The Kitty Hawk, Wilmington West and Wilmington East zones total about 1,245 square kilometres, four times smaller than the original proposal.
Wind advocates are planning to petition BOEM to reconsider the size of the areas.
"We are pleased to see offshore wind moving forward in North Carolina, although I am a little surprised by the magnitude of the cuts in the Kitty Hawk area," said Brian O'Hara, president of the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition.
"We plan to continue working with BOEM and other stakeholders to advance appropriate wind development in the south-east, including areas that may have been passed over in the wind energy areas that were just announced."
Before any development can progress, a competitive auction will have to be held. Other areas off the east coast are further along in the process. BOEM will hold its fourth competitive auction for offshore wind on 19 August, for an area off Maryland.
It expects to hold competitive auctions for wind energy areas off Massachusetts and New Jersey within a year.