Plan the Perfect Spring Break in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

holden beach pier

North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands features 45 miles of beautiful, undiscovered and uncrowded beaches that make it the perfect destination for a spring break trip that is both fun-filled and relaxing. The islands offer adventure by land, water and air, as well as world-famous seafood and a winery worth the trip. In addition to a wide range of charming B&Bs and inns, there are plenty of vacation rental homes, ideal for vacationers wanting both privacy and group gathering spaces. With so much to do, see and experience, families find that spending Spring Break in the unspoiled Brunswick Islands offers more beach for your blanket, and for your budget!

Check out some of our tips for planning the best Spring Break in the Brunswick Islands:

Explore by Land, Air and Sea
The Brunswick Islands are an ideal getaway destination promising relaxation and adventure perfectly suited to every member of the family. A beloved spot for annual family vacations and reunions, the Brunswick Islands are a charming and dynamic destination waiting to be explored by land, air and sea. Here are a few of our favorite ways your family can enjoy Spring Break from every perspective!

  • Land
    Enjoy a quintessential seaside experience by renting a bike and exploring charming island towns or coastal communities such as historic Southport. Discover the hidden gems of the Brunswick Islands’ quaint communities and feel like a local while cruising past scenic ocean views and colorful storefronts. During low tide, take a bike ride on any of the beaches and cruise with the ocean breeze.
  • Air
    Take a coastal excursion to new heights and soar above the Carolina marshes on a zip line at The Swamp Park. Built in the canopy of 100-year-old cypress trees, large and small groups alike are welcome to enjoy a bird’s eye view on 1.25 miles of zip line cable. Or, test your limits on the aerial adventure park with over 50 different challenge elements.
  • Sea
    Balance on a paddle board, test your athleticism with SUP yoga, or sit comfortably in a kayak. From a meandering paddle downstream to navigating the ocean tide, there is an island adventure suitable for everyone. Visitors are welcome to bring their own gear or rent equipment from a local outfitter during their stay.

spring break paddle board

Dinner with a View
In Calabash, the “Seafood Capital of the World,” the food—a savory blend of seafood, southern favorites and mouthwatering treats—is only half the experience. The other half is the unique setting! Eateries right on the water, cozy restaurants to share with friends and Southern diners serving up the best home-style dishes, help to make up the unique atmosphere of this coastal town. It is where the world-famous Calabash style of cooking originated. Be sure to stop in at any of the original family-owned restaurants and try it for yourself.

calabash

Drink Like a Local
Since their doors opened in 2002, Silver Coast Winery has prided itself on serving the best “European Style Wines at the Beach.” Owner Maryann Azzato had a dream of opening her own winery since her father made wine throughout her childhood. In 2004, Winemaker Dana Keeler joined the team and dedicates his more than 35 years of wine making experience to Silver Coast, which has won over 300 national and international medals for its wines. Adult family members can also enjoy hand-crafted local libations at any of our three breweries: Check Six Brewing Company, 34° North Experiment Station and Makai Brewing Company.

silver coast winery

Celebrate with the Community
A Brunswick Islands vacation experience goes beyond the beach. It also includes a variety of festivals and events for families, foodies and fun-lovers that will introduce you to the local flavors and customs of the area. Be sure to check out our calendar of events to see what all your family can experience while in town!

Rain Plan? Check!
While tranquil waters, white sandy beaches and glowing sunshine beckon families to our sunny shores each spring, sometimes the cloudy weather sneaks its way into the forecast. Don’t let a little precipitation rain on all your Spring Break fun! While outdoor excitement is often the selling point of a beach vacation, our enticing indoor activities make for unbeatable elements of both foolproof rain plans and clear sky itineraries alike. Be sure to include these popular sites in your travel plans!

fort johnston

North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands offers an endless array of one-of-a-kind sites, bites, activities and experiences, making it easy to craft a Spring Break itinerary guaranteed to please every member of the family. For more Spring Break travel ideas and special offers, please visit www.ncbrunswick.com.

Upcoming Spring Events & Festivals in NC’s Brunswick Islands

Oak Island Lighthouse Run

Think past the chilly winter months and bulky sweaters forward to basking in the sun in your new bathing suit! Get rid of the winter blues by planning a picturesque coastal getaway this Spring to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. Springtime in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands means tons of local events to entertain the whole family. The views are breathtaking, the food is exquisite, and the memories will last a lifetime.

