Carolina Beach is a beach town just south of Wilmington, North Carolina. The eastern side of the town is an ordinary built-up beach community, a popular summer destination for students and other beachgoers. But just to the west of town is something more unique: a state park where you can see rare Venus flytraps in the wild.
- Visiting Carolina Beach
- Town of Carolina Beach
- Pleasure Island Visitor Information Booth, on the boardwalk at the end of Harper Avenue. April–September, Su–W 11AM–4PM, Th–Sa 10AM–5PM. Free information about Carolina Beach and Kure beach is available here, but the main visitor information center is in Wilmington.
Carolina Beach is located on an island bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Fear River, just south of Wilmington. The best way to get to Carolina Beach is by traveling south on NC-421 from Wilmington. Of course, there is also the option of approaching the town by water, provided you have a boat and a place to dock it.
Wave Transit also offers bus service from Wilmington.
Because of limited parking, the best way to get around Carolina Beach is on foot or by bicycle. Several vendors rent bicycles and pedal-powered vehicles that can hold up to six people (4 adults and two small children). Most of the "touristy" stuff is concentrated in a small area around the boardwalk.
- 1 Carolina Beach State Park, 1010 State Park Road, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. It has one of the most beautiful beaches. Clean brown-black sand (probably due to thorium deposits) and clean water. The water is foamy. Even though the park is called "Carolina Beach State Park", it is not actually on the ocean. The island on which the park resides is a barrier island and the park is located on the inland side of the island. The beaches of the park are actually along the Cape Fear river and an artificial waterway known as Snow's Cut. It's about a one mile walk to get to the ocean from the park. The park has camping, kayaking, and hiking trails through swamps, woods, and the quiet river beaches. It is also one of the few places in the world where you can see Venus flytraps in the wild. To see them and other carnivorous plants, take the short, easy 1 Flytrap Trail, which starts from the parking lot at the end of Nature Trail Lane. If you have a keen eye you can spot the insect-eating plants from two of the bridges on the trail. For a map of the trail and guidance on where to look for carnivorous plants, stop by the 2 Visitor Center. Or come on Saturday or Sunday at 10AM March–October for a guided Carnivorous Plant Hike on the same trail. Other carnivorous plants in the park (some of them easier to spot) are pitcher plants, sundews, butterworts, and bladderworts. Free.
Jump into the nice Atlantic waters. Just splash around or go surfing. The town has several restaurants, particularly Italian. One thing to note is parking. There are free 2 hr parking spots available beside the road, so don't waste too much time in finding a parking. The best time to visit to avoid crowds is early September. The water is still warm (in the 80s °F/high 20s °C) but since school has started, most of the tourists are gone.
- Birdwatching – see white ibises, blue herons, sandpipers, cardinals, ducks, geese, and many others.
- 1 Britt's Donuts, 11 Carolina Beach Ave N (Located on the boardwalk). Rated by MSN as the second best donuts in the country. They only serve one kind, glazed, but they are to die for. On busy days during the summer the customers will be lined up down the boardwalk to buy them by the dozen. They have been in the same location since the 1930s, and they still make them by hand.
- 2 Michael's Seafood, 1206 N. Lake Park Blvd, ☏ . Noon–8PM daily.
- 3 Shuckin' Shack, 6A N. Lake Park Blvd (+1 910 458-7380), ✉ email@example.com. Fresh seafood, with a commitment to sustainability and protecting the oceans.
- 1 Courtyard Carolina Beach, 100 Charlotte Avenue, ☏ . North Carolina's only oceanfront Marriott and direct, instant access to the beach.
- Intracoastal Vacation Rentals. Spacious, clean, and well-equipped beach houses and condos, aimed at groups of four or more.
- Camping is possible at Carolina Beach State Park.
Cell phone reception is inconsistent.
|Routes through Carolina Beach|
|Greensboro ← Wilmington ←||N S||→ Kure Beach → Fort Fisher|