The Best Restaurants in Oak Island NC for Culinary Delight

The North Carolina Coast boasts some of the best restaurants in the south. Oak Island is no exception. With no shortage of sun, surf, and excellent cuisine delivered with a side of southern coastal charm, this small town has many options for your next meal.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor planning an Oak Island vacation, in the mood for casual dining or an elegant experience, the following is your guide for the best restaurants in Oak Island, NC.

From finger-licking barbecue to burgers, pizza, and fresh seafood, this list has you covered!

Bar-B-Que House

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Located along E Oak Island Dr, just a couple blocks from the beach, the small but mighty Bar-B-Que House brings plates of its namesake bbq, southern sides, and all the fixins’ to hungry tummies.

An ultra-casual atmosphere welcomes diners to try bbq staples like Hickory-Smoked Pork Ribs or Texas-Style Brisket. There are also sandwiches, burgers, wraps, grilled cheese, and hot dogs or corn dogs, as well as more than a dozen classic sides like Fried Okra, Homemade Potato Salad, Slaw, and Hush Puppies.

Pepperoni Grill

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The Pepperoni Grill satisfies that frequent Italian craving. At this neighborhood pizzeria, locals and tourists can enjoy a family-friendly meal.

The bright yellow building with an oceanfront view invites customers to make their pizza or choose from more than a dozen specialty New York-style pizzas on their extensive menu.

Their “Eat Pizza. Be Happy” motto is enticing enough, but if you’re not in the mood for pizza, that’s okay. There’s plenty of pasta, wings, salads, and sandwiches to choose from, too. Dine-in or grab takeout for a day at Ocean Isle Beach.

Bob’s Dogs

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If a quick bite is what you’re hankering for, a pit stop at Bob’s Dogs is in order. Conveniently situated a few blocks from the beach, sun and surf lovers can satiate their appetites with various hot dog concoctions. For example, the Taco Dog includes shredded cheddar, lettuce, tomato, taco sauce, and Doritos.

Hamburgers, sandwiches, salads, and dessert round out the menu where Hot Dogs are really the Belle of the ball. In the warm weather months, outdoor seating makes Bob’s Dogs the perfect destination for patrons to fill up on classic beach fare in a casual, tropical atmosphere.

Bob’s Dogs is an elevated beachside hot dog stand with all the classics represented in creatively exciting ways. Don’t forget to top off your meal with an ice cream float.

Little Bit’s Grill

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Little Bit’s Grill is an American restaurant in the heart of Oak Island. Burger lovers and anyone craving a savory beach treat will enjoy all this tiny establishment has to offer. From basic breakfast fare to simple burgers and sandwich options like the BLT, Little Bit’s Grill will satisfy your hunger.

It’s a popular spot for locals and visitors who crave big breakfast plates of omelets, pancakes, or that juicy lunchtime burger. Fast and friendly service welcomes you to this casual eatery.

Shagger Jack’s

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An admirably varied, beachy menu matches the calm, coastal ambiance at this Oak Island Drive restaurant where their “You chill…we grill” slogan couldn’t be more inviting.

An impressive beer menu will make hops fans happy while they peruse the mouthwatering menu. Affordable family dining at Shagger Jack’s begins with Fried Oysters or Pickles before moving on to the Catch of the Day or some Shrimp Tacos.

A Sunday brunch boasts delectables like the Island Spiced French Toast or Fish and Grits consisting of blackened grouper and white cheddar grits in a creamy Creole sauce. And the eclectic flavors at Shagger Jack’s don’t end there.

Swain Seafood Shack

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Family-owned and operated, Swain Seafood Shack is dedicated to using local resources. Named out of respect for the original 1930s Swain Shack that still stands on Oak Island, the Swain family continues to dole out delicious family-style food.

From fresh seafood to combination platters, pasta, steaks, and more, Swain Seafood Shack also offers gluten-free options.

Jones Seafood House

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Opened in 1964, Jones Seafood House still retains its vintage, coastal esthetic, with bright yellow and blue décor and wooden ceiling beams. The menu is equally as classic, with overflowing plates of simply prepared seafood, charbroiled steaks, chicken, and pork. There are also nightly specials, in addition to a senior and kids’ menu.

Jones’ Seafood House is a solid representation of the classic seafood restaurant that locals and vacationers alike have come to expect and adore.

Thai by the Sea

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Oak Island Beach visitors can experience something a little different at this refreshing take on Thai cuisine. Thai by the Sea offers a menu packed with traditional Thai dishes, like Curry Fried Rice and Pad Thai with your choice of protein, in addition to specials, like Crispy Duck. For something more adventurous, try the By the Sea Delight, which includes shrimp, scallops, and a mix of vegetables.

With so many options containing both land and sea proteins, it’s not difficult finding something to satisfy a Thai craving at the uniquely coastal Thai by the Sea.

Joseph’s Italian Bistro

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Overlooking the Intracoastal waterway at South Harbour Village, Joseph’s Italian Bistro offers fine dining alongside a premier wine and spirits list. While not specifically located in Oak Island, it’s a worthy 15-minute drive to this Southport, North Carolina Italian gem.

Begin with the Saffron Mussels appetizer before you feast on Linguini Ala Carbonara, a favorite of Joseph’s Italian Bistro-goers while reveling in a breathtaking sunset from their outdoor patio. Outside seating is, of course, weather permitting.

Old Bridge Diner

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Old Bridge Diner is your budget-friendly classic all-day breakfast, lunch, and dinner dive. Unfortunately, this hidden gem tucked next to a busy convenience store and gas station is easy to miss. A faux tin ceiling, checkered floors, and maroon-colored booths scream classic Americana.

Old Bridge Diner attracts hungry folks with its traditional American staples, seafood dishes, and southern favorites like the Shrimp Po Boy or Country Fried Steak. The locally acclaimed clam chowder is sold by the quart or the gallon, while the breakfast fare is Old Bridge Diner’s draw. Thanks to an array of pancakes, omelets, biscuit sandwiches, and piping hot coffee, Oak Island beach-goers can fuel up before a long day of coastal activities.

Turtle Island Restaurant & Catering

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Combining local flavors and ingredients with a taste of the tropics is Turtle Island’s specialty. Though it may be small in stature, this mighty Oak Island Drive restaurant delivers a vibrant collection of tropical fare in a big way. With its charming in-dining room aquariums, Turtle Island serves up some of Oak Island’s best Caribbean-infused flavors.

Again, don’t let the small restaurant fool you, as seafood dominates the expansive menu. From Annie’s Clam Soup, Coconut Shrimp, Thai Seared Tuna, and Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops to Fried Clams and Shrimp Scampi, Turtle Island doesn’t skimp on the options.

