10 Tips for a Carefree Beach Vacation

Father and family at beach

make your beach vacation even more fun and carefree this year with these 10 tips:

 

Focus on the Here and Now

Leave the phone in your room or at least put the phone aside for awhile. Spending some time away from social media and technology can set the tone for a calming, carefree beach vacation. Focus your attention on being in the moment, reconnecting with loved ones, and enjoying the natural beauty of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands.

Don’t Over-Book Yourself

DSC_8026_OAK ISLAND_CHAIRSVacations are about you and your fellow sojourners. Be sure to leave space in your schedule, entire days even, to wake up, feel the crisp ocean breeze caress your face and let the wind be your guide. Being married to an itinerary has its benefits, but that relationship can quickly become a burden. Hang loose, go with the flow and make North Carolina’s Brunswick Island’s your home away from home.

Connect with the Family

Be sure to plan activities that are memorable for the entire family. Strengthen the bond between your loved ones by using vacation time as not just a distraction for you and your children, but also as a means to grow closer as a family. Activities such as watching baby sea turtles hatch, taking a swamp boat eco-tour, enjoying a boat or ferry ride in the Intercoastal Waterway, or taking a dolphin adventure cruise provide families with the perfect combination of education and fun for all ages. Bring the family together and learn something new too!

Eat Fresh, Eat Local

IMG_0028_fb_edited-1Stressing about your vacation diet (or lack thereof)? You are not alone. Reduce appetite anxiety by eating fresh and local. North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands has long been known for it’s bountiful seafood.  A highlight to any visit is sampling the local flavors so recognizable to the coastal area. Our local fishermen harvest a variety of top-quality seafood, including shrimp, blue crabs, grouper, flounder, oysters and clams. Many visitors take advantage of the opportunity to not only select and prepare their own seafood during their stay, but also return home with these fresh delicacies from the sea. For information on local seafood retailers and wholesalers, visit here.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

DSC_0140_OIB Paddlebaord_LRThe signature of a beach holiday may be top-notch R&R, but that doesn’t mean vacationers shouldn’t venture out of their beach chair. Break the mold and instill a little adventure into your next seashore soiree. North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands offers a buffet of bold activities that challenge you to try something new such as charter fishing, SUP and surf lessons, scuba diving, zip lining through natural swamp habitat and more.

Don’t Stress Over Packing

For some vacationers, stress can stir before wheels even hit the pavement. The worry over items potentially forgotten or left behind can consume the journey and create an anxious ambiance. The North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands traveler knows to ditch these woes and takes comfort in the abundance of stores and business housed on each island and surrounding mainland. Anything you could need and more can be found at any one of the area’s many shops.

Have a Rain Plan

DSC_0010_OIB_Touch Tank_LRIn every life a little rain must fall. And sometimes that happens while you’re on vacation. Reduce stress and anxiety by having a rain plan ready in case wet weather decides to visit the beach with you. Guests of the Brunswick Islands can find indoor entertainment at a number of intriguing attractions such as the NC Maritime Museum at Southport, Museum of Coastal CarolinaOld Brunswick County Jail MuseumSilver Coast Winery and more. Research opportunities ahead of time to ease your weather woes by guaranteeing a 100 percent chance of fun.

Enjoy The Off-Season

The heat of summer is a hot time to take a trip to the beach, but milder temperatures and fewer people during the spring and fall are also enticing to those looking for a secluded adventure on the beach. For a heightened sense of having the beach to yourself, book your trip before Memorial Day or after Labor Day.  You and your family and friends and can also take advantage of off-season rates during that time.

Feed Your Soul

10299079_10152150216753155_1534309948012022730_nOn your next trip to the beach, make an effort to indulge your soul by seeking out activities that are true to your spirit. Whether you attend an outdoor religious service, watch the sunrise over the ocean, or take a long walk along the beach, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands provides countless opportunities for beach-goers to please their personalities. Relaxation doesn’t merely involve sitting still, but also rejuvenating the soul and getting in touch with who you are.

Keep It Simple

Central to a carefree beach vacation is a commitment to keeping things simple – walks on the beach, eating ice cream or hunting for seashells. The beauty of a beach vacation is in the natural setting’s mystical way of creating an environment brimming with charm and subtle treasures. The seemingly simple days can be the most stunning and leave you with lasting memories and nothing but love for sun and sand.

Bridging the gap: The story of the old sunset bridge

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.

A glimpse into the past

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

The Mainland

Brunswick Town Fort Anderson Historic Site

The Mainland

Civil War Sites of Significance

The Mainland

Fort Johnston – Southport Museum & Visitors Center

Southport

Ingram Planetarium

Sunset Beach

Museum of Coastal Carolina

Ocean Isle Beach

North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport

Southport

Oak Island Lighthouse

Caswell Beach

Old Baldy Lighthouse and Smith Island Museum of History

Bald Head Island

Old Brunswick County Jail Museum

Southport

Saint Philip’s Episcopal Church

Southport

Sunset Beach Swing Bridge & Museum

Sunset Beach

A bird’s eye view

make the climb of a lifetime when you visit the Oak Island Lighthouse, the last lighthouse to be built in the entire state of North Carolina. But make sure you wear your sunglasses! Among its numerous claims to fame, this lighthouse is one of the brightest in the United States with a beacon that reaches about 16 nautical miles offshore. The Oak Island Lighthouse is also one of the only lighthouses in the country that use a series of ship’s ladders instead of the typical spiral staircase. To access the top, you’ll want to trade in your flip flops for some tennis shoes, to climb the 131-step ship’s ladder to the balcony at the top. When you reach the top at 158 feet, you’ll be rewarded with a 360-degree bird’s eye-view of the Cape Fear River and surrounding barrier islands. Oak Island Lighthouse and Bald Head Island Lighthouse, also known as “Old Baldy,” are both accessible to all adventurous spirits. Tours to the popular top level of the Oak Island Lighthouse are available year round by appointment for climbers 9 years of age or older. You can make an appointment through their website at least two weeks in advance. The lighthouse is also open for tours to the second level Wed. and Sat. from Memorial Day to Labor Day from 10 am – 2 pm for ages 7 or older. Built in 1817, Old Baldy is North Carolina’s oldest standing lighthouse. Ticket information and hours of operation may be found at http://www.oldbaldy.org/. Insider Tip: Tying the knot anytime soon? Old Baldy towers above the majestic, moss-draped, southern live oaks and is bordered by tidal estuaries and meandering creeks – perfect for special occasions, such as weddings.