Take a brief respite from everyday life and venture into the coastal wilderness in Carolina Beach, where scenic views and calm waters abound. The area is home to local outfitters that can prepare you for a perfect day of kayaking, and there are plenty of spots to get your paddle on. Read on to discover your next kayaking destination.

Carolina Beach State Park

This scenic state park is not only known for its natural diversity, but also its grand historical significance. Join a guided tour with Paddle NC to traverse the same waters surrounding Carolina Beach State Park that once played major roles in the golden age of piracy, the American Revolution and the Civil War.


Experience the unique ecosystem found only in the surrounding area with a Kayak Eco-Tour from Paddle NC, where you’ll learning about the environmental wonders of the beautiful salt marsh. Kayakers often spot bottlenose dolphins, ospreys and the occasional bald eagle. Or, paddle out at twilight with a Kayak Sunset Tour, when birds and wildlife are their most active and the golden hour light will steal your breath. 

Shark Tooth Island

Just up the Cape Fear River, you’ll find Shark Tooth Island. Popular especially among families with children, this island is known for the prehistoric shark’s teeth and fossils that can be found along the shore at low tide. Join Mahanaim Adventures for a three-hour, half-day adventure paddling along the Cape Fear River to Shark Tooth Island where you’ll make a stop to explore, as well as its next-door neighbors, Keg Island and Campbell Island. Become a pirate – or an archaeologist – for the day with this one-of-a-kind experience that is perfect for small groups and families with adventurous children.


Masonboro Island Reserve

Located between Carolina Beach and Wrightsville Beach is the longest undisturbed barrier island ecosystem in southern North Carolina, Masonboro Island Reserve. Its 8.4 miles of unspoiled scenery serve as a pristine example of barrier island, salt marsh and tidal creek ecosystems. It’s also home to birds, fish, invertebrates and everyone’s favorite: sea turtles. The island is only accessible by boat, canoe or kayak, making it an ideal excursion for those looking to kayak somewhere unique.


Use public boat ramps as a launch point to paddle out with friends and family in single or tandem kayak rentals from Pleasure Island Rentals. Explore the island, watch for birds and local wildlife or just kick back and relax on the peaceful, undisturbed shores. Join Cape Fear Adventure Company and Salty Dog Yoga & Surf for a Kayak & Yoga Excursion to Masonboro Island. Begin with a leisurely kayak tour as you paddle to the island, followed by an all-levels yoga practice on the undisturbed shores.


The waters surrounding Carolina Beach are steeped in history dating back centuries, ripe for exploring. Whether you’re a beginner looking for lessons and a guided excursion or a seasoned kayaker wanting to find your own way, everything you need for your next kayaking adventure can be found on the island.