Family-Friendly Adventures: Best Vacation Rentals for Your Family

wrightsville school of surf

Planning a North Carolina beach vacation with your family? You’ll find tons of fun, kid-friendly activities that the entire family will enjoy. Find hidden treasures on the beach, play carnival games at an amusement park, and explore one of our local museums specifically designed for kids to have fun.

So, whether you’re a kid or kid-at-heart, here are our favorite activities to get the good times rolling on your family beach vacation to Coastal North Carolina.

Learn to Surf on Wrightsville Beach

A family that surfs together stays together–and Wrightsville Beach is the perfect place to try it! Knox and Brandon are two local pro surfers who spend their time teaching visitors of all ages and skill levels how to conquer the waves in their Wrightsville School of Surf. Private lessons give you and your family plenty of time to bond over practicing your board-to-stand jump on the shore, paddling out into the ocean, and inevitably wiping out on the waves. See who’s the first to surf a wave successfully.

If you’re already a family of surfers, check out Surfberry for your surfboard rentals (they also have other beach rentals).

Can’t get enough of surfing? Book ocean front homes in Wrightsville Beach for ocean access right from your accommodation.

Carolina Beach Boardwalk

The Carolina Beach Boardwalk brings out the kid in everyone. It has its very own amusement park full of family-friendly rides, food, and games in a charming beachfront setting.

Ride the Sky Ferris for views along the North Carolina Coast from 100 feet high. Let the kids pick their favorite animal to mount while going around the carousel. Buckle up because the bumper cars will be a wild ride. Feel the motion of the ocean while rocking back and forth on the Sea Ray Pirate Ship. This amusement park has several rides for smaller kids. There are also fun carnival games to win prizes.

Thursdays are the best days to catch live bands playing at the gazebo and a fireworks show from the boardwalk. So, grab your ice cream and funnel cakes and pick a spot to watch the show.

The boardwalk is open year-round, but the amusement park is open Memorial Day through Labor Day.

North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

north carolina aquarium

See what’s lurking beneath the waters at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. It’s a popular spot to take kids while staying in vacation rentals near Kure Beach. It’s time to get up close to the abundance of marine life found in Coastal Carolina ecosystems.

Stand at wall-to-ceiling fish tanks exhibiting marine animals from habitats like the Cape Fear Shoals, Coquina Outcrop, and the new Caribbean Corals. It has tons of schools of fish, sharks, sea turtles, and even an albino alligator. At this aquarium, mermaids do exist and always greet you with a smile while attending these aquatic live shows.

Kids love touching everything, so the touch tank exhibit is perfect for them. Stick your hand in the water to touch sea stars, sting rays, and horseshoe crabs.

When it’s time to come up for air, step outside to the Adventure Reef outdoor playground.

Shallotte River Swamp Park

North Carolina’s coastal swamp lands near Ocean Beach are home to The Shallotte River Swamp Park in Ocean Beach. It’s an aerial adventure park with activities for kids as young as four years old!

Put your endurance to the test on a top obstacle course with different levels designed for kids and adults. Speed through the canopies on a zip-line course. Learn about the environment on a guided swamp boat eco-tour. Kids age 8+ can participate in the ATV ride experience for a 1.5-hour tour through the swamp grounds. The park also features a Kiddie Park, so even the little ones can enjoy the outdoor fun.

Find Shark Teeth and Seashells on Ocean Isle Beach

ocean isle beach

Beachcombers can find something unexpected while shuffling through the powdery sands of Ocean Isle Beach. Shelling is a popular activity here, and many people report finding shark teeth!

Go on a beach scavenger hunt with the kids to see how many types of shells you can check off. Some of the popular shells found on Ocean Isle include the NC State shell Scotch Bonnets, the star-imprinted Sand Dollars, and the spiraling Whelks. Of course, bonus points if you’re lucky enough to find one of those shark teeth.

Want to make things even more exciting? The long-running local rumor is that Blackbeard’s pirate treasure is buried somewhere on the North Carolina coast…

Children’s Museum of Wilmington

childrens museum wilmington

Imagine the kids having so much fun that they don’t realize they’re learning. That’s the reality when spending a few hours inside the Children’s Museum of Wilmington. Willington is a popular place to spend the day. Trade in the coastal beach towns for a historical location where you can enjoy family fun at this interactive museum.

The museum features a range of exhibitions promoting science, art, and real-world learning. See how high you can jump and the physics behind it, learn how bones work in Skeleworld, learn how to keep those pearly whites clean at the dentistry, and get experimental in Little Beaker’s Lab. There’s a Toddler Treehouse with a slide and toys for kids as young as pre-school age.

Where to Stay on the North Carolina Coast with a Family

Vacation rentals are the best places to stay on the North Carolina Coast if you’re traveling with a family. Our luxury single family homes are perfect for a beach vacation that the kids will love tagging along. You’ll benefit from spacious accommodations and vacation-ready amenities to ensure the entire family has a great time.

Excited to see how much fun you’ll have with these family-friendly activities on the North Carolina Coast? We offer vacation rentals in Coastal Carolina’s top destinations, including:

Wrightsville Beach

Carolina Beach

Topsail Island

Kure Beach

Ocean Isle

Make any time playtime when staying in one of our vacation homes with pools on Coastal North Carolina, or prioritize getting a beachfront location so you’ll always be just steps from enjoying a day at the beach.

Traveling with your adorable four-legged member of the family? Read this blog to learn about things to do and pet-friendly homes in Coastal North Carolina.

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