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Carolina Beach State Park
1010 State Park Rd.
Carolina Beach, NC

(910) 458-8206

Once a campsite for Paleo-Indians, Colonial explorers and Confederate troops, Carolina Beach State Park remains a gem among local camping destinations. Watersports enthusiasts are minutes from the Cape Fear River, Masonboro Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. The park offers a renovated 54-slip marina with gas and diesel fuel and two launching ramps. Call (910) 458-7770 for the marina.

Need we mention the great fishing? Home to lizards, deer, snakes, raccoons, opossums, carnivorous plants and occasionally alligators, foxes and river otters, the park is an bird- and animal-watcher's paradise. (All plants and animals are protected within North Carolina State Parks and must not be collected or harassed.)

Six miles of hiking trails wind through several distinct habitats, including coastal fringe evergreen forest, pocosin (low, flat, swampy regions) and savanna. Hikers on the Sugarloaf Trail pass over tidal marsh and dunes and along three lime-sink ponds. Cypress Pond, the most unusual, is dominated by a dwarf cypress swamp forest. Ranger-led interpretive programs deepen visitors' understanding of the region's natural bounty. Bikes are not allowed on any of the trails.

Dense vegetation lends the campsites a fair amount of privacy. Each site has a table and grill, and sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis (at a rate of $20 per site, per day or a senior citizen rate of $15 per day, per site for people 62 years of age and older). Two of the 83 campsites are wheelchair accessible. Drinking water and well-kept restrooms with hot showers are close by the campsites. There is a dump station for RVs, but no hookups. Unleashed pets and possession of alcoholic beverages are prohibited. You may now make reservations for your campsite ahead of time by calling (877) 722-6762 Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 8 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 9 AM to 5 PM. Reservations should be made 48 hours in advance.

The park is 15 miles south of Wilmington, just off U.S. 421. From Wilmington, make a right on to Dow Road at the second stoplight after crossing Snow's Cut bridge. Then turn right on State Park Road. Stop by the Visitors Center at the park entrance for information, trail maps and brochures. You might want to spend some time at the Visitors Center exploring the interactive environmental-education exhibits, which include a computer program that explains prescribed burning, a quiz game on biodiversity, a Venus flytrap puppet and a maze game from the perspective of an insect trying to maneuver through the park. See Sports, Fitness and Parks for more information about Carolina Beach State Park.

 

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