The vast range of appetizers, steamer options, raw bar, pasta, Calabash-style fried seafood, house specialties, and a separate sandwiches and kids’ menu leaves diners with some big decisions.

Pizza Shack

Pizza Shack has been Oak Island’s “Mom & Pop” pizzeria since 1989.

Homemade dough, fresh ingredients, and amusing “gourmet” pizzas like the All-American Bacon Cheeseburger pizza or Mexican pizza keep locals and tourists on their toes, coming back for more. Fresh Garden Salads, Mozzarella Stix, and Jalapeño Poppers accompany the quirky selections of pizza.

Not in the mood for one of their signature pies? You can create your own from an extensive list of toppings, including Banana Peppers and Anchovies, as well as the more classic Pepperoni and Mushrooms.

Things to Do in Oak Island, NC with Family

Oak Island is a small, picturesque seaside town on the coast of North Carolina with a population of just under 8000 people. It’s the place to go if you’re searching for great beaches, delicious seafood, and plenty of family-friendly activities.

At first glance, you may presume that this coastal town is a sleepy place with little action, but that’s not the case. There are many things to do in Oak Island and the surrounding areas! Read on for an extensive list of things to do in Oak Island NC, with family.

Oak Island Lighthouse

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The Oak Island Lighthouse is the island’s most famous feature, rising high into the sky, piercing through the landscape. It is the most recently erected of all the lighthouses on Oak Island, too.

The view from the observation deck will offer just the right perspective to fully appreciate how ideal this area of the island is for a family beach holiday.

The Oak Island Lighthouse camouflages on a foggy day, painted in grey hues rather than the conventional red and white of most lighthouses. The 153-foot sentinel has been guarding the coast since 1958 and is located on Caswell Beach, which brings us to our next option for things to do in Oak Island NC.

Caswell Beach

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Pet-friendly North Carolina Beach is the least congested of all the Brunswick Islands beaches, contributing to its popularity.

Traditional vacation homes await you behind the oat-fringed dunes. The sound of the surf, which is always within earshot, soothes away the worries. Caswell Beach provides an instant and welcomed escape.

Caswell Beach is also home to the Oak Island Golf Club, known as one of North Carolina’s Top 30 hidden gem courses, according to Myrtle Beach Golfmasters.

Oak Island Beach

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The beaches of Oak Island are a terrific place to unwind with a good book, go for a long walk, or simply sit back and listen to the waves crashing. Of course, you can also utilize your relaxing stroll along the Carolina Coast to look for some of Oak Island’s beautiful seashells.

The pet-friendly Oak Island Beach may not be the most popular in North Carolina, but it is wonderfully tranquil with a charming sense of community.

Ocean Crest Fishing Pier

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This 893-foot Oak Island pier was awarded the most popular fishing pier in North Carolina by Fisherman’s Post.

With a full-service tackle shop that can help with any customized requests and no shortage of gifts for family and friends, Ocean Crest Fishing Pier provides free fishing for handicapped fishermen. The owners provide a community live bait tank and a king fisherman’s shelter at the far end of the T-shaped lake. Seasonal licenses for bottom fishing and King fishing are available.

Wind speed, air temperature, water temperature, current speed and direction, and more are all measured by an onsite weather station. The information is also available online by anyone wishing to access it.

According to pier manager Dave Cooper, this is the best King Mackerel fishing pier in the area.

Oak Island Nature Center

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5202 E Yacht Dr, Oak Island, NC 28465

The Oak Island Nature Center offers a variety of educational activities for both children and adults to learn about the environment and the animals that live on Oak Island.

A Talking Trees Walking Trail, fossil exhibits, wildlife displays, binoculars, a fishing T-dock, and a floating dock are all available in the park. Hours of operation are subject to change.

Bald Head Island

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PO Box 3069, Bald Head Island, NC 28461

Bald Head Island, which can be reached by ferry or private boat, is home to 10,000 acres of salt marsh and 180 acres of protected maritime forest. All of this is covered by the Bald Head Island Conservancy.

Visitors can see Wilson’s Plover, Painting Bunting, and a variety of wintering waterfowl in this unique coastal location, which is also part of the North Carolina Birding Trail.

The Conservancy’s year-round kayaking and birding tours provide a non-intrusive and scenic view of this fascinating wildlife, perfect for your next Carolina Coast getaway.

Bald Head Island Ferry

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1301 Ferry Rd SE, Southport, NC 28461

Bald Head Island is two nautical miles south of Southport, North Carolina. The island is a 20-minute passenger ferry trip away from Deep Point Marina on the mainland.

On the hour, the Bald Head Island Ferry departs from the mainland, and on the half-hour, it departs from Bald Head Island. Their website provides a timetable and information on parking, ferry tickets, luggage, tram bookings, and more.

Save time to stroll through Southport’s historic tree-lined streets, enjoy a meal at one of the many great restaurants, many of which are located right on the Cape Fear River or the Intracoastal Waterway, and/or visit one of the historic sites.

Old Baldy Lighthouse & Smith Island Museum

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101 Light House Wynd, Bald Head Island, NC 28461

For nearly 200 years, the mouth of the historic Cape Fear River has been marked by North Carolina’s oldest standing lighthouse, Old Baldy, built in 1817. The Smith Island Museum is housed in a reproduction of an 1850s lighthouse keeper’s home.

Thousands of tourists flock to beautiful Bald Head Island each year to learn about the island’s rich maritime history at the Smith Island Museum and to see Old Baldy up close.

Oak Island Jungle Golf

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6321 E Oak Island Dr, Oak Island, NC 28465

Consider visiting Oak Island Jungle Golf if you’re searching for some additional fun, family-friendly activities in Oak Island. You can play mini-golf with the family while admiring the establishment’s jungle atmosphere.

In addition to the mini-golf course, Oak Island Jungle Golf features an arcade section with classic games such as Ms. Pac-Man. It also has ticketed games where players have the opportunity to win a reward.

After you’ve finished playing, visit the onsite ice cream shop, which serves delicious flavors like birthday cake, bubblegum, and mint chocolate.

High Tide Aviation Helicopter Tour

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4345 Airport Rd SE, Southport, NC 28461

The Cape Fear region is breathtaking by land or water, but nothing beats a bird’s eye perspective!

All tours with High Tide Aviation include opportunities to see dolphins and other marine creatures. Do you have a thing for lighthouses? Fly over North Carolina’s oldest lighthouse, Old Baldy, and then visit Fort Caswell on your route to the Oak Island Lighthouse.

