I’ve lived in North Carolina my whole life and prior to this weekend getaway, had only visited Carolina Beach once before. We took a winter escape to the beach for the weekend with our two fluffy boys and had such a wonderful time at this beach. Carolina Beach offers a vintage seaside boardwalk, a brewery, the best burger in North Carolina, a community lake, plus a gorgeous beach. Here are the best things to do in Carolina Beach on a winter weekend getaway!
The Best Things to Do in Carolina Beach on a Winter Weekend Getaway
Things to do in Carolina Beach – Where to Eat
Credit: Stoked Restaurant
We got in later than we expected on Friday evening, so we ordered take out as we were getting close to the house from Stoked. This restaurant came highly recommended from a few friends and we really enjoyed it! I imagine it is a delight to enjoy the deck during the warmer months watching the boats come in. I ordered a blackened mahi sandwich with Mac & cheese and David ordered the maple chicken sandwich with sweet potato fries. As a surprise, I added a bottle of one of my favorites, Mumm Brut, to our delivery to kick off our weekend!
North End Cafe To-Go
We enjoyed this place so much, we went both days for breakfast! You can’t beat one of their breakfast sandwiches on an everything bagel! They have a great coffee selection, too. It’s also a great little bodega if you need to pick up any items while on the beach.
Island Burgers & Bites
Perhaps the most recommended place for us was Island Burgers & Bites, which is located in a gas station. Don’t sleep on this! It is hands down the best burger in North Carolina. I always order my burgers the same for comparison sake: a bacon cheese burger with lettuce, mayo, and mustard. Island Burgers candies their bacon (seriously!) and their fries are equally as good. It’s a must try!
Hang 10 Grill
After a long day of exploring, we decided to relax with take out again. We opted for take out from Hang 10 Grill and it was delicious! David got the buffalo chicken tenders with fries while I got the chicken quesadilla. This is a great dinner spot, located right near the park!
Things to do in Carolina Beach – Where to Do
Good Hops Brewery
Good Hops Brewing is a great neighborhood craft brewery with a tap room, beer garden, and a disc golf course. It’s a perfect spot for enjoying an afternoon. They had heaters & fire pits in the beer garden, which where great for a chilly afternoon.
Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar
The Tiki Bar at the Ocean Grill is where the remnants of the Center Pier are, which was destroyed in Hurricane Fran in 1996. It’s a fun spot for a drink with gorgeous views and offers a limited lunch and dinner menu from the Ocean Grill. The Ocean Grill offers a variety of dining options with places to watch the waves and enjoy Carolina Beach.
The Veggie Wagon is such a cute spot to pick up fresh, local produce! It serves as a local market with sandwiches, grab and go salad options, take and bake pizzas, beer, wine, and an organic coffee bar. It really is a delightful spot that has a little bit of everything!
Beach & Board Walk
Our Air BnB was really close to beach access, so we took advantage of enjoying a very empty beach. We enjoyed a walk down the beach to the Tiki Bar. Later in the day, we decided to explore the vintage Carolina Beach Boardwalk a little bit. Some of the shops and restaurants were open, and we enjoyed simply walking around. That evening, we had a happy hour drink at Hurricane Alley’s on the board walk and enjoyed the early set up of Christmas by the Sea (for more on North Carolina holiday traditions like this one, check out this article).
Carolina Beach Lake
We enjoyed a walk around Carolina Beach Lake with the boys before heading out of town. During the holiday season, it’s the site of thousands of twinkle lights for a delightful holiday scene!
Carolina Beach Mural Project
Carolina Beach Mural Project is a non-profit organization that celebrates Carolina Beach’s rich history through Public Art. Enjoy the murals while touring around town!
Things to do in Carolina Beach – Where to Stay
Our Air BnB is an absolute delight! It is spacious with three bedrooms, one with 2 bunk beds, one with 2 queen beds, and one with a king size bed. It has an abundance of outdoor porches, both on the front, double porches on the back, and ocean views from the rooftop deck! I couldn’t get over how comfortable the bed was and the main room had a large soaking tub. I loved that it was decorated for the holidays, and so did our little elves.
I cannot recommend a stay here enough! I love a stay at the beach in the off season and this place has everything to feel cozy. Be sure to check this out for a family vacation spot! It literally has everything you will need in a place! The hosts are quick and responsive and super helpful with great local recommendations.
For more North Carolina travel experiences, be sure to check out this page featuring the best of North Carolina travel!
Thanks to Allen & Ginger from the Captain & Ginger Air BnB for hosting us! As always, all opinions are my own.
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