Situated along the southeastern Atlantic coast, Carolina Beach is a hospitable and friendly coastal community. Located 15 miles from Wilmington, North Carolina, visitors and residents enjoy the peaceful beauty of the ocean with many opportunities due to the proximity of the town. Established in the late 1850's, Carolina Beach was accessible only by ferry or boat. Officials put a steamship in operation around 1866 to carry travelers down the Cape Fear River to Snow's Cut. From there, individuals would take a train into the beach.
Eventually, they built a bridge between the mainland and the island and the ease of travel aided in the influx of construction in that area. Today Carolina Beach has many different marinas with active charter boat basins that offer party cruises and offshore fishing trips. The boardwalk gives a wonderful view of the sunsets across the island, as does the Ferris wheel when you sit in a chair at the top. An arcade, gazebo, pier and the many different specialty shops around the area provide a fun night.
No matter what season, the weather stays temperately mild throughout late summer to early spring because of the close Gulf Stream. The tropical Caribbean Sea blends with the waters of the Atlantic to create warm weather and water. The warmth of the water allows an abundance of fish and other sea creatures to flourish. This is one of the reasons for the extended fishing season. This also provides a great atmosphere to study marine wildlife and why the University of North Carolina at Wilmington has such a strong marine biology program.
It also provides a great home for the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, on of three state aquariums along the North Carolina coast. Fishing and boating along the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic provide endless hours of fun throughout the year. The Carolina Beach Yacht Basin offers charter boats for deep sea fishing; tourists often book a charter and come back to the marina with a great catch of fish such as grouper, mahi mahi, flounder and memories to last a lifetime. Or enjoy a little surf fishing where you can catch fresh bluefish, flounder or crabs to name a few.
Still others prefer packing a cooler and going out on a boat to spend a day fishing for supper. Carolina Beach State Park is a great place to rent a boat and go fishing. It also provides nature trails, picnic areas, campgrounds and water activities throughout its 700 acres. Located near Snow's Cut, the park has a lot of wooded area with both pine trees and oak trees planted for shading around the campsites. Each campsite has a grill and picnic table.
With more than 80 campsites, the large park stays busy throughout the summer months. The sites also have a community center with restrooms, hot-water showers and drinking water. For bigger groups an organized area along the Swamp Trail holds two different camping areas, one for 20 people and another holds a maximum of 35 campers. They also have picnic tables, toilets and have fire circles - though you'll have to trek it to the water and shower facilities.