It's a nice sailing area with interesting places to visit and mostly undeveloped shorelines. If you're looking for a lot of big marinas to visit with numerous restaurants and night life, this isn't it. But for gunkholing, beautiful quiet anchorages, visiting some interesting, small maritime towns, and fresh seafood, it's great.
It's a large body of water and relatively shallow, but there's plenty of water (10-20 feet) except for a couple of shoal areas that are easy to avoid. It can build a pretty steep chop when the wind builds.
Best stops and anchorages would include Ocracoke, Oriental, Rose Bay and Deep Bay (in a protected wildlife area/marsh, very isolated and pristine), and farther up the Pamlico River, Bath and Washington.
We run sailing charters in this area and consider it one of the best cruising grounds on the East Coast due to our mild climate, great sailing, undeveloped shorelines, soft bottom (sand and mud), and friendly people. Our charter season generally runs from late March/early April into the beginning of November, with a bit of a lull in August when it's more likely to be hot and still.
Hope that helps, and I'd be more than happy to answer any other questions you may have. What kind of boat would you be visiting with?
Carolina Wind Yachting Center, Washington, NC
Charters * Brokerage * Pacific Seacraft * Zodiac
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Who is staring at the sea is already sailing a little.