Shelling Tips for North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands Visitors

Shelling on Holden Beach NC

As the Atlantic waters warm up and the sun makes itself a permanent installation, beachgoers will soon flock to the coast for sun, sand and shells. Home to a beautiful array of sparkling shells, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands features 45 miles of scenic beaches perfect for every kind of shell-hunter. Visitors to the Brunswick Islands have a unique opportunity to discover coastal treasures and collect souvenirs as a reminder of their beach vacation. From sand dollars and scallop shells to true tulips and olive shells, there is sure to be a shell to catch everyone’s eye. Below are some of the top spots in the Brunswick Islands to find natural treasures washed up on the sand as well as a few insider tips to shelling in the area!

Ocean Isle Beach
No shelling adventure would be complete without a stop at Ocean Isle Beach. Home to some of the state’s coolest shells, like the colorful coquina clams or beautiful moon snails, Ocean Isle Beach is sure to delight beachgoers going for a shoreline stroll. But be sure to bring a bucket to hold your best discoveries, you never know what must-keep prizes you’ll find! Shelling tip: Be mindful of the tides when scheduling your excursion! Low tides are among the best times of day to uncover rare treasures that have sunk to the sandy bottom.

moon snails

Bird Island
Sitting on the west end of Sunset Beach is Bird Island, a 1200 plus acre nature reserve. Beachgoers in search of fully intact sand dollars are in luck, Bird Island’s secluded beaches is a great place to find this prized coastal souvenir. Shelling tip: Sand dollars are a species of sea urchin. If you find a sand dollar that appears “furry” and a dark green, red or purplish color, it is likely still alive! Please return it to its home by gently placing it back onto the sea floor a foot or so from the shore.

sanddollar

Holden Beach
Recent beach renourishment has contributed to Holden Beach’s position as a shelling haven. Boasting a non-commercial, laid back vibe, Holden Beach’s nine miles of beach are perfect for shellers on the hunt for a relaxed, family-friendly experience. Beachgoers may discover scallop shells of various colors or find a shimmering lettered olive or two glistening from below the shallow waters. Shelling tip: Don’t be afraid to get your toes wet! Sometimes there are beautiful treasures hiding underneath several inches of water.

scallop shells

The Point
Venture to the far west end of Oak Island and discover “The Point,” a spacious peninsula overlooking the east end of Holden Beach. This large, open beach is a sheller’s paradise! Beachgoers often have a lot of luck finding many ocean gems when hunting at low tide. Shelling tip: If you plan your shelling adventure during the middle of peak vacation season, be sure to get out to the beach early in the day. This will give you first pick of the shells that washed up overnight.

knobbed whelk

Whether you’re an amateur shell-finder or an avid shell connoisseur, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is the perfect destination to relax and unwind by discovering some of the East Coast’s best hidden treasures. From Sunset Beach to Bald Head Island, every mile of the 45 miles that make up the Brunswick Islands is sure to please the eye of every beachgoer. Grab your bucket and head to the shore, it’s time to get your shell on!

For more information on activities to enjoy during your vacation in the Brunswick Islands, please visit www.ncbrunswick.com.

Nine Reasons Golf in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is a Hole in One

golf course

From classic coastal golf courses that offer some of the most scenic views in the Brunswick Islands to challenging links play designed by the masters, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands earns its reputation as North Carolina’s Golf Coast with every tee shot, fairway drive and perfectly calculated putt. The North Carolina part of Grand Strand golf, the Brunswick Islands, is home to 567 holes of challenging and rewarding golf gold spread across more than 30 championship courses, all in one amazing destination. Exemplifying coastal golf at its finest, each course offers players a one-of-a-kind experience within a one-of-a-kind destination. Need even more reasons to make Brunswick Islands your golf getaway destination? Check out nine reasons golf in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is a hole in one!

1. Layouts Sculpted by Legends
Golf outings in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands place players directly in the footsteps of some of the golf greats. Our championship courses offer some of the best golf on the Grand Strand, with layouts sculpted by legends such as Palmer, Byrd, Maples, Jones, Cate and Couples.

2. Ample Courses for All Skill Levels
Our 30+ top golf courses were each built to accommodate players of all skill levels, including junior golfers and those new to the game. Many courses offer private and group lessons lead by golf professionals who specialize in targeting and improving all aspects of your game. Experienced golf enthusiasts will also enjoy some of our community’s more challenging courses, including the area’s only par 6.

3. Experience Unparalleled Scenic Views
The Brunswick Islands golf experience is about more than a game. Our world-class golf is perfectly paired with unparalleled and sweeping views of our natural coastal North Carolina landscape; it’s why you come to the coast, right? Play alongside the Intracoastal Waterway and amidst long, tree-lined fairways with magnificent, moss-draped live-oaks. With such scenic water views and maritime-forest lined fairways, your golf game will not be the only thing to amaze.

4. Home to Stand Out Holes
With 567 holes of golf, more than 30 championship courses and more than 120 miles of fairways, it is no surprise that North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is home to some pretty stand out holes. Waterfalls, tidal marshland, panoramic river views, the area’s only par 6 and an island green are just some of the features that highlight our courses. Check out our recommendations for some of the top golf holes in the area for even more reasons to take a swing at a golf getaway to the Brunswick Islands.

