This year has been far from typical and has left many of us looking for ways to celebrate the upcoming holiday season safely. Carolina Beach lights up with cheer when the holidays are near, and this year is no exception. Get in the spirit with a visit to our lakeside winter waterland, build a holiday-themed sand sculpture or find locally made gifts for friends and family both near and far. No matter how you choose to celebrate, our laidback beach town has several outdoor activities to bring you joy this holiday season.  

Holiday Lights & Coastal Sights 

Celebrate Christmas at the coast with outdoor island celebrations. Visit Carolina Beach Lake Park to take in the Holiday Lights at the Lake, a display of twinkling lights along the 1-mile paved path encircling the lake. Free for spectators, the display will begin Nov. 27 and remain lit through Dec. 31.  


Enjoy the festively decorated Carolina Beach Gazebo and Oceanfront Holiday Coves at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk during Christmas by the Sea. From Nov. 28 to Dec. 31. Keep your eyes peeled to spot Santa’s nine reindeer hidden among the Holiday Coves! On Dec. 12, participate in the Holiday-Themed Sandcastle Competition at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk to create your own holiday masterpiece. Spectators can enjoy snacks and shopping along the Boardwalk while waiting to see the finished sand sculptures.  


Shopping for the Season 

Shop for the season during your coastal getaway. Visit the Carolina Beach Holiday Market at Carolina Beach Lake Park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 5 to shop local and find the perfect gift for everyone on your list, from eclectic home décor to hand-crafted soaps, yard art to fine art and everything in between.  

Or, head to the nearby Kure Beach Holiday Market held at Ocean Front Park to check off your shopping list by the sea. Open Nov. 21 and 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., you’ll enjoy beautiful oceanfront views while browsing a selection of handmade items, listening to holiday tunes and savoring delicious bites from a selection of food trucks.  

From sparkling light displays to impressive holiday sand sculptures and more, celebrate this holiday season outdoors in Carolina Beach.  

Santa Sandcastle

Discover free and affordable activities along with places to stay and eat, perfect for an autumn last-minute weekend road trip in our quickie trip guide to Carolina Beach.