Celebrate With A Very Merry “Island-Style” Holiday Getaway in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

Holiday Flotilla

It’s time again to throw on a sweater, grab a cup of hot chocolate and feel the holiday spirit. North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands provides the perfect backdrop for a holiday getaway this season. From festive decorations to flotillas, the Brunswick Islands’ take on the phrase “’tis the season” is sure to make even Scrooge jolly.

Try something a little different this year and head over to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands for fun, new memories and stories your loved ones will tell for years to come. These are just some of the exciting must-do seasonal events and experiences happening this year.

Replace Snowmen with Sandmen

Forget the gloves and heavy coats, and create your winter masterpiece with white sands and decorative seashells. Make your holiday getaway memorable by spending it beachside. Take advantage of the mild weather and uncrowded beaches with your loved ones. Beach rental homes are available at great rates this time of year and ready to accommodate families of all sizes.

Enjoy a Different Type of White Christmas

While everyone else might be trying to de-thaw in front of a fireplace, you and your family can take advantage of the better weather and take a stroll on the beaches. Or visit the local costal shops and see why so many birds fly south for the winter. Either way you can’t go wrong by spending your holiday, Island-style.

Upcoming Holiday Events Include:

Ocean Isle Beach Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting

Saturday, November 25th – 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The seaside celebration begins outside the Museum of Coastal Carolina with the Ocean Isle Beach Holiday Parade at 2:00 p.m., where spectators can view golf carts and other vehicles dressed up for the season, decked with lights, tinsel and garland. Following the parade, attendees are invited to bring their best singing voices and holiday cheer to the annual Tree Lighting and caroling across from the Ocean Isle Beach Fire Department at 4:30 P.M. After the tree lighting, indulge in some sweet treats with Santa at the Ocean Isle Beach Fire Department beginning at 5:00 p.m.

www.ncbrunswick.com/event/ocean-isle-beach-holiday-parade-tree-lighting-nc.

Ocean Isle Beach Flotilla

Saturday, November 25th – 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Take the Christmas celebration dockside to view boats of all sizes dressed up for the holidays. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., spectators can view twinkling Christmas lights in this dazzling over-water parade. From illuminated snowmen to fishing Santas surrounded by festive palm trees, this is a not-to-be-missed beachside tradition. Parade judging and an after party will follow at local favorite Sharky’s Restaurant at 7:00 p.m.

www.ncbrunswick.com/event/ocean-isle-beach-holiday-flotilla-nc.

Southport Winterfest

Friday, December 1st – Sunday, December 10th

Historic Southport goes big for the holidays with its 10-day Winterfest celebration, featuring a range of events and activities for the whole family. The schedule starts off the weekend of December 1st with the Christmas in Song event, followed by the Nutcracker Tea Party on December 2rd. The week’s activities include the Annual Cookie Contest, Costumed History Tour, Winter Craft Festival, Historic Home Tours and much more.

For the full schedule, visit www.ncbrunswick.com/event/winterfest-schedule-southport-nc.

Oak Island Christmas by the Sea Parade

Saturday, December 2nd – 2:00 p.m.

In a celebration of the wonderful weather and the holidays, the Christmas by the Sea Parade steps off at 2:00 p.m. and invites spectators to enjoy floats with festive decorations traveling 2.4 miles through Oak Island. Awards will be given to the floats based on color, the best theme, overall beauty and originality.

www.ncbrunswick.com/event/christmas-by-the-sea-parade-oak-island-nc.

North Carolina Christmas Festival and Parade

Saturday, December 9th -10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.

The 25th annual North Carolina Christmas Festival and Parade will take place at Leland Town Hall Park with the goal of inspiring unity within the local towns and communities, and providing family fun to all! The parade kicks off at 10:00 a.m. with the festival beginning immediately after at 12:00 p.m. The event will feature craft and food vendors, along with children’s entertainment, and music and dance performances to celebrate the season.

www.ncbrunswick.com/event/nc-christmas-festival-and-parade-leland.

Southport Christmas Flotilla

Saturday, December 9th –  7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Spectators can cheer on their favorite vessel illuminated in twinkling Christmas lights as the boats travel upriver to Kingsley Park beginning at 7:00 p.m. Boats will illuminate the night all the way “From the North Pole to Southport.” Awards will be given at the end of the evening to vessels with the most creativity and variety of decorations.

www.ncbrunswick.com/event/christmas-flotilla-southport-nc.

