Take a Winter Soul-stice with a Coastal Getaway to NC’s Brunswick Islands

winter beach walk

With Winter Solstice quickly approaching on December 21, there has never been a better time to reflect, restore and rejuvenate in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. Escape from the stresses of the season and plan a peaceful coastal getaway complete with pristine, south-facing beaches boasting both sunrises and sunsets over the ocean, moderate temperatures and great prices on beach vacation rental properties.

Reflect

Kindred Spirit MailboxFeel the crunch of sand beneath your feet and take in the unsurpassed beauty of the beaches as you begin your Winter Soul-stice journey through the Brunswick Islands. Visitors looking to reflect and recharge look no further than Sunset Beach and take a short picturesque walk to the Kindred Spirit Mailbox. This mailbox set amid serene undeveloped Bird Island holds pens, notebooks, and most importantly, memories. More than just a receptacle for pieces of paper, people from all over the world share and bare their soul to the universe and draw comfort by sharing their thoughts, prayers, and wishes while also enjoying the soothing sounds and sights of unspoiled beach, ocean and horizon.

RestoreSea Trail Golf

In addition to the beauty of more than 45 miles of picturesque beaches, NC’s Brunswick Islands is also known as “North Carolina’s Golf Coast.” The islands are home to more than 30 golf courses and 120 miles of fairways that provide the ideal atmosphere to swing into Soul-stice. Visitors can restore and recharge by enjoying the serenity of fairways complimented by scenic coastal views.

Rejuvenate

There is nothing like a spa day to rejuvenate during the Winter. Visitors to the Brunswick Islands will find a range of day spas in the area. Massage away the chaos of the season and enjoy a day of pampering and relaxation. In addition to numerous spas, visitors can warm their spirits and rejuvenate over a glass of red wine at Silver Coast Winery. Silver Coast is the Brunswick Islands’ first winery, inviting guests to decompress over shared conversation and tasty local libations.

To learn more about North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, and to plan your Winter Soul-stice escape, visit www.NCBrunswick.com.

Follow NC’s Brunswick Islands on social media www.facebook.com/NCBrunswick/ and www.instagram/ncbrunswickislands/

2017 Brunswick Islands Sunrise/Sunset Photo Contest Winners

sunrise sunset photo contest winner

North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is excited to announce the winners of the #BrunswickIslandsSun Sunrise/Sunset photo contest! We invited you to share your best Brunswick Islands sunrise and sunset photographs on Instagram and Facebook using #BrunswickIslandsSun from November 15 through November 29, and we were amazed at the beautiful entries we received!

With over 150 entries, it wasn’t easy to choose just a few winners, but we have chosen our favorite photos from the submissions for a first and second place winner on both platforms as well as two random drawing winners. These lucky winners will receive a variety of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands rolling coolers, beach towels, and hats. Our first place winners will also receive a $100 gift card. We would like to thank everyone who participated in the contest. It was incredible to see folks loving the Brunswick Islands and the beautiful sunrises and sunsets over the ocean as much as we do!

And now, here are the winners, along with the inspiration behind their photos and why the Brunswick Islands are their beaches of choice!

1st Place on Facebook:

sunrise sunset photo contest winner

Mark D. Head takes first place with his breathtaking photo of a sunrise over the marsh at Sunset Beach.  As a Sunset Beach local, Mark has perfected the art of sunrise and sunset photography, he shared with us that he is outside shooting almost every day. “The day I took this picture, the sky just lit up for about 10 minutes, I loved how the sky looked over the marsh! I think that the Brunswick Island sunrises and sunsets are just amazing and living in Sunset Beach you can get sunrises and sunsets over the ocean!”

2nd Place on Facebook:

sunrise sunset photo contest

Beth Clair takes second place with her stunning picture of a fall sunrise at Sunset Beach. Beth was inspired by the sky’s brilliant blue hue. She “first visited southeastern Brunswick County in 2006 and fell in love with the area, particularly the beaches.” Beth considers herself to be “so fortunate to live in such a beautiful area,” and is drawn back to Sunset Beach each winter to see the sunset and sunrise over the ocean.

