Last week we visited Carolina Beach, NC for a week long family vacation. We rented a little house (through Airbnb) near the beach and had so much fun relaxing and exploring the area. We’ve been to Carolina Beach several times before, like that time we camped at Carolina Beach State Park or that day trip to the NC Aquarium. But this was our first week long trip and we were super excited. I had been planning for months and made a list of must-see places to visit.
Here are 10 or so of my top picks for things to do with kids at Carolina Beach, NC .
- The Beach – this is obvious. If you’ve come to Carolina Beach you probably plan on going to the beach. But here are a few tips to making your beach trip more enjoyable. Pick a good beach access. There is a Carolina Beach map of where to access the beach, the amenities at each access and parking. Don’t forget to read the beach rules of what is prohibited on the beach. When we go to the beach we pack plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, sand toys, chairs and an umbrella. (You can rent chairs and umbrellas from several local companies for a fairly reasonable price.)
- The Boardwalk District – The Carolina Beach Boardwalk features classic beach fun like shops, dining, and entertainment. During the summer evenings the amusement park rides and games are open and on Thursday night there is live music and fireworks. The historic Carolina Beach Boardwalk has been an east coast icon since the original structure was built in the 1930s.
- NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher – A short drive south to Kure Beach, NC will take you to the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. This is a great spot to visit on a rainy day or super hot afternoon. The aquarium features wildlife from the coastal plains as well as local ocean life. Plus, there is a dinosaur exhibit which my boys love. Don’t forget to check out the butterfly house (for an additional cost). *NC Zoo members get free access to all NC Aquariums excluding special exhibits/events.
- Ferry to Southport – Just south of the aquarium is the ferry that takes you to Southport, NC. Hop on the Ferry for only $5 per car (prices may vary) for a quick day trip to Southport. Southport offers several free museums and attractions plus fresh local seafood. *Be sure to check times of arriving and departing ferries as well as when certain museums are open.
- Delicious Treats – There are plenty of delicious summer treats at Carolina Beach, like the infamous Britts Donuts Shop (they only offer 1 type of donut and the line can be long but trust me it’s worth the wait). Don’t forget about Wake n’ Bake donuts for some flavorful crazy creations. If you’re in the mood for a colder treat check out Squigley’s Ice Cream for customized soft serve. Or maybe create your own ice cream sandwich at the Veggie Wagon.
- Visit a local park – The Carolina Beach Lake Park is a great place for a family walk and see a variety of different local birds. The Carolina Beach Lake is a freshwater lake located just 2 blocks from the ocean. There are also several other great parks and playgrounds for kids to run around.
- Walk the Pier – Or fish. Fishing isn’t really our thing but I always like walking out on the pier to watch the more experienced people fishing. The Carolina Beach Pier is a great place to fish, watch fishing or just enjoy the view. I do believe you can rent fishing equipment from the pier or other local shops if you’d like to try fishing.
- State Park – Visit the Carolina Beach State Park where you can camp, hike trails, boat, fish and attend special events. Be sure to check the website for times and rules for what is allowed in the park. They offer RV, tent and cabin camping for a reasonable price.
- Check out the Coquina Rocks – Check the tide tables to visit the Coquina Rocks located between Kure Beach and Fort Fisher Beach. During low tide you’ll be able to see these beautiful shell formations and possibly see cool sea life. Just make sure you plan your trip around the tide.
- Stop by the Library – The New Hanover County Pleasure Island Library at Carolina Beach is a great spot for the little ones to hang out. They have a great selection of children’s books as well as crafts and toys you can play with while you’re there, just make sure you use your library voices.
There are plenty of other activities you can do with the family like charter boats, visit Fort Fisher, paddle boarding, surf lessons, bike rentals, special summer events, and more. These 10 just happen to be some of our favorite activities to do with our kids at Carolina Beach.