Paddle, Surf and Cruise on the Open Waters

There are plenty of ways to explore the waters surrounding Carolina Beach, including watersports like surfing and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), kayaking, boating and fishing. And with three nearby bodies of water – the Atlantic Ocean, Intracoastal Waterway and Cape Fear River – there are plenty of places to explore, too.

Read on or browse the full list of water experiences and rental opportunities.

Surfing and Paddleboarding

Olympic Gold Medalist Tony Silvagni offers rentals and lessons for all watersport adventures through Tony Silvagni Surf School. Sign up for surf camps, group and individual paddleboard lessons, stand-up paddleboard (SUP) surfing lessons or kayak tours. Instructors focus on having fun and being safe in the water at the same time. Rentals include bikes, bike trailers for toddlers, paddleboards, surfboards, kayaks, bodyboards, skimboards and other beach essentials like chairs and umbrellas. Rental includes free drop off and pick up service anywhere on the island.

Odysea Surf School was started with the idea of teaching surfing lessons in a positive learning environment. Its adult instructors have over 10 years of continuous surf lesson instruction experience in North Carolina, and there is nothing they enjoy more than seeing a new surfer catch his or her first wave. Odysea offers a variety of surfing and stand-up paddleboarding lessons (surf or still water) in both small group and private settings.

Kayaking Tours and Rentals

Hop in a kayak to explore the waters surrounding Carolina Beach State Park. Paddle NC offers kayak rentals, instructions and tours. This is a great way to experience nature and history at the same time by traveling the waters that played major roles in the golden age of piracy, the American Revolution and the Civil War. Paddle NC is conveniently located on-site at the Carolina Beach State Park marina. Kayak rentals are also offered through Pleasure Island Rentals.

Boating & Cruises

Be your own captain – or set out with one of theirs – during a pontoon adventure with Carolina Beach Pontoon Rental. Anglers might even want to start their day by fishing from the pontoon.

Discover a new kind of boating experience and give your legs a workout with Sea Legs Pedal Pub. A skilled licensed captain steers while you and fellow boaters propel the vessel forward by pedaling through the scenic water surrounding Carolina Beach.


Thanks to three unique bodies of water in the region – the Cape Fear River, Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean – Carolina Beach is home to some of the best fishing around, and fall is one of the best seasons for fishing here. Favorites among anglers include flounder, speckled trout, red drum, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, pompano, gray trout, spot, croaker and whiting. Opportunities for fishing are plentiful, whether you have a paddleboard, kayak, canoe or johnboat or prefer to stick to your own two feet with pier or surf fishing.

Fishing charters are available to take you on an inshore, nearshore, offshore or even deep-sea fishing adventure. Deep-sea charters reach the Gulf Stream quickly in pursuit of marlin, tuna, king mackerel, grouper, snapper, and sailfish. Inshore fishing charters find flounder, red drum, trout, bluefish, and Spanish mackerel, and are usually available for half-day charters. Most charters depart from the Carolina Beach Fishing Center and Marina, and all boast experienced captains who will navigate to the best fishing spots.

The Carolina Beach Fishing Pier is well known for its variety and abundance of fish. It is a full-service pier with a small grill and a tackle shop. Family-owned and operated, the pier has a home-town feeling and some of the best views on the island. For surf fishing, purchase a pass and head to Freeman Park with your four-wheel-drive vehicle.

For a more secluded spot, head to Carolina Beach State Park, a 761-acre forest that includes some of the best fishing spots in the area. Anglers can launch or dock their boats at the park’s marina or rent a fishing kayak from Paddle NC.

Experienced anglers can challenge themselves by competing in one of the island’s annual tournaments including the East Coast Got-Em-On Classic King Mackerel Tournament or Pleasure Island Surf Fishing Challenge.