The cost of their tours starts at $60 per person all the way up to $390.

Do you think you’d like to learn how to fly? Take High Tide Aviation’s $99 Discovery Flight! With a skilled flight teacher, you can sit in the pilot’s seat and fly one of the High Tide helicopters while receiving official helicopter safety training. If you want, you can also sit back and enjoy the stunning views.

Environmental Overlook Trail

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3003 E Oak Island Dr, Oak Island, NC 28465

The Environmental Overlook Trail is a hidden gem, easy to overlook (no pun, intended). You’ll find a scenic collection of well-kept roads, wooden boardwalks, and walkways that span over creeks and carry vacationers through a gorgeous stretch of Oak Island that is still relatively undeveloped.

From Oak Island Drive, the trail allows you to traverse the Davis Canal. In a natural swamp region, take a walk through nature and look for birds and creatures like herons, egrets, and loons.

Take a half-hour stroll across the park, crossing boardwalk bridges. Then, pass through a wooded area to reach the Davis Canal wooden bridge, just a short walk to the beach from there.

Visit the Ingram Planetarium

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7625 High Market St, Sunset Beach, NC 28468

The 85-seat SciDome Sky Theater at the Ingram Planetarium has cutting-edge high-definition digital projection and surround-sound equipment. Watch programs on space exploration and astronomy that are both amusing and educational.

Relax and take in the laser music displays, while interactive exhibits take place in the Paul Dennis Science Hall. Afterward, visit the Galaxy Gift Shop for all things space-themed.

Programs and hours change seasonally, so contact or check the website for the most up-to-date information.

Middleton Park

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4610 E Dolphin Dr, Oak Island, NC 28465

A playground, splash pad, basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball fields, picnic shelters, concession stand, T-Ball field, bathrooms, and a soccer field are all available at Middleton Park.

Oak Island Farmer’s Market

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4610 E Dolphin Drive, Oak Island, NC 28465

Featuring local fresh vegetables, baked goods, homemade jams, and a range of handmade arts and crafts, such as jewelry and furniture, the Oak Island Farmer’s Market is a terrific place to meet the locals and neighbors, as well as learn about Oak Island’s culture.

Held in Middleton Park, behind Town Hall, on the soccer fields, The Farmer’s Market hours vary. During special events, Farmers’ markets open at 4 pm. with live music beginning at 6 pm. and ending at 8 pm. Regular market days, during the summer, are held every Monday starting at 8 am. until 1 pm.

North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport

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315 Front St, Beaufort, NC 28516

Visitors can learn about the natural and cultural history of the Lower Cape Fear region at the junction of the Cape Fear River, Intracoastal Waterway, and the Atlantic Ocean. The North Carolina Maritime Museum tells the tale of the area’s history through hands-on and instructive exhibits, from the earliest indigenous seafarers to commercial fishermen.

The museum’s website includes a calendar of events with things like a historical account of the lives of pirates and the Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla. This annual holiday event features yachts, oars, kayaks, and commercial vessels decked out for the season, showcasing their festivities on the Morehead City and Beaufort waterfronts.

The Civil War, World War II, and ships of all kinds, from sail to steam, as well as sea creatures at the North Carolina Maritime Museum, pique the interest of people of all ages.

Museum of Coastal Carolina

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21 E 2nd St, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

A visit to the Southeast’s largest “dry aquarium” is a must on your list of things to do in Oak Island NC.

The Museum of Coastal Carolina is a natural history museum featuring an aquarium and a touch tank with live marine animals, shells, fossils, insects, a shark display, live snakes, bird dioramas, and an ocean reef diorama with life-sized models of whales, sharks, sea turtles, and rays among the animal exhibits.

River basins, the consequences of stormwater runoff, and beach litter on the sea’s ecology, barrier islands, and tides are among the other educational displays. The museum also includes exhibits on local and marine history, such as shipbuilding and Native Americans in the area. Furthermore, afternoon and evening activities like special talks are also available at the museum, including information on local initiatives to protect sea turtles.

Nature-themed items can be found at the Museum of Coastal Carolina Gift Shop.

Oak Island Fishing Charters

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133 NW 5th St, Oak Island, NC 28465

Another excellent option to explore as much of Oak Island as possible and learn about the importance of fishing in this small port town is to take a fishing charter.

Throughout the year, Oak Island Fishing Charters offers private and group fishing trips. You can choose between an offshore tour, which takes you far from land, and a near-shore trip, which keeps you close to the coast. On an offshore trip, you can catch Wahoo, Mahi-Mahi, and Groupers, as well as Snappers and Amberjacks

if you’re lucky. Oak Island Fishing Charters is delighted to provide a personalized experience. While their trips typically take 7-10 hours, you can opt for a shorter trip at an hourly cost. Also, consider arranging one of their ‘Kids Catch’ trips if you’re going with kids!

Old Brunswick County Jail Museum

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318 E Nash St, Southport, NC 28461

The Old Brunswick County Jail Museum in Southport is open for the summer season. Visitors will be able to take free tours of the jail’s history while viewing original jail cells and other displays. The old prison is also one of the locations on the Southport Historical Walking Tour.

On the second story of this historical jail, there are two cells and a runabout. Four bunks, a commode, and a washbasin were included in each cell. Graffiti created by inmates is still evident upstairs.

When the museum is open, self-guided tours are provided from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays from April to October and Friday afternoons in July and August.

Blue Planet Watersports

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7156 Beach Drive SW, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Visitors to Oak Island will find plenty of water to explore in all directions, and the adventure can begin with a trip to Blue Planet Watersports.

This comprehensive watersports complex allows Southport and Oak Island visitors to surf, paddle, kayak, and learn a new activity with ease through a choice of guided tours, courses, and rentals.

Pleasure Island Dog Spots

The beaches of Pleasure Island are known for being one of the east coast’s best beaches, especially for dog parents! With miles of beaches and the beautiful outdoors to explore, you’ll find no shortage of pet-friendly hot spots.

From wide-open beaches to secluded nature trails, your dog will enjoy your vacation just as much as you! Plus, Carolina Retreats offers plenty of pet-friendly rentals, so pack up the leash and toys, read our pet policy, and head to Pleasure Island! 

1. The Beach

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The beaches of Pleasure Island are known for being pup-friendly. Dogs are welcome on the beach, just as long as you are following each town’s specific leash laws. You and your pup can play in the waves, play frisbee, or even take a relaxing nap in the sun. Looking for a less-crowded area? Head to Fort Fisher, a 4-mile dog-friendly North Carolina state park located on the ocean. It has a great beach, where your dog can play in the water while on a leash. If you want to take your dog off-leash then you can take your dogs to the Gurney Hood Barking Lot (Dog Park) and let them loose.

