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We camped here Wed through Sat for my son's fall break. We arrived on Wed afternoon around 4pm. I was wearing leggings and the mosquitos literally landed on my leggings and bit me through them. I didn't even know that could happen. I should have left the campsite then and gone to Walmart, 17 min away, and bought enough bug spray and candles for the weekend but we set up the campsite instead. We just got back so camped the first week in October, site 17. For the four days, I had two citronella candles, one on the picnic table and one near our camping chairs, a thermocell fogger in the tent (ran for about an hour before we went in to go to sleep) and then two bottles of 40% deet spray…one for our car when we came back to the campsite and one on the picnic table. We brought our kayaks and launched from both the Carolina Beach State Park marina and also Trails End public access (intercoastal waterway). Both were great with plenty of parking while we were there. There are VERY large yachts in the trails end area which are cool to see, just be careful when paddling that area. We fished at both places and also at Carolina beach from the surf. I caught a HUGE drum there. Lots of dogs off of leashes (rules change Oct 1st) so that was cool to see. We mostly cooked at the campsite but ate dinner at Sea Witch Cafe one night. The place is dog friendly, which we needed, and the food was reasonably priced and so good. The park rangers lock the gates at 9pm and they don't open until 7am so you have to plan accordingly. This wasn't an issue for us, we just watched the clock and made sure we were back. Beach is about 6 min away, Walmart is about 17 min or so, several grocery stores nearby (Food Lion, Publix). Overall, it was a great trip, I just wasn't prepared initially for the mosquitos. I got 90 bites that first day. I even had to constantly spray down my dog to keep the mosquitos off of her. It was a bit much. Definitely put all of your food in your car or at a minimum in your tent. Raccoons come nightly. :) We lost a quesadilla, some dog food, etc.
Freeman Park is a beach area located in Carolina Beach. It's the place to take your 4x4 vehicle, your friends, kids, and dogs, and have some fun in the sand, wind, and waves.
First and foremost, make sure you know how to drive in the sand and what to do when your car gets stuck. It happened to us, as well as to many vehicles on the beach.
Also, be aware of the tides, it's dangerous to be driving near the water when the high tide comes in.
The camping is allowed on the beach Labor Day through memorial Day, but might require a permit, check the rules before you go. In the past, the permit was required only after April 1, so we always tried to come in February or March, when the weather is nice but not too hot.
The camping is allowed in the designated spaces. There's enough room for one tent. Remember, when camping on sand, you don't need stakes. Instead you bring 4 plastic bags, fill them with sand, tie the tent corners to the bags and bury them in the sand. This will prevent your tent from flying away,
There are several pit toilets on the beach, some trash cans are provided too. There's a store next to the fishing pier a short distance from the beach where we usually go to brush our teeth in the morning.
I love Freeman park and give it 4 stars only because it's a primitive camping spot and people should be aware what to expect. It doesn't have fancy amenities, but the proximity to the ocean is priceless.
Our favorite dining spot: The Shuckin' Shack Oyster Bar in Carolina Beach.
I stayed at the Carolina Beach State Park Campground a few times and enjoyed every moment. First of all, it provides an affordable option for those who want to be close to the beach but also enjoy camping, woods, and hiking trails. It's also a nice campground with clean nice bathrooms and showers with hot water.
Sites 71 and 73 are connected and provide plenty of space for a larger group with several cars. The site doesn't have tent pads, it's basically just some gravel, pretty level and with a lot of space for tents.
The park has about 5 miles worth of trails. My favorite is the Flytrap trail, which leads to swampy areas with Venus flytraps and other carnivorous plants. They are small and easy to find if you know where to look. Ask a ranger for specifics.
BTW, if you're in Wilmington area, check out https://www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/listing/stanley-rehder-carnivorous-plant-garden/901/ - this is a cure little destination for kids and adults.
The weather can be hot and humid during the summer months. Bring a lot of bug spray!!!
This is a great place where you can camp directly on the beach, but because it is located in Wilmington, NC it can get VERY busy. During busy times you have to apply for or get a permit.
They charge just to drive on the beach to cut down on traffic. It's very hot and busy during the summer but if you go in spring, fall or warm winter days it's absolutely amazing.
Carolina Beach State park has an awesome location if you’re looking for an inexpensive place to stay at the beach. It’s a short drive to Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Fort Fisher. There is no swimming area at this park. There is a marina and some great hiking though! We took a day trip to Bald Head Island as well! The campsites are large and well secluded from each other. The restroom and showers are centrally located, and clean enough. One thing I will mention is the pack of gigantic raccoons that kept us up all night while we were there. We accidentally left some food out one night and they were bothering us all weekend, even during the day! Some of the biggest raccoons I’ve ever seen. Don’t be like us and leave food out, lol!
My favorite military campground, ID necessary, and a great spot for family time. The intercoastal waterway is right there, as well as the beach and a military shopette. We have found many shark teeth on the beach and made great memories wake boarding and relaxing.