Visit The North Carolina Aquarium At Kure Beach
Located just ten minutes south of Carolina Beach, the North Carolina Aquarium is home to thousands of aquatic creatures. Explore the salt marshes and tidal pools and see the sharks in the two-story open ocean exhibit. Pet the rays in the touch tanks, and get up close and personal with the loggerhead turtles. Theres also an outdoor garden featuring a variety of species of flora and fauna, and at the end of the day, you can stop in the gift store for souvenirs.
Ready to go?
Beach Yoga With Salty Dog Yoga
Dont think that just because youre on vacation you have to give up things like yoga. Salty Dog Yoga is right in Carolina Beach and offers daily classes at their studio. Thats not the best part, though!
Almost every day, they head to the beach for beach yoga and even host some amazing workshops and retreats at the beach. Youll have to check their schedule for times that work for you.
Boat To Masonboro Island
Masonboro Island is the largest site in the North Carolina coastal reserves and covers almost 5600 acres of beautiful beach area, tidal Flats, marshlands, as well as Maritime forests. The place is definitely a heaven for all the bird watchers and nature lovers.
The place has a very wide variety of flora and fauna on its 8.54 miles shoreline. The Island is accessible only via boats. The island is also one of the state protected lands and the area is free from human interruption. A large number of rental companies provide boats so that you can visit the island and enjoy some peaceful time there.
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Enjoy A Classic Seaside Boardwalk
Wilmington and Beaches CVB
Named one of America’s top 10 boardwalks by both Food & Wine and Budget Travel magazines, Carolina Beach Boardwalk features seaside amusement rides, classic arcade games, and weekly summer fireworks. There are also a splash pad park, cool-off stations, historical and educational kiosks, and swings.
wiredwitch / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
The Travel Channel has named the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher as one of the best aquariums in the U.S. Highlights include the touch tank where kids can feel a live bamboo shark, a Dolphin Discovery experience, a butterfly exhibit, an interactive 3-D Whale Quest game, and Luna, the aquariums beloved albino alligator. Kids can burn off any excess energy at Adventure Reef, an outdoor play zone.
Open since 2013, the Ocean Front Park in Kure Beach has since transformed the town’s beachfront. The public seaside green space features a boardwalk, playground, swings, rain gardens, oceanfront benches, and public restrooms. Kids ages 3 to 6 can play in the tot lot playground with its giant pirate ship, fish, and turtle structures. Summer family programming includes weekly concerts, fairytale storytelling, and turtle talks, where kids can learn about the sea turtles with the local Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project.
Best Carolina Beach Things To Do
1. Go to the beach!
Carolina Beach is one of our all time favorite beaches. We visit every summer and several times during the rest of the year as well. We love that its not overly busy, you can almost always find a parking space, there are public restrooms and lifeguards along most of the beach. If youre looking for even less crowds head further south to Kure Beach. Both beaches are super family friendly!
Freeman Park is one of the most unique Carolina Beach attractions. This area of Carolina Beach is only accessible with a four wheel drive vehicle and you must have a day pass or annual pass. Visitors come from all over to enjoy driving onto the beach, setting up for the day and swimming, fishing, shelling, and more in Freeman Park. Camping overnight is available too if youre into a little more rustic experience.
Dont forget a thing with my ultimate beach day packing list!
2. North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is one of the best things to do with kids in Kure Beach! Learn about the NC ecosystem, get up close and personal with marine life in the touch tank, and learn something new from the free daily shows at the Aquarium. Whether youre into sharks, sting rays, or turtles theres bound to be something to catch your interest. Young children will love the outdoor maritime garden, playground, and changing exhibits. During our last visit there were dinosaurs along the outdoor trail!
3. Carolina Beach State Park
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Take The Ferry To Southport
Southport is a charming setting for movies, especially those based on the novels of Nicholas Sparks. In reality, several television shows and movies were filmed in Southport, and a tour can be arranged at the Visitors Center to see all of the famous sights.
A ferry departs from Fort Fisher every 45 minutes starting at 7:45 AM until 5:30 PM and is the quickest and most recommended way to get from Carolina Beach to Southport. Cost is $7 one way, and you can stay in your car if you wish.
Fishy Fishy Café is a popular eatery on the waterfront, and The Christmas House on Moore Street is worth a visit. Along with traditional decorations, many items combine a nautical theme with the holidays, and theres a vast candy selection.
Carolina Beach is quaint, relaxing and almost undiscovered by the masses. Go and visit before the rest of the world finds it.
Kure Beach Fishing Pier
Speaking of the 711-foot pier, it is definitely one of the best attractions in Kure Beach! Whether you are looking to fish all day, charter a fishing excursion, or just check out what the catch of the day is, its a fun experience for all.
Just make sure you have a North Carolina fishing license before casting your reel!
