In laidback Carolina Beach, conservation and good times go hand in hand. Eco-conscious, adventurous visitors are invited to join in celebrating and preserving the island’s vibrant coastal environment.
Discover the colorful flora and fauna of Carolina Beach State Park, which offers 8.5 miles of hiking across nine different trails lined with various coastal habitats, including pocosin wetlands and longleaf pine wiregrass. Visit the park’s Bog Garden for an up-close look at native carnivorous plants before joining a park ranger-led tour to learn about indigenous Venus flytraps and other wildlife along the Flytrap Trail, which has been designated a Leave No Trace Hot Spot. The Flytrap Trail features unique, site-specific solutions aimed at promoting a sustainable recovery and reversing human-related impacts. These initiatives include ecological programs designed to repopulate poached flytraps.
The North Carolina Coastal Federation, an organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the Carolina coast, is working alongside Carolina Beach State Park to restore the wetlands’ tidal marsh habitat between the Sugarloaf and Swap Trails that has been disturbed by an invasive plant species.
Secluded on the northern end of Carolina Beach, Freeman Park Recreation Area was recently awarded a $4 million grant from the NC Land and Water Fund to preserve more than 300 acres of the park's unspoiled coastal space. This grant will help protect the park's natural habitat, wildlife and scenic beauty and allow visitors to enjoy fishing, swimming, surfing and shelling for generations to come.
Friends of the Ocean
During nesting season, which runs from late May through early September, the Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project patrols the beach to ensure the preservation and protection of endangered sea turtles. Volunteers assist in covering the nests, and when the time comes, they dig trenches to guide the hatchlings to the sea. Weekly Turtle Talks take place at Carolina Beach State Park during the summer months to provide education on sea turtle lifecycles and ways to help protect the species.
In conjunction with Plastic Ocean Project, a nonprofit dedicated to lessening plastic pollution, Ocean Friendly Establishments was launched to reduce plastic waste and encourage sustainability among local businesses. Many local restaurants in Carolina Beach such as Havana’s and Malama Cafe have joined the initiative as certified Ocean Friendly Establishments, committed to reducing plastic waste by skipping plastic straws and offering compostable materials to protect our environment and oceans.
Explore Carolina Beach State Park from a different perspective with Paddle NC, an on-site kayak and stand-up paddleboard (SUP) outfitter. Paddle through the waters on your own or follow an experienced guide on a tour to learn about the park’s ecosystems. On dry land, cruise down the coast in an exciting new way with iRide Electric Bike Rentals CB, the island's first electric bike rental agency. The Island Greenway is a multi-use path perfect for biking or walking. Pedal your way to The Veggie Wagon, a solar-powered produce stand offering sustainable bites, including delicious ice cream.
Delight in down-to-earth, eco-conscious fun in Carolina Beach’s colorful coastal environment. Through various partnerships and initiatives, this seaside town strives to minimize its ecological footprint and become a sustainable destination where all are welcome.