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.

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.

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.

Get Hooked on Fall Fishing in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

Pier Fishing

Fall is in the air, which for many area residents and visitors means it is time to cast a line and get hooked on a good time in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. Our 45 miles of pristine coastline offers ample access to both fresh and saltwater fishing hotspots that are sure to excite both amateur fishing enthusiasts and seasoned pros alike. As the seasons change, so does the natural stock of fish and marine wildlife awaiting your fishing expertise. Planning your fall fishing excursion in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands? Check out our insider info and tips for making your visit a memorable one.

Fishing Finds

Several species of fish are highly migratory, with circuits ranging from a few miles to massive distances. While the motives for these migratory treks is a mystery even to scientists, we do know that these mighty movements make for even better sport fishing in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. According to local expert Captain Jerry Dilsaver, this natural phenomenon really gets the fish biting. In preparation for the migrations south, fish along the Brunswick Islands are feeding hard in the fall to store energy for the long journey ahead.

Depending on the time of year and where you cast your line, popular fishing finds include flounder, speckled trout, red drum, bluefish, cobia, king mackerel, wahoo, grouper, mahi-mahi, tuna and even blue crabs. Fall in particular provides fishing parties with the opportunity to snag speckled trout, flounder, red drum and black drum inshore; flounder, red drum, black drum, whiting and pompano along the surf; Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, gray trout and large red drum in the nearshore ocean; as well as king mackerel, wahoo, dolphin, blackfin tuna, grouper, snapper, black sea bass, porgy, grunt and the occasional hog snapper and African pompano in the offshore ocean.

Brunswick Islands fishing

 

Exploring by Boat

According to Captain Dilsaver, the wide variety of fish and knowledgeable charter fishermen are part of what makes North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands a fantastic fishing destination. For a taste of the high seas, book one of the experienced charter services located throughout the Brunswick Islands. The charter services are owned and staffed by seasoned pros with in-depth knowledge of local fishing and weather conditions. With both half-day and all-day excursions, charters can traverse the deep sea of coastal North Carolina or prime inshore fishing sites. Whether you are looking for a freshly caught dinner, a few laughs or simply a day spent out on the sea, the fishing community of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is here to help craft a perfect and memorable experience for your fishing party.

For a smaller scale boating experience, guests can rent a kayak and venture out on Captain Dilsaver’s favorite fall fishing excursion. Captain Dilsaver notes that trophy drum, measuring 40+ inches, can be caught September through Thanksgiving. “They are a favorite of kayak fishermen, and there is a dedicated group of them that launch almost every calm morning from the beach accesses on Oak Island,” said Captain Dilsaver. “This is my personal fall favorite.”

Coastal Fishing

 

Cast a Line from the Coast

Those looking for an on shore fishing experience can find it in the Brunswick Islands. Our expansive stretch of beautiful beaches boasts countless spots for surf-casting. Get your feet wet and sink into the sport with this time-tested method. For a more scenic approach, venture to one of the five ocean piers located throughout the Brunswick Islands. Each pier has its own unique flair to make your experience both convenient and fun! Drop a line and soak in the signature North Carolina coastal views. Don’t have your fishing equipment on hand? Not a problem! Several local vendors offer rods, reels, basic tackle and more.

No two Brunswick Islands’ fishing excursions are ever the same. Whether casting your first line or returning for an annual trip, there are always more reasons to get hooked on fishing in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. For more information on area fishing opportunities, please visit www.ncbrunswick.com/fun_and_adventure/fishing_and_charters.

Get Active During Your Beach Getaway To North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

kayaking in Brunswick Islands

Get Active Along the Coast at North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

Who says beach getaways are just for lounging? Sun, sand and scenic ocean views are undoubtedly a well-deserved treat, but those looking for a little adventure on their next vacation will find it in no short supply at North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. While the Brunswick Islands offer 45 miles of scenic, sandy beaches just beckoning for you to plant a plush towel or beach chair, there are plenty of exciting ways to get up and get active on your next vacation.

Decompress and Destress

Treat yourself by treating your body with a beachside yoga session. Feel the tension and stress from home slowly slip away with every move and stretch. Many visitors come to the Brunswick Islands looking for some quality relaxation, and there are few activities better suited to test your fitness in a tranquil setting than a yoga session along one of our pristine beaches. Area instructors offer classes all summer long to ease your stress and keep you toned. Be sure to see if any classes are scheduled for when you are in town!

SUP NC's Brunswick Islands

Check Out What’s SUP

Check out “what’s SUP” during your stay in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. The smooth waters of the Intracoastal Waterway, creeks and island canals are perfect for stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). Stop by one of the many local outfitters to rent a board and take to the peaceful waters for a breathtaking and active aquatic adventure. Visitors can even take their beachside yoga experience up a notch with a SUP yoga class. Carolina School of Surf offers SUP yoga classes for all skill levels from beginner to seasoned SUP pros.

Tour by Water

There are countless ways to get out and explore the beautiful North Carolina scenery and vibrant communities of the Brunswick Islands. Active beachgoers can take to the water to tour their coastal home away from home. With miles of salt mash creek and rivers as well as the Intercoastal Waterway, there are plenty of picturesque paths to explore. Individual kayak rentals and guided tours are available to give visitors the equipment and expertise they need to enjoy a fun-filled day on the water. From nature watching to exploring and sunsets to stargazing, guided tours are available to help visitors capture the best of the Brunswick Islands.

Old Baldy and Oak Island Lighthouse

Take a Climb  

For many, lighthouses evoke images of serene and magical coastal settings. While maritime magic and serenity perfectly describe the Brunswick Island lighthouses, journeys to the top are not as whimsical. To reach the top of Old Baldy, North Carolina’s oldest lighthouse located on Bald Head Island, visitors must climb 108 steps but at the top one is rewarded with stunning views of the Cape Fear River and Atlantic Ocean. Across the way on Caswell Beach is the 153-foot Oak Island Lighthouse, the last lighthouse built in the state. The top of the 15-story lighthouse can only be reached through a series of ship’s ladders. While many find the climb a challenge, visitors agree that the spectacular views are worth every step.

For more information on attractions, activities and ways to stay active at North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, please visit www.NCBrunswick.com.