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Carolina Beach Lake Park
Carolina Beach Lake Park is a charming 11 acre lake thats located just a few blocks away from the Atlantic Ocean, and which was once named in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Closest Freshwater Lake to Saltwater. A popular spot for families, the Carolina Beach Lake Park features seasonal pedal boat and kayak rentals for visitors who want to enjoy an easy-going cruise along the water, as well as multiple paths and gazebos / sitting areas for sightseers who want to pause and admire the view. The park is also home to an ever-changing series of events for park-goers, including summertime movie nights and small festivals. As a result, its a fun destination for any water lover who wants to discover something natural, new, and refreshing in the Carolina Beach Scene.
Stroll Along The Vintage Carolina Beach Boardwalk
A post shared by Cecilia Keirstead on Jun 18, 2019 at 4:20pm PDT
Carolina Beach Boardwalk is a picturesque boardwalk, colorful and vibrant with a dynamic life. It has a vintage vibe and its big ferris wheel gives it a distinct character. As you stroll along the boardwalk near the beach, you will be able to enjoy live music, amusement rides, street food, shops etc. Its carnival atmosphere makes it perfect for families, or even groups of friends wanting to have fun! Enjoy a pleasant walk near the beach, during the day or come sunset, with a casual and fun setting.
Carolina Beach Boardwalk
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Week Of December 27 2021
- Sunday, January 2nd 8:00 AM
Discover one of the prettiest regions of the coastal Cape Fear area with this annual event that always attracts runners, walkers and joggers from all across the region and well beyond. The Carolina Beach State Park Half Marathon & 5K is a fun and yet competitive race that features some of the best scenery on the beach, and which is open to visitors of all ages and abilities.
Set Off On A Diving Adventure With Carolina Beach Scuba
A post shared by sarah moonfore on Aug 11, 2016 at 1:25pm PDT
You know what ocean means its not just about taking a dip and drinking beer on the beach. Its also about a wonderful flora and fauna. And youre just in luck because Carolina Beach Scuba gives you the opportunity to see this for yourself. They teach you the ropes of scuba diving and help you get the necessary gear for it! The friendly instructors are professional and will guide you to the best locations to explore the ocean. Namely, you will get to see reefs, shipwrecks, fishes, and even fossil hunting for Megalodon teeth! They also offer spearfishing trips so that you can hunt for a variety of seafood.
Carolina Beach Scuba
Opening hours: Mon – Thu: 4pm – 2am Fri – Sun: 11am – 2am
Where To Stay In Carolina Beach
You can easily find accommodations in Carolina Beach for just about any budget range as long as you book early.
There are lots of hotels in Carolina Beach, ranging from major chains to small mom and pop motels.
We usually rent through one of these sites when we visit Carolina Beach.
While there are lots of places to stay with beachfront access, you will pay a premium for those locations.
The campgrounds of Carolina Beach are popular as well and can be a great option for people who own campers or like to tent camp.
Theres a North Carolina State Park that offers campsites as well as several privately owned campgrounds that offer really nice accommodations for campers.
Lazy Pirate Island Sports Grill
Address: 701 North Lake Park Boulevard, Carolina Beach
Live music, signature cocktails and the legendary lobster mac-n-cheese all this and more are found at the Lazy Pirate Island Sports Grill. Guests are welcome to sit in the cool indoors and dine on a delectable seafood feast. Or, head outside to the Crab Shack & Oyster Bar, and enjoy live music, corn hole tournaments and beach volleyball while you sip on a terrific cocktail concoction.
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Fort Fisher Historic Site
The largest amphibious assault of the Civil War took place at Fort Fisher, which is a big reason why everyone should visit this historic site. The Visitors Center has incredible exhibits detailing the two Civil War battles that happened here.
Its also a great starting point to learn about Wilmingtons place in history beyond the war.
Fort Fisher also serves as a wonderful outdoor recreational spot! There are six miles of beaches and walking trails that attract many divers who wish to explore many of the shipwrecks just off the coast.
A popular locale for birders and wildlife lovers as well, there are so many ways to explore Fort Fisher, and we rank it as one of our top things to do in Wilmington!
Visit The Shops On The Carolina Beach Boardwalk
The boardwalk is a popular spot for both locals and visitors. Grab a dozen doughnuts at Britts Doughnuts or stop in for lunch at Franks Pizza. Sit outside on the swings and enjoy live music and views of the ocean, or stop in the Carolina Beach Arcade and play a few games with the kids. If you are feeling up to it, you can stop in Henna Tattoos for some new artwork.
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Thoroughbreds Chophouse And Seafood Grille
This famous Thoroughbreds Chophouse and Seafood Grill has been around since 1988 and truly a favorite for the locals, but also everyone who visits Myrtle Beach every year. Bring the family and have an incredible evening with them. Its a favorite of ours and I know it will be a favorite of yours as well!
Theres so much to do in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. These are just a few of the great things you can experience.
