until 1958, the island of Sunset Beach, purchased for the princely sum of $55,000, was accessible only by boat from the mainland. That was the year a wooden bridge was built to link the island with mainland. There it operated for more than 50 years. When it was about to be replaced with a much higher, more modern bridge, a handful of local residents were intent on saving the old iconic swing bridge, which had plenty of stories to tell. The Old Bridge Preservation Society relocated it to a shady, flower-filled park under the shadows of its newer cousin. The much-anticipated museum, housed in the old bridge tender’s house, opened in May. Visit www.oldbridgepreservationsociety.org to learn more about this iconic link to Sunset Beach’s past and future.
Insider Tip: You can now purchase cookbooks, ornaments and novels from the Old Bridge Museum or on their website.
if history and culture pique your interest, all you have to do is grab your walking shoes to escape and explore back through time! North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands’ rich connection to the sea spans three centuries, including several wars and one double-crossed pirate!
Visit the Brunswick Town and Fort Anderson Historic Site and museum, a working archaeological dig that chronicles life during the Colonial and Civil Wars. Here, you can walk amidst one of the most pristine intact coastal fortifications in the United States to see the remains of a pre-Revolutionary town and Civil War fort on the banks of the Cape Fear River. Visit the ruins of captains’ quarters, homes and businesses and walk through the remains of St. Philip’s Anglican Church dating back to 1754.
Insider Tip: Be sure to ask about current and upcoming digs.
From its days as a major U.S. seaport, the area around Southport is full of relics and remembrances of wars dating from the 1700s through WWII. You’ll enjoy the featured nautical exhibits of pirate plunder and shipwrecks at NC Maritime Museum in Southport, or, for a different perspective, explore via water.
Paddle a kayak during a history tour from The Adventure Company or scuba dive to the wrecks themselves with the Scuba South Diving Company. German U-boats, blockade runners, Greek freighters, a navy sea-plane recovery ship and a British anti-submarine trawler are just a few of the underwater sights near Southport.
If you’re looking for family-friendly educational activities, check out these fun places below:
|Battleship NORTH CAROLINA
Brunswick Town Fort Anderson Historic Site
Civil War Sites of Significance
Fort Johnston – Southport Museum & Visitors Center
Museum of Coastal Carolina
Ocean Isle Beach
|North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport
Oak Island Lighthouse
Old Baldy Lighthouse and Smith Island Museum of History
Bald Head Island
Old Brunswick County Jail Museum
Saint Philip’s Episcopal Church
Sunset Beach Swing Bridge & Museum