Affordable, Family-Friendly Fun Makes Kure Beach and Carolina Beach, North Carolina, Ideal Choices for Spring Getaways

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Attractions and Activities Include the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Educational Cruises, Free Movies and Pristine Oceanfront

With Mother's Day and Memorial Day weekend just around the corner, the two charming North Carolina beach towns, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, have much to offer for those looking for an affordable family getaway. Throughout the month of May and beyond, these beach towns have an array of activities to suit people of all ages.

Carolina Beach ( is a well-kept secret with quaint beach cottages, bed & breakfast establishments and mid-rise condo villas and hotels to suit any budget. In addition to a boardwalk that lines several miles of clean, Atlantic oceanfront, it also has small shops, restaurants and plenty of family entertainment.

Local and visitor favorite, Britt's Donuts, is a can't-miss. According to the MSN City Guide, this 70-year-old business is ranked #2 in America for its donuts. After a bite of this tasty treat, visitors who have never sampled a Britt's donut, will know why.

Love outdoor activities? For a small fee, outfitters and equipment rental companies in Carolina Beach can help visitors have the time of their lives kayaking, scuba diving or deep-sea fishing.

Nearby Kure Beach ( is also a tranquil setting for a relaxing family vacation. Enjoy warm coastal breezes during strolls along the beach, or enjoy a day of fishing off the pier. There are also a variety of fun, affordable, often educational, diversions.

Vacationers can explore the Fort Fisher State Historic Site & Civil War Museum, which is home to the largest earthen fort in the South. History buffs will also want to visit the North Carolina Military History Museum, which has a variety of indoor and outdoor exhibits encompassing all branches of the military. The North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Center provides exhibits on dive sites and maritime history.

For a unique opportunity to see nature at its best, head over to the Fort Fisher State Recreation Center, which offers a five-mile stretch of undeveloped beach that is home to nesting loggerhead sea turtles. It also has a swimming area, picnic area with grills and a visitor’s center. Lastly, the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher features a 235,000-gallon saltwater shark tank, the half-acre Cape Fear Conservatory with alligators, sturgeon and other freshwater species; and the Open Oceans Gallery that focuses on marine creatures and the nearby ocean reefs.

During the month of May, vacationers can enjoy a variety of area activities:

On Saturdays, visitors can enjoy a stroll through the Carolina Beach Farmer's Market at the Carolina Beach Lake Park, which sells only the freshest and most nutritious produce. There will also be nurseries, home canners, bakeries, soap makers, artists and musicians on hand for attendees.

On May 2, bird enthusiasts and curious travelers can take the Bird Islands Cruise, which includes Battery Island, the first North Carolina Audubon Sanctuary and other nesting sites along the Lower Cape Fear River. Expert guides for the cruise include James Parnell, retired professor emeritus of biology at UNC-Wilmington and Walker Golder and Andy Woods of the North Carolina Audubon Society.

The Kure Beach Fishing Pier will be the site of the 12th Annual Cape Fear Disabled Sportsman's Tournament on May 14. The tournament is open to anyone with disabilities for a free day of fishing, friends, food and fun. Participants will receive rods, tackle, bait, refreshments, food, T-shirts and prizes.

Those who want to learn more about the history of the Lower Cape Fear River can take a journey on the Lower Cape Fear River Cruise. The cruise travels from the Carolina Beach Marina through Snow's Cut to the Cape Fear River and then to its mouth, past Bald Head Island, Oak Island and Southport. Four well-known historians will point to historic sites and tell tales about the waterway.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Carolina Beach's “Film And Fireworks Series” will kick off for the summer. The series, which will feature recently released family-friendly movies like “Avatar,” “The Blind Side” and “The Princess and the Frog,” will be held at Carolina Beach Lake Park. The movies will run every Sunday. On Thursdays, a fireworks display will follow a band performance that begins each week at 6:30 p.m.

A year-long list of activities and events, and a variety of information about these coastal towns can be found at or

Vacationers will find Carolina Beach and Kure Beach to be great places to enjoy some family fun at an affordable price.

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Jamie Wilburn
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