Wilmington Beaches: Spotlight on Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach NC

Location and General Info

Located to the North of Wilmington, Carolina Beach is a family-friendly beach town that has something for everyone. With a historical beachside boardwalk, a state park, miles of white sandy beaches, world-class fishing, and tons of events; Carolina Beach is a tourist attraction with fun activities for the whole family.

To get there from Wilmington: take Carolina Beach road, (also known as Highway 421). It will take you about 20 minutes from the downtown area.

The Beach

The white sands of Carolina Beach are perfect for a leisurely day of soaking up the sun. The ocean is inviting, especially at low tide where there are numerous tide pools to relax in. There are also a many water based activities for you to try out, such as kayaking and paddle boarding.  Surfing is also popular in Carolina Beach when the conditions are right. Fishermen can cast into the surf from the beach or hangout at the local pier and toss a line into the water.

The Town

After a day of fun on the beach, enjoy a stroll around the town center and boardwalk. Check out numerous jewelry, local art, and clothing shops; then walk out on the pier to watch the fisherman or catch live music. Numerous restaurants and bars line the streets and several attractions including a historical boardwalk (listed below) can be found in the town.


  • Britt’s Donuts– This bakery is known for its fresh, homemade, hot donuts on the Boardwalk. They’ve been written up by newspapers and magazines all over the state and a lot of the nation.  You will likely see a line outside this little establishment when its open but there is certainly a reason why. This is a local favorite and shouldn’t be missed; make sure to eat one while it is still hot!
  • The Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar– If you are looking for fresh steamed seafood and a few beers, this is the place to go. A casual, laidback oyster bar; Shuckin’ Shack serves oysters, shrimp, crab, clams and features daily specials (like 50 cent oyster Monday). Towards nighttime it turns into more of a bar atmosphere with several televisions for sporting events. Nothing fancy, just a fun place to hang-out and eat delicious seafood. Keep in mind this is a small dive-style bar and not appropriate for children.


  • Carolina Beach Boardwalk– The bustling historic boardwalk is lined with pizza, donut and ice cream stands, and numerous entertainments for the entire family. Choose from miniature golf, batting cages, an arcade, and an amusement park. This is one of the last remaining beach boardwalks on the East Coast. Get your fill of donuts, ice cream, and fudge, play in the arcade, watch an outdoor movie, see the ocean from the Ferris wheel, dance to live music, and end your day with a display of fireworks.
  • Carolina Beach State ParkConsists of over 760 acres of unspoiled natural wilderness. With over 6 miles of trails, you can enjoy a walk while taking in the scenery. Packed with birds and other wildlife, the park consists of several coastal ecosystems including dunes, swamps, so the variety of inhabitants is quite varied. You can even find a Venus Fly Trap growing in its natural habitat. The park also has a marina providing access to some of North Carolina’s best fishing spots and a camping ground.
  • Fishing, boat, kayak, surfboard and bicycle rentals are also available in the town center


  • Carolina Beach Farmer’s MarketSupport local farmers, bakers, and craftsmen at this Farmer’s Market held every Saturday from 8:00am – 1:00pm, May through September.  Shop an abundance of fresh and local fruits and vegetables, dairy products, wines, meats, baked goods and natural soaps while listening to live music; a great way to get outside and spend a Saturday morning.
  • Beach Music FestivalThrown annually for almost 30 years, the Carolina Beach Music Festival is one of the top beach music festivals in the United States. The event is held on the beach every year in June and promises a full day of live outdoor entertainment from the best beach music bands in the South. The whole family is welcome at this Festival and you may want to bring a cooler along with beverages and food. Tickets are $15 in advance. Children 12 and under are free.
  • Fireworks By the Sea and Boardwalk Blast MusicEnjoy free fireworks on the beach near the Carolina Beach Boardwalk at sunset every Thursday night during the Summer Months. The fireworks will begin at 9:00 pm. There is also live music on the boardwalk these nights from 6:30-9:30pm. The fireworks and music entertainment are free and open to all.
  • Movies at Carolina Beach LakeThe town has a free movie showing throughout the summer on Sunday nights at Carolina Beach Lake Park. Bring your chairs or blanket and find a spot on the lawn where the whole family can enjoy a newly released movie. Typical move refreshments such as soda, popcorn, and candy are for sale but you are also welcome to bring your own food and beverages. Movies start at dusk.=

For more information about Carolina Beach on the Visit Carolina Beach website.