1st Place on Instagram:

sunrise sunset photo contest

Nick Noble (@nsqr) takes first place on Instagram for his photo of a sunrise on the Cape Fear River in Southport. Nick says that the “clear skies and clouds” create vibrant displays of “thick oranges, reds, yellows, and blues” during the sunrises in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. He also states that the piers in the area “make for great foregrounds” further enhancing the sky’s warm color scheme. For this winning photo, Nick was inspired by the “contrast of the blacks and oranges and the reflections of the sky and pier in the water.”

2nd Place on Facebook:

sunrise sunset photo contest

Mary Bowser (@marybmary55) takes second place for her sunrise over Holden Beach. Mary shared with us that she loves taking her daughters and grandchildren to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands for summer vacations. She thinks that the beaches in the Brunswick Islands, and Holden Beach especially are the best “because they are not spoiled by commercialism.” Beth captured this incredible photograph while on vacation with her family. She says she “got up early every morning to walk so that [she] could see the sunrise. [Her] daughters were always anxious to see the photos each morning.”

Our lucky random drawing winners are:

Scott Webber

sunrise sunset photo contest

Jay N Janet Leonard

sunrise sunset photo contest

Be sure to visit #BrunswickIslandsSun on both platforms to see all the incredible entries. On Facebook look for entries under public posts and in the comments of the contest announcements.  You can follow North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands on social media  https://www.facebook.com/NCBrunswick and https://www.instagram.com/ncbrunswickislands.

To learn more about North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, and to plan your trip, visit www.NCBrunswick.com.

Enter the NC’s Brunswick Islands Sunrise/Sunset Photo Contest

sunset

North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is home to more than forty-five miles of beautiful pristine beaches. Our uniquely south facing beaches allow one to view the sun rise and set over the Atlantic during the fall and winter. In recognition of that phenomenon, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is excited to announce its fall social media photo contest, #BrunswickIslandsSun! We invite you to share your best Brunswick Islands sunrise and sunset photos on Instagram (#BrunswickIslands and #BrunswickIslandsSun) and Facebook (#BrunswickIslandsSun) from November 15-29, 2017. When submitting your entry, please also include the Brunswick Islands’ location shown in the photo. North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands’ will choose its favorite photos from the submissions with first and second place prizes for both Instagram and Facebook winners, along with two randomly chosen winners. Prizes include North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands rolling coolers, beach towels and hats, and a $100 Visa® Gift Card! The official contest rules are listed below. Please read all the rules!

Share your photos and follow us on Instagram: @NCBrunswickIslands

Share your photos and like us on Facebook: @NCBrunswick

CONTEST RULES: The following rules will be required for entry.

1.  ENTRY:

a. No purchase necessary to enter or win.

b. Fans may enter by Facebook or Instagram:

i. If entering by Instagram, follow @NCBrunswickIslands and use both hashtags #BrunswickIslandsSun and #BrunswickIslands. Include the location of where the photo was taken in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. The user account settings must be public to be considered for entry.

ii. If entering by Facebook, post the photo entry directly to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands’ Facebook account page and include the hashtag #BrunswickIslandsSun. The user must also identify where the photo was taken in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. Be sure you have liked North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands’ Facebook page.

c. By submitting entries via hashtag on Instagram and Facebook, entrant is agreeing to all contest terms and conditions.

d. By entering the contest, the entrant attests and warrants as follows: (a) I have the right to post the Content; (b) neither the Content nor the use of the Content by the Permitted Parties will infringe upon or violate the intellectual property rights or other rights, including, without limitation, any right of publicity and/or copyright, of any other person or entity or any applicable laws; and (c) the photo was taken in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands.

e. Entries must be submitted within WEDNESDAY, 11/15/2017 at 9 a.m. EST and WEDNESDAY, 11/29/2017 at 4 p.m. EST to be considered for entry.

2. ELIGIBILITY: This contest is open only to legal U.S. residents. Employees of Brunswick County Tourism Development Authority (along with its contractors, affiliates and subsidiaries) and their families are not eligible to win. Void where prohibited by law. Contestants residing in those areas where the contest is void may participate in the contest but may not win any prizes.

