Added by Robbie O'Donnell
An attractive and secluded beach next to a classic old beach town with a mile and a half of prime beach camping spots facing the Atlantic.
Carolina Beach is a long and broad beach in North Carolina, just south of Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington. Camping is allowed on certain parts of Carolina Beach on the north end of the island at a place known as Freeman Park.
Freeman Park is located on the northern end of the beach and the entrance can be reached by driving into the town of Carolina Beach and making your way towards the pier on the north end. At the entrance to Freeman Park there is daily parking available and a pay station located on the road as soon as you start to head into the park. The pay station is for the $30 daily access pass and accepts credit cards and cash. There is also an attendant on hand at the entrance during the peak seasons to help out and answer any questions you may have.
Once you pay the access fee you head into the park and will hit the beach in about 50 yards. It's recommended that you pull off to the side of the road just past the entrance and let some air out of your tires in order to drive properly on the beach. I drive a Jeep Wrangler and usually decrease the PSI in my tires to around 20 for the best traction and handling. Next, put your vehicle into four-wheel drive and head on down the beach.
The beach will be to your right while the dunes and camping spots are located to your left. Designated camping spots are located along the dunes but camping is allowed anywhere on the beach (just mind the high tide line). The beach extends for a mile and a half to the north so there are usually plenty of camping spots available, but be sure to get there early in the day in the summer as it can get crowded on certain weekends. You can pull into any spot and set up and enjoy the day.
Fires are allowed in fire pits at least 3 feet in diameter but you will need to bring your own firewood and kindling as it's sparse in the park. Alcohol is also allowed on the beach, however, fortified wine, some spirits, and any glass are not. Aim for a clear, nice day as the sunsets and sunrises here are surreal. The daily access pass is good until 10am the next day so you should have plenty of time to enjoy the sunrise and a nice breakfast before you depart.
There are trash cans and port-a-potties located periodically down the beach so their shouldn't be any lack of bathroom facilities or locations to dispose of your trash before you leave. Once you leave the park be sure re-inflate your tires to their recommended PSI (there are plenty of gas stations nearby with air fill up stations).
- 4x4 Capable Vehicle (in order to get to the camping spaces you need to drive on the beach)
- Cash or credit card ($10 camping permit required from March until October, $30 daily access pass for one day or $150 Full year access pass available for any locals)
- Sleeping bag or blankets (30 degree is fine for all seasons here)
- Firewood (you can usually buy some year round in the towns of Carolina Beach or Wilmington)
- Trash bags (this is a pack-in pack-out park)
- Proper attire for the season you are camping in (it can get down into the 40s and 30s in the fall and winter months)
- Fishing equipment (optional, fishing is a popular activity here year round)
- SUP or Surfboard (optional)
- Beach chairs
- Camera (great lighting during sunsets and sunrises)
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