*Thanks to the Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau for sponsoring this post*

My 9-5 life has been crazy busy and there isn't much time for a weeklong vacation, so I've been intentional about exploring my own backyard for fall getaways. The NC coast is full of fun, history, wildlife, and good eats so it was a no brainer to head there to relax, decompress and rest. I chose to spend a weekend in Carolina Beach & Kure Beach. Although they share the same island, they have such different vibes. Also, the area is very lowkey, so it has a very authentic feel that's not diminished by tons of tourists.

Whether you're traveling solo, with your girlfriends, or with your family, you'll find there's something for you to do in Carolina Beach & Kure Beach!

Things to Do:

Sunrise Yoga - If there's a vacation experience, I believe every person should have its sunrise yoga with Salty Dog Yoga & Surf in Kure Beach, NC. This class takes place right on the beach and encourages you to slow down and get in tune with nature. If you're lucky you may see a pair of dolphins! 

The Fat Pelican - I'm a sucker for all things nostalgic! The Fat Pelican reminds me of the late 90's arcade scene, there are lots of video games to play and plenty of space to kickback with your friends or make new ones on “Pelican Beach” which is right behind the bar! If you enjoy beer, you must add The Fat Pelican to your Carolina Beach bucket list. They have a walk-in cooler with more than 300 types of beer and wine! 

Eat Local - There are so many local eateries in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach that it was hard for me to narrow down which restaurants were a MUST to try. So, I decided to share all of them that I tried! Kickstart you day with breakfast at Malama Cafe.Whether you're in the mood for a sweet breakfast or something savory, Malama Cafe has a healthy and tasty option for you. For lunch, Jack Mackerels Island Grill aka Jack Macks is spot for the freshest and most filling shrimp po' boy on the island. Don't forget to add the house made Old Bay chips! Enjoy dinner and a brew with a view at Carolina Smokehouse on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. The smoked wings covered in their house made BBQ is top tier! After dinner, walk over to Havana's for the most decadent chocolate cake in the Carolinas!

Carolina Beach State Park - The highlight of my weekend getaway in Carolina Beach was hiking through Carolina Beach State Park. The hike was led by Stephanie, a park ranger and environmental enthusiast! She led us through the Venus Flytrap trail that is home to over 5 different habitats. We were able to get up close and personal with several carnivorous flytraps and I realized they are 100000x smaller than they're portrayed on TV. This hiking trail is wheelchair accessible and only 0.5 miles long so it's great for beginners.    

North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher - Have you ever seen baby otters? There is a family of Asian otters at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher in Kure Beach, and their otter pups are the cutest things I ever seen! Sharks, rays, starfish, sea turtles, an albino alligator and many other marine animals call this aquarium home, and the staff is very knowledgeable about every single one.

Where to Stay:

When choosing accommodations for your stay, there's one choice I'd recommend over and over again: The Beach Dragon. The Beach Dragon is a newly built luxury beach home managed by Carolina Beach Realty only 3 blocks from the heart of downtown Kure Beach and offers stunning views of the ocean. Honestly, you don't need to leave the house for anything. There's a heated pool, private access to the beach, a game room, and large living room stocked with Roku TV's, board games, books, and plenty of Blu-Ray movies for you to choose from! The home is equipped with luxury amenities including a full-sized kitchen, family style dining table, and large windows that fill the entire house with lots natural light. The hosts of this vacation home went above and beyond to ensure my stay was comfortable.

Carolina Beach and Kure Beach have become two of my favorite places to explore in North Carolina because of their authentic vibes, natural beauty, food scene and rich history. I look forward to hearing all about your NC coast travels in the Fat Girls Travel, Too! Facebook group.