Island Hopping in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

Island Hopping

With five unique barrier islands, it’s no wonder that North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands has been a family favorite beach destination for generations. When you are looking to plan your next beach vacation, are you partial to the resort style of Ocean Isle Beach? Do memories of hanging out at the Oak Island Pier draw you back? Is it the family vibe of Holden Beach that has you visiting year after year? Or perhaps it’s the secrets that Sunset Beach holds? Whichever island is your favorite home-base, we encourage you to go island hopping on your next Brunswick Islands visit and discover the unique activities, cuisine and events that await on each of our barrier islands. Who knows, you may just end up with a new favorite beach to stake your umbrella!

Holden Beach
Geographically located in the middle of our string of barrier islands, Holden Beach is easily accessible from anywhere in the Brunswick Islands. Head here for a spectacular shrimp burger at Provision Company! Each nationally-acclaimed shrimp patty is made from fresh-off-the-docks shrimp, lightly fried and topped with lettuce, tomato, onion and a tasty special sauce, all served on a perfectly toasted bun or enjoyed atop a bed of crisp lettuce, cucumbers, crunchy croutons and garden-ripe tomatoes. Even better, your view overlooks the waterway and the many shrimp boats that call Holden Beach home. The reason this shrimp burger is extra good? Many of the area’s shrimp boats dock at Holden Beach and unload their catch directly to the restaurants and seafood purveyors here. Take a walk along the docks to see the shrimp boats and visit Old Ferry Seafood to pick up the latest fresh catch or a made-to-order Low Country Boil.

holden beach

Oak Island
Next, hop on over to Oak Island which features 14 miles of beautiful uncrowded beaches and is home to the towns of Oak Island and Caswell Beach. While there be sure to check out the newly rebuilt Oak Island Pier, the tallest pier in North Carolina! It is complete with a tackle shop, restaurant and plenty of space for pedestrians and anglers.

For a change of perspective head over to the east end of the island to explore Caswell Beach, home of the Oak Island Lighthouse. Get a bird’s eye view of the area with a free tour to the top of the lighthouse, offered on Tuesday, Thursday and some Sunday mornings throughout the summer by reservation only. General, no reservation required, second level tours are available from Memorial Day through Labor Day on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

caswell beach

Ocean Isle Beach
For a hair-raising adventure, visit The Swamp Park at Ocean Isle Beach! This unique attraction will have you soaring through the sky on a zipline course, exploring the lands by ATV tour, spotting marine life on the swamp boat eco-tour, or swinging through the trees on the aerial adventure park.

Be sure to visit this island on Wednesdays to check out the “All hands-on Deck” program at the largest dry aquarium in the southeast at the Museum of Coastal Carolina. This interactive program gives guests an opportunity to learn about the creatures that live in the diverse ecosystem found in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands.

ocean isle beach

Sunset Beach
Located on the southwestern end of the Brunswick Islands, Sunset Beach is one of the most unique beach experiences that can be found on the east coast because the western end of the island is a completely undeveloped nature reserve. Just a mile’s walk from the last public beach access, is the Bird Island Reserve which is home to a variety of birds, wildlife and beautiful sand dunes. Here you can rejuvenate your soul at the Kindred Spirit Mailbox, where visitors find comfort in divulging their wishes, prayers and dreams among the breathtaking beauty of the ocean. Once back from the beach, finish your Sunset Beach hop with a tour of the Old Sunset Bridge Museum, home to the last pontoon swing bridge on the East Coast!

If visiting Sunset Beach on a Thursday, you can explore the Sunset Beach Waterfront Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. where fresh produce and local goods are sold. Stay for some Thursday night fun and check out the laser light and music show at the Ingram Planetarium.

Kindred Spirit Mailbox

Bald Head Island
Accessible only by boat, jump on board the ferry that leaves from Southport and take the 20 minute ride over to Bald Head Island. There you can tour North Carolina’s oldest lighthouse, Old Baldy. Rising above the trees, looking out over the sea, marsh and harbor, the lighthouse is only a short walk from the ferry landing. Admission to the Smith Island Museum of History allows you to climb Old Baldy’s 108 steps for an incomparable view of the island and tour the museum to learn about Bald Head Island’s seafaring history.

bald head island

Be sure to make North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands your next island hopping getaway this summer! For more information on the Brunswick Islands and other special offers, please visit www.ncbrunswick.com.

