Pleasure Island is one of the best places to visit in North Carolina and among the top beach destinations in the state. It is made of three small tows – Carolina Beach, Fort Fisher and Kure Beach. Even though they are so close to each other that you don’t know exactly when you’ve passed one’s borders, each has its unique identity, history and noteworthy sites.
Carolina Beach is one of the best known holiday resorts in the state. Accommodations range from fancy motels to cottage rentals and are fit for all budgets. Prices start at $39 at Beachside Inn and can go up to $100 or more.
Carolina Beach is far more than a mere beach resort – it hosts a major event right now, in the ‘off-season’. The Island of Lights festival begins on Friday, November 25th lasts a whole month, until the Christmas Eve on Saturday, December 24. The celebration officially begins with the Light up the Lake ceremony on November 25 at 7pm, presided by the Pleasure Island Mayors. Visitors can walk around the lake and admire the lighted displays, kids can meet Santa and there is also free cocoa and cookies for everybody.
Kure Beach lies south of Carolina Beach and is yet another resort worth visiting. With its many beach houses, restaurants, shops and sunny beaches you just can’t go wrong if you pick Kure Beach as your vacation destination. The center of the resort hosts the Kure Beach Pier, one of the longest fishing piers in the area.
Accommodation in Kure Beach is affordable. Darlings by the Sea, Hidden Treasure Inn and Palm Air Realty offer some of the cheapest rates in the area. If you plan an off-season trip, you will spend around $100 a night for a double room and less than $150 for a whole weekend.
Fort Fischer occupies the southern part of Pleasure Island and borders Kure Beach at north. If you get the chance to visit this small town, you really have to take a trip to the Civil War Museum and also visit the Aquarium.
Fort Fischer used to be the largest sand and earth fortification of the Confederacy and it was its fall back in 1865 that lead to the Union victory. The Civil War Museum is part of the historical site and presents its visitors with the remainders of the old fortification.
Within the last two years, the Fort Fisher Aquarium has more than tripled in size. The facility, spread across 93,000 sq ft, is slowly but steadily becoming the region’s top attraction. Visitors begin their tour at a huge freshwater greenhouse, then move on to a 200,000 gallon saltwater tank and walk along creeks, estuaries and waterfalls. The aquarium is open daily from 9 to 5 and tickets are astoundingly cheap – only $8 for adults and $6 for kids aged 3 to 12
Also consider to visit N.C. Cape Lookout Nation Seashore