of Kure Beach at Fort Fisher. I find it incredibly cool we get to experience these amazing rocks and their unique aesthetic at not just one, but two places in North Carolina.
Also, no, these aren't photos from Key West! This is actually in North Carolina, that crystal clear water and a true slice of paradise, you can't beat that. You can witness the Coquina Rocks between the seawall of Kure Beach and Fort Fisher during low tide. The mounds of clumped shells harden throughout the years and form a small platform.
If you're planning to witness the rocks, make sure to check the tide tables. You'll also find Coquina Rocks at Carolina Beach and Masonboro Island. The mossy rocks are only exposed fully at low tide, so plan your trip accordingly!
Coquina Beach AND Kure Beach are truly unique destinations that deserve to be on everyone's summer bucket list. As always, with any natural place, please respect the grounds and pick up trash/litter and leave it as beautiful as when you first found it. I can't wait to explore this hidden gem this summer!
Have you heard of Coquina Beach before or have you heard of the Coquina Rocks at Kure Beach? Have you visited? What are some of your favorite beaches in North Carolina?
For more ways to up the ante this summer, how about visiting this
gorgeous mountain swimming hole?