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Quiet, Uncrowded Beach

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Columbus, Ohio
posts: 19
reviews: 1
Quiet, Uncrowded Beach

My family is looking to spend a week in July on the beach. We like to rent a house directly on the beach somewhere where there aren't crowds, mostly residential and quiet. We enjoyed Topsail but would have preferred a few more local shops and restaurants, nothing touristy though. We also didn't especially like the congestion at the grocery and on move-in day. We would also like the option of taking a short drive to a historic area (similar to the Charleston or Wilmington area). I am currently looking at the possibility of Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Kure beach, or Emerald Isle. Any insight as to what these beach towns are like and how they compare would be appreciated.

8 replies to this topic
1. Re: Quiet, Uncrowded Beach

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Charlotte, North...
Destination Expert
for North Carolina
posts: 2,558
reviews: 27
2. Re: Quiet, Uncrowded Beach

When you want mostly residential, not hotels, condos, etc., you aren't going to get a lot of shops and restaurants right on the island/beach. If you don't want to fight the huge crowds at the grocery stores on the major move-in day of Saturday, choose a Sunday to Sunday rental. No to low crowds in the grocery stores and little to no traffic on the roads. I don't think you'll find any more shops and restaurants at the beaches you mentioned, but you will find more traffic and crowds at some. There are lots of neat shops/restaurants, etc. near Oak Island..at the historic waterfront town of Southport. Southport also has a ferry that goes to Fort Fisher, near Wilimington, NC. There's neat history, a nice NC Aquarium, shopping, etc. there. But Oak Island itself has lots of traffic on/off the island all week long...too many people live in the surrounding area. Ocean Isle doesn't offer much in the way of shops/restaurants on the island, plus there's a few hotels, condos (one really ugly highrise condo) which makes more crowds there. Ocean Isle Beach gets a lot of hype, but there are much better beaches in the surrounding area....I'd recommend.checking out Holden Beach and Sunset Beach......and if you really want a lot of shops and restaurants, but don't want huge crowds and traffic of Myrtle Beach, check out Carolina Beach.

You'll need to decide what's most important to you......residential or lots of shops and restaurants. To me, I prefer residential, nature and quiet....and I wonder just how many restaurants you really need? We eat out once or twice on vacation and hit the fish market and farmer's market for the rest of our meals. So great to prepare fresh from the sea and fresh from the garden meals while at the beach. As for shopping, my girls and I usually plan a shopping day, sometimes at Southport, but also will hit the outlet shops in Myrtle Beach...don't need shopping every day of my vacation. Our perfect beach is Holden Beach, NC lots of nature left there, plus all residential, no hotels or large condos. No building on the island can be over 2 stories high. There are a few small restaurants/cafes on the island, plus a small market, ice cream shop, and beach shop on the island...enough to meet our needs. Lots of great restaurants, shops, history, etc. in the surrounding areas...wonderful fresh fish markets, fresh farm produce stands, etc. . Locally owned shops , restaurants, etc. plus putt-putt golf, a small waterpark, other asmusements, plus several ice cream shops are just off the island on our Causeway. Sounds pretty perfect to me....especially during this bitterly cold winter!

Brookneal, Virginia
posts: 790
reviews: 61
3. Re: Quiet, Uncrowded Beach

Honestly, I would take a look at Pawley's Island, South Carolina, over any of those. JMO.

There are a limited number of homes on the island itself, most of the traffic and mess is north or there in Myrtle Beach.

There are lovely shops close by ( http://www.thehammockshops.com/ ) and restaurants aplenty (just look here on the TA pages for Pawley's Island) and Murrells Inlet isn't far away with plenty more waterfront eateries.

You are only one hour from Charleston as well.




I also like to look on http://www.vrbo.com for rentals on Pawleys.

Many homes are not just ocean front but creek front as well, so there are lots of water activities right at your feet.

Pawley's is a very historic area as well, going back to the 1700's, as the first summer inhabitants built cottages there to take refuge from summer malaria.

I think the oldest homes there now date back to the 1830s.

posts: 439
4. Re: Quiet, Uncrowded Beach

Ocean Isle Beach or Holden Beach would meet your requirements...

Williamson realty - Cooke Realty - VRB.com for rentals

Enjoy your vacation!

Chapel Hill, North...
posts: 2,006
reviews: 13
5. Re: Quiet, Uncrowded Beach

I think of the four you mentioned I'd go with Ocean Isle or Emerald Isle. I know lots of people who love Kure and Oak Island, though.

I think the beach is very nice at Ocean Isle and almost as nice at Emerald Isle. The last time I was at Carolina Beach (next door to Kure, same island) which was about 10 yrs ago (so I'm sure it's very changed now since beaches are changing all the time) the beach itself was not very nice. Like most beaches they do renourishment projects where they dredge sand and pump it up and extend the beach, so that makes somewhat "nicer" and I'm sure they've done that since my ill-fated trip.

My favorite beaches for the beach part are Sunset, Ocean Isle (not quite as nice as Sunset, but more stuff to do, not much at all at Sunset) and the Outer Banks. I enjoyed Emerald Isle, too, though. Beaufort (historic sailing village) is very near Emerald Isle and would make a nice day trip or night out to eat. Emerald Isle is not a fancy beach. I think it probably has a similar down-to-earth feel to Topsail. Been a long time since I've been to Topsail, though, so can't make an accurate comparison.

I think busy grocery stores on Saturday are common at all NC beaches.

Edited: 6:51 pm, January 29, 2014
Chapel Hill, North...
posts: 2,006
reviews: 13
6. Re: Quiet, Uncrowded Beach

To avoid the crowded grocery store, Mickey's tip to get a Sunday to Sunday rental is good, or just bring enough stuff with you to make do on Saturday and go shopping on Sunday.

Western Ireland...
posts: 281
reviews: 3
7. Re: Quiet, Uncrowded Beach

We love Ocean Isle Beach. There are several places to eat, there is a small putt-putt golf, the pier and a couple places for ice cream. It is about a 25 minute drive to North Myrtle Beach and 15 minutes to the town of Calabash. The beach is wide and flat with lots of shells and sharks teeth, and it's not very crowded even in July. I also find it helpful to bring food from home. I pack lunch meat, cheese, dairy in a cooler. That way I don't have to rush off to the Lowes Foods right when you get there. Oh, and the only time I experienced long lines at a grocery store was when we vacationed in the Outer Banks, never at OIB. Hope this helps :)

Salem, Virginia
posts: 153
reviews: 7
8. Re: Quiet, Uncrowded Beach

We are big fans of Ocean Isle Beach, and you can read some of my older posts related to our OIB experiences, but to really avoid congestion at the grocery store on Saturday, go to Lowes.com the week before you arrive and pre-order your groceries, choose a time for pick-up, drive to the parking lot and they will bring them out to your car. My favorite thing about OIB (or at least one of my top 5 favs). Best $5 I spend on vacation! Going in July and we can't wait!

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