River Dunes - Best Boating Community of the Year

Pamlico Sound Real Estate Development River Dunes

“When I look how talented God is, I look to the sea”, Whoopi Goldberg. Who could argue how deeply rewarding coastal living can be to most of us?  Whether enjoying the endless horizon from the shore or on a boat, it’s magical and exciting. As avid boaters, we’ve spent our share of time boating around Florida and are aware of the importance of protected harbor when mother nature decides to churn things up. To us, there’s no better place on the North Carolina waterfront for a boating lifestyle than the Pamlico Sound, the second largest estuary along the east coast which stretches 30 nautical miles to Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks. 

For decades, sail and power boaters, who have discovered the unparalled boating on these pristine waters, have gathered in and around Oriental North Carolina buying up Pamlico Sound real estate. Voted one of the best small towns in North Carolina, this charming fishing village is fondly nicknamed the ‘Sailing Capital of North Carolina’ where boats outnumber residents three to one. SAIL Magazine recently rated Oriental North Carolina one of "America's 10 Greatest Places to Sail”. 

Just five miles from Oriental, the community of  River Dunes is a boater’s dream come true. With 14 miles of natural shoreline, the traditional coastal style master planned community has an 1,100  ft.  deep-water channel off  the Intracoastal Waterway at Mile Marker 173 leading  into its protected Grace Harbor. An elegant 11,500 square foot two story clubhouse with dining  and pool overlooks the 124 boat slip marina (permitted for 400 slips) that offers superlative guest boater facilities, including a 500' fuel dock with Valvtech Hi-Speed diesel fuel. A top rated customer service marina, transient and leased slips are available.


  • 2014 Top 25 Marinas in North America
  • 2014 Five Star Rating on Active Captain
  • 2014-2009 Five Star Rating on marina. com
  • 2013 Best Customer Service Marina by Marinalife
  • 2008 “A Green Gem” Sustainable Community of the Year

Amenities include a harbor side swimming pool with jacuzzis & cabanas, a fitness center, tennis courts and guest cottages. The Harbor Village with retail space is now under construction and includes a General Store and Provision Company, post office, café, and workout facility. The beautiful Grace Chapel overlooking the harbor is a delightful place for intimate weddings and family gatherings. 

We love the curb appeal of River Dunes. Charleston-style homes and old-fashioned coastal cottages add to the charm of the neighborhood. Homes in a natural color palette with french doors and windows, screened verandas, gas lanterns, cozy fireplaces and outdoor living spaces. Homes range from the mid $400k's to well over $1 million. Homesites are available in the low $100k's. River Dunes approved builders include Ark Development, Watermark Homes, Maher Construction and Stuart Hardy Construction in this amenitized North Carolina waterfront community. Often times it’s a stay at the River Dunes Marina that turns guests into permanent property owners. Club dues and HOA fees are about $319 a month, a big value to us considering the quality of amenities.

River Dunes property owners are involved in many ways that support the local and wider community.  Last year, we attended the 4th Annual Leukemia Cup Regatta hosted by River Dunes and witnessed this massive under taking by a master planned community. It was impressive! Sailboat racing competitions took place over 2 days on the Pamlico Sound. Attendees were wined and dined under the stars and enjoyed the comradery of sailors, owners and guests from across the country. The closeness among the property owners is heartfelt. Fund raising efforts resulted in $140K for charity! Bike MS, Recitals on the River, Girls on the Run, and the Oriental Dragon Boat Races are more charity events River Dunes owners participate  in the Oriental North Carolina area.

Residents living at River Dunes maximize every moment spent outdoors whether out on the water, hiking or biking the neighborhood. Kayaks, canoes and standup paddle boards are also available to property owners. Each year in October, the community comes together in family reunion-style for the Homecoming Weekend. One property owner shares “we and everyone on our block over the last year has said " wow, we live in paradise”. Another said “the community focuses on connecting individuals and families. Has high standards for excellence/quality without being pretentious.”

We’ve visited over 70 boating communities over the past year. River Dunes is a tough act to follow. Considering all the factors, we’re proud to honor River Dunes for the 3rd time with our Bliss Award for Best Boating Community of the Year.

If you’re exploring North Carolina waterfront property, ask about being our guest at River Dunes to experience this lifestyle up close. This friendly Pamlico Sound community will likely steal your heart.

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