General Information

Visiting the park for the first time? Familiarize yourself with general information about the park and brush up on park rules and safety tips to help you prepare.

For ideas to help plan your itinerary, explore the rest of the park menu, starting with the Plan Your Visit page.

At a Glance

Tab/Accordion Items

  • All North Carolina state parks are open every day of the year, with the only exception being Christmas Day.
  • Park hours vary seasonally; please check the park home page for park hours.
  • The park visitor center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Christmas Day.
  • When the visitor center is closed, visitors can go to the marina for information and camping check-in.

The park address is 1010 State Park Road, Carolina Beach, NC 28428.

  • From I-40 East, the interstate turns into N.C. 132 approaching Wilmington. Continue through Wilmington. U.S. 421 will join N.C. 132; continue on U.S. 421.
  • After driving across Snow's Cut Bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway, turn right at the second stoplight onto Dow Road. Follow the signs to the park entrance, which is on the right on State Park Road.

Google Maps

Pets are permitted on park trails. Pets must be on an attended leash of no longer than 6 feet at all times.

Please pick up after your pet when you are at the park; pet waste is not fertilizer and can put plants, other animals, and visitors at risk for disease.

Please dispose of pet waste in garbage bins and do not throw waste bags in the woods or leave them on the ground.

When sharing a trail, hikers with pets should yield to all other trail users, including bicyclists.

There are no fees to access the park for most day-use activities, including hiking, biking and fishing.

Picnic tables are free to use and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

There is a boat launch fee of $7. Other fees for marina use can be found on the marina page.

Camping fees can be found on the Camping page.

Wi-Fi is available at the visitor center only.

There is no Wi-Fi at other areas of the park, including the campground.

Paddle NC is a private concessionaire located at the park that offers kayak, canoe, paddleboard, and bike rentals. Their rental rates and availability can be found on the Paddle NC website.


The Flytrap and Fitness trails are wheelchair-accessible.

Also accessible are three campsites, one of which is an RV site with full hookups; the Centennial camper cabin; an accessible table at the picnic area; campground bathhouses; fishing deck, boardwalk, breezeway, and store at the marina area; and the visitor center.

Accessible parking and restrooms are also provided.


Know Before You Go

Current weather

28428 Carolina Beach, NC

Be prepared

  • Bring plenty of water, especially during the summer months.
  • Bring and use insect repellent. Mosquitoes, chiggers, and ticks may be plentiful when the weather is warm.
  • Bring and use sun protection.
  • Check the weather. When at the park, be alert to approaching storms. Return to shore and seek shelter immediately during lightning or thunderstorms.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather and wear sturdy shoes for hiking.
  • Wear a life jacket when in, on, or near the water. It is required for children 13 years old and younger.
  • Do not leave valuables in your vehicle. If you must, hide them prior to entering the park. This prevents someone from seeing the exact location of your valuables for a break-in.

Recreate safely

  • Stay on designated trails when hiking, biking, or walking with your pet. Fragile plant communities may be damaged if you leave the trail.
  • There is no designated swimming area at Carolina Beach State Park. There are dangerous currents and sharp drop-offs near the shores. 
  • Exercise cautious seamanship. You may be boating in unfamiliar waters with underwater hazards.
  • Pay attention to extreme heat warnings. Know the signs of heat-related illness and how to respond. Take extra breaks and wear light clothing.
  • Share the trail: Fitness Trail is open to hikers and bicyclists. Bicyclists should yield to hikers. Hikers with pets should yield to bicyclists and other hikers.