Brunswick Islands Fun That Won’t Break the Bank

budget

A vacation filled with golden memories doesn’t need to cost its weight in gold. In North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, some of our best attractions are the most wallet-friendly, making it easy for you to enjoy a five-star vacation without the five-star price tag. Learn about the rich history of the area, explore Brunswick Islands’ stunning natural beauty or stroll around on a self-guided walking tour, all without breaking the bank.

Dive into the rich history

From Southport to Calabash, the Brunswick Islands are filled with a rich history, unique ecosystems and interesting animal life. Native American tribes, the Revolutionary War and even pirates have all impacted the area and formed the culture we know today. History buffs can pop into any of the several free or low-priced museums in the area to take a deeper dive into the events that formed the culture of the region today while ocean lovers can visit one of the largest dry aquariums on the East Coast to learn more about our marine and sea plant life.

Maritime Museum of Southport

Stop by the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport and discover all there is to learn about the maritime history of the area. The museum is located along the waterfront where the Cape Fear River, Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean merge, making it an ideal spot to learn about the local seafaring culture. Admission is free so visitors can easily explore exhibits about shipwrecks, piracy, the Civil War, commercial fishing, hurricanes and much more.

maritime museum

Museum of Coastal Carolina

The Museum of Coastal Carolina is a great way to spend an afternoon with your little ones or to simply learn about the diverse ecosystem of Coastal North Carolina. The museum offers many opportunities to experience marine life up close with hands-on activities like a fossil pit with shark teeth that you get to take home, life-sized wildlife dioramas and a Touch Tank with live animals like sea stars, sea urchins and more. You can also learn more about sea turtle nesting in the area with an informative and entertaining video of nesting sea turtles on Ocean Isle Beach! The museum is $9.50 for adults (13-61), $8.50 for seniors (62+), $7.50 for children (3-12) and free for ages 2 and under. The museum also offers a $2.00 discount if you bring your same-week Ingram Planetarium ticket.

museum of coastal carolina

Sunset Swing Bridge & Museum

Take a step back in time at the Sunset Swing Bridge & Museum and learn about the iconic bridge that linked Sunset Beach with the mainland. The bridge was decommissioned after the opening of the Mannon C. Gore Bridge in 2011. The old swing bridge and tender house still serve as a free museum for the public, only now they’re safely sitting on dry land. During your visit to the museum, be sure to check out the artifacts from the Blockade Runner Vesta which ran aground on Sunset Beach during the Civil War.

old swing bridge sunset beach

Outdoor Fun

With the diverse vegetation found throughout the Brunswick Islands, there’s always a new landscape to explore. Whether you’re most comfortable on the mainland, the islands or in the parks, our communities are filled with fun ways to enjoy the great outdoors.

Live Music in All Settings

Keep an ear out for all the amazing free concerts in the area during your stay. Several of our towns and islands put on summer concert series that are free for all to enjoy. Recline in your beach chair while you listen to music when you stop by the concerts happening at Holden Beach, Southport, Ocean Isle Beach, Oak Island, Calabash or Sunset Beach. If an evening in the park sounds like more of your scene, head inland for the Leland Concerts in the Park series, Shallotte SummerFest series or the Boiling Spring Lakes concert series.

OIB concert

Island Farmers and Artisans’ Market

If you’re looking for a unique, locally made souvenir, or just want to sink your teeth into some fresh produce, be sure to check out the many farmer’s markets that take place from late spring to late fall and features vendors offering produce, homemade jams, cakes and a variety artisan goods like jewelry, furniture, rugs, potholders and much more. Chat with locals while you stroll the aisles of goodies.

