2 places in North Carolina lead travel searches: HomeToGo

A North Carolina tourist spot is “heating up” in popularity — and now ranks as the trendiest summer travel destination.

Topsail Beach was named the No. 1 “most sought-after” vacation spot for U.S. travelers, and another place in the state didn’t trail far behind in the rankings.

Avon, on the Outer Banks barrier islands, landed in the No. 4 spot on the list of places people can’t wait to visit this summer, according to results published in January.

To create the list, the vacation rental website HomeToGo said it looked at data for U.S. travelers. It considered their search interest in trips for June 21 to Sept. 22, 2023.

“American travelers are looking to make a splash this summer; beach destinations and lakes continue to be among the most sought-after destinations on HomeToGo,” the report said.

Topsail Beach led the pack after its summer travel demand was up 543% compared to 2022, results show.

The town, roughly 140 miles southeast of Raleigh, joins North Topsail Beach and Surf City on Topsail Island. And for those wondering, the island is pronounced “Tops’l” rather than “Top-sail,” The News & Observer reported.

To the northeast, another area of growing interest was Avon, located on Hatteras Island. Searches for the vacation spot were up 274% compared to last year, according to HomeToGo.

The results come after another Outer Banks destination — Ocracoke Island — was home to the top-ranking beach of 2022. To come up with the findings, a coastal expert nicknamed Dr. Beach considered the quality of the water, presence of lifeguards and other factors, the N&O reported.

In the latest rankings from HomeToGo, domestic destinations weren’t the only ones to spark curiosity. Three of the top 10 places drawing attention were abroad, results show.

The other locations that rounded out the top five were:

  • Crete, Greece at No. 2
  • Keuka Lake, New York at No. 3

  • Sandbridge, Virginia at No. 5

This story was originally published February 15, 2023, 7:00 AM.

Simone Jasper is a reporter covering breaking stories for The News & Observer and real-time news in the Carolinas.

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