Fall in Love with Nature in the Brunswick Islands

February is the month of love, but visitors and locals can fall in love with North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands year-round, including its stunning nature and coastal beauty. Whether spotting dolphins from the sand or birdwatching in the marshes, the nature of the Brunswick Islands is sure to take your breath away. Plan your next date with the outdoors with one of these scenic adventures.

Sun, Sand and Surf
The Brunswick Islands’ 45 miles of beaches are filled with opportunities for amazing nature sightings. Take a morning stroll and spot sand dollars and other unique shells along the shore, or go for a bike ride at low tide and watch for dolphins playing in the waves. In the fall and winter months, watching the sun rise and set over the ocean is an incredible view on the Brunswick Islands’ south-facing beaches. No matter the time of year, beachgoers in search of natural beauty won’t be disappointed.

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Walk (or float!) on the Wild Side
Discover a different side of the barrier islands with the Intracoastal Waterway and the area’s vast ecosystem of salt marshes, creeks and estuaries. Find some of the best kayaking, paddle boarding and more in the region where salt water meets fresh, home to crabs, oysters, fish, shrimp, skates and even dolphins. Nature preserves and parks throughout the Brunswick Islands provide additional outdoor spaces to spot wildlife and unique plants. Or try a swamp boat eco-tour for an up close look at a cypress swamp.

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Shell-ebrate Miracles
For a truly heartwarming experience from July through October, watch baby sea turtles make their way to the ocean in their first moments of life outside their eggs. Thanks to an abundance of trained volunteers and the sanctuaries throughout the Brunswick Islands, the nests are observed and tended to so the community can be educated on the importance of the protection of this endangered species. Visitors along the beach at night can see this natural miracle for themselves, and watch as volunteers monitor the hatching process and guide the baby turtles to the ocean, where they can live for up to 50 years or more.

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Birds of a Feather
NC’s Brunswick Islands is home to eight sites along the North Carolina Birding Trail. The Islands’ prime location and varied ecosystems make it a haven for birds, and over 330 species have been spotted in Brunswick County. From the majestic bald eagle to the spectacular painted bunting, nature lovers are in for a treat. For a full list of the NC Birding Trail sites in the Brunswick Islands and the species often seen at each site, visit http://www.ncbrunswick.com/activity/brunswick-bird-watching-mainland.

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Out of This World
For a unique take on some other-worldly nature, visit the Ingram Planetarium in Sunset Beach. The state-of-the-art planetarium has an 85-seat SciDome Sky Theater with high definition digital protection and surround-sound system where visitors can learn about the universe around them. 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.

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To learn more about nature exploration in the Brunswick Islands, and to plan your trip, visit www.NCBrunswick.com.

 

Five Reasons to “Fall” for the Brunswick Islands

North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands has something for everyone this fall. Throughout the season, enjoy the many activities and mild weather with peaceful beaches and seasonal events. Rest up before the holidays and relax with these five reasons to “fall” for the Brunswick Islands!

Soak Up Some Sun

IMG_0148During fall in the Brunswick Islands, you’ll enjoy temperatures in the 70s throughout October and upper 60s in November with water temperatures at an average of 77 degrees in October and 70 degrees in November. You don’t have to say goodbye to beach time just because it’s fall – the Brunswick Islands’ mild temperatures make it a perfect time for a coastal getaway.

Experience a Weather Wonder

IMG_0748 surf fishing at sunset Caswell BeachFall through early spring, beach-goers can take in both sunrises and sunsets over the ocean, thanks to the Brunswick Islands’ unique south-facing beaches and the angle of the sun this time of year. Enjoy this bucket list activity, all without moving your beach chair!

More Beach for your Blanket

One of the many perks of the Brunswick Islands during the fall is the peaceful beaches. With the kids back to school and holiday prep underway, this is the perfect time to get away. Explore the piers, beaches and other attractions with spectacular deals on lodging! Throughout fall, visitors will see rates on rental homes (even beachfront!) continue to decrease, making for an even more affordable stay.

Celebrate the Season

There are plenty of special events happening in the Brunswick Islands this fall for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

For some spooky fun, come out to the Holden Beach Pavilion on October 21 for Boo at the Beach. The Halloween Festivities include booths with carnival games and a costume contest!

IMG_0168 event collectionOctober 29 and 30 marks the North Carolina Festival by the Sea. The free, 2-day event kicks off with a parade down the Holden Beach causeway. Entertainment for kids includes face painting, a costume contest, as well as rides and amusements. There will also be live music and food.

To learn more about upcoming events in the Brunswick Islands, visit www.ncbrunswick.com/events.

Rest Up Before the Holidays

IMG_7633With the hectic holiday season just around the corner, visitors can take one last moment of peace on the beach in the Brunswick Islands. With ideal weather, no crowds, great lodging deals and plenty of entertainment, fall is the perfect time for a pre-holiday getaway!

For more information about booking your fall getaway to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, visit www.NCBrunswick.com.