Here’s just a taste of everything North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands has to offer this spring:

Spring Art Show

Website: http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/spring-art-show-southport-nc

When: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  February 27 – March 18

Where: Franklin Square Gallery, Southport

Contact: 910-457-5450

Southport’s Franklin Square Gallery hosts the annual spring art show featuring paintings, pottery, sculptures, and handmade jewelry by both members of the gallery and local guest artists. The historic building is located near the live oak trees behind Franklin Square Park three blocks from Southport’s waterfront at 130 E. West Street. Over 100 artists will be displaying their work during the exhibit and an award ceremony will be held on Saturday, March 3rd from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. This ongoing event is free and open to all ages.

First Friday Gallery Walks

Website: http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/first-friday-gallery-walk-southport-nc-mar

When: Every first Friday of the month, ongoing

Where: Downtown Southport

Contact: 910-457-1129

Art enthusiasts of all ages are invited to attend this free event hosted by Franklin Square Gallery, The Ricky Evans Gallery, Lantana’s Gallery, Silver Coast Winery and Tasting Room Gallery to view the beautiful pieces created by some of North Carolina’s finest artists. Wine and appetizers will be served at each of these locations.

Badwater Cape Fear – Ultra Marathon Race

Website: http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/badwater-cape-fear-bald-head-island-nc

When: March 16, 2018 – 9:00 a.m. – March 18, 2018 – 10:00 a.m.

Where: Old Baldy Lighthouse, Bald Head Island

Contact: 910-477-3122

“The world’s toughest foot race” features a 12-mile warm-up on the peaceful, car-free roads of Bald Head Island and is followed by a 19 or 39 mile run through the beautiful and serene beaches that run between Cape Fear and Fort Fisher. Entry pricing is $195 for the 32-mile race and $225 for 51.4 mile race.

Southport Spring Festival

Website: http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/southport-spring-festival-nc

When: March 30-31, 2018

Where: Franklin Square Park, Southport

Contact: 910-279-4616 or 910-253-0731

Celebrate Easter weekend with friends and family at one of Southport’s biggest traditions for more than 30 years. Enjoy the 160 vendors of handcrafted home décor, jewelry, goodies and more. It’s not a party unless there is live entertainment for everyone to enjoy! Take walks around the historic waterfront and eat at one of the many restaurants. Admission is free to all.

Oak Island Lighthouse Run/Walk

Website: http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/oak-island-lighthouse-run-walk-oak-island-nc

When: April 20-21, 2018

Where: Middleton Park, Oak Island

Contact: 910-457-6964

Enjoy the views of North Carolina Coast’s salt marshes, beautiful beaches, foot bridges, and have a lighthouse as your cheerleader as you run or walk this years 5k, 10k and 1-mile run. The festivities start on Friday the 20th from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The next day after the run enjoy the After Run Celebration at Middleton Park extension. Participants will receive drink tokens and be eligible for cash prizes, while the half marathon runners will receive a finisher award. The price of admission ranges from $25-$75 depending on the race.

Days at the Dock Festival

Website: http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/days-at-the-dock-holden-beach-nc

When: April 28-29, 2018

Where: Jordan Blvd- Under Holden Beach Bridge, Holden Beach, NC 28462

Contact: 910-523-8523

Appreciate the finest arts and craft vendors, eat the delicious foods around the festival or go listen to some awesome bands. Don’t forget to watch the infamous Bopple Race, where you buy “Bopples” from the festival, drop them from the Holden Beach bridge and let the current push them towards the finish line. If your “Bopple” wins or comes in second, then you win a prize! Curious to find out what a “Bopple” is? You’ll have to come to Days at the Dock Festival to find out! With free admission and free parking, come out with your family and partake in this exciting tradition!

Howl at The Moon

Website: http://www.ncbrunswick.com/event/howl-at-the-moon-bald-head-island-nc-april-29-2018

When: April 29, 2018

Where: East Beach Access 39, Bald Head Island, NC 28461

Come grab a spot on the beach and enjoy the largest beach party every month. Watch the full moon rise and “howl!” around a bonfire. Bring food and drinks to share while Maritime Market provides soup and appetizers. After the moon rises head to Mojo’s for “Moonrise to Midnight.” Admission is free to all.

