15 Best Liveaboard Marinas in North Carolina

Liveaboard Marinas in North Carolina | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

Whether you're retired, downsizing, or just giving it a try, a liveaboard marina offers a unique boat living experience. There are several liveaboard marinas in North Carolina. All you have to do is choose the best and you'll have an incredible experience.

From the bountiful fishing meccas to the enthralling stops along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, North Carolina offers more than 5,000 miles of waters for boaters to enjoy. This expansive area is home to some of the best liveaboard marinas that choosing the best can be a real challenge. But if you need more than an anchor line and a mooring ball, it would only be appropriate to go for one of the best liveaboard marinas in North Carolina.

Liveaboard marinas generally offer amenities that can range from the bare necessities of a normal dock such as a bathhouse to more luxurious amenities that are akin to those found in five-star resorts. For this reason, it's always advisable to figure out exactly what you want in a liveaboard marina. This means that you should know what you can't live without and, of course, what you can do without. Just like normal living arrangements, liveaboard marinas come equipped either with very few amenities or as many amenities as possible.

In this article, we'll highlight some of the best liveaboard marinas in North Carolina and what makes them the best.


Table of contents

Town Creek Marina

Located in Beaufort, Town Creek Marina is the only full-service marina in North Carolina. Featuring premier amenities and state-of-the-art floating docks, Town Creek is home to world-class fishing and offers one of the best coastal waters such as the historic Beaufort's quaint downtown area and the infamous Pirate Blackbeard.

Located east of the new Gallants Channel 65' on Beaufort's Highway 70, this amazing marina is the gateway to Beaufort both by land and sea. This marina has world-class restaurants, loads of maritime history, and first-class boutiques - all a short walking distance from the marina. This is a family-owned and operated marina that has everything to make your liveaboard days memorable. This marina employs friendly, knowledgeable, and professional staff who will readily assist you with all your boating needs.

This is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful spots in Beaufort, especially if you want to watch anglers bring home the day's catch or catch the sunset. More importantly, Town Creek's Hurricane Storage Program will give you the peace of mind knowing that you and your boat are in a safe place even in the most adverse weather storm.

Cape Fear Marina

The Cape Fear Marina is located just a few minutes from downtown Wilmington, which is known for its numerous attractions. Its upriver location is one of the best in Southeast North Carolina. This marina is restricted to recreational and residential use, so you'll be away from the maddening noise that's some sort of a norm in marinas that allow tour boats, charter fishing boats, and scuba dive boats.

This marina may be near an amazing city but it has some rural flavor to it. The marina's salt marshes attract egrets, herons, and cormorants, which makes it a marvelous place. This marina prioritizes liveaboard boaters and gives you the chance to spend your day at Wrightsville Beach, enjoy guided river cruise, experience fine dining, explore eclectic shops and enjoy the ultimate liveaboard experience in a tranquil setting.

This is a great marina if you enjoy friendly company in a natural and uncomplicated setting. Some of the amenities to enjoy include Wi-Fi, social area, Dog Park, discounted rental cars, laundry facility, a hurricane hole for your safety, and many more.

Southport Marina

*** No longer allows liveaboard status

After extensive renovations and upgrades in 2006, the Southport Marina remains one of the biggest and amenity-laden marinas in North Carolina. This is a must-see destination if you're planning to cruise the East Coast Waterways. This marina puts you within a walking distance of downtown Southport, North Carolina, as well as within a day's travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

This marina has over 200 in-water protected slips with deep water access, fuel dock, and a floating dock house. Its dry-storage facility is hurricane certified to withstand 140 mph winds while the marina's travel lift is capable of handling boats weighing up to 55 tons. We're talking of a Marina that was awarded the Marina of the Year award in 2013 thanks to its world-class services and amenities.

So whether you are headed south to Florida or want to sample the best of Wrightsville Beach, the Southport Marina is a first-class that can offer a safe and convenient spot to rest, enjoy local cuisine, get entertained, and refuel.

Northwest Creek Marina

Located 6 miles downriver from the historic New Bern, NC, and about 18 miles up the Neuse River from the ICW, this marina is conveniently located to offer easy access to the Neuse. This extraordinary marina is situated within the Fairfield Harbor community, which makes it a safe and secure spot to moor.