Top cities near Myrtle Beach that you may want to consider visiting:
Week Of March 28 2022
- Friday, March 25th – Sunday, April 3rd
Beer lovers can enjoy a full week of sampling brews, food, live music and more when they pop into an event or two that corresponds with the Cape Fear Beer Week. Held annually in the spring, this week-long event takes place at venues, breweries and restaurants all across the Wilmington area and beyond, and is a fine opportunity for beer lovers to explore all the tempting flavors of the Cape Fear region.
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Family Kingdom Amusement Park
What family vacation would be complete without visiting an amusement park. The Family Kingdom Amusement Park features 38 rides and a water park. Again, this is another attraction that the entire family is going to enjoy.
Plan on spending all day here as there is literally so much to do! From riding rides to splashing around in the water, it feels like youre getting two parks in one!
Do Some Shopping At Checkered Church Gift Shop
Checkered Church Gift Shop is a unique little oddity of a shop located close to the beach and to many other shops and activities. It sells a plethora of fun gifts and souvenirs: accessories, home decor with a marine theme, socks, slippers, local art, etc. So support a local business and get some nice souvenirs in exchange! If you want to send a cute card from your vacation to your loved ones, they also sell adorable themed cards, including a pop-up 3D card for that little extra cuteness.
Checkered Church Gift Shop
Opening hours: Wed – Sat: 10am – 5pm
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Get A History Lesson At The Federal Point History Center
Learn about life in Wilmington and Carolina Beach through a series of exhibits and audio-visual presentations at the Federal Point History Center. There is an outdoor picnic area if you want to bring lunch from your vacation rental, and at the end of the self-guided tour, browse in the gift shop for souvenirs and gifts. Afterwards, stop by Fort Fisher and view the remains of the Civil War Fortifications approximately 10 miles north in Wilmington.
The Fort Fisher Aquarium
The Fort Fisher aquarium in Carolina beach is a place that kids and adults enjoy alike. This aquarium is a bit different from the other aquarium that you would find in the US. The aquarium is also dedicated towards carrying out real research about the life of aquatic animals as well as the marine ecology.
The aquarium has a large number of exhibitions as well as shows which are organized on a daily basis. The place also has some aged animals. One of them is a rare alligator and the other is a rescued eagle named Maverick. The place also operates a butterfly garden during the summer and spring seasons.
With the large number of aquatic animals and are unique interiors, we would definitely suggest you to check this place out during your visit to Carolina beach.
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Ride The Cape Fear Riverboats In Wilmington
Located just minutes from Carolina Beach on the south side of Wilmington, Cape Fear Riverboats offers tours of the water and beautiful views of the beach. Sign up for a narrated one-hour tour that teaches the history of Cape Fear and downtown Wilmington, or opt for the four-hour getaway along the Black River. Enjoy dinner from Anne Bonnys Bar and Grill after your trip. The restaurant serves a variety of international fare, as well as sandwiches, fresh seafood, and cocktails.
Fun Things To Do In Carolina Beach And Kure Beach
Carolina Beach and Kure Beach on Pleasure Island, NC offer tons of attractions and fun things to do for visitors and residents of all ages. Come for a beach vacation or a weekend getaway, come for the fun events and festivals, and discover all the unique and wonderful attractions we have to offer.
Rent a charter boat for an amazing fishing experience, book a cruise to explore the Intracoastal Waterway, take a stand up paddle boarding lesson, camp overnight oceanfront or in the Carolina Beach State Park, or spend an afternoon on one of our renowned golf courses just over the bridge. Check out the Boardwalk in Carolina Beach for great shopping, yummy food and treats, amusement rides, and free live music during the summer season. Or visit the renowned Kure Beach Pier for great fishing and gorgeous ocean views.Search our Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce member directory to find some of the area’s most exciting and unique attractions and things to do. When you find something that sounds just right, add it to your Trip Planner Itinerary!
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Ocean Grill And Tiki Bar
This local restaurant has a prime spot right on the beach. Their location alone is reason enough to visit, but the food was great as well.
Youll find Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar hidden away right between a hotel and some condos, with parking across the street.
The restaurant has its own pier that juts out over the ocean, offering fantastic views with its laid back vibe.
Guests can eat outdoors on a covered porch, on the pier on in an indoor dining room.
Since the day was so hot, we choose the upstairs dining room with great views of the beach.
We ordered the Blackened Fish Tacos, the Calabash Shrimp, the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich and the Ocean Grill Burger.
We all enjoyed our food, especially the fish tacos and the Calabash shrimp.
There is something to note at most Carolina Beach Restaurants if you plan to order water to drink with your meal, and we ran into it most notably here.
The tap water in Carolina Beach does not taste good at all. Most restaurants have some sort of filtration system, but not every restaurant does.
Be sure to order a drink of some sort if you plan to eat here. We quickly switched our waters to lemonade after tasting what we were served.