Oak Island Lighthouse

When visiting Caswell Beach be sure to visit the Oak Island Lighthouse. The lighthouse opened in 1958 to replace the Cape Fear Light, and stands as the newest lighthouse in North Carolina. Climb to the top through a series of ship ladders for a stunning view of the Brunswick Islands. Top tours of the lighthouse are available for free year round by appointment and second level tours are available on Wednesdays and Saturdays from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

oak island lighthouse

Family Tee Time

Spend some quality time on the course with your family.  Many area golf courses such as the Brunswick Plantation Resort and Golf, Rivers Edge Golf Club, Sandpiper Bay Golf Club and Sea Trail Golf Club, offer free golf for juniors while playing with a paying adult. Check their websites or call the pro shop for details.

junior golf

Walking Tours

If you’re looking to get some steps in on your vacation, a walking tour could be just the ticket. There are several guided and self-guided tours in the area highlighting everything from the islands’ rich history to popular movie shooting locations.

Self-Guided Movie Location Tour

Check out the backdrops for some of your favorite movie scenes with a self-guided tour of the movie and TV shooting locations in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands by picking up a map from the Fort Johnston-Southport Museum & Visitor Center. Our charming towns and beaches have been featured in box office hits like Iron Man 3, Weekend at Bernie’s and Safe Haven as well as episodes from popular television shows like Dawson’s Creek, Hart of Dixie and Matlock. See for yourself the familiar homes and beaches that brought these scenes to life!

safe haven

Historical Walking Tour of Southport

Get active and take a self-guided walking tour through historic Southport. The tour will lead you to architecture dating back to the 1800s, as well as several significant landmarks in the area. Grab a map from the Fort Johnston-Southport Museum & Visitor Center and make your way around while learning the history and events that shaped Southport into the town we love today.

fort johnston

Soak Up Some Vitamin Sea

No vacation to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is complete without a few hours simply relaxing on the sand and soaking up some rays. Take some time to slow down and enjoy the natural beauty of our beaches.

fun

Shelling on the Shore

If you’re looking for an active alternative to sunbathing on the beach, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands’ 45 miles of breathtaking beaches offer a perfect spot to go hunting for beach gems like the variety of seashells that wash up on the sand. Shelling is a great activity to teach kids about the ocean, or just to take in the scenery. The most abundant types of shells that you might find include Angelwings, Olive Shells, True Tulips, Sand Dollars and Starfish. Take a scenic stroll down the beach and search for these little treasures of the tide!

shells

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.

New Year’s Resolutions, Brunswick Islands Style!

New Year's Resolutions sand

Welcome the New Year by trading in post-holiday blues for ocean views in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. Those looking to get away while staying on track with their 2019 resolutions can do so with ease in the Brunswick Islands. With countless coastal activities, a vacation to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is sure to keep you active, stress free and maybe even on the path to learning something new. Take a look at some of these common New Year’s resolutions and figure out how you too can stick to them while on a beach getaway to the Brunswick Islands.

Be More Active

Who says staying active can’t also be fun? Here in the Brunswick Islands we are in no short supply of fun, physical activities that the whole family can enjoy! Start with a fun and challenging climb to the top of one of our lighthouses. At 110 feet tall, Old Baldy stands as the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina and a climb to the top is one of the best ways to view scenic Bald Head Island. Or try climbing up the 131 ship ladder steps to the outside balcony of the Oak Island Lighthouse, located just across the way at Caswell Beach.

How about a little more thrill! Head over to The Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach. Whether soaring high above the ground on the 2.5-hour Zipline Tour, traversing the Aerial Adventure Park challenge course or taking a daredevil jump off the 50-foot Pelican Dive, there are plenty of ways to get the heart rate going from not only physical activity but also a healthy dose of adrenaline.

Heights not your thing? Try a simpler way to stay active like taking a long walk on the beach to find copious amounts of beautiful shells. Or, break out that bike and take it for a spin along the shore. Don’t have your bike with you? Not a problem. You can rent one from one of many outfitters in the Brunswick Islands.

Bikes

Learn to Relax

Pull up a beach chair, grab a good book and sink into the sand. There is no better way to relieve stress than by relaxing to the sound of the ocean. Studies show that the sights, sounds and smells of the beach help you to slow down and relax.

Or, try taking a reflective walk on Bird Island and stumble upon one of Brunswick Islands’ hidden gems. About a mile and a half from the nearest public access beach point lies the Kindred Spirit Mailbox. Full of notebooks and pens for passersby to leave their thoughts, the Kindred Spirit Mailbox has united wanderlust souls for decades. This is a great place to leave behind any troubles from the past year and to move forward with the next.

