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Spring Camping Trip 2012 - Carolina Beach State Park

The pack will be making it's final outing of the year on May 18 to 20. We will be traveling to Carolina Beach State Park near Wilmington.  The focus of the trip will be hiking, exploring and beach swimming.  A one-page Trip Info Sheet is available at the bottom of this page.

Destination and Directions

  • Carolina Beach State Park
  • The park is a 3:00 hour drive from Chapel Hill.
  • Carolina Beach State Park is located off US 421 in New Hanover County on Dow Road, 10 miles south of Wilmington.
  • Link to more info about Carolina Beach State Park:

Equipment & Supplies Needed 

  • Items for outing
  • Each person must have:
    • plate, cup and utensils for eating (no paper goods or extras will be available on site)
    • daypack
    • reusable water bottle
    • sunscreen
    • bug spray (repellent)
  • Reminder: Pack’s meals can be supplemented with your favorites or to suit your needs.
  • As always, please ask any of the leaders if you need packing help or advice.


The trip has been planned to take advantage of the unique local geography, flora and fauna.  Here are the main activities for the trip:

  • hiking - six miles of trails wind through a variety of distinct habitats at CBSP; relatively flat and easy to walk, the trails offer an opportunity to observe the diversity of plant and animal life in the park
    • two hikes currently planned
    • one is an exploration of the carnivorous plants that thrive in the park, including pitcher plants, bladderworts, sundews, butterworts, and Venus flytrap
    • the second hike will be an after-dinner hike to watch the sun set over the Cape Fear River
  • Historic Ft. Fisher - we will have a 40-min guided tour of the Civil War era fort
  • NC Aquarium - we will have a 90-min guided session hiking in the salt marsh and discovering animals and plants unique to this rich environment; NOTE: this activity costs extra ($12.10 per scout/child and $13.80 per adult)
  • Cape Fear Serpentarium - we will have a guided tour of the serpentarium on Sunday afternoon, including (we hope) watching the snakes eat; NOTE: this activity costs extra (up to $8.00 per participant, details TBA)
  • fishing - David Sorscher and Kean Hankins will lead a small group through the Fishing Belt Loop requirements and then supervise fishing along the river
  • geocaching - Leaders TBD will lead a small group in a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game where the scouts will try to locate hidden containers using GPS-enabled devices
  • campfires
    • songs, skits and jokes
    • s'mores
    • flag retirement ceremony
In addition to the planned group activities, we will set aside around 3 hours of free time during which families may choose activities on their own.
  • nearby attractions
  • swimming
  • exploring - several coastal ecosystems are present in the park: forests in the relict sand dunes, dense shrub swamps between the dunes, and rackish marshes; limesink ponds; carnivorous plants thrive, including pitcher plants, bladderworts, sundews and butterworts, but the most familiar—and the most spectacular—is the Venus flytrap; CBSP is a great place for bird watching: brown pelicans, warblers, finches, woodpeckers, painted buntings, yellowthroats, prairie warblers, and ospreys; the ponds are home to several frog species, Carolina anoles, five-lined skinks, six-lined racerunners and various snake species; white-tailed deer, raccoons and gray squirrels are abundant, and opossums, cottontails, fox squirrel, gray fox or river otters may be seen; occasionally, an alligator will wander into the marina
One important caveat is that we'll be camping before Memorial Day weekend, which puts us out of season for some activities.


The pack activities are being planned for all day Saturday, so families should plan to drive out Friday and spend Saturday night, too. There are three possibilities for family lodging.
  • Camping
    • We have reserved group camping sites for both Friday and Saturday nights.
    • The campsites are primitive: 
      • purified water nearby in large tank
      • non-flush toilet facilities
      • no showers available (pack will bring "solar" showers)
      • campsites accessible by foot only - 400 yds from parking lot
    • Each group site is equipped with two grills and two picnic tables.
  • Family camping sites
    •  The park's family campground is located in a wooded area near Snow's Cut.
    • Each site is equipped with a picnic table and grill. 
    • Drinking water and restrooms with hot showers are located nearby.
    • Reservations and payment should be arranged by families choosing this option.
  • Motels 
Arrival Info

See above for driving directions. Check in begins at 3:00 pm Friday afternoon.  The park gates are open until 10:00 pm (and reopen at 8:00 am), but it is recommended that campers arrive before 8:00 pm to leave plenty of time to set up tents before dark.


We will eat most of our meals together.  The pack is bringing food for lunch and dinner on Saturday, and for breakfast on Sunday.

Don't hesitate to bring extra food for your family to supplement the pack's basic meal plan.

Each family will be responsible for their own snacks. The pack will provide a light snack for scouts on Saturday afternoon, but it would be a good idea to have some favorite packable goodies with you.


We will have campfires on Friday and Saturday nights.


The agenda is still taking shape. Here is a rough, tentative agenda: 

Aerial View of Carolina Beach State Park and Marina

Aerial View of Carolina Beach State Park and Marina

Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach Sand Ridge

Carolina Beach Brackish Marsh

Venus Fly Trap

Carolina Beach at Sunset

Carolina Beach Sunset

Brian Swafford,
May 3, 2012, 8:12 PM