Retreat to Pleasure Island, North Carolina for Fun in the Sun

A collage of pictures showcasing Pleasure Island's beach, boat, and restaurant.

Pleasure Island. The name evokes images of hot and sultry summer days and cool evening ocean breezes. Of course, the name is just right! Tourists flock to this tiny island off the southernmost coast of North Carolina by the thousands every summer to pursue recreation and leisure.

A group of people enjoying Pleasure Island near the ocean.
Pleasure Island, NC is the home of Carolina Beach. NC residents know that this is NC’s “Party Beach.”

Pleasure Island Communities

The little island is home to the communities of Kure Beach, Carolina Beach, and Fort Fisher. Each community has its own vibe. Carolina Beach is ultra-touristy and a typical seaside destination. It’s complete with shopping, taverns, and restaurants. On the other hand, Fort Fisher hosts educational fun for families. This is home to the North Carolina Aquarium. Plus, they have the historic ruins of Fort Fisher to discover. Finally, Kure Beach is distinctly residential and has a tiny downtown with a couple of dining options.

Carolina Beach

Tourists to Pleasure Island find plenty of hotels in Carolina Beach. They enjoy activities such as:

The fat pelican beer on Pleasure Island is love.
For a change of pace, skip the touristy bars and hang with the locals at the Fat Pelican. Outdoor seating catches the evening breezes.
  • going to the beach
  • partying at outdoor bars
  • playing arcade games
  • strolling the boardwalk
  • riding amusement rides
  • surfing
  • fishing on the pier, surf fishing, or taking a fishing charter boat ride
  • riding 4 wheelers and Jeeps on the beach

    A dock with boats and a bench on Pleasure Island.
    Charter a boat to try fishing!
  • A carousel at Pleasure Island on a cloudy day.
    Amusement rides attract riders at the entrance to the Carolina Beach boardwalk.
Jeep wrangler on Pleasure Island.
Jeep lovers love to drive Jeeps on the off-road beach at Carolina Beach on Pleasure Island.
The interior of a Pleasure Island coffee shop with wood walls.
Rainy day? Grab a cup of coffee at Crush & Grind. Their signature blend of coffee keeps locals and tourists alike coming back!

Kure Beach

Visitors to Kure Beach rent beach homes. Because they are renting homes, there are only a limited number of dining options. However, locals rave about the food at those few venues.

A Pleasure Island restaurant.
Tiny storefronts dot the charming one block downtown area of Kure Beach.

Fort Fisher

Families visiting Pleasure Island are sure to make the 10-minute drive to the Fort Fisher community. Kids love exploring the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. There, they can pet an eel, see sharks being fed, and see jellyfish. In fact, there’s an adjacent dinosaur jungle where they can learn about dinosaurs. In addition, Fort Fisher State Park is the home of the historic ruins of Fort Fisher.

The entrance to the North Carolina Museum at Fort Park on Pleasure Island.
Visit the North Carolina Aquarium. Of course, this is located on Pleasure Island. It’s located in the Fort Fisher area.
A statue of fish in a fountain on Pleasure Island.
A metal sculpture on the grounds of the Fort Fisher Aquarium.


Pleasure Island offers something for every tourist. Singles looking for the nightlife can hit the bars of Carolina Beach. Or, families can visit educational sites and relax in a home-like environment. The choice is yours!

A rainbow in the sky over rocks on Pleasure Island.
A rainbow breaks in the distance, over the Atlantic.
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