Visitors are often surprised at the number and variety of weekly vacation rentals throughout the area.. Vacation rentals are, in fact, an increasingly popular accommodation available to vacationers, and visitors will find that the sheer number of rentals available allows them to find an ideal retreat to fit their crew, from quiet condo complexes to brightly colored oceanfront sand castles.
But despite being an instrumental component to the island's very existence, and a protector against erosion and storms, Bald Head Woods serves a more visible role as a fun, outdoor destination for visitors to enjoy off the beach. A popular spot with bird watchers, hikers and nature fans alike, this rustic destination allows vacationers to easily step off the beaten path, and dive into Bald Head Island's natural landscape.
Carolina Beach is well-known as one of the best Cape Fear destinations to drop a line, and with good reason. With a host of charter fishing businesses, ample inshore fishing grounds, and miles of Atlantic Ocean facing beaches, there’s arguably a fishing spot everywhere you turn in this small island community. Make the most out of the exceptional waterfront scene, and try your hand at the many ways to go fishing in Carolina Beach. From oceanfront piers to open river waters, the fishing is unforgettable and unbeatable in this corner of the North Carolina coastline.
The Oak Island Lighthouse and Coast Guard station have a long history together, and the tall lighthouse tower stands as a welcoming beacon to visitors who head to these picturesque shores. As the newest lighthouse in North Carolina, the distinctive white, gray and black structure is unlike any other on the coastline, prompting both curiosity and amazement from visitors, and making it a "must-see" on any lighthouse lover's road trip list.
Though arguably best known for its beaches, Carolina Beach is brimming with fantastic attractions for visitors who know where to look. From classic boardwalks, to freshwater lakes, to remote island reserves, there’s a lot to discover both on and off the local beaches. Make the most out of your next Carolina Beach getaway, and ensure that these top 10 attractions are on your upcoming vacation agenda. Enticing for visitors of all ages and interests, these destinations will have your family eager to plan your next escape to this iconic Cape Fear beach town.
Nature lovers who want to take an in-depth and self-guided exploration of Southport's wild terrain can take an easy stroll down the "Marsh Walk." This long boardwalk that begins along Brunswick Avenue on the edges of the busy downtown ends, essentially, in the middle of nowhere, with incredible views of the Cape Fear River, Elizabeth River, and miles of the waterfront terrain that defines Southport as a uniquely coastal town.
Zeke's Island Estuarine Reserve is found just south of the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, and is one of the three original 1985 National Estuarine Research Reserve components dedicated by NOAA and the Division of Coastal Management. Encompassing a wide range of habitats, the lagoon-like reserve is one of the most important feeding regions of the North Carolina shoreline for a wide range of birds, and is a popular destination for nature lovers, mariners, kayakers, and birdwatchers alike.
For families travelling to the beach, or fishermen carrying tackle/coolers, a beach cart can be the best purchase of your vacation. These carts feature extra-wide wheels to move across soft sand, even when loaded. Carts are often built for specific scenarios, so think about the gear you’d be putting on your cart before making a decision.
There’s a reason why the Carolina Beach area is historically known as “Pleasure Island.” A favorite destination for generations of vacationers, this coastal town is more than meets the eye, thanks to an array of activities and things to do that are sure to appeal to everyone in the vacationing party. Make sure your upcoming Carolina Beach vacation is the best it can be by including these top things to do on your travel agenda. From ocean waves to cool hiking trails, there’s miles of fun to be found at this wonderfully entertaining coastal destination.
Enjoy a freshwater environment just a block or so away from the beach with a visit to Carolina Beach Lake Park. This public park is centered on the 11-acre freshwater lake, which was noted in the Guinness Book of World Records as being the closest freshwater lake to a major body of saltwater. This unusual feat has produced a sunny and surprising environment that’s perfect for off-the-beach relaxation and entertainment.
Though Carolina Beach is a modern vacation destination, with a brilliant array of accommodations, resorts, and attractions, the town has deep roots that span the centuries and which include countless and fascinating stories. From the original Tuscarora Indians to the early waves of vacationers, there’s more than meets the eye in this contemporary beach town. Discover a treasure trove of stories by uncovering the unique history of this iconic North Carolina Beach town.
The Riverwalk in Downtown Wilmington is a showstopper of a stroll that is a distinctive attraction all its own. Originally conceived in the 1980s as a way to generate more interest and tourism to the Cape Fear River waterfront regions of Wilmington's historic Downtown, today the Riverwalk encompasses a full mile of scenic boardwalk, hugging the borders of the riverfront, and providing visitors with endless views and easy access to some of the Downtown's most beloved attractions.
