Content Produced in Partnership with Carolina BeachJust minutes from the city of Wilmington, North Carolina you will find a bustling summer beach town. Carolina Beach, North Carolina is unassuming at first. Lots of beach vacation rentals, a few oceanfront hotels, some restaurants, and a boardwalk. This little ocean town is hiding a secret though, and we aren’t sure they want us to let it out. It might not look like it, but there is big fun in Carolina Beach — and it’s time for you, your friends and your family to find out what makes this the beach for you to visit.
Let’s get right to the most shocking find of all: There is surfing in North Carolina. Most think of Florida, California, Mexico and other far off places as great surf locations, but North Carolina? And you certainly would never think an Olympic medalist would set up shop here either. That’s what Tony Silvagni did. My son, at the tender age of five, took his first surf lesson with Tony through Tony Silvagni Surf School on our first trip down a few years ago. This is when I first learned that North Carolina is a hidden gem of surfing, especially for beginners. You can get some great baby waves, but pro surfers love to head here as well, especially around storm season.
Before you hit the surf, though, you need a place to stay. The beauty of Carolina Beach is that it isn’t overrun with high-rise hotels blocking the view. There are a few hotels and motels, but there are even more beautiful vacation home rentals that are perfect for large families and groups of friends looking to reconnect at the beach as well.My neighbors gather at Carolina Beach with all the cousins, aunts and uncles the first week of summer break in June. They bask in the joy of no more carpooling kids, no more soccer team schedules, swim team hasn’t started yet. For one solid week, they can just sit on the beach, grill on the deck of the big beach house they rent every summer and enjoy some blissful, familiar quiet. This is what Carolina Beach means for families. Reconnection and relaxation from your every day.
For younger kids like my own, we can hit the beach but also sneak in a few educational opportunities like the nearby North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher and hikes through Carolina Beach State Park. My neighbor’s kids (the oldest happens to be my babysitter) can do more independent activities, like riding bikes from Carolina Beach down to the pier, or staying out late riding the summer amusement park rides on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk (Don’t worry, parents. They open early enough to enjoy with the younger set too).
No trip to Carolina Beach is complete without a taste of local (cult) favorite, Britts Donuts. If I’m lucky, and we are in town at the same time as my sitter, I can have her grab Britts Donutswith my kids, while I head to The Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar with her mom for Happy Hour on the water. This hot spot, named one of “America’s Best Beach Bars” by EndlessVacations.com, has live music and gorgeous sunset views to unwind at after a long day in the sun.
Carolina Beach has a little something for everyone, especially when you are traveling with extended family and friends. You can hit the beach together, save a little by renting a big house to crash in and setting the kids loose on their bikes to explore. It’s easy to slide into beach time when you are here. Just squish a little sand in your toes and point your face towards the sun.