I wanted to stop at Carolina Beach for its history. Hali wanted to stop for salt water taffy. Carlos wanted to stop for the beach. So we stopped. We camped here…
… just over the dune that protects this small beach town from hurricane surges. This state park is the same camp where the Cape Fear Indians built their fires, fished, and fried their fish. The small tribe turned hostile to early settlers and between 1715-1725 battled with the European settlers until they were forced to leave the area or died from funky diseases these “immigrants” brought over. Must be how the river got its name.
Pirates were common in the area during the colonial period and contributed to the hardships of early settlers when finally the British crown designated the Cape Fear River as an official port of entry. Timber, shipping, and trade soon formed the economy. Now, this small community relies on tourism. Pirates welcomed.
The nearby Sugarloaf Dune was a strategic defense camp for the confederate army during the Civil War. About 5000 troops were part of the siege of Fort Fisher down river from here.
Okay, that’s enough historical blather, let’s get some salt water taffy. Fudge shops and seafood stands line the boardwalk. Taffy is spun on that wacky taffy puller. Fresh oysters and seafood right off the boat ready to grill right across from the fishing pier. And when soft shell crabs are in season, I’ll never pass one up, especially a fried one, on a bun, loaded with bacon. A great stop for lunch.
After tolerating the college frat party on the beach down in Myrtle, Carolina Beach was a breath of fresh air. It’s uncrowded, family oriented, and has that East Coast version of the nostalgic stroll down the boardwalk on warm summer nights. AND for Carlos, it’s all about the beach.