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Best things to do in Carolina Beach

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Where in the world: USA  /  North Carolina  /  North Carolina Coast  /  Carolina Beach

Top 15 things to do in Carolina Beach

1. Carolina Beach State Park

Carolina Beach State Park is a North Carolina state park in New Hanover County, North Carolina. It covers 761 acres (3.08 km2) on Pleasure Island. The state owns 420 acres (1.7 km2) of the park in fee simple, and the remainder of park land is leased from the Department of the Army. The park is located along the Cape Fear River and Snow's Cut (part of the Intracoastal Waterway).

Pocosin wetlands, a type of wetland that supports rare carnivorous plant species, are found in the park. Carnivorous plants found at this park include Venus flytraps, pitcher plants, butterworts and bladderworts.

The park features six miles of hiking trails. Other amenities include a marina, campsites, picnic area, and a visitor's center featuring natural history exhibits.

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Carolina Beach State Park

2. Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry, Southport

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry

3. Kure Beach Pier, Kure Beach

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Kure Beach Pier
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4. Fort Fisher State Historic Site, Kure Beach

Fort Fisher State Historic Site tells the story of one of the most important fortifications of the Civil War and is the site of fierce naval and land battles. The Confederate fort, strategically placed at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, was crucial for protecting trading routes and keeping Confederate supply lines open. Capturing the fort known as the Southern Gibraltar was crucial for the Union, but it was only achieved in 1865 after two sieges. Little remains of the original earthen fort, but you can still see some of its parts and visit the restored gun batteries, archeological displays, and a monument to Confederate soldiers. Through exhibits and an audiovisual program, the visitor center provides information on the fort's history. If the weather is nice, plan to stop by the adjacent public beach for a swim.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Fort Fisher State Historic Site

5. Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Stand-Up Paddleboarding

6. Carolina Beach Boardwalk

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Carolina Beach Boardwalk

7. North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Kure Beach

At North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher you'll discover the marine life of the Cape Fear region. Touch sharks and sea urchins and meet a loggerhead sea turtle. In the freshwater life gallery that showcases streams, ponds, swamps, and trees, explore the world of freshwater fish, reptiles, and mammals. See box turtles, catfish, snakes, and even albino alligators. In the coastal waters gallery, you'll learn about the animals that live in the surf zone; then move through to the open oceans gallery for an education about animals that live farther off-shore such as octopus and jellyfish. Talk to the scuba divers as they swim with rays and observe the feeding of sturgeon, turtles, stingrays, and sharks.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

8. Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, Kure Beach

Fort Fisher State Recreation Area is a 287-acre (1.16 km2) North Carolina state park in New Hanover County, North Carolina in the United States. Located near Kure Beach, North Carolina, it includes Fort Fisher, site of a major naval engagement during the American Civil War. The recreation area also served as a home for the Fort Fisher Hermit, Robert Harrill. Harrill lived in a bunker and shared his beliefs about "common sense" with thousands of visitors every year while surviving on what he could gather from the surrounding salt marsh and oyster beds.

Today, the recreation area consists of the remains of the earthen Fort Fisher and a museum at Fort Fisher State Historic Site, an oceanfront beach pavilion, a large lagoon popular with windsurfers, and a long stretch of beach that is accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicles. The beach is an important nesting ground for sea turtles, and state park rangers regularly patrol the beach to identify recently built turtle nests. Once they are identified, they are clearly marked and surrounded with a mesh fence to prevent vehicles from driving over the eggs. The openings in the mesh are large enough to allow newly hatched turtles to pass through and return to the sea.

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

9. Boat Tours & Water Sports

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Boat Tours & Water Sports

10. Island Massage & Spa

Island Massage & Spa is a quaint beach boutique Spa in Carolina Beach, North Carolina on beautiful Pleasure Island. We serve the communities of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Fort Fisher and Wilmington Surrounding.

Massage and body treatments are our specialty, your experience is our priority, and getting you there...it's our passion. Whether you have aches and pains, or just need to de-stress, we are Carolina Beach's Relaxation Destination!

Our Beach Boutique Spa offers a unique and memorable experience, and probably unlike any massage spa you've visited. You will not find a stuffy, dark, gloomy massage room here, and we wouldn't have it any other way. Your at the beach, your on Island Time, and as the locals say, This isn't the Mainland! We offer a casual beach vibe, with great energy, that allows you to drift away to another world as you take in our open air Spa experience. Massage & Spa services are offered in Massage Cabanas, relaxing music fills the spa, organic essential oils awaken your senses & warm towels melt away the stress at your feet.

Before or after your massage you can browse our unique soaps, candles, essential oils and skin care. Pick out something for yourself and don't forget a gift certificate for that special someone! Whether you’re a massage aficionado or new to massage, everyone is welcome!
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Island Massage & Spa

11. The Veggie Wagon

Suggested duration: 30 minutes
Learn more about The Veggie Wagon

12. Freeman Park

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Freeman Park

13. Brunswick Town and Fort Anderson State Historic Site, Winnabow

A major pre-Revolutionary port on North Carolina's Cape Fear River, Brunswick was razed by British troops in 1776 and never rebuilt. During the Civil War, Fort Anderson was constructed atop the old village site, and served as part of the Cape Fear River defenses below Wilmington before the fall of the Confederacy. Colonial foundations dot the present-day tour trail, which crosses the earthworks of the Confederate fort.

Today Brunswick is one of North Carolina's State Historic Sites. Situated on over 100 acres of land located directly on the Cape Fear River, the site and Visitor Center/Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 9am-5pm. While at Brunswick you can visit the site’s Museum to learn more about the Spanish Attack of 1748, in which a small group of citizens defended the town against the onslaught of Spanish Privateers; the Stamp Act Resistance of 1766, the first successful armed rebellion against British authority in the American Colonies; and the fall of Ft. Anderson in 1865, a structure which is today one of the best preserved earthen fortifications in the United States. Fully ADA accessible and rich in Colonial and Civil War history, this serene riverside setting makes for a memorable outing.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Brunswick Town and Fort Anderson State Historic Site

14. Fishing Charters & Tours, Southport

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Fishing Charters & Tours

15. Good Hops Brewing

Good Hops Brewing strives to live up to our name in the way we craft our brews, innovative palate-able beer in the English Style Session Ale. Slightly sweet, less bitter with true balance of malt and hops, and lower carbonation levels, so the great flavors come through. We embrace the simplicity of beer history — water, yeast, hops and malt. If it makes better beer, we use it!

Craft Beer has the ability to bring people together! At Good Hops Brewing passion and purpose come together.

We innovate. We create. We’re artists!

- Let’s inspire and implement solutions -
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Good Hops Brewing

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