Tours & Cruises in Carolina Beach, NC
Navigate Your Way Around the Island
Discover new facets of the always-original Carolina Beach through tours and cruises showcasing photo-worthy sights, unique landmarks and more. Whether following a state park ranger to view Venus flytraps, tasting local flavors on a foodie tour or spotting dolphins during a sunset cruise, adventurous spirits will rejoice in Carolina Beach’s good times and authentic experiences.
Carolina Beach State Park
Spanning 761 acres, Carolina Beach State Park is a trove of natural treasures, including one of the world’s most unique carnivorous plants: the Venus flytrap. Get an up-close look at native carnivorous plants by joining a park ranger-led tour along the easygoing Flytrap Trail every Saturday from spring through fall. The state park also hosts monthly guided bird walks (check the full schedule of park tours and events.) Turtle Talks, hosted by volunteers from the Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project, take place every Wednesday night during the summer. The Visitor Center also provides resources for self-guided hikes along the park’s nine different trails.
Explore the 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 area’s history and habitats.
Coast along the calm waters of the Intracoastal Waterway during a casual cruise courtesy of Carolina Beach Pontoon Rental. Whether you opt to steer the boat yourself or let one of their captains lead the way, you’ll have everything you need to explore scenic waters and dock on sand bars. Choose your adventure on a charter cruise with Island Time Water Tours. Select your destination from a variety of tours and be entertained with the captain's knowledge of area history, spot wildlife and cruise from two hours to a full-day.
Enjoy a family-friendly narrated sunset cruise aboard Island Cruises' double-decker catamaran. Private charters are also available for up to 106 guests. Reserve an evening cruise, private charter or fishing excursion aboard the Vonda Kay, with room for up to 76 passengers on the 72' vessel. Dive even deeper into the area’s surrounding waters on a Carolina Beach Scuba guided diving charter to explore underwater shipwrecks and fossil ledges.
On dry land, take to two wheels for a self-guided bicycle tour. Pedal through town on the 1.2-mile Island Greenway, a paved, multi-use path with off-street trails, parks and scenic areas. For a longer ride, considering following this tour map to reach important Civil War sites and other points of interest in Carolina Beach and nearby Kure Beach. Rent your wheels from local outfitters like Pleasure Island Rentals and Coastal-EBike Company.
Local History and Culture
Held throughout the summer, Historic Boardwalk Tours reveal the storied past of the vintage seaside Carolina Beach Boardwalk. Discover more local history and indulge all your senses with Tasting History Tours. On the Signature Food Tour, guides share the rich history of the island while participants enjoy tastings from several of its favorite restaurants. There’s even a drinks-only, 21+ History in a Glass tour.
Embrace your creative side on a self-led mural tour of more than a dozen installations – such as "Carolina Dreamin'” and "Summer on the Boardwalk" – lining Carolina Beach’s lively streets. Created in collaboration with the local community and artists, the vibrant murals illustrate the town’s unique culture, history and character. For a guided experience, learn more about the town’s eclectic public art on a Carolina Beach Mural Tour with Tasting History Tours.
Located on the island in nearby Kure Beach, the award-winning North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is home to more than 2,500 animal residents, including sea turtles, sharks, rays, small-clawed otters and more. Reserve tickets online to take a guided, behind-the scenes tour for a backstage look at exhibits and the animal holding area.
Also nearby on the island, Fort Fisher was the site of the largest land-sea battle of the Civil War. Today, visitors to Fort Fisher State Historic Site can explore the fort’s remaining earthworks and restored gun emplacement on a guided or self-led tour. Meander along a scenic outdoor trail shaded by live oaks, featuring interpretive exhibit panels.
Lights. Camera. Action!
For film fans, a visit to Carolina Beach's top filming locations is a must! Take a self-guided tour to see locations where "Tammy," "We're the Millers," "Dawson's Creek," "The Summer I Turned Pretty" and more filmed on the island. Visit Carolina Beach State Park, where Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon filmed scenes for "Tammy" and Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis filmed for "We're the Millers." Stroll the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, which appeared in a few early episodes of the iconic "Dawson's Creek." The Boardwalk was also featured in "The Summer I Turned Pretty," as well as other Carolina Beach staples like Fat Pelican, SeaWitch Inn and more. Check out our top movie and television series filming locations map for more details.