What’s It Really Like Living in Coastal North Carolina?

March 27, 2024

North Carolina is the ninth most visited state in the country. It is known for its majestic peaks—including Mount Mitchell, the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains—many historical sites, and relaxing beaches.

North Carolinians are proud to live in their state, and for good reason. Here’s why people in coastal North Carolina don’t want to leave:

1. Booming Economy

North Carolina is America’s top state for business and is led by a strong workforce. Residents have a multitude of opportunities for work, which increases their buying power and circles back to the state’s economy.

A great example is the seafood industry in coastal North Carolina. It has contributed $300 million to the state's economy and created around 5,500 jobs. The sector goes beyond simple fishing and includes the preparation of seafood for trade, wholesale, restaurants, and more. Another $27 million has been added to the North Carolina economy from shellfish farming.

With so many work opportunities in North Carolina, it has become one of the most livable states in the country.

2. Cost of Living

The average cost of living in North Carolina in 2020 was pegged at $38,295 , which was below the national average of $42,635. Housing is relatively affordable at $30,000 less than the national average of $379,100. Residents are lucky enough to enjoy incredible views of the state’s natural resources—particularly the picturesque beaches in the coastal cities—at a lower cost.

Taxes in North Carolina are also relatively low, with the income tax rate declining from 5.25% to 4.99% in 2022. It is expected to hit an all-time low of 3.6% by 2026, according to a Bankrate report.

3. Public Amenities

Public amenities ensure that cities and towns are comfortable and convenient to live in the long term. They provide a safe haven for residents to gather in various activities and get some rest and recreation.

The coastal town of Hampstead, North Carolina, is home to berry farms, Kiwanis Park, and many beautiful beaches that all residents can enjoy. The neighboring Topsail Beach has a gorgeous shoreline and a fantastic fishing pier for hobbyists. Down the shore from Topsail is Surf City, which is also home to two public parks: Kenneth D. Batts Family Park and Soundside Park.

Wilmington is one of the biggest cities in North Carolina. Known as the gateway to Cape Fear, the port city is rich in history and culture. Its beaches provide both aesthetic attraction and a relaxing haven.

4. Tourism

Residents of seaside towns like Hampstead, Topsail Beach, Surf City, and Wilmington know how good they have it, as their home cities are also among the most visited in the state.

What are the best tourist attractions and activities in coastal North Carolina?

Historical Tours - North Carolina is one of the country’s 13 original states, and its history is preserved quite well. Historical walks by the beach, pier, and old streets are among the most enjoyable and culturally rich activities in the area. One may even step onto the Battleship North Carolina, which is an authentically restored National Historic Landmark. The vessel participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific during World War II.

Boating & Sailing - Coastal cities are havens for boating and sailing, with many companies offering boating and sailing tours, whether you are into them as a hobby or for competition.  

Fishing - North Carolina waters are incredibly diverse, with more than 230 freshwater fish species, including largemouth bass, rainbow trout, yellow perch, and blue catfish. Enthusiasts can fish year-round, and North Carolina is widely considered one of the best fisheries in the eastern United States.

E-bike Tour - These tours are offered in various cities in coastal North Carolina. They wind through local historic landmarks and beaches and provide fantastic views of the Appalachian mountains.

5. Food and Restaurants

Rich food culture is another reason why North Carolina residents love living there. It is known for its many delicious dishes, such as its own style of barbecue, calabash, livermush, collard greens, biscuits and gravy, and, of course, fresh seafood prepared expertly by locals.

These and more are staples of some of the best restaurants in North Carolina’s coastal cities:

  • Beach Shop & Grill
  • Breezeway Restaurant
  • Cast Iron Kitchen
  • High Water Sports Bar and Grill
  • Jebby’s on 17
  • Sawmill Grill
  • Surf City Barbecue


​Stunning Views in Livable Coastal North Carolina

Many people dream of living right on the beach, and you can do just that without breaking the bank in the coastal cities of Hampstead, Surf City, Topsail, and Wilmington. Enjoy a laidback lifestyle with stunning views in coastal Carolina living communities.

Get in touch with Capital Asset Development to fulfill your dream of coastal living, whether through custom or spec homes.