2. Carolina Beach State Park

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With nearly 9 miles of trails, Carolina Beach State Park is the perfect spot to escape reality and unwind. Relatively flat and easy to walk, these trails are perfect for taking a stroll with your pup. The State Park also offers many private beaches, perfect for taking a dip after working up a sweat!

3. Good Hops Brewery

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Need a break from all the activities? Grab a drink with man’s best friend at Good Hops Brewing’s Taproom and Beer Garden. Bring your leashed pooch to this neighborhood craft brewery in Carolina Beach. In addition to the taproom, dogs are welcome on the disc golf course which is open from sunrise to sunset every day of the week. Delicious beer and dog treats guarantee a great time for both owner and pup.

4. Freeman Park

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Residents and visitors have long enjoyed the beach area known as Freeman Park. In fact, the area has become one of Carolina Beach’s major attractions as it is one of the only beaches in NC that you can drive your 4X4 vehicle on. Whether coming to the area to swim, camp, fish, or go boating, crabbing, or casting for minnows, people love Freeman Park. Plus – you can bring your dog any time of year! From October 1st to March 31st dogs may be off-leash. From April 1st to September 30th dogs must be leashed on the beach. This dog-friendly beach is a real tail-wagger!

5. Mike Chappell Park

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Mike Chappell Park is a 10-acre park that has something for everyone in the family, even your pup! Their off-leash dog park is the perfect playground for a puppy playdate. The park is also equipped with two tennis courts, 1 basketball court, 1 youth basketball area, playground equipment, dog park, baseball and softball fields, soccer field and skate park. There is something for every member of your family! 

5 Things to do During the Off-Season in the Outer Banks

If you think the off-season is a bad time to take a trip to the Outer Banks, think again! With cooler temps, fewer crowds, and delicious food, one of our favorite ways to enjoy the Outer Banks is during the supposed “off-season.” Check out the list below for our favorite things to do during the cooler months.

1. Go Sightseeing, Without the Crowds

Not a fan of waiting in long lines? With fewer crowds, the offseason is the perfect time of year to explore all the sights that the Outer Banks have to offer. Take a trip to the Lost Colony or visit the famous Bodie Island Lighthouse. Whether you are a history buff or a nature fanatic, the Outer Banks offers something for everyone. Click Here for a detailed list of attractions in the Outer Banks region.

2. Enjoy Fresh, Local Seafood

Seafood is not just for summer. In fact, the cooler months bring out some of the best seafood the North Carolina Coast has to offer! Fresh oysters and big, sweet crabs are a staple of the Outer Banks fall. Prefer a more hands-on experience? Cast your own line at the shore, or head to your favorite pier to catch yourself some fresh dinner. Seafood, not your thing? Not to worry – there are plenty of other options for those who prefer more land-based meals. Click Here for all a guide to the best restaurants in the OBX.

3. Enjoy Spectacular Sunrises & Sunsets

While the sunsets and sunrises on the Outer Banks are beautiful year-round, it is known among locals that the most spectacular ones occur during the cooler months. Mostly attributed to the lack of haze and humidity, along with weather patterns that allow for dry, clean air to sweep across the coast, making for the most picturesque sky. Head to favorite spots, like the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge or Jockey’s Ridge State Park, for the chance to see unobstructed views and beautiful skies. 

4. Relax with a Fire on the Beach

In need of some relaxing? How about a beach fire? In the offseason, beach fires are allowed, on beaches in Nags Head and along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (with regulations). The fall season also means 4×4 vehicles are allowed (some rules do apply, so read before you ride). You can even bring your pup along, depending on which area or town you’re in. Spend some time reconnecting with nature and your loved ones on the beach.

5. Take a Drive Up and Down Highway 12

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With less traffic, the offseason makes for the perfect time to take drive up Highway 12. If you enjoy beautiful scenic drives, then NC Highway 12 is for you. Take a trip all the way north to Corolla, or head south. Continue south through Nags Head and explore the Outer Banks Scenic Byway. Drive all the way through Cape Hatteras National Seashore, where you can even ferry over to Ocracoke. You’ll be able to explore the Outer Banks in all its glory, without having to worry about sitting in traffic or long ferry lines.

Whatever you choose to do, the Outer Banks off-season has something for everyone! Book your next trip today!

Where To Go For Topsail Island Kayak Rentals

Topsail Island is less crowded than many of the other areas of the coast of North Carolina. You can enjoy spending time on the beach or in the water there in peace. However, if you choose to enjoy the clear water and magnificent views, you’ll want to rent a kayak from a place that’s budget-friendly and known to provide outstanding service. So, here are some of the best Topsail Island kayak rentals.

Why Visit Topsail Island

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For one, the area is beautiful. You’re completely surrounded by the ocean, whether you’re at North Topsail Beach or one of the other areas. The island is a small one located off the coast, so it’s a unique experience.

The island has a great deal of activities for you and even your family to enjoy, such as surfing, kayaking, museums, and a turtle rescue.

North Carolina beaches are typically busy from June to August due to the warm temperatures and usually sunny weather. Fortunately, Top Sail Island is one of the less crowded areas in North Carolina.

How to Rent a Kayak

If you’re traveling to Topsail Island without a kayak, you have various options to choose from. Before you decide on one, you should look at the pricing. You should also make sure they have availability when you’re traveling. Keep in mind that places that rent hourly often sell out quickly.

You’ll need ID in order to rent a kayak at most places, so make sure you have it with you. Additionally, you’ll have to put down a security deposit. Keep in mind that not all places have credit card machines, so you may need to pay in cash.

Top-Rated Topsail Island Kayak Rentals

After careful review, certain kayak rental companies rank higher than others.


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PaddleNC is a North Carolina-based company with three locations, one on Topsail Island.

Besides kayaks, you can also rent SUPs, which are standup paddle boards. If you choose to rent a kayak or a paddleboard, you’ll need to decide on how long you want to rent the board, but keep in mind that how long you rent the board will affect your price. They offer two-hour rentals, four-hour rentals, and all-day rentals. The all-day rentals allow you to use the kayak for eight hours or longer. You may choose between a traditional kayak or a fishing kayak. Additionally, you may opt for a kayak for one person or a tandem one that allows two people to venture out into the water together.

A two-hour rental ranges from $20 to $30, depending on the type of kayak. A four-hour rental or half-day rental varies from $30 to $40. On the other hand, an eight-hour rental is $38 to $58.