To learn more about these spring events and others in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, and to plan your trip, visit www.NCBrunswick.com  Follow NC’s Brunswick Islands on social media at www.facebook.com/NCBrunswick/ and www.instagram.com/ncbrunswickislands/

Spring Break Road Trip: Top 5 Reasons NC’s Brunswick Islands is Guaranteed to Put Some Spring in your Step!

by the time Spring Break rolls around, most of us are suffering from a serious case of Spring Fever and are more than ready to Get. Out. Side!

It is also a perfect time for families, who maybe haven’t seen each other since the Holidays, to reconnect.  If you had to pick a central Spring Break gathering point for relatives spread up and down the east coast, and let’s not forget that uncle in Ohio, you couldn’t do better than North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands!    Centrally located on the East Coast, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands are an easy, almost equidistant drive from population power houses Washington, DC (6 h 37 min) and Atlanta, GA (6 h 1 min).  Ohio clocks in at 9.5 hours, which doesn’t deter folks as every Spring and Summer, SUVs sporting OH plates peak out beneath the beach houses.

Now that you know how easy it is to get here, take a look at these wonderful ways to spend your NC beach vacation once you’ve arrived!

  1. Uncrowded Beaches

DSC_8627_RetouchedForty-five miles of uncrowded beaches on 5 barrier islands await vacationers at North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands.  There’s plenty of room to roam and spread out. While the kids splash around, bask in the sun and crack open that book you’ve been dying to read. Without the commercialism of typical spring break destinations, it is so much easier to truly relax and unwind. You won’t find the partiers or view-blocking high rise hotels here. Instead, enjoy pristine sand and natural rolling dunes for miles and miles.

       2. Outdoor Adventure

Swamp Park IMG_9365Bring out your wild side and experience new adventures. Zip through untouched swamp land at Ocean Isle’s new Shallotte River Swamp Park, which features a sustainable zipline course that navigates through a 300-year-old swamp and cypress canopy. Enjoy water-based action in the ocean, rivers and Intracoastal Waterway including canoeing, kayaking, wind sailing, paddle boarding, surfing and fishing. For those who prefer to stay grounded, enjoy a slow-paced stroll down one of the many piers or beaches, or explore the many parks and nature preserves our area has to offer.

  1. History & Museums

DSC_6132_LIGHTHOUSE COUPLECulture and history buffs alike will have plenty to keep their minds sharp this spring break. The state’s oldest standing lighthouse, Old Baldy, on Bald Head Island has stood over North Carolina’s coast for hundreds of years.  Oak Island Lighthouse on Caswell Beach was once the brightest lighthouse in the country. Now, both lighthouses are landmarks beckoning visitors to enjoy the breathtaking views from the top. This spring, you won’t want to miss the Museum of Coastal Carolina, the Southeast’s largest dry aquarium; or the North Carolina Maritime Museum, which gives families insight into tales of pirates and pillage, blockade running, riverfront archaeology, and other nautical adventures. The fun doesn’t stop there, as our islands offer an abundance of museums and historic sites to explore!

  1. Live Like a Local

Oak Island Vacation Rental HomeDive into the rich and relaxing culture of island life by renting a house for the week and enjoy the perks of being able to walk out the front door and onto the beach. Later, enjoy dinner by sampling the local flavors of the coastal area. Our local fishermen harvest a variety of top-quality seafood, including shrimp, blue crabs, grouper, flounder, oysters and clams. In addition, our picturesque Southern small towns offer family-owned, one-of-a-kind restaurants, galleries and shops to make the area one of the best North Carolina vacation destinations.

  1. Spring and Easter Events

The Spring Art Show kicks off the season on March 1 and runs through March 20 in Southport with paintings, pottery and more by local and other NC artists.  Over Easter Weekend, egg hunts and Easter events will keep you hopping from one end of the Brunswick Islands to the other. Then, in April, celebrate parrot-head-style at Phlock to the Beach with a weekend of Jimmy Buffett inspired high spirited fun and the Oak Island Lighthouse 5K, 10K & Half Marathon.  At the end of April, Days at the Docks features food, fun, arts and music on Holden Beach.