The Inner Banks is the inland coastal region of eastern North Carolina, an area on the East Coast of the United States that is 22,227 square-miles (57,568-km².) by its broadest definition. This coastal region was branded the Inner Banks to distinguish it from the Outer Banks, a string of small islands off the coast of North Carolina that are a popular tourist attraction. The Inner Banks comprises over 3,000 miles of inland coastline and is home to over 2.5 million residents. The Crystal Coast and Albemarle regions of the state are typically included in the Inner Banks. The area is becoming a popular destination for retirees and small business entrepreneurs . "Inner Banks" is popularly abbreviated with the acronymn IBX. The term "Inner Banks" is a recent construct of developers and the tourism industry to rebrand the mostly agrarian coastal plain as a more attractive region for visitors and retirees. The term is rarely used colloquially.
The general definition states that the Inner Banks lie between Interstate 95 to the west, the Outer Banks to the east, and extend from the Virginia border down to the South Carolina border. Consisting of 41 counties, the region is three times the size of the state of New Jersey; although, many areas farther from the sounds and tidal rivers have not currently embraced the Inner Banks brand and are seldom included. Traditionally dependent on agriculture and textile industry, eastern North Carolina is currently undergoing an economic evolution by redefining the region's strengths in order to transition into the new global economy.
Six small towns in the Inner Banks have joined together in the Creative Communities Initiative to strengthen the region’s economy by fostering an environment that is attractive to knowledge workers, artists, and other people working in the creative economy. The six towns involved in the project are: Ayden, NC; Edenton, NC; Hertford, NC; Murfreesboro, NC; Plymouth, NC; and Tarboro, NC.