See Carolina Beach in a Whole New Light

Stick to wellness resolutions with outdoor adventure by exploring the island on foot, two wheels or via kayak. Bike the Island Greenway, hike at two state parks or enjoy birding or eco-adventure on surrounding waterways. Stop to take in colorful new public art murals along the way and enjoy new sea-to-table dining options after the adventure. Fewer crowds and secluded trails make for a relaxing getaway and one that can only be found in Carolina Beach.

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.

See What's New

New public art has debuted at the shore. Three new murals welcome visitors to the beach, "Welcome to Carolina Beach" outside Town Hall, "Carolina Dreamin" outside Crush & Grind on the Boardwalk, and "Surf & See" at the Veggie Wagon are the first three of a six-part community murals program. Nearby on the island, head to the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher to see the new exhibit, Otters on the Edge. Four Asian small-clawed otters have taken residence in the new fresh-water habitat alongside 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 or see the new habitat for Maverick, a rescued bald eagle.

New and Reimagined Restaurants

Rise and shine for breakfast at Malama Cafe with a loaded Malama Smash avocado toast, acai bowls and craft coffee to get you going. Opening Jan. 1, pick up Calabash dishes showcasing fresh local seafood with takeout from Coast Craft Cocktails and Calabash, the rebranded and reimagined restaurant formerly known as Surf House. Just steps off the Boardwalk, crawl into the new Cross-Eyed Crab Bar & Grill where you'll find seafood steam pots, shrimp and grits and of course cross-eyed crab rolls. Try the unique pizza pops open-ended dough rolls at Fentoni's Pizza on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, or choose from their specialty pizzas like Hawaiian or Buffalo Chicken. Kick back in the laid-back atmosphere of the new eatery The Spot Bar & Kitchen, where fresh quality ingredients create hearty dishes like beer-battered flounder, pimento cheese dip and ever-changing chalkboard specials.

Hikes and Eco-Adventure

Walk, jog or bicycle through scenic wooded and waterside areas along the 1.2-mile Island Greenway, a paved path winding around Carolina Beach. Take a winter sojourn and go shelling at Freeman Park Recreation Area. Located at the north end of Carolina Beach, a permit allows you to have your own beach fire and spend the day roasting s'mores. Carolina Beach State Park and nearby Fort Fisher State Recreation Area – both part of the North Carolina State Parks system – offer nature hikes and educational and environmental programs throughout the year.

If you love birdwatching, bring your binoculars and be on the lookout for red headed woodpeckers, brown-headed nuthatches and raptors. The area surrounding Carolina Beach is rich with bird activity, with nine sites on the North Carolina Birding Trail – one in Carolina Beach State Park and three nearby on the island at Fort Fisher. The Cape Fear Audubon Society offers guided walks for novices to experts, and several local kayak outfitters offer tours and adventures to Carolina Beach State Park and Fort Fisher Basin to explore the area’s wildlife.  

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. Plan now for the spring and summer travel season as beachside rentals are in high demand.