Carolina Beach State Park (34.047289, -77.906553)
Camping Canoe Access Fishing Wheelchair Accessible Park Office Bathrooms Shower Picnic Area

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Carolina Beach State Park

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Quick Facts

Trail Map: .jpg, .pdf
County: New Hanover
Acres: 761
Trails: 5.95 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Park Hours:
8 AM - 6 PM Nov - Feb
8 AM - 8 PM March, April, Sept, Oct
8 AM - 10 PM May - Aug
Closed December 25th
Office & Visitor Center Hours:
8 AM - 5 PM
Marina Hours:
8 AM - 5:45 PM Nov - Feb
8 AM - 7:45 PM March, April, Sept, Oct
8 AM - 9:45 PM May - Aug
Fuel Dock Hours:
8 AM - 5 PM Nov - Feb
8 AM - 7 PM March, April, Sept, Oct
8 AM - 8 PM May - Aug

Created in 1969, Carolina Beach State Park is 761 acres located on Pleasure Island between the Cape Fear River and Atlantic Ocean. The park contains pocosins, various carnivorous plants, and 3 limesink ponds—sinkholes from the result of limestone dissolving underneath, each containing unique plants and animals. It also has a Marina with two launching ramps, 54 boat slips, and a fuel dock.


Campground Trail (1.0 mile, easy)
This trail takes you through a coastal fringe sandhill forest, dominated by longleaf pine and live oaks.

Flytrap Trail (0.50 mile, easy)
This trail is wheelchair-accessible and loops through the pocosins and longleaf pine and turkey oak forests. Be sure to look around the edges of the pocosins for venus flytraps.

Swamp Trail (0.75 mile, easy)
This trail takes you through a tidal cypress-gum swamp and a brackish marsh.

Snow's Trail (0.45 mile, easy)
This trail just takes you from the family campground to the picnic area, but it is worth hiking because the largest pine and hardwood trees in the park are located here.

Sugarloaf Trail (3.0 miles, easy)
This trail is great for bird watching and watching fiddler crabs crawl over the mudflats. This trail starts at the Marina, goes along the Cape Fear River and takes you through a marsh and a pine forest. The 3 limesink ponds are along this trail. A short spur takes you to Sugarloaf Dune.

Oak Toe Trail (0.25 mile, easy)
This trail connects Swamp Trail to Sugarloaf Trail.
Birds are abundant in this park. Brown pelican, seagull, killdeer, osprey, double-crested cormorant, belted kingfisher, great blue heron, great egret, turkey, virginia rail, western tanager, and painted bunting are all found here. Other critters found here are white-tailed deer, gray fox, raccoon, rabbit, fox squirrel, river otter, atlantic horseshoe crab, blue crab, fiddler crab, eastern red bat, loggerhead sea turtle, alligator, turtle, frog, snake, salamander, lizards, black and yellow garden spider, and golden silk orbweaver.

Plant Life
There are many carnivorous plants in the park, including the pitcher plant, bladderwort, butterwort, sundew, and the venus flytrap, which is native only within 70 miles of Wilmington. Longleaf pine, loblolly pine, sweet bay, turkey oak, live oak, yaupon holly, yucca, evergreen shrub, eastern prickly-pear, cordgrass, and sedge are also here. The Cypress Pond consists of a dwarf cypress swamp forest, the Lily Pond has waterlilies, and the Grass Pond has various aquatic sedges.

Sugarloaf Dune, Cypress Pond, Grass Pond, Lily Pond

External Links
Official Site
Pleasure Island
North Carolina Weekend's Video


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