Carolina Beach, NC is just about the right size. Not too big and not too small. For me it tops Virginia Beach, the Eastern Shore of VA and Myrtle Beach, SC. There is a small midway during the high season between the beach and the main traffic street, Lake Park Blvd (approximately 100 Cape Fear Blvd, 34.034244, -77.893106)
There is a great tiki bar at the Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar that is elevated on a pier and juts out onto the beach from the dune grass providing breezy, ocean front viewing.
A very lived in brewpub bar, The Fat Pelican, 8 S Lake Park Blvd, with a nice outdoor area, offers a large selection of microbrews and American beer classics in its walk in reefer car.