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Here's How To Find The Closest NC Beach When You're On The Go

An image of a beach access sign
Wikimedia Commons

You're driving down Highway 58 on Emerald Isle near Atlantic Beach. The air conditioner in your car just broke, you can only pick up one AM radio station, and the kids in the backseat are halfway through “99 Bottles of Root Beer on the Wall.”

You need to find a beach and quick.

Take a deep breath, pull over to the side of the road and whip out your phone. A new site from the state’s Division of Coastal Management now offers an interactive map of public beach and waterfront accesses for beachgoers cruising to set up camp on the coast.

The map offers information for more than 400 access sites along North Carolina’s shoreline, including the site’s address, photos, parking spots, restrooms, and access type (Regional, Neighborhood, Local and Waterfront).

Michele Walker of the N.C. Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources said this is the first time the map has been accessible on mobile devices.

“We’ve had a public beach access map but it was only accessible on a desktop. That’s not real convenient if you are at Wrightsville Beach and you don’t have a desktop with you,” Walker said. “North Carolina beaches are public access to people and not every state can say that. We are proud of that and we want people to find those beaches.”

Walker said travelers can either search for a specific access point, or the map can locate people on the coast and direct them toward the nearest site.

Check out the map hereor explore its features below:

Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC.
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