Topsail Beach Service

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The Topsail Beach Service is a unique company. They offer a variety of rental services to ensure you enjoy your experience on Topsail Island. For instance, you can rent a kayak. On the other hand, you can also rent beach umbrellas, cornhole games, coolers, surfboards, and more.

They have a delivery and setup service, so you receive the item or items delivered to you. They’ll also set up, take down, and pick up the rental items.

The fees for kayak rentals depend on how long you plan to rent the kayak. For example, if you only plan to rent it for a day, it’s $35. For a two-day rental, it’s $55. The rest are as follows:

Three-day rental – $75

Four-day rental – $90

Five-day rental – $105

Six-day rental – $115

Seven-day rental – $120

When you opt for Topsail Island kayak rentals from this company, you’ll only be able to choose a single-person kayak.

50 South Surf Shop

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Surf City is a small township on Topsail Island, where 50 South Surf Shop is located. This company has a long history in the area dating back to 2011 when they first opened. The owner was an avid surfer starting at the age of 10. His passion for being on the water turned him on to the idea of offering surf and kayak rentals in Topsail.

Besides kayaks, 50 South Surf Shop also offers surfboards, SUPs, and bikes. They offer both single and double kayaks.

You may rent an electric bike, and no matter which type of bike you rent, it comes standard with a helmet and a lock. They also offer all kinds of apparel for men, women, and children, ranging from short and long-sleeved T-shirts to hoodies.

If you rent a kayak, you may choose to pay for it hourly or weekly. The hourly rate is only $10 for a single-person kayak and $15 for a tandem kayak that fits two people.

Topsail Boat Rental

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Topsail Boat Rental is in Surf City. It’s primarily a motorboat rental company; however, they also offer kayak rentals. Their primary goal is to make boat rental simple, so you can enjoy your time on the water with no fuss.

They have a long history in the region. And Topsail Boat Rental received acknowledgment from TripAdvisor as the Top Ranked Tour/Rental on Topsail Island. They offer motorboats with various-sized consoles. You may also choose a skiff, tour boat, or pontoon boat.

The owner understands that not everyone wants or can go out on a motorboat. For this reason, he also offers the option of kayak and standup paddleboat rental.

Prices vary based on how long you’re renting the boat. You may find exact pricing by calling or texting the owner. They also offer a convenient online contact form.

Herrings Outdoor Sports

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Herrings Outdoor Spots is located in Surf City. They offer a variety of vacation rentals, including games, bikes, and boating equipment. While they don’t provide jet ski rentals, you can rent skim boards, boogie boards, and surfboards.

You can enjoy your beach vacation by taking a kayak out or going on one of their kayak tours.

You may choose hourly, daily, or weekly rentals. On the other hand, you could opt for a three-day rental. Prices range from $10 to $85 depending on the type of rental and how like you’re renting.

Topsail Island kayak rentals give you the ability to enjoy the water if you can’t bring your own kayak or don’t have one. Not all places are the same, though. You have different rental time limits. Plus, they vary in price. Therefore, it’s vital to compare your options to make the most of your trip.

5 Reasons You Should Visit The North Carolina Coast this Fall

Summer might be over, but your beach vacations don’t have to be! Fall is actually one of the best times to visit the North Carolina coast. Carolina Retreats provides plenty of relaxing stays year-round, and you’ll love having fewer crowds. To help you decide why you should start planning your trip to the coast, we’ve made a list of 5 reasons you should take a vacation to the NC Coast this fall.

1. Soak Up Mild Temperatures & Warm Water

High summer temps and humidity not for you? Warm days and chilly nights are a staple of the North Carolina coast during autumn. Averaging 70 degrees on most days, you can comfortably relax on the beach during the day or go on a nice boat cruise. While the nights are a bit cooler, they make for a refreshing evening, perfect for strolling around town. Especially nice are the water temperatures, averaging around 70 degrees, making it ideal for a relaxing dip or shell searching. It is also the ideal time to take some surf lessons or rent a kayak! 

2. The Best Sunrises and Sunsets

While our sunsets and sunrises are beautiful year-round, it is known among locals that the most spectacular ones occur during the cooler months. These picturesque skies are attributed to the lack of haze and humidity, along with weather patterns that allow for dry, clean air to sweep across the coast during the fall months. It’s the perfect time of year to cozy up on the back porch and soak up the beautiful views. 

3. Enjoy Lower Rates & No Fighting the Crowds

Fighting crowds for the perfect beach spot is not your thing? With the off-season in full swing, your dreams of a deserted stretch of beach have come true. With the busy summer crowds gone, there are plenty of wide-open beaches and shorelines to stretch out and relax. Additionally, the lower rates on rentals are the cherry on top! 

4. Fall Fishing!

There’s no better time than fall for fishing along the North Carolina coast. The beaches of the Outer Banks are favorites for surf fishermen, while the backwaters of Topsail are abounding with red drum, trout, and more. Looking for a more off-shore experience? Guided trips can be readily booked in whatever location you are visiting. Or, try your hand at pier fishing, with over 19 piers on the NC Coast, you are sure to find your perfect spot. Do you prefer more of a competitive edge? Plenty of annual fishing tournaments occur in the fall each year. Check out the annual Topsail Fall Surf & Pier Challenge in Topsail ( or the Eastern Carolina Trout Tournament in Jacksonville (

5. Take A Break From Your Routine

The North Carolina coast in autumn is the perfect setting to connect with nature and take a break from the stresses of the day-to-day. Whether it’s on a long walk on the beach, lying on a blanket on the sand, relaxing on the back porch, or enjoying the sunrise, these little moments will fill your soul and recharge your batteries. #You Deserve This!

The Best Kure Beach Seafood Restaurants

Kure Beach, North Carolina, is nestled between the bustling town of Carolina Beach and the serene shorelines of Fort Fisher and Zeke’s Island Reserve. Kure Beach is a charming vacation destination that offers everything from an aquarium to fishing to an oceanfront park.

When visitors are finished with their day’s worth of relaxing activities, they can find some of the best fresh seafood in North Carolina. From crab legs to clams to bbq to tacos, Kure Beach has it all and then some. So, whether you’re looking for takeout or a casual dining experience, read on for the best Kure Beach seafood restaurants.

Jack Mackerel’s Island Grill

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Caribbean, Bahamian, American, Seafood, Cajun & Creole, Bar | Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan, and Gluten-Free Options

Located in the heart of Kure Beach, this Caribbean-influenced, seafood-heavy restaurant serves up island favorites like Caribbean Cobb shrimp with jumbo shrimp jerk seasoned then grilled. Alongside all of your favorite traditional seafood dishes like crab, lobster, shrimp, and shellfish, Jack Mackerel’s Island Grill also serves steak and chicken dinners. They’ve been cutting meats by hand daily since 2005 to ensure maximum freshness.

