Off the Beaten Path

Find cool and original things to do with off-the-beaten path trip ideas that will keep you curiously entertained. Whether a getaway with your gal pals or a solo retreat, find unique ways to experience colorful Carolina Beach with curated trip ideas.

Solo Travel

As solo travel grows in popularity, discover a vacation that's uniquely you and treat yourself to a solo trip to Carolina Beach. Make friends while waiting in line for famously-glazed donuts, explore under the sea on a diving adventure or learn to hang ten with a surf lesson. Kayak the day away and unwind with oceanside cocktails and so much more. Find your perfect solo-cation to Carolina Beach here.

ONE-OF-A-KIND EVENTS

Annual events and festivals at Carolina Beach include the Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues and Jazz Festival featuring nationally recognized artists (April), Carolina Beach Music Festival (June); Boardwalk Film and Fireworks Series (June through August) and Carolina Beach Dragon Boat Regatta and Festival.

PET FRIENDLY

Bring your four-legged friend with you during your next trip to Carolina Beach. Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach from October 1 - March 31 and before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. from April 1 - September 30. Dogs are always welcome at Freeman Park, and during the off-season (October 1 - March 31), dogs are allowed to play off-leash. Another great place to take man’s best friend is Carolina Beach State Park, a dog-friendly secluded camping area with miles of hiking trails perfect for off-road adventures with your pooch. You can also search lodging options that are pet-friendly on the places to stay page (use Amenities dropdown).

ROMANTIC ESCAPES & TRAVEL WITHOUT KIDS

Check into a beach cottage, hotel, or bed-and-breakfast inn; some offering amenities such as massage packages and chocolates and champagne upon arrival.

From young professionals to empty nesters, fall is a perfect time to book a beach getaway here. With kids back in school, visitors traveling without kids can enjoy less crowds, mild temperatures and more affordable lodging rates in the off-season.

Less crowds also means less waiting at island restaurants and bars, and even more space to spread out and relax on the beach. Travelers can experience nightlife like a true local by visiting favorites such as the Fat Pelican. Groove to the tunes from local and regional bands at The Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar and Seawitch Café & Tiki Bar, which feature a lineup of live entertainment well into the fall.

GIRLFRIENDS GETAWAY

Whether it is a birthday party, bachelorette party, reunion of old friends or just an all-girls escape, Carolina Beach is the perfect getaway destination.

Known as a beach destination that’s a little out of the ordinary, do something different than the traditional spa experience. Enroll in a Boardwalk yoga class located in the heart of the Carolina Beach Boardwalk area, directly across from the beach. Learn to surf in a safe and fun environment at an all-women surf camp. Tony Silvagni, Gold Medalist for the USA surf team, is the owner of Tony Silvagni Surf School at Carolina Beach. The friendly surf community and prominent sandbars at Carolina Beach make it the perfect place for beginners to catch their first waves. Every weekend during May through September, Tony Silvagni Surf School holds weekend surf clinics just for women. Boards and equipment are provided to all students.

If you want to blend in a little of the traditional girlfriend experiences, shop unique retail/dining areas along Carolina Beach Ave., Lake Park Blvd. and Cape Fear Blvd., for nautical gifts at the Checkered Church and a collection of treasures from jewelry to decor at The Mermaid Castle, just to name a few.

Get “squiggled” at Squigley’s Ice Cream and Treats, serving over 4,050 flavors of homemade ice cream and specialty desserts. Then dance off the calories aboard a moonlight dance cruise with Winner Party Boats.

GUYS GETAWAY

Fun-filled adventure from deep-sea fishing excursions to 4x4 fun to surf camps beckon!  The waters surrounding Carolina Beach are home to some of the best offshore and inshore fishing in the area, and the Carolina Beach Fishing Center and Marina is a great place to begin your fishing excursion where knowledgeable charter captains will get you and your party right in the middle of the action. Deep-sea charters reach the Gulf Stream quickly in pursuit of marlin, tuna, dolphin, king mackerel, grouper, snapper, and sailfish. In-shore fishing charters find flounder, red drum, trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and more. Whether you're an experienced fisherman, a first-timer or a group just looking for a memorable boating excursion, the Carolina Beach Fishing Center and Marina has what you're looking for. For those in search of competition, Carolina Beach hosts numerous tournaments throughout the year.

Find 4x4 fun at the North end of Carolina Beach. Freeman Park is where visitors and locals can take 4x4’s onto the beach, have a bonfire, look for endangered loggerhead sea turtle tracks and even camp overnight for the full effect of the surf and stars. Permits are required for all 4x4s and are available through the Town of Carolina Beach. 

Surf’s up at Carolina Beach. Tony Silvagni Surf School holds weekend surf clinics just for the guys. These 2-day long camps run Saturday and Sunday and boards and equipment are provided to all students.

HOLIDAYS

Escape the ordinary holiday traditions for the coastal holiday season at Carolina Beach. The centerpiece of the holiday season is the Island of Lights Festival. The festivities kick off the day after Thanksgiving with the Light Up The Lake ceremony featuring festive fish, dashing dolphins and sparkly seashells and culminate with the New Year’s Eve Countdown, featuring a giant-lighted beach ball drop.  Other events include the not-to-be-missed Holiday Flotilla on the Intracoastal Waterway with a parade of decorated boats. Watch the competition as they cruise from Snow's Cut to the Carolina Beach Boat Basin and back.

WINTERING AT THE BEACH

Carolina Beach becomes a different kind of beach during winter. Cast off the winter's gray days for a sunshine stay. It's the perfect time to visit for fewer crowds, mild weather and great outdoor activities. Carolina Beach State Park is a great place to get outdoors and hike along seven miles of trails with a variety of habitats and animal life. Sample flights and pours of beer at Good Hops Brewing where you and Fido can relax or challenge some friends to disc golf in the back. Visit the nearby North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher to see and interact with over 2,500 animal residents and explore with ecology programs and events like a Behind the Scenes tour or guided canoeing adventure, or hike the grounds of Fort Fisher State Historic Site, where the largest land-sea battle of the Civil War took place.