Plan a Road Trip from Raleigh to Atlantic Beach, NC

One of the best ways to have some fun with your family and start your vacation on the right foot is by taking a road trip. North Carolina is such a beautiful state with so many things to see and do, and it’s easy to plan a road trip that your entire family will enjoy. Whether you want to experience the mountains or the beach, North Carolina has it all! If you’re searching for road trips to take from Raleigh, NC, consider coming down to Atlantic Beach. Atlantic Beach, NC, is a beautiful destination that is the perfect place to bring your family this summer. Luckily, the drive from Raleigh to Atlantic Beach, NC, takes less than three hours, giving you plenty of time to make some stops along the way, get out and stretch your legs, and experience all the fun to be had in between your two destinations. Don’t be afraid to bring the family pet as well, as there are pet friendly things to do on your Atlantic Beach vacation!

What to Do in Raleigh

Before you officially start on your road trip, plan some time to explore some of the most exciting attractions in Raleigh!

If you’re traveling with kids, you definitely won’t want to miss an opportunity to visit the Marbles Kids Museum. Here, your kids are encouraged to engage in hands-on play that is educational at the same time! They are free to explore and use their imagination while they make music, play water games, plant their own garden, make art, and so much more.

A water feature at the juniper level botanical gardens

If you want to take some time to walk through nature, head to Juniper Level Botanic Garden. This destination has been welcoming visitors since 1988 and is an absolutely gorgeous place to visit. You can simply stroll through the gardens to enjoy the nature around you, or you can engage in a class to learn more about the plant life you’re seeing. If you’re looking for a way to unwind, it doesn’t get much better than this.

While you’re in Raleigh, you’ll want to take some time to enjoy a delicious meal. If you’re in the mood for barbecue, The Pit is the place to go. They’re serving up classic North Carolina barbecue with no fuss or frills, and they have been praised by publications like Zagat and NC Carolina Living. For something a little different, consider going to The Cowfish, where they’ve got sushi, burgers, and a bar all under one roof!

Raleigh is also home to some amazing food halls if everyone in your family wants a little something different. Transfer Co. Food Hall and Morgan Street Food Hall & Market are both offering absolutely mouthwatering cuisine with a variety wide enough to suit even the pickiest of eaters. Finally, relax with a delicious brew at a local brewery. There are tons to choose from, but some of the most popular include Big Boss Brewing Company, Raleigh Brewing Company, and Clouds Brewing.

Activities and Attractions in Between

Now that it’s time to get on the road, you’ll want to know a bit about what you can do along the way. Your first stop should be in the town of Wilson. Here, you’ll find everything from science museums in historical sites to outdoor destinations and more. Those interested in history will want to visit attractions like the NC Baseball Museum, the Freeman Round House, and the Country Doctor Museum. The Imagination Station Science and History Museum is fun for the whole family, and the Wilson Rose Garden has more than 1,200 plants on display! 

dinosaur bones at a history museum on the way from raleigh to atlantic beach

After you leave Wilson, make a stop in Kinston. If you’re in the middle of a particularly hot day, your family is sure to enjoy a trip to the Lions Water Adventure water park. You can also spend time in nature at the Neuseway Nature Park, learn about local Civil War history at the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center, or get a refreshing brew at Mother Earth Brewing. Kinston marks about the halfway point on your journey, making it the perfect place to stretch your legs and enjoy a bite to eat. If you aren’t quite ready for food, you can head on down the road and find one of the best family restaurants in Atlantic Beach!

As you make your way through North Carolina, you will drive directly through New Bern before making it to your Atlantic Beach vacation rental. Be sure to stop here to stretch your legs and see some of the sights! New Bern is full of fascinating historical destinations, including the Attmore-Oliver Civil War House, the North Carolina History Center at Tyron Palace, and the New Bern Civil War Battlefield Park. Union Point Park is a great place to walk around for a while and experience the local waters. If you want to sit down for a refreshing drink, be sure to visit the Birthplace of Pepsi Cola! 

Things to Do in Atlantic Beach

At last, you’ve finished your Atlantic Beach road trip and made it to your final destination! Now that you’ve made it to Atlantic Beach, the fun is certainly not over. On the contrary, it’s just begun! You’ll definitely want to make a trip down to Fort Macon State Park, where you can see an incredible Civil War fort and explore some of the best beaches in town. You can also make your way over to the Rachel Carson Reserve to see some of the most beautiful nature and watch as the wild horses roam the grounds.

If you want to go hiking or see nature up close, take your family to the Hoop Pole Creek Nature Trail. Finally, if your kids have a lot of extra energy to burn off, take them down to the Atlantic Beach Town Park. Here, you’ll find opportunities for mini golf, skating, and letting your kids have fun on the splash pad. If your kids just can’t get enough of the water, take a look at our oceanfront rentals in Alantic Beach to make sure they stay entertained.

A happy family walking on atlantic beach

At this point, you’re probably getting hungry for dinner. If you want to try some of the best local seafood, make your way to The Shark Shack or Amos Mosquito’s Restaurant. The Island Grille is another excellent option that’s a bit more upscale. If you just want some classic American food, 4 Corners Diner is one of the most affordable and delicious places to get it. La Ceiva offers up all kinds of Mexican favorites, and Idle Hour Biergarten has authentic German-inspired cuisine to sample. 

Of course, Atlantic Beach is not the only place you can explore along the Crystal Coast. When you book a stay in one of our Atlantic Beach vacation rentals, you’ll have nearly immediate access to several more fantastic destinations. Bring your family to destinations like Morehead City, or Pine Knoll Shores to experience the unique culture and incredible scenery that awaits you. If you still need more to do, there are plenty of things to do for families in Beaufort NC.

If you’re ready to plan your road trip to Atlantic Beach, Spectrum is happy to help by setting you up with an incredible property rental. Whether you’re traveling solo, with your sweetheart, or with the entire family, we have a comfortable and affordable property just for you. Our team has decades of experience in the vacation rental industry and is happy to help you find the ideal accommodation for your group. Contact us today to learn more about all of our Atlantic Beach vacation rentals and properties all throughout the Crystal Coast!