Carolina Beach is a small coastal town in North Carolina, situated just east of the Cape Fear River and approximately 15 miles south of Wilmington. While not as well-known as some of the other beaches in the area, Carolina Beach offers a quiet family-friendly atmosphere with plenty of attractions and eateries. Choose from amusement parks and historic monuments to shopping and state parks to fill your days. Book a stay at a Carolina Beach vacation rental today. When planning the itinerary for your Carolina Beach getaway, consider these top 10 activities.

1. Visit the Shops on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk

The boardwalk is a popular spot for both locals and visitors. Grab a dozen doughnuts at Britt’s Doughnuts or stop in for lunch at Franks’ Pizza. Sit outside on the swings and enjoy live music and views of the ocean, or stop in the Carolina Beach Arcade and play a few games with the kids. If you are feeling up to it, you can stop in Henna Tattoos for some new artwork.

2. Get a history Lesson at the Federal Point History Center

Learn about life in Wilmington and Carolina Beach through a series of exhibits and audio-visual presentations at the Federal Point History Center. There is an outdoor picnic area if you want to bring lunch from your vacation rental, and at the end of the self-guided tour, browse in the gift shop for souvenirs and gifts. Afterwards, stop by Fort Fisher and view the remains of the Civil War Fortifications approximately 10 miles north in Wilmington.

3. Learn How to Surf from Olympian Tony Silvagni

If you’ve ever dreamed of surfing or simply want to learn some new skills, sign up with the Tony Silvagni Surf School. All instructors at the school are CPR and AED certified, and they focus on safety as well as fun. Along with surfing, the school also offers lessons in paddleboarding, kayaking, skimboarding, and bodyboarding. If you prefer to sit it out and watch the family while they learn, rent a beach chair and canopy and enjoy the views.

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4. Rent a Bike at Wheel Fun Rentals

If you prefer traveling on land instead of water, stop by Wheel Fun Rentals and rent a surrey bike. Each bike accommodates up to eight riders, or you can rent a quad sport or chopper and go at it alone. The location also rents single bikes and tandems, and families with children can rent a sidecar. Rentals are by the day or by the hour.

5. Charter a Fishing Boat

Spend the day on the open sea by chartering a fishing boat. Batson Charter Boats or Blue Marlin Fishing Charters offers day-long excursions with some of the best fishermen in the area. Seasoned professionals teach you the best methods on how to make that big catch, including what lure to use and how to reel them in. All boats are equipped with the latest state of the art fishing equipment and approved safety gear to ensure you have a safe and productive trip.

6. Purchase Fresh Goods at the Carolina Beach Farmer’s Market

Look for local fruits and vegetables to take back to your vacation rental at the Carolina Beach Farmer’s Market held on Saturdays from May to October at the Carolina Beach Lake Park. Local vendors also sell handmade goods, wines, meat, and dairy products. Bring your dog and let him play in the park and there is a big playground for the kids to enjoy. At night, the park hosts free outdoor movies, and in the winter the park is lit up for the holidays.

7. Explore Underwater Wrecks with Carolina Beach Scuba

Whether you are looking to achieve your open-water certification or just need training in advanced diving, Carolina Beach Scuba is the place to go. This full-service diving school offers daily dives from the Carolina Beach Municipal Dock. Ride one of the three, six-passenger boats to the dive site and spend hours exploring artificial reefs, shipwrecks, fossil ledges, and coral reefs. Bring your own equipment with you to your vacation rental or rent everything you need from Carolina Beach Scuba.

8. Ride the Cape Fear Riverboats in Wilmington

Located just minutes from Carolina Beach on the south side of Wilmington, Cape Fear Riverboats offers tours of the water and beautiful views of the beach. Sign up for a narrated one-hour tour that teaches the history of Cape Fear and downtown Wilmington, or opt for the four-hour getaway along the Black River. Enjoy dinner from Anne Bonny’s Bar and Grill after your trip. The restaurant serves a variety of international fare, as well as sandwiches, fresh seafood, and cocktails.

9. Take a Tour of the Battleship North Carolina

One of the lead ships during WWII, the Battleship North Carolina is moored in Wilmington, just 10 minutes north of Carolina Beach. Explore the ship’s exhibits and view photographs and mementos from the actual crew. Go down below and see where the crew slept. View the kitchen where meals were made. The ship even has a gift shop for souvenirs.

10. Visit the North Carolina Aquarium at Kure Beach

Located just ten minutes south of Carolina Beach, the North Carolina Aquarium is home to thousands of aquatic creatures. Explore the salt marshes and tidal pools and see the sharks in the two-story open ocean exhibit. Pet the rays in the touch tanks, and get up close and personal with the loggerhead turtles. There’s also an outdoor garden featuring a variety of species of flora and fauna, and at the end of the day, you can stop in the gift store for souvenirs.

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