Located about a 2 ½-hours drive from the state capital of Raleigh, this welcoming strand of coastline is the perfect blend of solitude and activities. Emerald Island is by no means desolate. There are plenty of funky shops that sell traditional beach trinkets, including T-shirts, toys and water toys for the entire family. If it’s outdoor activities you want, you will find plenty of opportunities for swimming, fishing, surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, boating, sailing and more. Kids love flying kites along these sandy white beaches. You can also enjoy a plethora of sightseeing, shopping, golf and other fun activities.