A colorful interior welcomes hungry visitors and the second-floor deck is perfect for outdoor dining. Order a Bahama Breeze from the bar at this K Avenue establishment while grubbing on some Old Bay chips, waiting for your entree. Don’t forget to ask about the daily specials!

Open daily from 11 am – 9 pm.

Freddie’s Restaurante

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Local cuisine, Italian, Seafood | Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options

For the Italian food-lovers, Freddie’s Restaurant is award-winning. Voted “Best Restaurant” in 2020 by Cape Fear’s popular weekly entertainment publication, Encore Magazine Readers Poll.

This family-owned restaurant serves authentic Italian cuisine, claiming some of the best martinis and pork chops around. But, don’t forget about the seafood! Freddie’s menu features everything from crab dip and fried calamari appetizers to seafood stuffed Portobello mushrooms and lemon pepper salmon entrees.

Open Monday – Saturday, 4:30 pm – 9 pm

Kure Beach Diner

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American, Diner, Seafood | Vegetarian Friendly

This Kure Beach eatery checks all the boxes from clam chowder to oyster burgers and platter combos served with fries, coleslaw, and hushpuppies. Featuring all the comforts you would expect from a classic diner, Kure Beach Diner is a locals’ laid-back favorite. Bright red booths and walls, an iconic Coca-Cola sign, and other Americana paraphernalia add old-school character to this beloved establishment.

Beach House Burgers

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American, Fast Food

This seasonal stand-alone on Fort Fisher Blvd serves up some of the simplest yet best seafood in Kure Beach. Housed in a small green hut with a painted mural of cartoon sea life in front of a sandcastle, Beach House Burgers is a spring and summer staple for this North Carolina beach town.

For a quick bite, opt for the fish sandwich and a side of fries or onion rings. Don’t skip dessert. Beach House Burgers has milkshakes and soft-serve ice cream for your sweet tooth.

Big Daddy’s Seafood Restaurant

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American, Seafood | Vegetarian Friendly

With stellar views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Kure Beach Pier, Big Daddy’s Fantasy Island Patio and Tiki Bar is the spot to kick back, enjoy a cocktail, sample an appetizer, or dine on Calabash-style seafood. Calabash is, after all, what made Big Daddy’s famous for great seafood. If fish tacos or surf and turf is more up your alley, this historic restaurant has that, too.

Every Friday and Saturday night starting at 6:30 pm, the patio comes alive with live music from local musicians. With fresh local seafood and produce from North Carolina fishermen and farmers delivered daily, it’s understandable why Big Daddy’s restaurant would be on the list of the best Kure Beach seafood restaurants.

Open Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 4 pm – 9 pm

Open Friday and Saturday, 4 pm – 10 pm

Other Nearby Recommended Seafood Restaurants

Michael’s Seafood Restaurant

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Local cuisine, American, Seafood | Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten-free options

What do award-winning chowder and a festive atmosphere have in common? They can both be found at Michael’s Seafood Restaurant in Carolina Beach. The 1st place winner of the Great Chowder Cook-Off three years in a row knows their soup! Whether you’re enjoying their airy outdoor seating or indulging in a Mai Tai at the bar, Michael’s welcomes you for lunch and dinner with specials every day of the week, including 20% off steamed or raw oysters on Wednesdays.

Open daily from 11 am – 9 pm

Cape Fear Boil Company

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American, Seafood, Cajun & Creole | Gluten Free Options, Vegetarian Friendly

Dubbed, “Carolina’s Best Pot,” this seafood restaurant and caterer in Carolina Beach specializes in traditional North Carolina ‘Coastal Low-Country Boils.’ With a mission to become a tradition in the minds of visitors, locals, and vacationers alike, Cape Fear Boil shows up at your home or vacation rental with all of the equipment, utensils, and ingredients. They do all of the cooking, serving, and clean-up for you and your guests, so you don’t have to! There’s also a convenient option to pick up a to-go steam pot for a smaller gathering of 2-15 people.

Open 2pm – 8pm through fall/winter

Shuckin’ Shack

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American, Seafood, Sports Bar | Gluten Free Options

This oyster bar on Lake Park Blvd. in Carolina Beach has been dishing out some of North Carolina’s freshest seafood since 2007. From crab dip to shellfish to low country boils, Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar has all of your heart’s seafood desires covered. With several locations, including one in Wilmington, it’s a great spot to watch your favorite sports team with family or friends and feast on some fresh seafood.

Open daily from 11am – 10pm

Boosting Off-Season Vacation Rental Income With Physical Improvements: Kitchen, Bathroom, Hot Tubs, Pools, etc.

Fall is officially upon us, but for vacation rental owners, this doesn’t mean that your investment income has to wane. A few refreshes, re-dos, and amenity additions could go a long way in boosting your shoulder and off-season rental income. Let’s look at ways to make your vacation oasis more attractive to your guests and the property work harder for you year-round.
Small Improvements = Big Pay Off
It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint, lighting improvements, and updated furnishings, artwork, and accents can do to make a vacation rental property feel more like a comfy home retreat. Consider repainting your property inside every three-to-five years, or sooner in high-traffic areas like hallways, stairwells, doors, and hand railings. You should also consider improving your furnishings every two-to-three years. Modern doesn’t have to mean futuristic. You can keep nostalgia with new, older, or repurposed furnishings. Always replace worn and outdated décor. Look for artwork, pottery, textiles, and other enhancements from local artists and artisans to customize your vacation home.
Renovate and Upgrade for Greater Appeal
When considering renovations and upgrades, think about the areas that we use the most – carpets, floors, kitchens, and bathrooms, and appliances. Improvements made for function, accessibility, comfort, and appeal for gatherings with friends and family of all abilities will result in more bookings and increased revenues. Make areas inviting and useful for young and old, couples, and families.
Flooring Enhancements Mean a Lot
Carpet colors and styles can date a home fairly quickly, so consider replacing carpets with hardwoods and engineered wood. If you use rugs, then be sure there is a good pad underneath for comfort on bare feet and non-slip backing to prevent slips, trips, and falls. If you do have carpet, replace it every five-to-ten years.
Kitchens Upgrades and Re-Dos Make Sense
A well-functioning and aesthetically pleasing kitchen will do wonders for a vacation home. Consider enhancing workspaces with counters and islands and be sure to add in a bar-top or raised area for gatherings as well as extra eating and drinking locations. Storage and great lighting are also must haves. If you don’t want to gut the kitchen and start over, think about changing out cabinet fronts, doorknobs, and handles, adding a new backsplash, replacing a laminate countertop with granite or quartz – each of these add value to your kitchen improvement and give your guests something to enjoy. Consider adding a pantry for an additional out-of-sight storage area.
Bathroom Upgrades That Aim to Please
When it comes to bathrooms in a vacation rental you want to give your guests something they’ll love.
If you’re considering a bathroom makeover, think about removing the small jacuzzi tub/shower combo that used to be popular. Replace it with a luxurious walk-in shower for universal design and built-in handles, shelves, footrests, and seated areas with a vertical spa system complete with rain showerheads, multiple body jets, and hand showers. This design not only allows people of all ages and abilities easy access, it also pampers them at the same time.
If you have the space or you’re creating a master en suite, other nice to haves are two sinks for multiple users and a separate commode room with a door.
Additionally, another luxury item could include a wet room design that incorporates the luxurious walk-in shower and an oversize stand-alone soaking tub all confined into one area.
Make sure you pay special attention to the storage areas in the bathroom for you and your guest to put your toiletries. Include plush towels and a hairdryer. Consider adding heated towel bars. To make your guests feel extra special add complimentary soaps, shampoos, and lotions and maybe spa-like robes and disposable slip-on scuffs or flip flops for after the shower. Consider signing up for Carolina Retreats luxury linen service, too.
Other Amenities That Add Value and Increase ROI
Travelers are always seeking added amenities in their vacation rental experiences. You’ll see an increase in your bookings if you add curb appeal and create inviting outdoor living spaces on decks, covered porches, balconies, and pool areas. Guests will also pay more for the following:

