From captivating Christmas light festivals to specialty seasonal treats, Carolina Beach has everything you need to get the whole family in the holiday spirit this season.  

Christmas by the Sea live singer holding a microphone

Fitness After the Feast

There’s no reason to regret indulging in your favorite Thanksgiving treats at Carolina Beach. Continue your holiday festivities at the Turkey Trot 4-Mile Trail Run/Walk at Carolina Beach State Park to stay active on your vacation. Race to the finish line or take a leisurely jog or walk through the scenic pine forest to incorporate health and wellness into your family’s holiday traditions.


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Merry and Bright

Nothing feels more like the holidays than seeing ornate decorations and colorful lights lining the streets. Visit Santa’s workshop at Christmas by the Sea along the Carolina Beach Boardwalk to decorate your own ornament, sip hot chocolate or listen to carolers singing holiday tunes. Or, take a self-guided tour through some of Carolina Beach’s most beautifully decorated residences during the Island of Lights Holiday Tour of Homes to experience Southern hospitality at its finest.  

Head to the waterfront for the annual Island of Lights Christmas Flotilla, where boats decorated with thousands of colorful lights cruise the Intracoastal Waterway, competing for prizes as they light up Carolina Beach with holiday cheer. Grab a chair and settle in along their route – from Snows Cut to the Carolina Beach Boat Basin – to enjoy a colorful evening of twinkling excitement.

Island of Lights Flotilla lit up with sign that says, "Carolina Beach Fishing Pier"

Holiday Treats

Kick start your morning with the specialty holiday donut box from Wake N Bake Donuts, including festive flavors like peppermint and caramel that will make your mouth water. North End Cafe To-Go is the perfect place to grab a warm beverage to help keep you fueled up for the holiday hustle and bustle. Don’t forget to snag cookies for Santa while you’re there – you’ll be guaranteed a spot on the nice list when you leave a stack of their signature chocolate chip cookies for the big man in a red suit. Sip on a NC Batatas Sweet Potato Ale or Barley Wine at Good Hops Brewing as you cozy up next to the fireplace and enjoy the festive décor. Or, for a late-night pick-me-up after a busy day of holiday activities, head to Crush & Grind to enjoy a nitro cold brew made using their “top secret” recipe, or warm up with a glass of red wine from their extensive collection.


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Ring in the New Year

Ring in the new year with the annual Island of Lights New Year’s Eve Celebration at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. Free and family-friendly, the event features a live DJ and dancing, as well as refreshments and party favors for purchase. Welcome 2020 with the giant beach ball drop at midnight and seaside fireworks show. Make sure to enter in the annual raffle for a chance to take home the original artwork for the Island of Lights 2019 official Christmas card and ornament.

Discover more ways to have a holly jolly getaway to Carolina Beach with our holiday highlights.