Carolina Beach, NC: The Birthplace of Beach Music, Shag Dancing, Delicious Donuts and Family Fun in the Sun!
“I learned to shag on the beach, with the salt in the air, and the sand at my feet.”—Lyric from I Love Beach Music by The Embers.
For nostalgic Americans, a small town beach with a vibrant boardwalk is the iconic summer vacation: clean sandy beaches; action-packed shooting arcades; exhilarating Ferris wheel rides; mouth-watering foods; and great entertainment at sunset. For centuries, Carolina Beach has offered all of this and more.
The Carolina Beach Boardwalk is the proud birthplace of shag dancing and beach music (also known as Carolina Beach Music). It is also the home of Britt’s Donuts, established in 1939. People drive for miles to enjoy one (or several!) of these famous hot glazed donuts that many consider the best in the country. But, undisputedly, the largest attraction is the beach: miles of wide, pristine shores and natural sand dunes. From your private balcony at Golden Sands Motel, you can smell the ocean and suntan oil in the breeze as you watch the waves roll upon the shore.
The beauty of Carolina Beach doesn’t just appeal to tourists; it also attracts filmmakers and television producers. Carolina Beach has served as the backdrop for many films such as Nights in Rodanthe, Sleeping with the Enemy, and Weekend at Bernie’s. During its nine-year run, select scenes from the television drama One Tree Hill were also shot on location in and around Carolina Beach.
But film production schedules don’t stop Carolina Beach and neighboring Pleasure Island and Kure Beach from offering a wide variety of community events and festivals throughout the year. There are fishing tournaments, music festivals, and outdoor movie nights, just to name a few:
The Annual Carolina Beach Music Festival, held on the first Saturday in June, is one of the longest-running and most celebrated beach music festivals in the United States. It features a full day of live entertainment from the hottest beach music bands in the South, plus a shag dancing competition (shagging is the official state dance of both North Carolina and South Carolina) with thousand of dollars in prize money.
Thanks to an abundance of King Mackerel, Carolina Beach hosts several annual fishing tournaments with nominal entry fees and opportunities to win as much as $50,000 for the biggest fish. But, you don’t have to enter a fishing tournament to enjoy the sport. You can fish on the beach, from the pier, or on one of the popular charter boat fishing cruises.
From Island Gazette
Prefer eating fish to catching it? No problem! Enjoy a drink at a local watering hole by the docks where you’ll have a view of fishermen unloading the day’s catch. Then head on over to one of the island’s popular restaurants (like our very own Ocean Grill Restaurant) for delicious fresh seafood.
Not in town during the Beach Music Festival or the Seafood, Blues and Jazz Festival? You’ll still be able to enjoy great music: local restaurants feature regular live music and karaoke, and there’s live entertainment at the town Gazebo every weekend during the peak season. In the summer season, Carolina Beach also offers a free fireworks display on the beach each Thursday evening and free outdoor showings of family films on Sundays evenings at Lake Park.
The holiday season brings the Island of Lights Festival, which includes a Christmas parade, a flotilla, a tour of homes, the “lighting of the boardwalk” and a New Year’s Eve countdown party.
Carolina Beach isn’t just for sunning, surfing, and swimming. The far ends of Pleasure Island have such a fine hard beach that trucks and jeeps can be driven for miles on the water’s edge at low tide. It is one of the few places on the Atlantic Coast where one can drive directly on the beach. (Be sure to have a four-wheel drive vehicle and the proper registration.) If you’re not into four-wheeling, perhaps bumper cars on the boardwalk are more your style….
Venture away from the boardwalk and you’ll find souvenir boutiques, beachwear stores, lounges, ice cream shops, bicycle rentals, and all of the amenities you’d look for in a family-friendly beach town. Just minutes from the small shops and restaurants in the town center, you’ll discover grocery stores, bait and tackle shops, drugstores, churches, restaurants, hardware stores, and an ABC (liquor) store.
While vacationing in Carolina Beach, be sure to visit the nearby attractions including the Fort Fisher Civil War Battlefield and Museum and the North Carolina Aquarium. At the Carolina Beach State Park, you can wind your way through nature trails in search of the rare indigenous Venus flytrap. Southport and Bald Head Island are also wonderful day-trip destinations just a short ferry ride away from Carolina Beach, NC. Carolina Beach is conveniently located just twelve miles south of Wilmington, NC where visitors can enjoy the historic downtown, the Cape Fear River, the USS North Carolina Battleship, and great shopping.
So, if you’re looking for a resort where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the surf; if you want warm coffee in the morning and cool ocean breezes at night; if you value a clean, safe environment that oozes Southern hospitality and beach town charm, Golden Sands Motel is ready and waiting for you! Come see why Carolina Beach is the perfect place for your next weekend get-away, romantic retreat, or relaxing family vacation. You’ll want to keep coming back year after year.