So yes I’ve been finding myself traveling to North Carolina quite often since my daughter and her family moved there 2 years ago. This time was to help her out with the birth of her newest addition, Rory Anthony Schlarb. Grandchild #5 for Vic and I.

On the last week of my stay Vic came out to welcome the little one and hey, while he was there, we decided to take a few days and visit a nearby beach area. I googled which beach was closest to their home and came upon Carolina Beach. Never heard of it before but, what the heck, it had sand and ocean which is always good enough for me. It even had an ocean-front Hilton which is where Vic currently collect points…score!

After a mere 2 ½ hour drive we arrived at the Hampton Inn & Suites. They were ready for us to check in early and, as promised, our balcony was truly ocean-front. Aaah, the perfect beginning to any beach getaway. See my review of that Hampton here. After a stroll on the nearby boardwalk and around the neighborhood we headed back for a shower and got ready for dinner.

We decided on ‘Stoked’, a pleasant looking Bayfront restaurant we passed by on our walk at the Marina. Living in Arizona, I always prefer restaurants with a water view when I go to any beach town. This one looked promising with its walk-up plank entry and outdoor dining right on the water. We enjoyed our steak and seafood just fine but it was really all about being on the water that made it so special.

After a good night’s rest I was anxious to get to the beach as soon as I woke. Early morning beach walks are usually the best part of my beach getaways. The sun coming up, a chill in the air and the slight exercise of sand walking is the best way for me to start the day. Afterward, we  scrapped plans to go out for a big breakfast and decided on fruit and yogurt at the complimentary breakfast offered at our hotel. It just didn’t feel right to load up on pancakes and sausages after that healthy bout of exercise. (Did I really just say that? Shame on me!) After that it was back to the beach for a few hours of the glorious sunshine and slight breeze the day offered. Thankfully the weather was gorgeous, exactly what we had prayed for.

On the suggestion of the bartender at the outdoor bar of our hotel, we made our way to the ‘Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar’ in nearby Kure Beach, about a 10 mile drive on South Lake Park Boulevard, and boy am I glad we did! A delicious meal was had right on an ocean Pier, complete with drinks, great service and an unmatched view. See my review of Ocean Grill and Tike Bar here.

Carolina Beach is a quiet shore town spanning only about 2.5 miles on the coast of NC, south of Wrightsville Beach and above Myrtle Beach. It’s the perfect place for a relaxing week-end with its slow pace and coziness. In fact, we walked almost everywhere we wanted to go which I always enjoy. It’s also home to the Carolina Beach State Park which boasts 761 acres on Pleasure Island including hiking trails, a marina, campsites, picnic area and a visitor’s center featuring natural history exhibits. We really enjoyed walking the grounds after our lunch on the Pier.

All in all we really enjoyed this small yet satisfying beach. I’d definitely return the next time I’m in NC and need a nearby beach fix.