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.
Carolina Beach Mural Tour
Join Tasting History Tours for their new Carolina Beach Mural Tour. Explore the town's colorful murals while learning about the local history behind each mural, the artists who created them and the mediums they used. The walking tour lasts approximately an hour and a half and includes a mid-tour refreshment. Tours are offered on select dates, and tickets can be purchased in advance online.
Now open in Carolina Beach, The Sandspur is a new restaurant and dive bar featuring a 70s vibe with vintage art and decor. Enjoy outdoor seating on the front porch or in the backyard area while indulging in menu offerings including fresh seafood, sandwiches, salads and a rotating selection of specials.
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.
Putter Pub, a new 18-hole miniature golf course featuring a full bar, will open in Carolina Beach late 2023. With a U.S. Pro Mini Golf Federation and World Mini Golf Federation recognized course, the family-friendly pub will host tournaments and leagues in addition to themed nights, live music and more.
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, named Gemma, Kai and Ren, have recently joined the Otters on the Edge exhibit with siblings Stella, Mae and Selene who were born at the aquarium May 2022.
Bog Garden at Carolina Beach State Park
A new carnivorous bog garden is now open at Carolina Beach State Park. Located behind the Visitor Center, the bog garden allows visitors to admire the carnivorous Venus flytrap and other bog plants without having to venture into the park. 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 16 art murals are completed with more on the way. Newest installations include "Cape Fear's Captain" at Celtic Creamery, which celebrates the Shoo Fly Train, a small train that took passengers in the late 1880s from Wilmington to Carolina Beach. "Formative Flora" is located between Carolina Beach Lake Park and the Veggie Wagon and highlights the native plants and pollinators of Carolina Beach. Check out our Self-Guided Tour Map for mural locations, artist information and more.
Three more murals are scheduled to debut in 2024. Mural #17 located at the Dry Dock Inn will feature "Kraken," an octopus design using woodcut block painting. Mural #18 will commemorate Carolina Beach's Centennial Celebration (1925-2025) as a sidewalk mural with tree planters and solar twinkle lights. Mural #19 will celebrate charter fishing in Carolina Beach and will be installed on an utilitarian ice machine by the Fishing Center & Marina.
A new interactive Virtual Mural Tour is now available. The new tour allows visitors to experience the murals on their mobile device and hear artists talk about their work and inspiration behind their creations.
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.
The Proximity, a new mixed-use complex is coming to North Lake Park Boulevard in Carolina Beach. Situated on 12.5 acres, the new complex will feature restaurants and retail shops in addition to commercial space. The project is excepted to be completed by summer 2024.
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 seasons one and two, streaming now on Prime Video.