3. WINNER SELECTION: Brunswick County Tourism Development Authority will judge the contest. Submissions will be judged based on how well the photo depicts the natural beauty of the sunrises and sunsets in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. All decisions of the judges are final.

4. PRIZES: First and Second Place winners will be selected from Facebook entries and First and Second Place winners will be selected from Instagram entries.

First Place Grand Prize: $100.00 Visa® Gift Card and North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands Beach Towel

Second Place Prize: North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands Beach Towel and hat

Random Prize Winners: 1 winner North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands Rolling Cooler and 1 winner North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands Beach Towel

Terms and conditions may apply. Incidental expenses and all other costs and expenses which are not specifically listed as part of a prize in these Official Rules and which may be associated with the award, acceptance, receipt and use of all or any portion of the awarded prize are solely the responsibility of the respective prize winner.

5.  WINNER NOTIFICATION: Winners will be notified through Instagram or Facebook within two (2) days after the contest end date. It is the   winners’ responsibility to monitor their Instagram and Facebook accounts for notifications. If a potential prize winner does not respond to the Sponsor within five (5) days after being notified of winning via the Instagram account or Facebook page used for submission, or if the prize is returned as undeliverable, that potential prize winner shall forfeit the prize.

6.  GENERAL CONDITIONS: Participants hereby grant Brunswick County Tourism Development Authority a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide license to broadcast, publish, store, reproduce, distribute, syndicate, and otherwise use and exhibit the Submission  (along with their names, voices, performance and/or likenesses) in all media now known and later come into being for purposes of trade or advertising without further compensation or recognition. Participants represent and warrant that they have full legal right, power and authority to grant Brunswick County Tourism Development Authority the foregoing license and if applicable, have secured all necessary rights from any participants in, and contributors to, their Submission in order to grant such a license.

7.  NOT ENDORSED BY INSTAGRAM OR FACEBOOK: By participating in this contest, you acknowledge that this contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram or Facebook and release Instagram or Facebook from any and all liability arising from or related to this contest. The information you are providing for this contest is being provided to Brunswick County Tourism Development Authority and not to Instagram or Facebook, and will be used to notify you if you have won.

8.  CONDUCT: All contest participants agree to be bound by these Official Rules. Brunswick County Tourism Development Authority in its sole discretion, reserves the right to disqualify any person it finds to be tampering with the entry process, the operation of its web site or is otherwise in violation of these rules.

LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY: Brunswick County Tourism Development Authority is not responsible for late, lost or misdirected email or for any computer, online, telephone or technical malfunctions that may occur. If for any reason, the contest is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention or technical failures of any sort, Brunswick County Tourism Development Authority may cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the contest. Entrants further agree to release Brunswick County Tourism Development Authority from any liability resulting from, or related to participation in the contest.

Sponsor’s Address: Brunswick County Tourism Development Authority is located at 712 Village Road SW, Shallotte, NC 28470.

To learn more about North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, and to plan your trip, visit www.NCBrunswick.com.

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

Find Scenic Views and Abundant Wildlife at the Nature Preserves in NC’s Brunswick Islands

From the area’s 45 miles of pristine beaches to the unique inland ecosystems, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is home to a range of diverse nature preserves where wildlife thrives. Visitors can enjoy beautiful scenery and discover native plants and animals, by foot, bike, kayak and more. Choose one of these five nature preserves for your next excursion in the Brunswick Islands, and read on to learn more about local efforts to sustain many of these picturesque spaces from Mansfield Fisher with The Nature Conservancy.

Bald Head Island

Accessible by ferry or private boat, Bald Head Island features 10,000 acres of salt marsh and 180 acres of protected maritime forest, all preserved by the Bald Head Island Conservancy. This distinct coastal area is also part of the NC Birding Trail, where visitors can spot Wilson’s Plover, Painting Bunting and several types of wintering waterfowl. The kayaking and birding expeditions offered throughout the year by the Conservancy offer a non-intrusive and scenic view of these fascinating species.

