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/.

Discover the Museums of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

Beyond the beautiful beach scenery, the Brunswick Islands hold a rich history, which guests can experience with a visit to the area’s museums. With history dating as far back as the colonial times and tales of pirates, visitors can explore the fascinating, in-depth past of the islands and coastal communities. Not only does the Brunswick Islands offer a great place for visitors to enjoy the beaches and sunshine, but a trip to coast can also be educational! Be sure to add these museums to your Brunswick Islands itinerary:

Fort Johnston – Southport Museum & Visitors Center:

Fort Johnston in Southport was built by the British in 1748. The fort was used to protect the region from the Spanish and French attacks during King George’s War. It served as the oldest active-duty fort in the United States after 250 years of federal service and was conveyed to the city of Southport in 2006. Today, visitors can explore the museum with an official tour guide or take a self-guided tour. Don’t miss the Safe Haven exhibit with memorabilia from when the movie was filmed in Southport. fort-johnston

Ingram Planetarium:

Visitors looking for more of an out-of-this-world museum experience can check out the Ingram Planetarium in Sunset Beach. This state-of-the-art planetarium has an 85-seat SciDome Sky Theater with high definition digital protection and surround-sound system. The theater shows educational programs about space exploration and astronomy, along with laser music shows. Explore the interactive exhibits in the Paul Dennis Science Hall for fun, hands-on learning. dsc_9509_sunset-beach_planitarium_lr

Museum of Coastal Carolina:

The Museum of Coastal Carolina on Ocean Isle Beach is North Carolina’s only natural history museum located on a barrier island. The museum showcases the unique coastal ecosystem of the Brunswick Islands and features the Southeast’s largest dry aquarium, collections of sea shells, shark jaws, wildlife dioramas and a Touch Tank with live sea stars, sea urchins and other animals. Young explorers will also love digging in the fossil pit for shark teeth. dsc_0010_oib_touch-tank_wm

North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport:

The North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport tells the story of the Cape Fear region and the people of its past and present. Exhibits provide a detailed history of pirates, shipwrecks, and the area’s extensive nautical history. The museum offers educational programs for both children and adults, making it enjoyable for all ages.mmsign

Old Brunswick County Jail Museum:

The Old Brunswick County Jail, built in 1904, has been maintained to keep its original form and serves as a museum open to the public. The two-story jail, which was used until 1971 before a new jail was constructed, has a runabout and two cells, which visitors can view on guided or self-guided tours. Visitors can also take a glimpse of the graffiti drawn by prisoners on the second floor. img_0523

Sunset Beach Swing Bridge & Museum:

The historic Sunset Beach swing bridge and tender house that linked the island to the mainland from 1958-2011, now rests in an area shaded by oak trees to serve as a museum and public gathering place. Locals thought that they would be saying goodbye to the swing bridge, but volunteers and the Old Bridge Preservative Society saved it from demolition. The tender house is now open to visitors and displays artifacts from the Blockade Runner Vesta, which ran aground on Sunset Beach. old-sb-bridge-horizontal-2

Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson Historic Site:

Brunswick Town was a pre-Revolutionary port located on the Cape Fear River that was destroyed by British Troops in 1776 and never rebuilt. Fort Anderson was constructed during the Civil War at the same site as the old village to defend the river and north toward Wilmington. What remains of Brunswick Town and the fort is now one of North Carolina’s historic sites and a working archaeological site. Visitors can view displays and audiovisuals about its history, as well as explore outdoor trails along the ruins of the fort.img_5863_tonemapped

Smith Island Museum of History:

Smith Island Museum of History is located on the grounds of Old Baldy Lighthouse on Bald Head Island and is a replica of an 1850s lighthouse keeper’s cottage.img_3467

When planning your visit to the museums in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, be sure to check the hours, which vary by season. To learn more, visit http://www.ncbrunswick.com/fun_and_adventure/heritage_museums.