Fast Facts

Food & Wine magazine ranked the Carolina Beach Boardwalk among the top 10 in the country. The magazine considered Carolina Beach's amusement rides, arcade games, food stands and Britt's Donut Shop.

Carolina Beach State Park is one of the few places in the world where the Venus flytrap can be seen in its native environment. This carnivorous plant can be viewed year-round, but only blooms for a few days in the spring.

Carolina Beach is home to the one and only Britt’s Donuts, one of the town’s icons. A family-owned business that has been in Carolina Beach since 1939, it is a favorite of repeat visitors and is known for its mouthwatering warm doughnuts.

At Squigley’s Ice Cream & Treats, visitors can create more than 4,050 varieties of homemade ice cream treats with a variety of toppings and flavors. For those who like to eat sweets and shop, Squigley’s Gift Gallery and Shade Shack, located above the ice cream shop, offers clothes, nautical décor and more for a special gift. Spend time walking around Carolina Beach and chances are, you will find someone wearing an “I’ve Been Squiggled” sticker after visiting this special shop.

For visitors seeking nightlife options, stopping by the Fat Pelican – complete with a walk-in beverage cooler and giant surfing cow on the roof – is a must. Check out the assortment of decorations, including the dinghy renovated into an outdoor bar.

Freeman Park, located in Carolina Beach, is among a handful of oceanfront properties in the Carolinas that allows four-wheelers to ride on the sandy beaches (season, weekend and daily passes are available through the Town of Carolina Beach and other locations). Outdoor enthusiasts have been fishing, swimming, boating, crabbing and casting for minnows at this popular place for generations.


The Carolina Beach Boardwalk offers something for everyone, with beach rentals, restaurants, and a variety of nighttime entertainment. Whether simply to indulge in people-watching or to partake in family-friendly festivities, visitors to the popular boardwalk find that it makes a hearty contribution to Carolina Beach’s identity. Weekly fireworks take place on Thursday evenings Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Carolina Beach visitors can travel by party boat or surrey bike. The party boats can seat up to 400 people. The surrey-topped cycles move under pedal-power within the town limits of Carolina Beach & Kure Beach.

Carolina Beach was established in 1857, when Joseph Winner planned the streets and lots for the 50 acres of beach property he had purchased. Winner originally called the town “St. Joseph’s,” but the name was changed to Carolina Beach when the town incorporated in 1925.

In 1866 the steamship “Wilmington” began carrying vacationers down the Cape Fear River to Snow's Cut, and a small steam-powered railroad took them the rest of the way into Carolina Beach.

In 1962, a high-rise bridge was built over Snow’s Cut connecting the island with the mainland.

Carolina Beach is home of the legendary Chicken Hicks who is credited with the development and popularization of the Shag dance. His enthusiasm for the dance helped make Carolina Beach renown during the shag evolution in the 1940’s.

Carolina Beach is rich in World War II heritage. It supported honky-tonks and an amusement park that catered primarily to enlisted service personnel. Fort Fisher soldiers happily paid a quarter a piece to throw baseballs at hinged boards painted with the heads of enemy leaders. Arcade owner Carl Winner sometimes grossed $1,000 per day. The Carolina Beach Drug Store (currently Laney Real Estate office) was constructed in 1941 where wartime shoppers used their ration coupons. The Boardwalk Canteen (currently Surfside Bar & Grill) and The Red Apple (currently Mermaid Gift Shop) served meals and snacks.