This marina is not only one of the cleanest in North Carolina but also provides a long list of amazing amenities. Its air-conditioned facility offers clean bathrooms, showers, laundry room, library/TV room, Wi-Fi, sauna, Jacuzzi, fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, a miniature golf course, and ample parking. In essence, this marina offers a pleasant and comfortable environment for you, your friends, and your loved ones.

The Northwest Creek Marina is located in a well-protected marina basin with 274 slips and can hold boats measuring up to 60 feet.

Cypress Cove Marina

Ask any random boater and they'll tell that boaters love marinas that offer safe and easy access to inland waterways. This is exactly what Cypress Cove Marina offers. Located in Columbia, NC, this marina is world-famous for its safe and easy dockage on the Scuppernong River, as well as easy access to inland waterways such as the ICW and Albemarle Sound.

This incredible marina has 55 wet slips with a capacity of 25-ton travel lift. It also offers amazing services such as repairs to all parts of your boat, fiberglass repairs, bottom painting, and hull polishing. If you've been looking for a nice place to explore beyond the sleepy town of Columbia and its historic past, docking at the Cypress Cove Marina is the only way to go.

Mackey's Marina

Located off the south shore of the Albemarle Sound on the deep Kendrick Creek, the Mackeys Marina offers long and short term liveaboard, as well as a variety of boat services such as dockage, travel lift, and casual dining.

This is a marina that has everything to ensure that you enjoy your liveaboard escapades, as well as a great day out on the water. It's a quiet and deep water marina that can accommodate boats measuring up to 45 feet. If you've been looking for a great place to catch the world-famous Albemarle crabs, the Striped Bass, catfish, and much more, this full-service marina can be your liveaboard haven if you've been looking for a peaceful creek to call home.

River Forest Marina

For more than 7 decades, the River Forest Marina has been a superb refuge for cruisers of both large and small vessels. It's situated along the gorgeous Belhaven coastline and is more than a simple place to dock along your charted course.

Having been restored to its prime, the River Forest Marina is a fantastic liveaboard marina that you'll want to visit again and again. It provides a safe and protected harbor on the Pantego Creek, which is convenient waterway access to the greater Pamlico Sound and the Pungo River.

The main highlight of this marina is its renovated piers that offer close to 375 feet of dockage for vessels measuring up to 150 feet. Some of the world-class amenities available at this marina include 30/50/100 amp shore power, travel lift, diesel fuel, and "ValvTect" non-ethanol gasoline, mobile mechanic, electric golf carts, and spacious air-conditioned restrooms, showers, and many more.

Homer Smith's Docks and Marina

Offering dockage for vessels measuring up to 150 feet, Homer Smith's Docks and Marina is a state-of-the-art marina in Beaufort. This is a luxurious waterfront where you'll feel right at home thanks to the several amenities on offer, friendly staff, security, and great comfort away from home.

This marina offers a superb space not just to unwind but also to explore and discover the beauty of downtown Beaufort, as well as the rest of the amazing Crystal Coast. Needless to say, Beaufort is the third oldest town in North Carolina, and Homer Smith's Docks and Marina allows you to immerse in the history and action of this historic town.

You'll enjoy over 85 wet slips and boat lifts, 16 transient slips, a world-class clubhouse facility, and unfettered boat services that will make you come back again and again.

Blackwell Point Marina

Nestled along the banks of Smith Creek that branches off the Neuse River, Blackwell Point Marina is a picturesque little marina that's part of a private community in Oriental, North Carolina. This is a safe and highly-protected marina that offers several amenities onsite, as well as being near several restaurants, shops, bars, and boutiques.

To make your liveaboard experience even much better, the Blackwell Point Marina has clean showering houses, bike rentals, ample parking, a picnic area, a health and fitness club, Wi-Fi, and many more. That's not all; this marina offers an incredible dining experience in a quaint area overlooking the water edge. If you've been looking for a marina that will allow you to indulge in a perfect liveaboard and relaxing vacation, Blackwell Point Marina is what you've been looking for.

The Pelican Marina

For over 40 years, the Pelican Marina has been proudly serving boaters on the Camden Causeway. It's located in Elizabeth City on the Pasquotank River and is an amazing stop for those cruising down the Atlantic ICW.

Whether you're looking for short, long, or transient wet slips, the Pelican Marina has all the amenities that make it an excellent liveaboard marina. Additionally, this marina has a full-service marine supply store with all the boating knick-knacks that you may need for your boating escapades.

