As warmer temps begin to arrive, visions of outdoor fun at the coast arise. Look to Carolina Beach, where you’ll find unique experiences beyond the beach that guarantee a memorable getaway. Tour our laidback beach town to discover unrivaled adventures around every corner. From natural settings to foodie finds, you can embark on unexpected activities during any season at Carolina Beach.
Off the Beaten Path
Head to Carolina Beach State Park, where you’ll discover 761 acres filled with miles of hiking trails, secluded fishing spots and 13 different habitats. Join a guided carnivorous plant hike offered Saturdays and Sundays March through August to check out native wildlife. Or, pack your binoculars to embark on a guided tour of one of the stops along the North Carolina Birding Trail with the Cape Fear Audubon Society and try to spot redheaded woodpeckers, brown-headed nuthatches and raptors.
While at the park, hike to the top of Sugarloaf Dune, one of Carolina Beach State Park’s most unique features, and take in breathtaking views of a coastal evergreen forest and longleaf pine savanna along the way. The 50-foot sand dune, located near the bank of the Cape Fear River, was a camping location for more than 5,000 Civil War troops. You can also rent a kayak from Paddle NC or Pleasure Island Rentals to paddle out along the calm waterways surrounding the park.
Indulge in Carolina Beach’s burgeoning food scene, where you’ll find casual and elegant options to please every palate. Salt Fish Restaurant and Tiki Bar will transport you to island time with Caribbean-inspired dishes like Chinese sausage and fried rice-stuffed pineapple and cocktails served in tiki glasses. Dig into the fresh-to-table menu at Surf House Oyster Bar & Surf Camp, where Chef Craig Love serves up dishes highlighting locally grown and caught vegetables and seafood. Sit down for lunch at one of Guy Fieri-approved “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” Fork N Cork that opened its second location in Carolina Beach, after originating in historic downtown Wilmington. Or, enjoy the ocean breeze and views with lunch on the deck at Carolina Smokehouse, a family-owned favorite that’s been featured on PBS and the Food Network.
Toast the Night
Enjoy panoramic ocean views as you sip on your favorite cocktail at The Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar. Craft beer connoisseurs won’t want to miss out on a trip to The Fat Pelican, voted as one of “The 32 Diviest Dive Bars in America,” where you can pick from a selection of 350+ beers in a walk-in cooler. Or, enjoy the spring weather during a round of disc golf at Good Hops Brewing while you sip on the Flip Flop IPA or Good Hops Pale Ale. Jam out to live music with your favorite beverage in hand at the Lazy Pirate Island Sports Grill or Seawitch Café & Tiki Bar, where you’ll hear a variety of local acts all year long.
Tour the Town
Get the full Carolina Beach experience with an island tour. Eat your way through the past with a Tasting History Tour, where you’ll sample signature items at five local restaurants as you hear unique stories about the island from your tour guide. Or, toast our one-of-a-kind beach town with Tasting History Tours’ newly launched “History in a Glass” drinks tour. For a tour on wheels, cruise around town with a golf cart rental from Sun Fun Rentals.
Discover more springtime trip ideas at Carolina Beach.