Find Your Vacation Vibe in Carolina Beach

Wanderlust and Holiday Musts

The island lights up with holiday activities as autumn’s allure continues, with fewer crowds and more room to explore. Enjoy a getaway full of outdoor adventure biking the Island Greenway, hiking at Carolina Beach State Park, and enjoying the beautiful oceanfront views. As the seasons seamlessly blend, holiday outings and outdoor adventure make for a relaxing getaway and one that can only be found in Carolina Beach. We're ready for whatever brings you joy.

What to Expect When Visiting

Thank you for trusting us with your care and safety as you travel to the area. We encourage you to travel and enjoy responsibly by practicing social distancing, wearing required masks and following other guidelines for your safety. With safety concerns top of mind for travelers, many lodging properties are following enhanced safety guidelines provided by corporate offices, as well as guidance from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, U.S. Travel Association, and the CDC that are designed to provide consistent cleaning safety standards. A statewide “Count on Me NC” program with the NC Restaurant and Lodging Association, Visit NC and NC State University provides specific guidance and training to local restaurants, hotels, and other public-facing businesses on best practices. Please find on-going COVID travel updates here.

Reserve Your Home Away From Home

No matter your budget or vacation style, a Carolina Beach getaway is easy to plan with a variety of accommodations practicing new cleaning safety standards from which to choose. Oceanfront hotels offer full-service amenities and easy access to the beach. Find a beachside bungalow that's perfect for two or a roomy beach house rental—ideal for e-learning or working remotely—and enjoy the conveniences of home with kitchens, decks and outdoor grills. This is a time when many lodging properties feature off-season rates directly on their websites and look for weekday stays (Sunday – Thursday) for the best savings. Book now for your home away from home getaway to Carolina Beach.

Holiday By the Sea

Enjoy Christmas by the sea with holiday island celebrations. Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, stroll around Carolina Beach Lake Park to see the Holiday Lights at the Lake. A festive Christmas tree and twinkling coastal light displays illuminate the path and reflect off the 11-acre freshwater lake. Find joy within the decorated Oceanfront Holiday Coves in the seating areas and gazebos at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk during Christmas by the Sea. Watch sandcastle builders create special holiday-themed castles during the Holiday Sandcastle Competition at Carolina Beach Boardwalk, Dec. 12. Shop outdoors and find unique beachy gifts at the Carolina Beach Holiday Market, Dec.5 at Carolina Beach Lake Park. It's the season of giving and a time when island gift boutiques and surf shops stock the shelves with one-of-a-kind stocking stuffers and thoughtful holiday gifts.


With many families practicing remote learning this year, move your classroom to the beach for a change of scenery. Let the kids enjoy "recess" as they explore the great outdoors with eco-adventures and wellness activities. Find a hidden sanctuary at the 50-foot Sugarloaf Dune, then hike one of the nine trails throughout the 761-acres of natural beauty at Carolina Beach State Park or the Basin Trail at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. Rent bicycles from Pleasure Island Rentals and ride through scenic wooded and waterside areas along the 1.2-mile Island Greenway. Your little "students" can walk the grounds of Fort Fisher State Historic Site and Museum and learn about the remains of the South’s largest earthen fort surrounded by live oaks with peaceful ocean and river views. Also close by, head to the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher to experience underwater wildlife and coastal animals, like Luna the Alligator, sharks and more. Get outside to the aquarium gardens and explore the birding deck where Peregrine Falcon and a variety of warblers can sometimes be spotted.

More Paddle Room

Float along warm waterways well into autumn in Carolina Beach. Rent a kayak or take a guided tour for a socially-distanced paddle experience from Paddle NC or Pleasure Island Rentals and head to nearby Zeke's Island Reserve to see migrating shorebirds, or Shark Tooth Island to search for treasures along uninhabited shores. After the adventure, enjoy a fresh take on traditional beer styles and taste seasonal brews at Good Hops Brewing, like their Harvest Fest Black Sky IPA. Pick up growlers to-go or enjoy a pint in the outside beer garden. Practice sun salutations with more stretching room. Take your yoga mat outdoors for a class with Salty Dog Yoga in Mike Chappell Park, at the beach or in the beer garden at Good Hops Brewing, or indoors at their seaside studio.

From Fresh Air to Fresh Catches

Order takeout and pick up curbside or make the most of dining outdoors as you take in ocean views. Head to the Topside Deck of Carolina Smokehouse and indulge in fall-off-the-bone BBQ or have dinner marina-side at Stoked Restaurant while watching the boats come in with the day's catch. Try a unique twist on the 'island life' at Salt Fish Restaurant and Tiki Bar where Caribbean and Panamanian influences combine in exotic dishes like Chinese sausage and fried rice-stuffed pineapple. Try the fresh catch of the day, oysters by the dozen and ever-changing menu items at Surf House Oyster Bar & Surf Camp, where laid back surf vibes meet sea-to-table cuisine sourced from local waterways and area farms. With everything prepared completely in-house, Soul Flavor Kitchen & Bar delivers down-home taste with quality ingredients in signature dishes like the Nana Maria's Paella, or try the Bloody Mary Chicken Wings during Sunday Brunch. Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar and the Seawitch Café & Tiki Bar offer fresh coastal cuisine with outdoor dining and a laid-back island feel. Taste some of Havana’s signature favorites like their lobster seafood bake with curbside order pickup or while dining on the porch, screened-in patio or outdoor deck. Warm up with savory southern comfort food at Fork n Cork, like the Lamb Burger with mint and oregano, Pimento Chz Burger with bacon jam or build your own grilled cheese.