And if all else fails you can always relax with a glass (or bottle) of wine at the Silver Coast Winery. Known for their award winning wines, the Silver Coast Winery has been a Brunswick Islands staple since it’s opening in 2002. There is truly no better place to keep your “less stress” resolution than North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands.

relaxing beach chairs

Pick up a New Hobby

If your New Year’s resolution is to learn a new skill or hobby, well North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is the place for you. Whether you are looking to pick up a new sport or improve on a coastal classic, the Brunswick Islands has it all.

Let’s say your resolution is to take a few strokes off your golf game. With over 30 premier golf courses and countless helpful golf pros, you will be playing like a pro in no time. Or if golf isn’t your thing, try picking up a fishing pole and casting a line. From a boat, shore or pier, you are bound to catch not only dinner, but a love of the craft.

Gnarly dude! Ever look out into the waves and wonder what it would be like to surf like the pros? Well now you don’t have to. With the help of our seasoned professionals you will be hanging ten in no time! Or if you want a tamer option, try stand up paddle boarding or kayaking. Not only is great exercise and relaxing, but it will have you back out on the water time and time again.

surfing resolutions

Don’t let the fear of breaking your New Year’s resolutions stop you from taking a beach vacation! Not only do the Brunswick Islands allow for you to participate in your resolutions, but they let you thrive at them. For more information on the Brunswick Islands, check out www.ncbrunswick.com.

5 Reasons to Visit North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands this Winter

snowman

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, to visit North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands that is. Winter is one of the best seasons to come to the Brunswick Islands. Escape from the snow, freezing temperatures and frost bite with a winter getaway to these beautiful, pristine, peaceful beaches.

Here are five reasons why you should make the Brunswick Islands your next winter getaway:

1. It feels like you’re on your own private island.

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to have your own private island? With relaxing, serene beaches the Brunswick Islands feel like just that. With enough space for everyone, there is room to spread out and enjoy the company of your family and loved ones without encroaching on someone else’s beach spot.

sunrise on sunset

2. Get more bang for your buck.

In the off-season vacation accommodations, golf courses and other area attractions will often offer special promotions to entice visitors to come and see how wonderful this area is in the winter. And don’t forget about the big holidays that are coming up! A weekend getaway or a round of golf would make an excellent present for anyone who needs a winter vacation.

3. Relaxed pet regulations.

The off-season is the best time to take a dog-friendly vacation! With relaxed beach regulations, your furry friends are bound to have the time of their lives. Rules and regulations vary from beach to beach, but in the winter dogs are allowed all day on every beach in the Brunswick Islands. And if you want to give your dog a chance to be off-leash, take them up to Caswell Beach, Oak Island or out to Bald Head Island for some fetching fun! For tips on how to better prepare for a beach trip with your pup, click the link blog.ncbrunswick.com/dog-friendly-beaches/.

beach dog

4. Watch both the sunrise and sunset over the ocean.

North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands are quite unique compared to other beaches in North Carolina. It’s because they have a rare distinction in that they run east to west, parallel with the shore, and generally face south. Because the sun reaches far enough south in the late fall through early spring, you are able to see both the sunrise and sunset over the ocean. This phenomena has been called one of the “10 Incredible Phenomena You Have to See in Fall” by Weather.com.

Sunset Ocean Isle Beach

5. Your new spot.

Make the Brunswick Islands your new winter getaway for years to come! Come and rejuvenate or have some fun by attending an outdoor market, festival or parade. The winter is chock-full of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy! Especially around the holidays, the quaint coastal towns of the Brunswick Islands are in no short supply of fun things to do. Or come after the holidays and spend some time relaxing and unwinding from the holiday hustle and bustle. And who knows, you might even start a new family tradition!

couple on sunset

The average winter temperature in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is around the mid 50s. So ditch that snowman for a sandman and spend this winter on an incredible beach vacation. To learn more about the Brunswick Islands or to start planning your winter getaway, check out ncbrunswick.com.