You'll have access to incredible amenities, private restrooms, shower facilities, a laundry area, a snack shop, Wi-Fi, and security for your peace of mind. This is an excellent marina if you're looking for a great place to take a quick break from your cruising adventures.

Teach's Lair Marina

Teach's Lair Marina is an idyllic liveaboard destination, especially for your angling adventures. This is a full-service marina in south Hatteras Village, which is widely known as a world-class one-stop fishing village.

This marina offers both inshore and sound fishing day and night and offers perfect dockage for a variety of boat sizes. The friendly staff at this marina will be there 24/7 to offer several services during and after your catch such as cleaning and preparing your boat. From tackle, to fishing gear, and more, Teach's Lair Marina has everything you need for your fishing and boating adventures. If you've been looking for a liveaboard marina that gives you the perfect opportunity to catch some proper fish or see everyone's catch, Teach's Lair Marina is the place to be.

Seapath Marina and Yacht Club

Located in Wrightsville Beach in southeastern North Carolina, Seapath Marina is a premier transient stop that provides world-class floating docks including 190 slips and nearly 600 feet of face dock. This marina is strategically at the ICW and the all-weather inlet of Masonboro.

Seapath Marina is a no-wake zone that provides sufficient safety and protection. Additionally, the slips are designed with water, power, and wireless internet, as well as many liveaboard amenities. This is a very beautiful marina that has friendly staff and will certainly become one of your favorite stops whenever you're cruising the East Coast waterways.

Wilmington Marine Center

Having increased the number of wet slips from 90 to 120, the Wilmington Marine Center is situated in an enclosed basin off the Cape Fear River and is a superb place for boaters looking for comfort and do not want to worry about currents throughout their stay. This marina offers the convenience of a 10-minute drive to the charming and historic downtown Wilmington.

In addition to the utmost security and privacy, this marina has one of the best storm and surge protections in North Carolina. That's not all; this marina is famous for its high-quality floating docks, friendly staff, affordable rates, and wonderful sunset. This is a great place if you're looking for minor cosmetic repairs or full boat restoration. Make sure that you don't miss out on an incredible shopping experience; you'll find some of the best souvenirs to snag before you head back to the marina.

Windward Point Marina

A small and quiet facility in Pamlico County, NC, the Windward Point Marina is a few minutes away from some of the most popular sailing grounds in North Carolina such as the Neuse River, the Pamlico Sound, Oriental, and the ICW. The entrance to this marina is on the Broad Creek on the junction of the Pamlico Sound and the Neuse River.

The best feature of this marina is its quietness. It's a perfect marina if you're tired of busy, overcrowded, and noisy marinas. Its remote and wooded location not only gives you surprisingly quick access to several sailing destinations but is also a few minutes away from nearby towns of Bayboro and Oriental. As the name suggests, Windward Point is intimate, quiet, and far removed from the normal hassles of a busy marina. Whether you're sailing solo, with friends, or family, Windward Point Marina is a quiet and beautiful marina that's unquestionably a sailor's dream.

Dowry Creek Marina

A family-owned and operated marina, the Dowry Creek Marina is an incredible place to reconnect with nature in a picturesque and peaceful surrounding just a short distance north of Belhaven. This marina is conveniently located below the transition from the Pungo River and adjacent to ICW. It offers over 70 deep water slips and can fit a wide range of boats measuring 20 to 120 feet.

It offers protected deep-water slips with 30/50/100 amps services available. The fact that Dowry Creek Marina isn't located in a typical town dock or commercial port gives boaters the chance to experience a perfect liveaboard in a quiet and secluded area of pristine marshland and away from the noise and traffic of downtown Belhaven. The main aim of this marina is to provide liveaboard boaters with the chance to enjoy a home away from home experience.


With more than 360,000 boaters using North Carolina's waterways each year, the importance of marinas in North Carolina can never be downplayed. Countless liveaboard marinas in North Carolina offer a wide range of services to boaters. However, just because these marinas allow boaters to spend the night there doesn't mean they are the best. In other words, just don't fall in love with a particular marina in North Carolina only to find that it doesn't suit your preferences.

That being said, the above-described marinas are among the best liveaboard marinas in North Carolina. They offer some of the best marina amenities, safety, and incredible opportunities to make your liveaboard adventures more memorable.

As always, safe travels and fair winds!

15 Best Liveaboard Marinas in North Carolina
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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15 Best Liveaboard Marinas in North Carolina

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