Nothing brings the whole extended family together like warm waves, fresh food and that to-die-for coastal breeze on a Carolina Beach vacation. Host your family reunion at this laidback beach town and enjoy a multitude of activities to keep everyone entertained, with plenty of spacious places to stay and delicious spots to eat that can accommodate groups.
Where to Stay
Carolina Beach has lodging options for families of all sizes. Whether you’re looking for a full-service oceanfront hotel or need a dog-friendly rental with a pool, Carolina Beach can accommodate various preferences.
Located steps from the Carolina Beach Boardwalk and other beloved attractions, both the Hampton Inn & Suites Carolina Beach Oceanfront and Courtyard Marriott Carolina Beach Oceanfront offer unbeatable ocean views. Choose from adjoining guest rooms and studio suites that sleep up to six people with a separate living area. With direct beach access and oceanfront pools – plus on-site dining options including Starbucks, a tiki bar, a bistro and more – kids, teens, parents and grandparents will be having fun in the sun in no time.
For groups who need ample space to spread out and want a little more privacy, check out Carolina Beach’s vacation rentals. Many include all the conveniences of home and more, from fully equipped kitchens to fresh linens, decks and outdoor grills, with some even offering beach chairs and toys. Choose from spacious beach houses to charming cottages and everything in between. The Sailor’s Lodge, from Bryant Real Estate, is an updated beach cottage located right on the canal with a waterfront deck, a well-equipped kitchen for prepping family meals and an outdoor shower for post-beach showers. Spice Island is ideal for large, multi-generational groups with its seven bedrooms and six-and-a-half bathrooms. The family will also enjoy the three oceanfront decks, patio with a raised pool and private beach access. Book the property with Carolina Beach Realty.
What to Do
Fun for all ages can be found on the historic Carolina Beach Boardwalk, included on Budget Travel’s list of “America’s Most Awesome Boardwalks.” Whether you spend your time perusing the shops, hitting up a restaurant or beach bar, whirling around on seasonal amusement rides or gaming away at the arcade, this spot is sure to bring a smile to everyone’s face. Each week during the summer, enjoy the spectacular Fireworks by the Sea and Boardwalk Blast, which lights up the night sky every Thursday evening through the final show the Friday before Labor Day. Pack up the family and head to the Boardwalk for live music starting at 6:30 p.m. followed by the fireworks at 9 p.m.
If your family is the adventurous type, Carolina Beach has plenty of water and land adventures for people of all ages. Explore the Intracoastal Waterway aboard a pontoon boat for up to 12 people with Carolina Beach Pontoon Rental. Half- and full-day rentals come complete with life jackets for adults, kids and infants; a bimini top for shade; anchors for beach excursions; handicapped accessibility for dock boarding; and all U.S. Coast Guard required equipment. The boats are also dog-friendly! Island Time Water Tours offers private cruise charters on its 23-foot Avalon pontoon boat with a captain and skippers who have extensive knowledge of the area’s history to share. If you’re looking to reel in your dinner, charter a half-day fishing boat from Batson Charter Boats or Hot Ticket Fishing Charters.
Want to ride the waves but don’t know how? No worries – check out Tony Silvagni Surf School for group surf, paddleboard and kayak lessons and tours. For those in your group who would rather stay on land, you can find chair, umbrella, bike and canopy tent rentals with free drop-off and pick-up service through the surf school. You can also explore on a group kayak or stand-up paddleboard tour through Paddle NC, which is located on-site at Carolina Beach State Park.
If you’d rather experience Carolina Beach State Park on foot, grab a trail map at the visitor center and trek one of the park’s nine trails (of which two are wheelchair accessible) with relatively flat terrain and “easy hike” difficulty levels. This park is a favorite for walkers, not only because of the beauty the natural habitats offer, but also the excitement certain trails offer, such as its Flytrap Trail where you can see rare Venus flytraps bloom at certain times of the year.
Where to Eat
For restaurants that can accommodate larger groups, start with Havana’s. Offering lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, Havana’s is set in a 100-year-old beach cottage that provides the perfect “polished casual” setting. The restaurant’s Oasis Room can comfortably host parties of up to 14, while the covered patio and outside deck area can accommodate up to 80. For something in between, the entire first floor can be utilized for up to 70 while the second floor can seat up to 50 for private parties. Michael’s Seafood, offering award-winning seafood in a festive atmosphere for lunch and dinner, has a private room that can accommodate up to 100 people.
In search of something more casual? Lazy Pirate Island Sports Grill is fun for the whole family. There are multiple indoor and outdoor seating options and event spaces available on the property depending on the size of your group. The pet- and family-friendly destination serves up pub-style fare including wings, burgers and some of the island’s best seafood, sandwiches and more. On-site activities include cornhole, sand volleyball, darts, billiards and live music.
Carolina Beach Lake Park has a picnic shelter and gazebo perfect for a family-style picnic. Leave time before or after the meal for riding bikes or walking along the lake path, or enjoying time on the playground.
Cape Fear Boil Company offers two uniquely coastal options: steam pots to go (DIY) or catering. Take-out pots are perfect for groups of up to people. Each one is filled with jumbo shrimp, spicy andouille sausage and fresh product – just add water or beer, place it the stove or cooktop, follow the simple instructions, and you can be enjoying your very own coastal low country boil from the comfort of your vacation home-away from home. Or, let Cape Fear Boil Company do the work for you with their catering option. The team will set up, cook, clean up and even pack up any leftovers.
Families full of foodies, future surf pros and boardwalk adventurers will find a wide variety of lodging, activities and eats for all ages in Carolina Beach, which means plenty of good vibes on your next family reunion!