Mirlo Beach: Dare to Dream the Impossible Dream

March 25, 2014 No Comments by Christina Cooke

Wave Breaker

Two decades ago, Mirlo Beach was a thriving oceanfront community on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, located along NC-12 between Nags Head and Cape Hatteras just north of Rodanthe (the village featured in the 2008 film Nights in Rodanthe). The sand along this stretch of shore has been eroding at a rate of 14 feet per year, however, putting the place in jeopardy.

When the house pictured above — appropriately named Wave Breaker — was built, it was three streets back from oceanfront. No longer. (Note: Wave Breaker has since been moved.)

Needless to say, Mirlo Beach is NOT the first place you’d choose these days for a nice, relaxing vacay.

Mirlo Beach street

People who own houses in Mirlo Beach — mostly out-of-towners— are currently begging the NC legislature for a beach nourishment program to replace the eroding sand.


 Bulldozers are tasked with maintaining the dune separating NC-12 through Mirlo Beach from the ocean. The day we drove it (during a Nor’easter, it so happened), the bulldozers — Sisyphus-like — scooped sand off of the road at the same rate it blew back on.

Mirlo Beach

Note: I visited Mirlo Beach as a fellow with the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources based out of Montana.

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