  • A pool or enhanced outdoor living spaces around the pool to achieve a relaxing oasis.
  • A hot tub.
  • A gas-burning grill with multiple cooking zones.
  • Awnings, umbrellas, comfortable outdoor furniture with weather-resistant pillows, seat cushions, and hammocks.
  • An outdoor fire pit or indoor/outdoor fireplaces.
  • Outdoor showers, foot washing stations, and cabanas for changing areas.
  • Landscaping and drainage features for aesthetics, privacy, and water and erosion control.
  • Outdoor games like cornhole, bocce, large dice, basketball hoops, and telescopes and
  • Wheeled coolers, beach chairs, umbrellas, sand and shell buckets, fishing poles and gear, and beach carts for schlepping things back and forth the beach.
  • An elevator for universal accessibility.
  • Added or improved parking areas.
  • Pet-friendly homes (even with added fees).
  • Family-friendly activities, amenities, and resources at the home.

Consider improving something people don’t see, but they will definitely appreciate like replacing older HVACs with a high efficiency, space-saving HVAC system that also has a wireless climate control panel/tablet. This behind-the-scenes feature will ensure you and your guests enjoy maximum comfort on the hottest summer days and the coldest off-season months.

Visual Storytelling & Social Proofing Your Home
Whatever you do to maximize your income from your vacation rental home, think about your guests and potential visitors. Consider having one of our experts from Carolina Retreats come to your home to gather great photos and videos and for visual storytelling and social engagement and interest. We can also help you understand where to increase your investment without changing any physical aspects of your vacation home.

Carolina Retreats offers a full-service property management solution that includes dynamic pricing, a dedicated staff and experts who have years of real estate management experience and expertise, and our marketing and promotions, property care, premium guest services, and our comprehensive reporting and communication will maximize your vacation rental property income and ensure that you receive the right reports to generate the tax benefits.

Rekindle the Romance on a Carolina Beach Date Night

The Carolinas are home to hundreds of miles of romantic coastline, making them an ideal destination for you and that special someone. But with dozens of sites from which to choose, picking the best date spot can be tricky.

Fortunately, we’ve got the scoop on all the best Carolina Beach date ideas to share with your sweetheart. The only question is: Which of these marvelous romantic destinations will you choose to explore?

Stay in a Historic Mansion

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Wilmington, North Carolina, attracts thousands of visitors each year. Many of this city’s most popular attractions are historical sites and landmarks. Consequently, Wilmington is one of the best destinations for couples that enjoy exploring the past together.

But while you might not find much romance at the Battleship North Carolina or the Bellamy Mansion Museum, you’re bound to soak up the decadence of the Graystone Inn.

This mansion-turned-hotel was built in the early 1900s. It features a neoclassical design, replete with white columns and a stony facade.

Because this hotel was once a home, no two bedrooms are exactly alike. While some rooms don’t have a private bathroom, you could book early and gain access to one of the many suites.

These typically feature a mixture of modern conveniences and classic luxury, inviting you to step back into time while pampering your contemporary self.

Get Moving in a Kayak or Paddleboard

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Living like Edwardian royalty may not suit everyone, but fortunately, there are plenty of outdoor adventures and destinations along the Carolina coast.

Less than 20 miles south of Wilmington, Kure Beach is an ideal spot to break out the kayak or paddle board and take to the water. Of course, you don’t need to bring your craft to explore the marshy waterways in this area, as rentals are available on site.

Once you’ve chosen your mode of transportation, it’s up to you to choose from the many nearby destinations. Couples can kayak across the meandering Cape Fear River or adventure to the gorgeous Zeke’s Island Reserve to view wildlife.

If you get tuckered out, you could always rest your bones at nearby Carolina Beach State Park.

Sleep Under the Stars

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If staying in a mansion or kayaking along Kure Beach doesn’t pique your interest, you may want to consider a relaxing stay at Carolina Beach State Park.

This peaceful park is tucked away along a quiet stretch of shoreline and offers visitors the chance to reconnect with the natural world.

There are nearly 80 camping sites and four spacious cabins from which to choose, all of them located only a short walk away from the shoreline. Consequently, you could sleep under the stars while listening to the sound of waves crashing against the beach.

Sitting near a warm fire, breathing in the salty sea air as you gaze lovingly at your sweetheart—It doesn’t get much more romantic than that!

See Natural Aquatic Wonders

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The local parks aren’t the only places to spot natural Carolinian wonders. In fact, you can relax in the cool breeze of some air conditioning and still see interesting wildlife all around you.

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher has some of the most exciting and beautiful aquatic creatures in the Carolinas. As such, it could make for a unique date that neither you nor your partner will soon forget.

Cut Loose on the Boardwalk

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Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your relationship is cut loose and have some fun! If you and your special someone have been yearning for a little more excitement, you’ll both want to take the time to explore the Carolina Beach Boardwalk.

This long sprawl of restaurants, amusement park rides, bars, and shops can keep you entertained for days and has a little something for everyone. You can kick back on the beach and soak up some sun, enjoy an eclectic shopping trip, or chow down on some fresh-caught seafood.

