Curious about what's new in the always-original Carolina Beach? Read about the latest updates, openings and things to do here and sign up for our e-newsletter to get the latest information in your inbox.
The Vault Coffee & Pour House
The Vault Coffee and Pour House is now open and features a hybrid drive-thru coffee experience, in addition to an indoor beer and wine gathering area. Try the VAULTED Mocha espresso or cool down with a blended Hot Chocolate Freeze. Order fresh cinnamon rolls, baked goods and bagels to start your day. Find a curated selection of specialty wines inside their wine vault or indulge in local craft beer from 16 rotating taps.
North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
Nearby on the island, the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher welcomed two loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings, Pip and Scout. Rescued from a nest excavation in Carolina Beach, the sea turtle hatchlings are on display one at a time in the loggerhead conservation habitat.
Recently, the aquarium welcomed another trio of Asian small-clawed otter pups. Born to Leia and Quincy, the three otter pups are behind the scenes bonding and growing with their parents in addition to their three siblings, Stella, Mae and Selene who were born at the aquarium May 2022. Once the new pups are eating solid foods and swimming proficiently, they will join the rest of the otter family at Otters on the Edge exhibit.
Bog Garden at Carolina Beach State Park
A new carnivorous bog garden is coming to Carolina Beach State Park spring 2023. Located behind the Visitor Center, the bog garden will allow visitors to admire the carnivorous Venus flytrap without having to venture into the park. The garden also will help protect the flytraps from illegal poaching and help restore other bog plant habitats. The Venus flytrap, a native plant to coastal North Carolina, originates from the subtropical wetlands of the region and is found within a 70-mile radius of Wilmington.
Carolina Beach Mural Program
Since the first public art mural installation in 2020, the Carolina Beach Mural Program continues to collaborate with the local community and artists to create and design themed murals illustrating the island’s history, culture and originality. Currently, a total of 13 art murals are completed with more on the way. Mural 14 will be located at Celtic Creamery and will celebrate the Shoo Fly Train, a small train that took passengers in the late 1880s from Wilmington to Carolina Beach. Mural 15 will be located between Carolina Beach Lake Park and the Veggie Wagon and will highlight the native plants of Carolina Beach. Both murals are expected to be completed by fall 2023. Mural 16 will celebrate the "Carolina Shag" and Malcom Ray "Chicken" Hicks, one of the pioneers of the 1940s dance craze. Brian Lewis, a world-renowned artist, will create the mural, which is expected to debut in April. Check out our Self-Guided Tour Map for mural locations, artist information and more.
Keep an eye out for the new interactive aerial mural experience coming mid-summer!
Freeman Park Recreation Area
Freeman Park Recreation Area, a well-known beachfront spot for sunbathing, seasonal camping, onshore fishing and four-wheel driving in Carolina Beach, was recently awarded a $4 million grant from North Carolina Land and Water Fund. The grant will help preserve Freeman Park’s 300-acre natural habitat for future generations to enjoy.
Expected to open summer 2024, a new boutique hotel is coming to Carolina Beach. The property will include a restaurant, pool with garden area and bar, retail space and a rooftop bar overlooking the ocean and the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. The property will feature 42 rooms, of which 15 will be converted into suites equipped with fully stocked kitchens, chic furnishings and spa-like bathrooms. Located along North Lake Park Boulevard and Harper Avenue, the hotel will also incorporate added space for bike racks and golf carts.
Did You Know?
The Amazon Studio series, “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” recently filmed its second season on the island. Notable filming locations include the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, The Fat Pelican and nearby Fort Fisher in Kure Beach. See if you can catch your favorite vacation spots in season one, streaming now on Prime Video. Keep an eye out for season two’s debut!