Carolina Beach State Park
Many of the North Carolina State Parks offer camping, hiking, bridal trails, boating, and lodging facilities that include cabins. Please visit the links provided to North Carolina State Parks for complete and current information about specific activities and amenities available at each park.
Carolina Beach State ParkDownloads:
PO Box 475,
Carolina Beach, NC 28428
Office: (910) 458-8206
Marina: (910) 458-7770
park map - pdf
brochure - pdf
Carolina Beach State Park is a 761-acre park located on a triangle of land known as Pleasure Island, which lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Fear River. The park offers access to some of North Carolina's best fishing spots and secluded camping facilities with both RV and primitive camping available. There are miles of hiking trails and activities include boating, fishing and a visitor center. Carolina Beach State Park is located 10 miles south of Wilmington, NC. Visit the unique Flytrap Trail, a half-mile loop, where Venus flytraps can be seen along the edges of the pocosins, and native orchids bloom. The visitor's center is conveniently located near the park's entrance, features an exhibit hall and is wheelchair accessible.
Carolina Beach State Park offers access to a variety of waters for the avid boater. Explore the fresh waters of the Cape Fear River, the estuarine waters of Masonboro Sound and the salt waters of the Atlantic Ocean, all only moments away. At Carolina Beach State Park, a marina with two launching ramps and 42 boat slips is located at the junction of Snow's Cut and the Cape Fear River. The marina provides facilities that include fuel, snacks and restrooms and showers are provided for slip renters. Tidal waters may be rough at times; exercise cautious seamanship.
The Carolina Beach State Park family campground is located in a wooded area near Snow's Cut. The campground has 83 campsites, including two wheelchair-accessible sites and each site is equipped with a picnic table and grill. You'll find the park well shaded by the rich pine and oak forest. Drinking water and restrooms with hot showers are conveniently located nearby. Hookups are not provided for recreational vehicles, but a dump station is available.
Two camping areas for organized groups are located along Swamp Trail and are available by advance reservation only. One site accommodates up to 25 people; the other accommodates up to 35 people. These areas include picnic tables, fire circles and pit toilets. Water and shower facilities are not available. This area is accessible by foot only. The camping area is approximately 400 yards from the parking area.
Education and Events:
Rangers hold regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs about Carolina Beach State Park. To arrange a special exploration of Carolina Beach State Park for your group or class, contact the park office.
Interpretation and Education (I&E) programs engage people in hands-on experiences that promote appreciation and understanding of our state's great cultural and natural resources. From nature study hikes to educator training workshops, the North Carolina State Parks offer resources to help guide your learning adventures.
Educational materials about Carolina Beach State Park have been developed for grades 5-8 and are correlated to North Carolina's competency-based curriculum in science, social studies, mathematics and English/language arts. The Carolina Beach program introduces students to basic plant biology, focusing on carnivorous plants. Accompanying the program is a teacher's booklet and workshop, free of charge to educators.
Fish from the river bank, the wheelchair-accessible fishing deck or launch your boat at the marina. Spot, flounder, sheepshead and striped bass are waiting at Carolina Beach State Park. A North Carolina Coastal Recreational Fishing License is required to fish in the park.
Six miles of trails wind through a variety of distinct habitats at Carolina Beach State Park. Relatively flat and easy to walk, the trails offer an opportunity to observe the diversity of plant and animal life in the park. Insects may be annoying during the warmer months; repellent is recommended. To avoid becoming lost, stop by the visitor's center or marina for a trail map. Pay close attention to trail markers. Bikes and horses are not allowed on the park's trails.
- Flytrap Trail is a pleasant half-mile loop through pocosin, longleaf pine and turkey oak, and savanna communities. Venus flytraps can be seen along the edges of the pocosins, and native orchids bloom along the trail. Parts of the trail travel along wooden boardwalks. Please stay on the trail, which is marked with orange diamonds, to avoid damaging small and fragile plants.
- Sugarloaf Trail marked with orange circles, offers a three-mile journey beginning at the marina parking lot. An excellent place for watching water birds and exploring the tidal marsh, the trail passes through the marsh, enters a pine forest and follows the river's edge to Sugarloaf. A habitat for fiddler crab, the trail offers the opportunity to observe these crustaceans as they travel over the mudflats.
- Campground Trail is one mile in length and is marked with blue circles. It begins and ends at the family campground and briefly joins Sugarloaf Trail. Much of the trail leads through a coastal fringe sandhill forest. This plant community, dominated by longleaf pines and live oaks, is threatened and becoming very rare.
- Snow's Cut Trail, less than a half-mile long and marked with red diamonds, travels from the family campground to the picnic area. The largest pine and hardwood trees in the park may be seen along this trail.
- Swamp Trail, a three-quarter-mile trail marked with red circles, begins and ends along Sugarloaf Trail. It provides access to the group camping areas as well as views of a tidal cypress-gum swamp and brackish marsh that run opposite one another along the trail.
- Oak Toe Trail is a quarter mile in length and connects Swamp Trail and Sugarloaf Trail. Marked with blue diamonds, the trail traverses an area where a coastal fringe evergreen forest and a coastal fringe sandhill forest meet. Various pines, oaks and oak toe lichen dominate this area.
The Carolina Beach State Park picnic area is located near the bank of Snow's Cut, between the campground and marina. Under the shade of large oak trees, tables and grills supply all the necessities for dining. A wheelchair-accessible site is available. Water, restrooms and parking are conveniently located nearby.
In addition to the multiple educational programs offered at Carolina Beach State Park, the park visitor's center features environmental education exhibits. Carnivorous plants dominate the exhibit hall at the Carolina Beach State Park visitor's center. The hall is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Displays allow visitors to look deeper into the diversity of carnivorous plants in the park. From Venus flytraps to pitcher plants, from butterworts to bladderworts, the hands-on exhibits allow for interactive learning about these intriguing species. Exhibits include:
- Biodiversity Theater: An interactive quiz game for teams or individuals. The game allows players to test their knowledge on the park's different plant communities.
- A computer program about prescribed burning: Many of the park's plants and animals depend on fire for the health of their habitat. The computer program explains that relationship.
- A carnivorous plant touch screen: Visitors learn about the park's five types of carnivorous plants
- Interactive Carnivorous Plants: Allows visitors to experience how these fascinating plants capture their prey.
- A maze game from the perspective of an insect: Visitors attempt to navigate a ball, which represents an insect in the park, around a maze without taking a wrong turn and being eaten by a carnivorous plant.
Conveniently located near the park's entrance, the visitor's center and exhibit hall are wheelchair accessible. Call the park office for more details.