Visit www.ncbrunswick.com/events for a complete list of parades, tree lightings and other holiday events. To plan your holiday getaway to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, visit www.NCBrunswick.com.

You can follow the North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands on social media at www.facebook.com/NCBrunswick/ and www.instagram.com/ncbrunswickislands/.

Immerse Yourself in the Art Galleries and Events of NC’s Brunswick Islands

Art Galleries

In addition to the scenery of the coast, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is home to even more beauty in the form of art galleries and events that showcase the work of incredibly talented local artists. Travel throughout the island and inland communities to discover art on display, taking inspiration from the nearby beaches and demonstrating the skills of a variety of creative talents. Beyond browsing, find the work of art that speaks to you, and take it home as a forever memory of your visit to the Brunswick Islands.

Looking to meet up with other art enthusiasts? Check out these upcoming local events.

Southport First Friday Gallery Walk
On the first Friday of each month, art lovers gather in historic Southport to enjoy the local culture with a Gallery Walk put on by the town’s art galleries. Enjoy wine and appetizers at Franklin Square Gallery and browse the many collections featured throughout the participating galleries – including Art@211 Ricky Evans Gallery, Lantana’s Gallery & Fine Gifts, and Silver Coast Winery Tasting Room. Shop for the next addition to your art collection. Admission to the galleries is free, and all are welcome! The next First Friday Gallery Walks in Southport are happening on October 6, November 3 and December 1.

Arts by the Shore
November 3 – 5, 2017, join the community of Oak Island for Arts by the Shore at the Oak Island Recreation Center. The 23rd annual art show will feature more than 200 works of art on display for art aficionados to admire. Don’t miss the reception on Sunday where awards will be presented at 3:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Southport Winter Craft Festival
Get started on your holiday shopping, and find distinct, homemade gifts for everyone at the Southport Winter Craft Festival on December 9, 2017. The event, taking place in historic Franklin Square Park, showcases more than 140 vendors offering hand-crafted home décor, jewelry, crafts and much more.

Also, the North Carolina Oyster Festival October 21 and 22 in Ocean Isle Beach and North Carolina Festival by the Sea October 28 and 29 in Holden Beach feature arts and crafts as well as food and entertainment.

Visit www.NCBrunswick.com to learn more about the area’s art community and to begin planning your visit!

Plan Your Visit to the 37th Annual North Carolina Oyster Festival

North Carolina Oyster Festival

October is the start of North Carolina’s oyster season, and the magnificent mollusk has been revered in the state for centuries as an important source of food in the coastal areas.  The 37th Annual North Carolina Oyster Festival, returning on Saturday, October 21, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 22, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., is the state’s official celebration of the oyster.  During the Festival, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands will celebrate all things oyster as a section of Ocean Isle Beach is transformed into a walking district, filled with a variety of foods, crafts, music and more.

North Carolina Oyster FestivalAt this year’s celebration, test your oyster shucking skills in the North Carolina Oyster Shucking Championship where the area’s fastest shucker will earn a cash prize, as well as the opportunity to compete in the National Oyster Shucking Contest in Maryland.  Not up to competing against the professional shuckers?  You can enter the amateur division.  If you are an advocate of the motto “you can never have too much of a good thing?” Put on your stretchy pants and participate in the Oyster Eating Contest! Continue to delight your taste buds at the Oyster Stew Cookoff, featuring delicious samples from some of Brunswick Islands’ best restaurants. Work off some of the calories you have consumed on the dance floor and compete for the top spot in the Shag Dance Competition, whether you’re an amateur or more experienced dancer.

In addition to copious amounts of fried and steamed oysters, festival-goers will have the opportunity to sample an array of foods for every palate, from crab cakes and BBQ, to pizza and sweet treats. Visitors can also admire a wide variety of crafts and artwork available throughout the festival grounds, including handmade furniture, stained glass, wood carvings, sculpture, pottery, leather goods, and jewelry. Don’t miss out on the live music, bring your chairs and enjoy the lineup featuring popular beach bands, cover bands, and everything in between.

Admission is $5.00 for adults and free for children under 12, so bring your family and experience a not-to-be-missed tradition in the Brunswick Islands!

To learn more about attending the 37th Annual North Carolina Oyster Festival, visit http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/north-carolina-oyster-festival-ocean-isle-beach-nc.