Bird Island Nature Preserve

Bird Island

Located on an undeveloped portion of Sunset Beach, Bird Island is a treasure with more than 1,200 acres of unspoiled salt marsh and tidal creeks, along with natural dunes and sandy beaches. The island serves as an outdoor laboratory and classroom for scientists and students to learn more about how the ecosystem functions and how we can help to sustain precious coastal areas. The Bird Island Preservation Society Stewards also lead educational walks at certain times during the year. Access Bird Island from the southernmost public beach access point on Sunset Beach to make the trip by bike or foot – be sure to look for the Kindred Spirit Mailbox in the dunes about a mile down the beach!

Boiling Spring Lakes Preserve

Pine WarblerMore than 6,000 acres make up this expansive preserve of rare plants and animals. Boiling Spring Lakes Preserve is home to the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, carnivorous plants, rough-leaf loosestrife, and more than 400 vascular plant species, including the Venus flytrap. Visitors can see the stunning preserve for themselves on the Boiling Spring Lakes Nature Trail, accessible at the town’s Community City off Highway 87. The preserve is also part of the NC Birding Trail where visitors can encounter species like the Pine Warbler, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak and more.

Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve – preserved by UNCW

Encompassing 175 acres preserved by University of North Carolina Wilmington, the Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve boasts an impressive variety of native plants and animals in the inland town of Leland. Sightings of the Prothonotary Warbler, Swainson’s Warbler and Summer Tanager earned this preserve a spot on the NC Birding Trail. Visitors can take in this natural haven on seven miles of maintained trails throughout the preserve.

Green Swamp Preserve

Pitcher PlantSitting on 15,000 acres, the Green Swamp Preserve is an incredibly unique natural space, considered a longleaf pine savanna, with a diverse herb layer of orchids and insectivorous plants in the open areas. The Preserve is also home to four species of pitcher plants, a stunning sight and great photo-op for nature enthusiasts. Beyond plant life, a range of animals are native to the Green Swamp Preserve – notably the American alligator, fox squirrel, Henslow’s and Bachman’s sparrow and Hessel’s hairstreak butterfly. Just minutes from the coast, visitors can park at the trail access point off Highway 211 in Supply to see this splendid preserve for themselves.


More on nature preserves with Mansfield Fisher of The Nature Conservancy:

Mansfield Fisher works with The Nature Conservancy at the Wilmington, NC-based field office, which focuses on Longleaf restoration through controlled burning. Much of Mansfield’s work takes place at the Green Swamp Preserve in Brunswick County.

Venus Flytrap Green Swamp Nature Preserve“Last year, our Longleaf program in North Carolina assisted or led on controlled burns totaling more than 25,000 acres. We are working to restore natural Longleaf Pine systems and preserve these threatened ecosystems that are home to many rare plants, like the Venus flytrap.”

Why is the fall season a great time to visit the Green Swamp Preserve?

“There is always a reason to go out to the Green Swamp in Brunswick County because, as the seasons change, there will be many different plants to see. The fall is a great time to visit the Green Swamp because this is when many of the grasses flower. The wiregrass and bluestems produce seas of golden grass. Some of the showier plants that bloom in the fall are narrow-leaved sunflower, blazing star, goldenrod, and many kinds of asters.”

What is some of the most unique wildlife you’ve seen in the Green Swamp Preserve?

“There are 16 species of native orchids that can be found in the Green Swamp and 14 different Brown headed nuthatchspecies of carnivorous plants. You will see beautiful longleaf and pond pine trees throughout the preserve. The Green Swamp is a birdwatchers’ paradise. Some of the bird species that can be found are Bachman’s Sparrow, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Bobwhite Quail, Pine Warbler and Henslow’s Sparrows. If you are lucky, you may see White-tailed deer, eastern cougar and bobcats.”

What is your favorite fact about the Green Swamp Preserve that people may not know?

“My favorite fact about the Green Swamp is the important role that fire plays in maintaining the delicate balance of these ecosystems. Lightning and Native Americans maintained fire in these ecosystems and, therefore, many of the plants in the Green Swamp need fire to survive. Without periodic burning, the savannas would become overgrown with shrubs and crowd out many of the flowering herbaceous plants.”

Find The Nature Conservancy on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TNCNC/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tnc_nc/

To learn more about nature in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, and to plan your trip, visit www.NCBrunswick.com.

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

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.