Get Hooked on Pier Fishing in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

for a fishing experience that doesn’t involve braving the high seas, pier fishing on one of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands’ piers could be the answer to your desire to reel in a big catch. As the season starts to transition from summer to fall, the scaly swimmers that grace the waters around the barrier islands change as well with red drum, sea trout, mackerel and more.

Take a trip over to historic Southport to experience the quaint Southport Pier near the mouth of the Cape Fear River. This handicapped-accessible pier is a public facility and usage is free for all. Amenities include benches, a gazebo, swings and even ice cream during certain days of the year. Here you can hook a fish or even bird watch as the site is featured on the NC Birding Trail.

Families, competitive fisherman or amateur anglers can line up along the Ocean Crest Pier on Oak Island and reel in a king mackerel and many other species while enjoying a community live bait tank, an onsite weather station for optimal wind speed and air/water temperatures and a full-service restaurant adjacent to the pier.

IMG_8101 oak island pierAlso on Oak Island is the newly re-opened landmark, the Oak Island Pier, formerly known as the Yaupon Pier. With a new restaurant and tiki bar, the Oak Island Pier will provide any visitor with the ultimate pier fishing experience. Take a leisurely stroll along the pier for the views or reel in the catch of the day for a local dining experience. This pier is certainly a welcome return and a big catch!

The pier on Holden Beach offers a great perch to reel in your prize fish from. Selling daily, seasonal and three-day fishing permits and live bait, Holden Beach Pier is the place to be this fall. If you’d rather be a spectator to the sport, you can do so here for just $1.

Just down the way on Ocean Isle Beach, the Ocean Isle Pier offers equipment rentals and season pass sales along with ice cream, drinks, fishing bait and tackle and rods. Fishing fees are $9 per rod. Adult spectators are $1 and the fee is 50 cents for children under the age of 6.

DSC_1719_Sunset Beach_Bait Casting Pier_LRCalling all king fishermen – the Sunset Beach Pier is waiting for you! This 900-foot pier on Sunset Beach is a hot spot and includes top-notch amenities: a double sink at the cleaning table, a snack bar with breakfast and hot sandwiches, a game room and even an ATM in the air-conditioned pier house. Inside, you can purchase bait and rent a rod. Three-day, five-day and seasonal fishing passes are available and include parking.

In North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, there are prized landmark fishing piers on four of the five islands. All are equipped with handicapped access, food, bait, tackle and rentals. And most importantly, residents and visitors will always be there to offer advice and encouragement for novice and expert fishermen alike.  So be sure to make pier fishing part of your next fishing or family beach vacation to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands.

10 Experiences for Your Brunswick Islands Bucket List

north Carolina’s Brunswick Islands offers more than just gorgeous beaches, lovely towns and beautiful coastal scenery. Here is a bucket list of ten fun activities that all visitors should do during their stay.

1. Leave a note in the Kindred Spirit Mailbox

Standing slightly tilted in the shifting sand of undeveloped Bird Island and far down the beach from the nearest public access point, the Kindred Spirit Mailbox draws visitors who want to write their thoughts, prayers, dreams and wishes in the mailbox’s small notebooks. These words are then left there for the next kindred spirit to find and read.

2. Visit the old Sunset Beach Swing Bridge and MuseumIMG_1076

The old wooden Sunset Beach Swing Bridge spanned the Intracoastal Waterway between Sunset Beach and the mainland from 1958-2011 before it was decommissioned and a portion placed on the mainland. The Bridge Tender’s House now serves as a museum and contains artifacts from the a ship called the Vesta, which was set on fire and sunk during the Civil War after attempting to run a northern blockade.

3. Zip Line through a Swamp

Guests to the new Shallotte River Swamp Park & Outdoor Center can soar over the Shallotte River Swamp on one of the park’s zip lines or climb to the treetops on the Aerial Adventure challenge courses. Those who want to stay closer to the ground can set out on a swamp boat eco tour to see the local wildlife and help trap crawdads, fish, turtles and frogs and see where George Washington is believed to have crossed through the area in 1791. The park is set to open in June.

4. Fish oDSC_0167_OIB_Boy Fishing_LRff a Pier

Large fish are known to lurk around piers, and North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands has several piers perfect for reeling in the catch-of-the-day: Ocean Isle Pier, Oak Island Pier, Ocean Crest Pier, Holden Beach PierSunset Beach Pier and Southport Pier.

5. Climb the Oak Island Lighthouse

The Oak Island Lighthouse, built in 1958, is the newest lighthouse in North Carolina, and visitors must climb a series of ship ladders with 131 rungs to reach the top balcony instead of the traditional spiral staircase. Tours can be made by appointment.

