• Activities:

    Chillin, Camping, Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    6 Miles

Adult Beverages
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Handicap Accessible
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Wildlife

A hidden state park with over six miles of hiking trails that meander over coastal swamps and wind along the Cape Fear river, all within minutes of Carolina Beach.

Carolina Beach State Park is a great day trip for anyone visiting the east coast of North Carolina or in town on vacation at the many beaches in the area. The park is located right next to Carolina Beach just across the bridge that spans Snows Cut (look for the big Carolina Beach State Park sign). A great visitors center is just off the road once you enter the park so stop by there for any questions you may have or a map of hiking trails around the park. The park is free to all visitors but camping reservations are recommended for the busy spring and summer months.

Six miles of hiking trails criss-cross the park with elevated walkways winding along the river and coastal swamps with great birdwatching accompanying each trail. All the trails are almost completely flat so they are not to strenuous and suitable for all ages. For those who want a little more out of the park there are great campgrounds right next to the visitor center with bathrooms and water. Further into the park there is also a picnic area right along the river which makes for a great lunch spot, or just hang your hammock along the river and relax there. The great draw to this park is that it's right next to Carolina Beach so you can go hiking for a part of the day and then make the quick drive over to Carolina Beach to spend the afternoon at the beach.

Summer, fall and spring are the best seasons to visit with summer being the most popular. For those who wish to camp make sure to check the campground capacity before you go in summer or fall as campgrounds can fill up fast. If all else fails and you need more of the beach in your life Freeman Park on Carolina Beach is only a quick drive away and offers plenty of on-beach camping with a great Atlantic view.

But once you're done be sure to stop in for a post-park beer at Good Hops Brewery which is just a couple hundred feet down the road from the park.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Camera
  • Lunch or dinner for eating at picnic areas
  • Hammock
  • Tent, sleeping bag, camping essentials for overnight trips
  • Bike for easily commuting around the park or the town of Carolina Beach
  • Rain shell in the spring and summer months as afternoon storms are frequent in this area
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Robbie O'Donnell

Coastal Geologist // Photographer

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