Carolina Beach Travel Guide
Carolina Beach, North Carolina is a small town of around five or six thousand located on Pleasure Island, which lies just off of a peninsula at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. The town is in New Hanover County in the far southeastern corner of the state, not far from Wilmington. Its sands, fishing opportunities, and historic Fort Fisher bring in thousands of tourists every year.
For time untold, the Tuscarora Indians lived in the area of present-day Carolina Beach, but the English drove them out during the Tuscarora War of the early 1700’s. Colonization started thereafter, and Wilmington was among the earliest settlements in the area. The exact spot where Carolina Beach now is was called “Federal Point” after the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, but today it is called Pleasure Island. A lighthouse was built in the area in 1817, and a small community developed. During the Civil War, Confederate Fort Fisher occupied the area and was fiercely fought over. In the 1880’s, ferry visits to the island’s sands and fishing grounds became popular, and soon hotels and resorts were established.
Things to see and do in Carolina Beach
Visit the beach strip, and walk along the shore with the rolling surf before you and sandy dunes behind you. You can also swim, of course, but don’t neglect to take a walk out on the Carolina Beach Pier and along the Carolina Beach Boardwalk.
Visit Carolina Beach State Park, where you can explore 760 acres of unique wetlands that contain various carnivorous plants. Look for pitcher plants, Venus fly traps, and more. You can hike through six miles of trails, camp, boat, picnic, and learn of the regions natural history at the visitor center.
Visit the Fort Fisher State Historic Site, where you can tour reconstructed portions of this Civil War Era fort that was so important to Confederate war supplies. There is also a museum detailing the fort’s history and its fall to Union forces in 1865. And right next to the historic site, you can also enjoy the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area.
Also at the Fort Fisher complex, you will find the North Carolina Aquarium, though it is in the neighboring town of Kure Beach instead of Carolina Beach. The exhibits tell of the water life of the Cape Fear area. There are both fresh and salt water tanks, and there are also swamp exhibits with alligators, turtles, and frogs. Also look for venomous snakes on display and such sea life as puffers, seahorses, octopuses, and jellyfish.
Carolina Beach has hot summers, with highs averaging 88 in July, and relatively mild winters, with January lows averaging 35 degrees. Most of the year is sunny, but the town also sees 56 inches of rain and one inch of snow annually.