Summer is in full swing, temperatures are heating up, and there’s never been a better time to visit the beach. This summer, go beyond your average beach retreat and plan a rewarding vacation with these trip ideas worth spending freely on.From oceanfront hotel rooms and delectable dining to surf lessons and island exploration, Carolina Beach has everything you need to amp up your summer vacation.

 

Sweet Suites with a View

Allow yourself to have more room to spread out and invest in a stay with an oceanfront view. The Hampton Inn & Suites Carolina Beach Oceanfront is steps away from the sandy shores of the beach and boasts an outdoor pool so close to the ocean that you’ll be able to hear the waves crashing down on the shore. In the evenings, enjoy drinks from the Tiki Bar and warm up on cool evenings by the fire pit.

The Courtyard Marriott Carolina Beach Oceanfront also offers guest rooms and suites with balconies overlooking the ocean for gorgeous views, both an indoor and outdoor pool and direct beach access. You’ll find yourself right in the middle of the action and within walking distance of dining and nightlife.

Fresh Flavors

Carolina Beach offers some of the freshest, most coastal fare to be found. Sit down at Lake Park Steakhouse for a cozy setting with big flavors. This traditional steakhouse features several sizes of USDA Choice ribeyes, New York strips and filet mignon, as well as seafood favorites such as scallops, shrimp scampi and lobster. For a perfect customized surf and turf meal, order all your favorites a la carte.

Between seafood, steak and scratch-made pasta, there’s something for everyone at Havana’s. The executive chef uses only the freshest ingredients, ensuring a delicious meal each time you visit. Housed in an almost 100-year-old beach cottage with a casual polished atmosphere, you can choose between seating in the indoor dining room or one of their three outdoor dining areas. At night, you can watch the summer fireworks from their deck. Make sure to check their website for the latest on live music.

For modern calabash seafood served in an intimate beach-chic atmosphere, check out Coast Craft Cocktails & Calabash. Start off with one of their unique craft cocktails like the Every Rose has its Thorn, a reposado tequila-based drink with coconut, elderflower and rose water, or the Rebel Without A Cause, a bourbon-based drink with notes of cinnamon, bay leaf, allspice and clove. The ocean-to-plate dining experience features signature dishes like “coastslaw,” hushpuppies with whipped bourbon butter, lobster rolls, shrimp and grits and more.

Adventures on the Water

With an open day ahead of you, the options for entertainment are endless. Try learning to surf with Olympic gold medalist Tony Silvagni’s Surf School. Perfect for beginners, lessons focus on how to surf safely while having fun. The surf school also offers equipment rentals for those who are already prepared to ride the waves on their own.

For a more hands-off experience on the water, relax on a sunset or moonlight cruise down the Intracoastal Waterway with Island Cruises. The double-decker catamaran offers a family-friendly narrated sunset cruise, as well as a festive moonlight dance cruise complete with lights, dancing music and beverages for sale on board. Or, sail away with Island Time Water Tours for a more private experience aboard a 23-foot Avalon pontoon boat. Cruise around Carolina Beach from two hours to a full day with their skilled captain who can entertain you with tales of the area’s history while you kick back to watch dolphins and the local wildlife.

After more than a year without travel, spending a little more on these trip ideas puts a little spring back into your step.