6. Kayak on the Intracoastal Waterway

While the beauty of the beaches is the big draw, others prefer the mystery, serenity and solitude of the marshes of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. The colorful marshes meander and curl, hiding secrets and treasures of the coast. A kayak journey through these quiet tributaries reveals birding, photography, fishing, star and moon gazing opportunities. Rent a kayak or put in your own on the Intracoastal Waterway and float along with the gentle current amidst the beautiful coastal ecosystem and deltas.

7. SUP or Skim

Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is a growing trend among beachgoers, who stand on top of a surfboard-shaped board and propel themselves through the water with a long-handled paddle.  Those who want to stay closer to shore can try their hand at skim boarding, which involves balancing on a thin wooden board thrown across the inch or so of water that climbs up the shore after a wave breaks.

8. Live like a Local

North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands offers guests the feeling of small town beach life at its finest. Friendly people, quaint buildings and great food are sure to make visitors feel like theIMG_0028_fb_edited-1y have found their home away from home. Rent a beach house this summer on Oak Island, Caswell Beach, Sunset Beach, Holden BeachOcean Isle Beach, or Bald Head Island, visit the local fish market for some local seafood and cook up your own authentic beach party meal just like a local would.

9. Watch the Sunrise and Sunset

Named one of “10 Incredible Phenomena You Have to See in Fall” by Weather.com, the beaches of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands have the rare distinction of running east-west as they parallel the shore. Beginning in late fall and ending early spring, this orientation means that you can sit on Oak Island, Caswell Beach, Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach or Holden Beach and watch both the sunrise and sunset without having to move your beach chair.

10. Witness a Turtle Hatching

Hatchling There is probably no experience more unforgettable and powerful than watching baby sea turtles “boiling” out of the nest and racing to the water line. Sea turtle conservation is conducted across North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. For example, Ocean Isle Beach’s Sea Turtle Protection Program cares for these gentle giants of the sea, telling their primitive story of mating, nesting, and hatching that has remained essentially unchanged for 200 million years. Headquartered at Museum of Coastal Carolina, the certified program swings into high gear during nesting and hatching season from May through October.Visit oibseaturtles.orgsunsetbeachturtles.org   hbturtlewatch.org,  caswellturtlewatch.org,   bhic.org/sea-turtle-protection-program, and oakislandnc.com/Departments/Parks-Recreation/Sea-Turtle-Program for more information.  View a video of a turtle hatching here.

Flock to NC’s Brunswick Islands and Capture Birding at its Finest

it doesn’t matter if you are a bird enthusiast, vacationing with family and friends or live in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, everyone is mesmerized by the overwhelming number of bird species living along the coast of the Brunswick Islands.

There are eight birding sites on the North Carolina Birding Trail that are located along the Brunswick Islands. The area’s diverse ecosystems make it a natural haven for hundreds of species of birds.  Over 330 species of birds have bee seen in Brunswick County.

Nature trails andoystercatcher birding sites dot the area from Sunset Beach and the Intracoastal Waterway to the Cape Fear River and the Brunswick Town-Fort Anderson State Historic Site and several nature preserves, offering plenty of places to observe numerous indigenous and migrating bird species, some of which are threatened or endangered. Herons, egrets, bald eagles, plovers, terns, pelicans, clapper rail and one of the largest of North Carolina’s water birds, the federally-endangered wood storks, are among the prized sightings for birders in Brunswick Islands.

wood storksPopular places for birding include the nature preserve on Bird Island, located adjacent to Sunset Beach. The uninhabited, 1,200-acre state preserve offers a chance to see salt marshes, maritime grasslands and shrubs and even rare plants, such as the Sea Beach Amaranth. Over 260 species of birds alone can be found on Bird Island and Sunset Beach, nesting or migrating throughout different seasons of the year. Species that are of interest here include: Horned Grebe, Wood Stork, American Oystercatcher and Black Skimmer.

Another popular stop on the North Carolina Birding Trail includes a ferry ride to Bald Head Island. Bald Head Island provides access to 14 miles of pristine beaches, 10,000 acres of salt marsh and approximately 180 acres of protected maritime forest. Species that are of interest here include: Wilson’s Plover, Piping Plover, Sandwich Tern, Least Tern and Painted Bunting.

piping ploverClick here to view a short video on birding in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands.

Beyond the Beach: Discover Marsh Madness in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

as March Madness draws near and things heat up on the basketball court, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands invites families looking for an off-court experience to take a glimpse beyond the basic beach vacation and discover Marsh Madness for an inspiring spring and summer coastal adventure.

Those in search of new things to do on the North Carolina coast will find that one of the most undiscovered and under-appreciated environments along the shore is also one of the most surprising and fascinating – the salt marsh. The marshes and waterways are exploding with warmth, life and color, attracting migrating birds and spawning new marine life. The waterways and wetlands are the perfect setting for spring and summer vacation activities, including kayaking, birding, wildlife watching, boating, fishing and crabbing.