5. Better Climate and Longer Seasons
The mild coastal climate of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands means you not only get more enjoyable playing weather, but a longer season to play in. A golf getaway to the Brunswick Islands is always a great idea, no mater the time of year, but winter and spring offer an even better reason to visit. Now is the time to play and getaway. While it may be chilly in the north, our average high is 58 degrees in February and 66  in March. Bermuda greens make for exceptional year-round play.

6. Awesome Packages and Specials
A golf getaway to the Brunswick Islands is the total package – literally! Visitors can easily book accommodations and tee times. For the latest in offerings, check out our golf packages and specials, where winter and spring seasonal packages offer 18 holes, cart and range balls starting at $49 and stay-and-play packages beginning at $69 per person.

golf courses

7. Stay and Play Availability
Whether a foursome or a group of 20 or more, our extensive accommodation options range from oceanfront vacation homes to course-side condominiums, homes, hotel and resort rooms, all perfect for golf getaways of any size. Several of our golf packages offer exceptional stay and play offers, giving avid golfers the opportunity to see, do and experience more in the Brunswick Islands. A longer stay means more days to enjoy our expansive array of fairways and finds.

8. Trip Planning Resources
Planning the ultimate golf getaway can be overwhelming, but we are here to help you plan the perfect trip. Flip through our Official Guide to Golf in NC’s Brunswick Islands or order a copy to be sent to you directly. In addition to featured golf packages and promotions, trip planners can download our course map and directory for an overview of the golf scene in the Brunswick Islands.

9. Many Ways to Play, One Incredible Destination
An unbeatable golf scene is only the beginning when it comes to enjoying North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. Visitors can get more out of their golf getaway with delicious dining, countless area activities, exciting events, cozy coastal accommodations and more. In North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands there are many ways to play, both on and off the green.

woman golfer

Each course features its own unique personality and challenges, but all share one enticing promise – a golf getaway or excursion to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is a hole in one! For more information on how to plan your next golf excursion or getaway, please visit www.ncbrunswickgolf.com.

Top Spots to Catch Breathtaking Sunrises and Sunsets in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

Boasting more than 45 miles of unspoiled beaches, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is the ultimate beach getaway destination. Few natural phenomena give Brunswick Islands beachgoers a better sense of place than watching the sun paint the sky in signature hues of orange, pink and purple over the ocean or the area’s waterways at sunrise and sunset. Our charming coastal towns and beach communities offer countless ways to witness spectacular sunrises and sunsets during your stay, but check out our suggestions of great spots for scoring a seat to the sun’s daily feat.

On the Beach

No matter what time of year you come to the Brunswick Islands, prepare to be wowed. Not only do the pristine sand and surf create a peaceful atmosphere for sunrise and sunset chasers, but in the fall and winter the uniquely south facing beaches in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands provide a remarkable sunrise/sunset viewing experience. Named one of “10 Incredible Phenomena You Have to See in Fall” by Weather.com, beginning in late fall, the east-west orientation of the Brunswick Islands means that you can sit on the beach and watch both the sunrise and sunset over the ocean without having to move your beach chair!

Sunrise on Oak Island

Ocean Piers

Few settings offer a classic beach feel like an oceanfront pier. North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is home to five ocean piers, perfect for both starting and ending your day with a front row seat to the sun’s daily pilgrimage across the sky. Ocean pier viewing spots include:

Sunrise Sunset Beach Pier

Seize the Sunset by the Waterway

The stunning Brunswick Islands sunsets can also be seen off-shore with serene sunset kayak trips in the area’s marshes and waterways. Individual kayak rentals and guided tours are available to give visitors the equipment and expertise they need to observe some of the best views of the Brunswick Islands. To make an even bigger splash, boat rentals and sunset cruises are a sure way to enjoy beautiful scenic views.

Dinner and a Show

Who doesn’t love dinner and a show? A nature show that is! In North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands there is an impressive array of waterfront dining options that are guaranteed to not only serve up tasty coastal cuisine, but also a stunning view of the sun making its daily descent. One great spot to grab a bite and watch the summer sun set over the marsh is Jinks Creek Waterfront Grille. Located on Jinks Creek on the Intracoastal Waterway side of Ocean Isle Beach, Jinks Creek Waterfront Grille offers great seafood dishes as well as an amazing view.  Another local hotspot for scrumptious food and scenic views is the Yacht Basin in Southport. With restaurants like the Provision Company, Fishy Fishy Cafe and the Yacht Basin Eatery, it has some of the best outdoor waterfront dining in Southport. Lucky diners may even score a little live music to accompany their dinner and nature show. For more wonderful waterfront dining spots throughout Brunswick Islands, please visit blog.ncbrunswick.com/waterfront-dining-ncs-brunswick-islands/.

Southport Sunset

The Point at Oak Island

North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is full of quiet stretches of beach that almost seem like you are on your own private island. The western tip of Oak Island, at the inlet that separates Oak Island from Holden Beach, is just one example. Affectionately known as The Point, this section of beach offers unique sunrise and sunset views over both land and sea. Like many of our pristine beaches, The Point is a tranquil spot for enjoying nature and quality time with family and loved ones.