 

Cast a Line with Ocean Fishing in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

Brunswick Islands fishing

With 45 miles of coastline, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is a prime destination for fishing, whether trying your luck inshore, near shore or out in the Gulf Stream. The area attracts fishermen from across the east coast and around the country who come to the Brunswick Islands in search of their prized catch. Outfitters and tackle shops throughout the islands offer equipment rentals for those traveling to the area or for more novice fishermen looking to get into the sport for the first time. Charter boats are available for half-day and full-day charter trips with options for both group and private excursions to near shore locations and out to the Gulf Stream for a trophy fishing experience. The Brunswick Islands’ expert fishing guides are ready to lead skilled fishermen to the top spots, or show beginners the ins and outs of hooking an impressive catch.

We asked a couple of our local fishing experts, Captain Brant McMullan, manager at Ocean Isle Fishing Center, and Captain Cane Faircloth with Ollie Raja Charters out of Holden Beach, to tell us more about their favorite fishing spots and advice for making the most out of a day of fishing in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands.

Why is late summer and fall such a great time for fishing in the Brunswick Islands?

Brant: We have really good Spanish Mackerel and King Mackerel fishing during this time within sight of land. The fish are easy to access, fun to catch and great to eat.

Where is your favorite place to fish in the Brunswick Islands in the late summer and fall?

Cane: Yaupon Reef.

(This is said to be one of the state’s most popular artificial reefs and is only 1.5 miles off the coast from Oak Island.)

What can fisherman expect to catch during this season?

Cane: King Mackerel in deep sea locations, and Flounder, Trout and Red Drum at inshore locations.

Why is the Brunswick Islands such a prime fishing destination?

Brant: We have a large variety of fishing options from the Gulf Stream (50-60 miles off the coast) right to the inshore marshes.

Cane: The three rivers that run out of the area, the Cape Fear, Shallotte and Lockwood Rivers, are great food sources, as they are nutrient-rich.

What makes for a perfect day on the water for ocean fishing?

Brant: Providing people who truly appreciate the fishing experience with a good day fishing, having good conversation and providing a memorable experience.

Cane: Light to variable wind, 83-degree air temperature, and 70-degree water temperature.

Fishing tournament

Don’t miss the U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament, October 5-7, 2017 at the Southport Marina. A great event for both participants and spectators, the U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament started over 35 years ago to highlight the amazing fall fishing opportunities in the waters around Southport and Oak Island. One of the largest kingfish tournaments on the East Coast, more than 400 boats enter the tournament each year. Fishermen looking to try out their skills for the grand prize of $25,000 are encouraged to register online before October 3. Spectators are welcome and encouraged to watch as the fishermen bring in their catches to be measured at the end of each tournament day. See www.ncbrunswick.com/events for information on additional fishing tournaments in the area.

Visit www.ncbrunswick.com/fun_and_adventure/fishing_and_charters to begin planning your fishing excursion in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. You can also find out more about saltwater fishing permits at www.ncdmf.net.

Get Your Groove on at Free Outdoor Concerts in NC’s Brunswick Islands

outdoor concert

The fun doesn’t have to end at the beach when the day ends. Bring your beach chair or blanket and the whole family to enjoy free outdoor music concerts scheduled throughout the summer in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands.  Dance like no one is watching or just sit back and enjoy music of all genres from talented local bands to well-known regional favorites. You can catch a free concert practically every night of the week. And you’re certain find music you’ll want to tap your feet to from beach tunes, blues, rock, and soul to reggae, bluegrass, big band, and country. Visit www.ncbrunswick.com/events to get a complete schedule of concerts and bands.

Calabash Concert Series
Tuesdays, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. (through August 29)
Calabash Town Park, Calabash

Sunset Beach Concerts
Wednesdays, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. (through September 6)
Gazebo in the Village Park, Sunset Beach

Southport Summer Concerts – Thursdays in the Park
Thursdays, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. (through September 21)
Franklin Square Park and Garrison Lawn, Southport

Shallotte SummerFest
Thursdays, 7:00 p.m. (July 6 through August 10)
Mulberry Park, Shallotte

Ocean Isle Beach Concerts
Fridays, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. (through September 8)
Museum of Coastal Carolina parking lot, Ocean Isle Beach

Oak Island Summer Concerts
Fridays, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. (through August 31)
Middleton Park, Oak Island

Holden Beach Concerts
Sundays, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. (through September 3)
Holden Beach Pavilion, Holden Beach

No matter your musical taste, these summer concerts are sure to add to your summertime fun and relaxation. For a full list of the events taking place this summer and beyond in the Brunswick Islands, visit www.ncbrunswick.com/events.