Health, Happiness and North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands: #BrunswickIslandsFIT

although the food is plentiful and bathing in the warm sun is tempting, going on vacation doesn’t mean sacrificing your health goals for a period of time. North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands has an abundance of activities that are educational, family-friendly and perfect for boosting your activity tracker goals at the same time. Below are a few activities if you’re looking to increase your step count and even boost your heart rate on your next beach vacation.

IMG_6444 b_edited-1A stay here offers a variety of water sports and exhilarating experiences that can get your heart pumping. Go scuba diving with a certified instructor off the Cape Fear’s Frying Pan Shoals with Scuba South Diving Company in Southport. Or go on a kayaking adventure with Lighthouse WaterSports, The Adventure Kayak Company or Summertide Adventure Tours. These guided tours will take explorers on an adventure around the blackwater creeks, marshes, Intracoastal Waterway or swamps, while also providing a great arm and shoulder exercise.

Stoked about surfing but never had the chance to paddle out and pound some waves? Our islands provide visitors with an astounding buffet of aquatic adventures appealing to both beginners and experienced water-goers. Check out three surf schools with programs dedicated to teaching interested patrons of all ages the surfing basics. Not only is surfing a fun activity for beach-goers, it also provides great balance and lower-body strength training.

Swamp Park IMG_9365For a new and unique activity at the beach, don’t forget to zip into the Shallotte River Swamp Park & Outdoor Center in Ocean Isle Beach. 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. This unique challenge is guaranteed to increase your step count and get your heart racing!

Activity doesn’t always mean you have to hustle and exert yourself. People looking for a more leisurely activity can enjoy many of the rental services available on the islands. Anything from bikes and stand-up paddle boards to beach supplies are available for visitor use. Relish your time and take in the sights at your own pace. If biking or paddling isn’t your style, take a relaxing walk on the beach with a friend or significant other, spot a rare species of bird along the Brunswick Islands Birding Trail or take your pup for a jog along the shore.

DSC_6149_INSIDE LIGHTHOUSEWhether you’re set on admiring the sunrises or sunsets, driving your way through more than 30 championship golf courses or climbing 131 ships’ ladders to the Oak Island Lighthouse to see a gorgeous panoramic view, you’re sure to end your vacation feeling happy and healthy while increasing your activity tracker goals at the same time.

How many steps did you take on your trip to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands? #BrunswickIslandsFIT

 

Brunswick Islands Sunrise/Sunset Photo Contest Winners

along the shores of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, one of the South’s most stunning natural phenomena occurs every fall through winter. Named one of “10 Incredible Phenomena You Have to See in Fall” by Weather.com, our islands have the unique characteristic of running east-west along the coastline with our beaches facing south. Beginning in late fall, this orientation means you can sit on Oak Island, Caswell Beach, Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach or Holden Beach and watch both the sunrise and sunset over the ocean without having to move your beach chair!

Whatever the time of year, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands features some of the best sunrises and sunsets you’ll experience anywhere.  And no more proof is necessary to highlight this fact than the numerous entries in our first ever Sunrise/Sunset Facebook Photo Contest.  With such a large number of exceptional photos to consider, it was difficult to select four finalists!

Congratulations to our grand prize winner and recipient of a $100 Visa Gift Card and North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands beach towel, Donna Cone.  Donna captured this moment from the shores of Ocean Isle Beach.  Donna’s vibrant sunrise shot received the most likes during the Facebook contest.  For Donna “there is no better time than rising early before others are out to catch a gorgeous ocean sunrise. Truly a spectacular sight.”

2 Donna DeBate Cone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ilona Miskell’s “Sunset at the Dock” shot on Ocean Isle Beach in September received second place honors. Her entry of a tranquil marsh sunset earns her a North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands rolling cooler and beach towel. Ilona told us that her son asked “Mom, don’t you think you have enough sunset pictures.”  She replied “Never!” She adds that “I feel like its a gift at the end of a splendid day.”

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Kelly Clemmons’ gorgeous shot of sunset captured from along the tide’s edge on Sunset Beach earns her third place honors and a North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands beach towel and hat.

2 Kelly Heine Clemmons

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shot on Sunset Beach, the wistful and artistic “Child’s Play at Sunset” submitted by Rochelle Aycoth rounds out our 4 top photos.  Rochelle believes “The Brunswick Islands offer the most unspoiled beaches around. The sunsets, especially heading into the fall, are particularly breathtaking.”  Rochelle will receive a North Carolina’s beach towel for her entry.

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Once again, congratulations to our four fabulous finalists!  And thank you to everyone who participated in the contest. Our random prize winner from all entrants is Stephanie Hogston, who wins a rolling cooler. Stephanie submitted a sunset shot from Oak Island.  Our random voter winner is Jeff Broughton who wins a North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands beach towel.

On your next Brunswick Islands visit, be sure to bring your camera and capture those amazing sunrises and sunsets. Who knows, you might be the winner of our next contest.

 

10 Tips for a Carefree Beach Vacation

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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.