Enjoy a Cocktail Cruise

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It would be a shame to spend so much time near the ocean and not go for a quick tour acround it. If you and your partner aren’t naturally prone to seasickness, a romantic cruise across dark, glittering waters could be just the thing to keep the flames of love burning hot.

Blockade Runner Surf to Sound Adventures in Wrightsville Beach offers couples the ideal opportunity to take to the water and enjoy some well-deserved time together.

The Twilight Cocktail Cruise, for example, is an intimate experience that you’re not likely to forget any time soon.

Welcome the Morning From a Beachside Cabin

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North Carolina isn’t the only Carolina destination you might want to explore with your significant other. Myrtle Beach, one of the most beloved stretches of sand in South Carolina, is a fantastic romantic destination.

Myrtle Beach State Park is one of the quieter areas of the beach, and it’s home to several dozen camping spots. But if you’re determined to enjoy a little privacy and extra comfort with your special someone, you might want to opt for one of the six cabins located in this park.

If you do, you’ll be able to wake up and greet the sunrise with the waves only a stone’s throw away. You’ll also be in a great spot to explore the nearby boardwalk and fishing pier. If you and your partner enjoy scenic walks beside the ocean, you’ll fall in love with this quaint destination.

Besides, the heart of the more commercial side of Myrtle Beach is only a short drive away. When you and your sweetheart have taken in all the natural splendor that this Lowcountry beach has to offer, you can enjoy dining at one of the many beloved Myrtle Beach eateries.

New York Prime is a beloved choice among steak aficionados, around and their dining area is resplendent with its simple white-clothed tables and vintage wall lamps.

Of course, Cafe Old Vienna is also a solid choice, though it certainly has a more rustic style. But if you’d like to share an evening with your love in a Carolinian beer garden, there’s no better place!

Final Thoughts

No matter what kind of date night you and your partner enjoy, there’s an option for you waiting in the Carolinas. There are luxurious hotels to explore, great boardwalks to discover, and seemingly endless stretches of shoreline to enjoy together.

So before you book your next romantic getaway, consider Carolina Beach. After all, this stretch of coastline is a perfect place to watch breathtaking sunsets with the person you love.

When you need to get away from it all with your sweetheart, you can find serenity along the Carolina shores.

Where to Find Carolina Beach’s Best Coffee

Carolina Beach may be a lazy beach town, but that doesn’t mean it lacks excellent options to get your daily caffeine fix. Southern charm, high-quality coffee, and delicious faore combine seamlessly to bring you the best coffee experience possible.

Below, we’ll list and review the 7 best Carolina Beach coffee shops, all of which are unique, locally-owned, and treasured by locals and tourists alike.

7 Best Carolina Beach Coffee Shops

1. Crush and Grind

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Crush and Grind is a one-stop-shop for all your specialty beverage needs. They are a gourmet coffee shop, a wine bar, and a microbrewery all under one roof, and they pull it off beautifully.

The outside of Crush and Grind is a vibrantly colored enormous mural, standing in stark contrast to a sleek, minimalist wood and steel interior with wonderful artwork, Persian rugs, and a tasteful mish-mash of vintage lounge chairs. You can order a delicious coffee in the morning, stick around the airy space to work or study, and reward yourself with an icy glass of artisanal beer at the end of the day.

2. Janeen’s Majik Beanz

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A treasured locally-owned coffee shop that makes tourists feel like locals, Janeen’s Majik Beanz will make a repeat customer out of anyone. They always have a wide assortment of coffee beans from around the world, and the expert baristas are incredibly helpful in advising you on which to try based on your taste.

The staff, made up of the family owners, are the friendliest people in town. The Wi-Fi is great, and the cozy, aromatic coffee-shop ambiance is perfect for working or low-key socializing.

3. Malama Café

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Named for the Hawaiian word “to care for oneself and others,” Malama Café offers an environmentally sustainable menu that specializes in teas and coffee that are locally or otherwise sustainably sourced along with a healthy and colorful breakfast and lunch menu.

They use artisan roasted Counter Culture Coffee to prepare their delicious drip and espresso coffee drinks. They also sell freshly roasted coffee beans by the bag. The atmosphere is bright, comfortable, and welcoming, with Wi-Fi if you’re interested in taking work out of your home or office.

4. North End Java Stop

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Strictly a to-go coffee shop, North End Java Stop lies at the northern tip of Carolina Beach, offering the best-tasting, most high-quality brew around. It’s a small local joint usually manned by a single barista who is both knowledgeable and friendly.

Whether you want a hearty four-shot Americano, a cappuccino, or a coffee frappe, North End Java Stop keeps it classy and simple. They also bake their own brioche and biscuits for made-to-order sandwiches, taking fast food to a whole new level.

5. Wake N Bake Donuts

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Nothing pairs better with coffee than donuts, and Wake N Bake Donuts has perfected both offerings. Not only is their coffee fresh, full of caffeine, and piping hot, but their donuts are over-the-top extravagant, using ingredients like Oreo cookies, fresh fruits and cream, candy bars, and even bacon.

If coffee in your cup isn’t enough of an energy boost, try adding on a deliciously doughy sugar rush. As per usual with popular donut places, the early bird catches the worm. You can dine in, but take-out is more popular.

6. The Southerly Biscuit and Pie

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You can’t visit the south without eating a biscuit, which may be the single greatest culinary contribution to mankind. Whether you want a sweet or savory biscuit, Southerly Biscuit and Pie has you covered, and there is the perfect beverage accompaniment.

The Southerly offers an extensive menu of biscuits, biscuit sandwiches, southern cheese grits, homemade pies, and other delectable pastries to enjoy in-house or on the go. All ingredients are locally sourced and made to order. Their coffee is as fresh and consistent as all other menu items, so this is an excellent option for a leisurely breakfast or a lavish picnic fix.

7. Happy Hippies Java Hut

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Located a quick 7 min drive south along the coast from Carolina Beach proper, Happy Hippies Java Hut is a cute, quirky coffee house with a groovy surfer-shop feel. Adorned with brightly colored paint, vintage surfboards, a tie-died menu, and copious pieces of kitsch, you’re sure to have an entertaining experience sipping a tasty cup of joe.

Their extensive coffee menu includes the classic standard coffee choices along with over a dozen uniquely flavored lattes and other sumptuous coffee creations. Not into dairy? Love to special order coffee? No problem! You have every possible non-dairy and otherwise customizable option available to you.

There’s plenty of seating, fast Wi-Fi, and a pet-friendly policy, making this coffee shop one of the most popular hang-out spots around.