Where is Pleasure Island?

Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Fort Fisher form an area known collectively as Pleasure Island. Geographically, that area is the southernmost portion of the Cape Fear peninsula, which is cut off from the rest of the peninsula by a narrow band of water called Snow’s Cut. The name become better known when the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce branded everything with the name.

Many wonder how Carolina Beach was developed. Joseph Winner, who bought beachfront property and laid out plans for a town that subsequently became Carolina Beach, established it in 1857. The first visitors to Pleasure Island were vacationers brought to the island by boat and then conveyed to the beach by a small steam railroad. Shortly thereafter, a Dane named Hans Anderson Kure founded Kure Beach. In 1929, Snow’s Cut was dredged to make it part of the Intracoastal Waterway.

Pleasure Island was initially connected to the mainland by a small swing bridge, which eventually was replaced by the current high-rise Snow’s Cut Bridge. Carolina Beach developed over the years as the commercial center of the island, a tourism destination and a residential community. Kure Beach evolved as a residential community with relatively little commercial development and limited tourism. In recent years, both communities experienced enormous development as two of the few places along the coast where reasonably priced land near the ocean is still available.

Kure Beach has seen extensive construction of upscale homes and condos while Carolina Beach, spurred by the building of the oceanfront Courtyard by Marriott resort hotel, saw considerable development of upscale condos and homes. Both towns are thriving and more commercial development, including another high-rise hotel, is on the way.

Carolina Beach history

Many wonder how Carolina Beach was developed. Joseph Winner, who bought beachfront property and laid out plans for a town that subsequently became Carolina Beach, established it in 1857. The first visitors to Pleasure Island were vacationers brought to the island by boat and then conveyed to the beach by a small steam railroad. Shortly thereafter, a Dane named Hans Anderson Kure founded Kure Beach. In 1929, Snow’s Cut was dredged to make it part of the Intracoastal Waterway.

Pleasure Island was initially connected to the mainland by a small swing bridge, which eventually was replaced by the current high-rise Snow’s Cut Bridge. Carolina Beach developed over the years as the commercial center of the island, a tourism destination and a residential community. Kure Beach evolved as a residential community with relatively little commercial development and limited tourism. In recent years, both communities experienced enormous development as two of the few places along the coast where reasonably priced land near the ocean is still available.

Kure Beach has seen extensive construction of upscale homes and condos while Carolina Beach, spurred by the building of the oceanfront Courtyard by Marriott resort hotel, saw considerable development of upscale condos and homes. Both towns are thriving and more commercial development, including another high-rise hotel, is on the way.

Marina available

Some vacationers arrive on their boats and want a place to dock. Fortunately, Carolina Beach State Park, located at the northwest corner of the island at the juncture of Snow’s Cut and the Cape Fear River, has a marina with more than 40 slips, launch ramps, concessions, hiking trails including the Flytrap trail, an 83-site campground, group camping and an outstanding visitor’s center with educational programs and exhibits.
Freeman Park, just past the North End Pier, is owned by New Hanover County but controlled by Carolina Beach, and features about a mile or so of uninhabited beach at the very northeast tip of the island.

The park is accessible only on foot or by four-wheel-drive vehicles with the proper wide tires.

Overnight tent camping on the strand is permitted, as are campfires. There is an admission charge and Carolina Beach police patrol the area.

And talk about beaches for swimming, the Carolina Beach/Kure Beach strand has about seven miles of them, protected by lifeguards in season and renourished by man if Mother Nature washes the beaches away. Both Carolina Beach and Kure Beach have numerous public beach accesses, many with parking, some with restrooms, and the entire strand is open to the public.

Dogs are not permitted on the beaches during the tourist season.