Carolina Beach, NC – Located on the same island along the southeastern coast of North Carolina, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach are home to a variety of things to see and do. Carolina Beach was voted the No. 3 favorite N.C. beach destination by WRAL’s Out & About Reader's Choice Awards in 2016. This year, these two beach towns have even more to offer first-time visitors and repeat visitors alike thanks to a new hotel and other lodging, land- and water-based outdoor activities, and several new exhibits and tours, including a limited-time appearance from a group of famous mermaids.
Exhibits and Tours
- The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, located in Kure Beach, will welcome the world famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids for two magical weekends on March 3-5 and 10-12. These live mermaids will swim into town to perform multiple underwater shows each day with sharks, gliding stingrays and a green sea turtle. The mermaids will also be on hand to meet and greet visitors. Fins and feathers will once again flock together when Lorikeet Landing, an interactive, live-animal exhibit featuring tropical birds, returns to the Aquarium this summer.
- Discover the rich history of the island while enjoying tastings from some of its best restaurants during a History Tasting Tour. In 2017, a new “Eat Around the World” tour will celebrate international cuisines.
- A new exhibit for the visitor center and more interpretive waysides are now underway at Fort Fisher State Historic Site. These additions are intended to better tell the story of Fort Fisher, the site of the largest amphibious battle of the Civil War. The 32-pounder “Rifled & Banded” cannon in Shepherd’s Battery – a restored gun emplacement – was also completely refurbished in the fall of 2016.
- Learn about the different habitats that exist within Carolina Beach State Park and how each habitat affects the plants and animals that call the park home during a park ranger-guided Biological Wonderland Hike. Participants are encouraged to wear good walking shoes and dress for the weather. Dates and times for the hike are available online. The park’s popular Carnivorous Plant Hikes will resume in May 2017, when hikers are likely to spy the indigenous Venus flytrap.
- Paddle NC will offer overnight expeditions starting in 2017, thanks to a new fleet of overnight kayaks. The new expeditions will let visitors explore both coastal and land areas surrounding Carolina Beach State Park. Avid kayakers can receive ACA (American Canoe Association) instruction through a program started by Paddle NC in 2016.
- Tony Silvagni is no stranger to the winner’s circle: the owner of Tony Silvagni Surf School in Carolina Beach is a former Olympic gold medalist. He added to his impressive resume in 2016 by winning first place at the World Surf League Trump Hyuga Pro Men's Longboard Tour in Japan in October, and a national title at the USA National Pro Longboard Championships in California in November. His namesake surf school offers surf camps, paddleboard lessons, kayak tours and more.
Hotels & Lodging
- The 106-room Hampton Inn and Suites Carolina Beach Oceanfront officially started welcoming guests several months ago. The seven-story hotel is situated at the northern end of Carolina Beach with breathtaking oceanfront views and direct access to the Carolina Beach Boardwalk.
- Those in search of more rustic accommodations may want to consider Carolina Beach State Park, which is now home to four camping cabins and nine RV-friendly sites. The two-room log cabins can comfortably accommodate up to six campers. Each cabin has electrical receptacles and a heating and air-conditioning unit, along with outside amenities including a picnic table, charcoal grill and a fire ring. The RV-friendly campsites are fully equipped with utilities, along with a picnic table and grill/fire ring. Drinking water and restrooms with hot showers are located nearby both the cabins and RV sites.
About Carolina Beach
Carolina Beach offers the best of a North Carolina beach experience from the past with a fun, family-friendly spin for today. Visitors can experience a vintage, nationally recognized boardwalk, Carolina Beach State Park, one-of-a-kind festivals and events, world-class fishing, miles of beautiful beach, and all kinds of people united by their love of good times that are unmistakably Carolina Beach. For more information, go to www.VisitCarolinaBeachNC.com or call (800) 641-7082. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook/CarolinaBeachNC and Twitter and Instagram, @CarolinaBeachNC.
Sara Beth Doherty
French West Vaughan