The vast amoIMG_7045 blog smallunt of marshland and waterways make North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands home to some of the best kayaking in North Carolina. Take a twilight marsh kayak tour behind Sunset Beach and watch the pink light from the setting sun illuminate the Spartina grass. Or take a daytime outing around Oak Island, Holden Beach, or Ocean Isle Beach and explore diverse coastal ecosystems for a chance to catch a glimpse of otters, deer and even stingrays swimming underneath.

Often called the “nursery of the sea,” the salt marsh is home to dolphins, fish, turtles, crabs and birds who find food and shelter here. A great area for birding; herons, egrets, ibis, terns, pelicans and one of the largest of North Carolina’s water birds, the Federally-endangered wood stork, are among the prized sightings for birders.

North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is one of the best fishing areas on the East Coast. Cast a line from one of its iconic fishing piers, or rent a boat to reel in Redfish, Flounder and Trout from the Intracoastal waterways. Or, drop a crab trapIMG_6623 blog to catch one of the sweetest delicacies of the sea – a basket full of blue crabs. For those who prefer that others do the catching and cooking, enjoy your meal at one of a number of restaurants that offer a view of the Intracoastal Waterway or ocean.

The five pristine barrier islands and miles of unspoiled beaches that comprise North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands hide one of the best coastal adventures on the Intracoastal side, the majestic salt marshes. Plan your vacation today to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands and see what adventures are in store for you.

Romantic Bed and Breakfast Getaways

Looking for a romantic weekend getaway full of historic ambiance and laid back Southern charm? Why not travel to the coastal dream town, Southport, North Carolina. Southport is the perfect couple’s retreat during the month dedicated to love. Stroll through the streets of Historic Downtown Southport under live oaks draped with Spanish moss, and Victorian homeDSC_2695_SOUTHPORT_LRs on flower-edged lanes. The picture-perfect village of Southport charms residents and visitors year round. For your Valentine’s getaway or romantic getaway anytime, choose from several enchanting and unique B&B’s located in Southport.

Lois Jane’s Riverview Inn

Located along the historic waterfront of Southport, the Lois Jane’s Riverview Inn was built during the 1890’s by Lois Jane’s grandfather, and refurbished by her children in 1995. During your stay, relax and unwind as you experience Southern hospitality at its finest. The historic Inn features four bedrooms in the main home with two additional suites in the guest cottage. All rooms are furnished with period furniture and accessories, many of which are family heirlooms. All guests at Lois Jane’s enjoy a full Southern-style breakfast served daily, with wine and hors d’oeuvres served in the late afternoon. Create some romance for that special someone on Valentine’s Day and purchase a special package with flowers, champagne and/or chocolates for your sweetheart.

Robert Ruark Inn

Couples who desire a luxurious, romantic getaway will enjoy a stay at the Robert Ruark Inn. This intimate, whimsical bed and breakfast located along the quiet streets of Southport is nestled amongst beautiful ancient live oak trees, offering a scenic view of the stunning Cape Fear River. The elegant, Victorian-styled home offers lavish bed and breakfast accommodations, along with a delicious multi-course Southern-style breakfast served each morning along with daily afternoon wine and cheese. Couples can relax in one of the four Robert Ruark Inn’s charming bedrooms, professionally decorated in historical antiques. All rooms have private baths with vintage themed wash pieces including granite counters and claw-foot tubs or a spa-like shower. Enjoy the inn’s opulent parlor, one of the two rocking-chair porches or cozy up to a loved one by toasty fire pit in the courtyard with a glass of wine.

Southport Inn

Located in the middle of Historic Downtown Southport, is a quaint little bed and breakfast. Southport Inn Bed and Breakfast has been updated accordingly to the architectural integrity and historical significance of when the house was first built in 1894. The old world charm of this Southport Bed and Breakfast combined with modern comforts makes this the perfect romantic getaway location. Accommodations include four bedrooms all with private bathrooms, high speed wireless internet, continental breakfast with healthy food options and a cozy porch perfect for watching the quiet world go by. This wonderful little hideaway is located within walking distance of exceptional dining, shopping and stunning views of the Cape Fear River perfect for a romantic stroll with the one you love!

The Brunswick Inn

The Brunswick Inn, which dates back to the mid-1800s, is a beautiful Federal-style mansion that overlooks the Cape Fear River and offers pristine views of Bald Head Island and the Oak Island Lighthouse. The inn has been carefully updated, respecting the historical integrity of this splendid piece of architecture. Accommodations at the Brunswick Inn include three spacious bedrooms with fireplaces and private baths with views of the Cape Fear River which can be seen from every guestroom. Each room is furnished with era furniture and accessories. Couples can enjoy a gourmet, home-cooked breakfast, along with fresh baked goods and in-season fruits, which are included in your stay. Reserve a stay in Lady Brunswick’s Room, the inn’s most spacious and romantic room that will lull you to sleep.