Carolina Beach State Park, located 20 minutes south of Wilmington, is a great spot for a destination run. There are 9 miles of trails. with a mix of wooded and open terrain, with views to marshes, the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Cape Fear River. This map has excellent information on the trails and distances. The longest single trail is the Sugarloaf Trail, which can be combined with some of the other trails for a longer run.
Just 1 mile east of the 7th Ave. entrance to the park, Carolina Beach is popular and offers several miles of terrific beach running. It’s not as wide as some other area beaches, but the sand is fairly firm near the water. A pedestrian path runs along Harper Ave., providing a good connection between Carolina Beach State Park and Carolina Beach.