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.
With a location that straddles both the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean, visitors shouldn’t be too surprised to discover that boating rules the scene Carolina Beach. The town is teaming with charter and tour boats, marinas, and ramps for visiting mariners, and as a result, it’s a great place to explore by sea (as well as by land.) On your next vacation, see how incredible Carolina Beach can be from the water’s perspective by checking out all the ways to enjoy boating in the community. With a myriad of options to get out and explore, the maritime life is easy at this perfectly coastal Cape Fear destination.
The Carolina Beach Boardwalk is the place to go for family-oriented or even late-night fun after a sunny day on the beach. Noted as one of the top 10 boardwalks in America by Food & Wine magazine, this classic oceanside boardwalk features a full host of shops, amusements, restaurants, and nightlife for visitors of all ages to explore.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fort Anderson, also known as Brunswick Town, is the historic site of the first permanent settlement in the Cape Fear area. Established nearly 300 years ago in 1726, and destroyed just a few decades later by British Soldiers during the start of the Revolutionary War in 1776, visitors can still explore the ancient ruins of this long-gone civilization and enjoy a glimpse into the area’s centuries-deep roots.
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.
Do you dream of sprawling ocean views, enchanting nature walks, or coastal landscapes from the water’s perspective? Then you’ll feel right at home in Carolina Beach. This small coastal community that’s located just a few miles away from busy Wilmington is renowned for its natural setting, and virtually all distinctive coastal environments – from busy beach boardwalks to uninhabited maritime forest – can be found here. So be sure and pack along the camera, and make a point to take a trip to these local destinations where the views are out of this world. From iconic local landmarks to stunning parks, a fantastic visa is never too hard to find in Carolina Beach.
Like a number of hotspots along the Cape Fear Coastline, Carolina Beach is a favorite destination for East Coast surfers. Only rivaling only its neighbor to the north, Wrightsville Beach, in terms of local popularity for southern North Carolina surfers, this beach town features a wide range of beaches to choose from, as well as traditionally gentler waves in the summer months that are great for beginners. As a result, visitors who’ve always dreamed about the surfing lifestyle – or who just wanted to see what all the fuss is about - will feel right at home at this vacation destination where daily life revolves around the beach.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.