Whether you hit the sand close to home, or plan an extensive shelling expedition to one of the outlying island destinations, shelling can be an incredible Carolina Beach adventure that certainly pays off. Easy to enjoy in your own backyard or via a boat trip to an isolated shoreline, visitors who adore beachcombing will find themselves right at home at this coastal destination that has miles of beaches to explore.
Visitors who want to spend a day off the beach learning something new will find plenty of opportunities in the Cape Fear region. The coastal communities that surround Carolina Beach are chock full of enticing museums, historic sites, and other landmarks that are easy to explore with just a few minutes’ drive. So make the most out of your educational outings, and plan a trip to these destinations where the region’s rich history, culture, and stunning natural landscapes are explored in vivid depth to the delight of museum patrons of all ages.
Even in a vacation destination as sunny as Carolina Beach, an occasional rainy day can still arise to put a momentary break on the shoreside fun. But just because a visitor has to leaves the beach doesn’t mean that the vacation fun has to end. There are a myriad of cool attractions and activities in and around the Carolina Beach area that are crowd-pleasing destinations for visitors of all ages, regardless of the weather.
Nothing beats an ice-cold beverage while relaxing on the beach. Nothing is worse than reaching for an icy drink and finding your cans swimming. Coolers are essential for family days on the sand. A good modern cooler will keep food and drinks fresh for days. In addition to beverages, fishermen rely coolers to keep bait fresh, and hopefully the catch of the day. Walk onto any beach or pier in North or South Carolina and you’ll see a plethora of cooler models and sizes. Cooler technology has advanced rapidly in modern years. Top-end hard-sided coolers can keep ice frozen for a week. Soft coolers are easier for one person to carry onto a beach, but can still keep food cool for days. Cooler materials and price points vary wildly, so we put together this guide with our recommendations for your coastal vacation.
Situated on the edge of the Cape Fear Coastline in between the bustling towns of Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach, the Masonboro Island Estuarine Reserve is a unique slice of undeveloped and natural barrier island shoreline that’s an important habitat for countless coastal species. Hard to reach but wonderfully isolated, visitors who make a trip to this literal deserted island will be rewarded with great shelling, beautiful landscapes, and miles of beaches to go around.
For nearly 40 years, the same corner has been home to a staple in the Calabash community, Callahan’s. Locals and tourists alike are loyal to Callahan’s because of our vast selection of home décor, holiday décor, gifts, and apparel sprawling over 35,000 square feet. Because we are family owned and operated, Callahan’s is not only home to nearly every collectible imaginable but also to our employees, many of whom have been a part of the Callahan’s magic for over a decade and hold our business near and dear to their hearts. We strive to become a part of your family traditions and look forward to bringing you and your loved ones into our enchanting shop for many years to come.
Situated on the coastal edge of the causeway bridge to Ocean Island Beach, McClure Realty Vacations is a welcoming sight for visitors who want to enjoy a great vacation in an exceptional vacation rental along the coastline. Offering well over 100 vacation properties in all shapes and sizes, McClure Realty Vacations can help visitors of all tastes and party sizes find just the right home for their upcoming stay in the heart of the Brunswick Island beaches.
As the name would suggest, Hang Ten Grill is a casual beach joint with a definitive surfer vibe that serves as the perfect hang-out after a long morning or afternoon of riding the waves in Carolina Beach. Located along Carolina Beach’s “main drag,” Lake Park Blvd, and just a couple pf blocks away from the beach, this cool eatery is a great spot to refuel after an active day on the seashore.
Seafood lovers who don’t mind getting their hands dirty will want to take a stroll to the Shuckin’ Shack. Located in the heart of Downtown Wilmington along a busy section of Market Street, this casual and cool seafood joint is the perfect spot to dive into a world of fresh and messy seaworthy cuisine.
Michael’s Seafood Restaurant is an all-encompassing stop for both easy-going seafood meals and catering for casual parties or big events. Located in a central shopping and business section of inland Carolina Beach, this fresh eatery has been wowing patrons of all varieties – from event planners to vacationing families – with a big selection of coastal eats.
Cape Fear Jewelers is located in scenic downtown Southport, NC. Southport is located at the mouth of the Cape Fear River and has a rich maritime history. Cape Fear Jewelers offers original nautical designs and a variety of respected jewelry designers in gold, platinum, and sterling silver. The lore of the sea is well represented at Cape Fear Jewelers.