Other Favorite Spots

There are so many places to find breathtaking sunrises and sunsets in the Brunswick Islands that it can be hard to choose. To make the decision a little harder here are some other amazing viewing spots.

Sunset Holden Beach

We may all watch the same sunrise and sunset each day, but at North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands the view is as grand as the ocean is wide. For more tips and tricks to planning your next spectacular beach vacation, please visit www.ncbrunswick.com.

This Beach Trip Has Gone to the Dogs!

For dog-lovers, a beach vacation without sandy paws and the sweet(ish?) smell of salty, wet dog is a beach vacation lacking. In North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, our dog-friendly beaches couldn’t agree more.  In fact, tripswithpets.com named Caswell Beach and Oak Island numbers 1 and 2 respectively in its list of “Top 5 Dog Friendly Beaches in North Carolina.”

Even the most timid of dogs tend to find joy in chasing the tide as it rolls in and out, biting the white caps of the waves close to shore, and running carefree along the expansive shoreline. Of course, one of the best parts of sharing a day at the beach with your fur baby is witnessing that unmistakable wet-dog shake. You know the one. It starts out at the tail with a distinctive swish, hits the hind end with a jerk, heads up the spine with an aggressive wiggle, and then ends in an epic shake of the head, ears and jowls (if you’re lucky enough to have a dog with jowls).

Ready to Take the Leap?

If you have not yet taken your dog for a beach trip, fall is a great time to do so. With lots of dog-friendly accommodations available and relaxed pet regulations on the beaches, the Brunswick Islands are the perfect seaside destination for your pup. But even the dog-friendliest of spots won’t save you from mishaps if you don’t plan ahead.

Prepare three things for a trip with your dog:

  1. Travel in the car
  2. A stay in a vacation home or hotel
  3. Time on the beach itself

With a little forethought, your beach visit will be as fun for you as it is for Fluffy.

dog-friendly SUPTravel in the Car

Probably more important than preparing your car for the ride to the beach is preparing your car for the ride home! Things to consider stowing in your trunk:

  • A blanket or seat cover for protecting seats from saltwater and sand
  • Several old towels for wiping Ginger down
  • Bottled water and a plastic bowl to quench thirst
  • A brush (doggy, not human)

Vacation Home Prep

Remember that your dog – like your family – is a guest in your vacation accommodations. He will most likely be excited, anxious or just plain curious! Prepare your surroundings with these tips:

  • Establish Fido’s food and water location as soon as you arrive.
  • Immediately leash your dog and take him outside to find a designated place to potty – take waste bags to clean up.
  • If you’re renting a vacation home, walk through the house, making sure anything your dog might get into or knock over is out of reach.
  • If you and Rex are staying in a hotel, check with the front desk to see where on the property it’s best to walk him.

dog with sunglassesTime on the Beach

You prep yourself with sunscreen, a hat and something to read. Max deserves the same. Don’t forget:

  • Keep your dog close to you at all times. Leash regulations may be relaxed during the fall, but you don’t want other beach-goers to be bothered by a searching wet nose.
  • Familiarize yourself with the beach regulations for the Brunswick Islands. All of the beaches welcome dogs in the fall, but the rules vary from beach to beach.
  • Watch your dog carefully in the water. Not all dogs are great swimmers, and even the best should not go into deep water where tidal pull can be strong.
  • Pack a dog toy or two to keep Charlie occupied.
  • Bring waste bags and pick up after your dog immediately if he poops on the sand. Make sure to dispose of the bags properly, leaving the beaches just as pristine for the next family and their four-legged friend.

For more information about North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, go to ncbrunswick.com.

(Edited March 5, 2019)

Secrets of the Kindred Spirit Mailbox

Kindred Spirit Mailbox

On a secluded stretch of beach far from the nearest public access point and nestled between sand dunes is an unlikely sight – a mailbox…with a bench next to it. The bench is where you sit to pen your innermost thoughts; the mailbox is where you place the journal when you are done. More than just a receptacle for pieces of paper, the Kindred Spirit Mailbox on Bird Island holds the wishes, thoughts, prayers and dreams of those who walk the 30 minutes to share and bare their soul and draw comfort from the act of doing so while enjoying the soothing sounds and sights of undeveloped beach, ocean and horizon.

This mysterious mailbox is the inspiration behind Nicholas Sparks’ latest novel Every Breath. Sunset Beach and the Kindred Spirit Mailbox feature heavily in the novel.

To learn the secrets behind the Kindred Spirit Mailbox view this brief CBS news clip.

The serene walk from the last public access on Sunset Beach to Bird Island and the Kindred Spirit Mailbox will be sure to give you time to reconnect with self and spirit. Are you willing to share your deepest thoughts?

Insider Tip: The trip to Kindred Spirit is two miles roundtrip. Save more time for writing and reading and rent a bike on Sunset Beach for the journey.

Learn more about NC’s Brunswick Islands, home of Bird Island and the Kindred Spirit Mailbox at www.ncbrunswick.com.