This town, set on a peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Fear River, is known for its uncrowded beaches, outstanding surf and boardwalk amusement park.
Situated at the northern end of North Carolina’s Pleasure Island, Carolina Beach offers the ideal opportunity for a relaxing getaway without the crowds.
Explore Carolina Beach on foot or by bicycle as the entire town is just 1,600 acres (650 hectares) and parking is limited. The area is home to several types of beach: Inland beaches along the Cape Fear River offer calm waters while the white-sand beaches on the Atlantic Ocean side are popular for surfing.
A great place to start is at the original beachside boardwalk considered by many to be one of the best in the nation. Here, you can enjoy a ride on the Ferris wheel or a heart-pounding venture on the 80-foot (24-meter) tall Drop Tower.
Visit the Carolina Beach State Park to see its beautiful beaches. Take a nature walk through a number of different coastal ecosystems and even get a close-up look of fascinating carnivorous plants such as the Venus flytrap.
Rent a kayak and paddle across the creeks and swampland or take a guided boat tour. Charter boats depart from the river docks, offering a chance to go fishing, enjoy a romantic dinner cruise or do a twilight tour. Visit Carolina Beach Lake Park and rent a paddleboat for a gentle ride across the large freshwater lake. Head to the park’s amphitheater to watch a movie on Sunday evenings.
Back in the township, shop for one-of-a-kind souvenirs, beach apparel and surfing gear, or taste a homemade donut at Britt’s Donuts, a fixture here since 1939. Visitors drive long distances to indulge in one of their hot-glazed treats.
Carolina Beach is an ideal spot to enjoy meals outdoors; many restaurants offer impressive views of the sea. Dine and drink at anything from tiki bars and seafood grills serving the daily catch, to family-owned Italian bistros.