While Carolina Beach is well known for its watersports and beach activities, did you know the destination is also home to plenty of fun and exciting things to do beyond the beach? Discover all the fun hiding in plain sight with unexpected trip ideas to add to your fall itinerary in Carolina Beach.
Get Moving on Dry Land
There’s no better time than autumn to find your flow in Carolina Beach. Do your mind and body a favor and take a class with Salty Dog Yoga & Surf. Situated right by the sea, this yoga studio is welcoming thanks to a laid-back island attitude and a passion for wellness, play and nature. Classes are available for yogis of all skill levels – even newcomers – and some are even held on the beach.
Embark along the more than eight miles of hiking trails found at Carolina Beach State Park to discover water views, coastal wildlife and more. At the end of the popular Sugarloaf Trail, you’ll even find a 50-foot sand dune where more than 5,000 troops camped during the Civil War. Featuring relatively flat terrain across its 761 acres, the park’s trails offer the perfect hiking options for people of all athletic abilities.
Choose a beautiful and serene setting for a walk or jog at Carolina Beach Lake Park. The 11-acre freshwater lake is located just two blocks from the ocean, and a path winds around the water perfect for a picnic after the walk or jog. Or, hit the beach for a stroll or jog along the sandy shoreline.
Best Ways to Tour the Island
Create your own adventure by touring the island by golf cart. They are street legal in Carolina Beach, so you can cruise from local shops to restaurants and the Boardwalk. Rent a two- or six-person golf cart from SunFun Rentals for a day of cruising and exploring on your own.
If you’d rather see the island by bike, rent some wheels from Pleasure Island Rentals and download the self-guided tour map. The tour, which takes you through important historic landmarks and explains the historical significance, takes approximately 90 minutes to two hours of riding time to complete. And don’t worry: There are plenty of opportunities to stop for lunch and shopping along the way.
Island Time Water Tours offers the chance to explore the area on a 23-foot pontoon boat from two hours to a full day. Sit back and relax as the captains and skipper entertain you with local history while you spot dolphins, sea turtles and other wildlife.
Nearby on the island, immerse yourself in the history of Fort Fisher Historic Site. Join a guided tour to explore the site of the largest and most influential land and water battle of the Civil War, meandering down the shaded outdoor trail and stopping to see the restored palisade fence and 32-pound seacoast gun.
Tasting Around Town
Autumn is the perfect time to sample all the unique flavors Carolina Beach has to offer. You don’t have to be a skater to appreciate the quirky décor in Nollie’s Taco Joint. Covered by unique skateboards from the walls to the ceilings, Nollie’s offers a one-of-a-kind setting to go along with delicious menu items like nachos, tacos, burritos and quesadillas – they even have vegetarian options. There is plenty of outdoor seating as well, offering two floors including a shaded dog-friendly deck.
Taste some of the same recipes that wowed Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives at The Fork n Cork Carolina Beach. Indulge in intriguing burgers, brisket, gourmet pot pies, and macaroni and cheese layered with tender brisket. Or, kick back and relax with a cold beer on their sidewalk patio.
Start your day in breakfast heaven at Kate’s Pancake House. The locally owned breakfast spot serves Southern breakfast favorites like waffles, pancakes, benedicts and more. Pile your pancakes high with everything from fruit to chocolate chips or try Kate’s famous biscuits. The restaurant keeps the party going all afternoon with hearty classics like burgers, sandwiches and salads served up for lunch.
Put your cooking skills to the test and whip up some delicious seafood in one of our cozy vacation rentals equipped with a full kitchen. Fall is the perfect time to pick up fresh seafood at Blackburn’s Brothers Seafood – choose from the freshest fish, mussels, oysters, shrimp and crabs around – and cook yourself up a feast.
Nightlife Lingers On
See for yourself how Carolina Beach comes to life at night. Enjoy a regular schedule of live music through the end of the year at Seawitch Café & Tiki Bar – be sure to check out the dates on their website here. While you jam to some of the best local musicians, enjoy specials like half price bar on Wednesdays and $4 well liquors on Thursdays.
Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar boasts the best of the beachfront bar scene. Standing on the remnants of the Center Pier, this casual restaurant offers spectacular views of the shoreline and great ambiance. Try a unique cocktail like Pimm’s Cove or Beauregard’s Grog or sip on glass of wine or a cold beer.
For some casual fun, head over to The Fat Pelican. This dive bar offers more than 350 beers in a gigantic walk-in cooler as well as a nice wine selection. Enjoy the free popcorn, foosball and arcade games or sneak out the back door to “Pelican Beach” where you can bury your toes in the sand with drink in hand.
There are plenty of ways to experience all Carolina Beach and the island has to offer beyond the traditional beach-related activities. Plan a fall getaway and see for yourself with hiking, yoga, tasting tours, charming bars and so much more!