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Brunswick Island

"Tour of the Islands"

Brunswick Island! Inviting blue-green waters, white sandy beaches, and quaint fishing villages, make this a dream vacation just waiting to happen!

Located in the southeastern corner of North Carolina between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach is a band of narrow barrier islands called Brunswick Island

Five islands make up the area - Holden Beach, Oak Island, Sunset beach, Ocean Isle Beach, and Bald Head Island.  The perfect place for a family vacation, fishing trip, or romantic getaway!

Brunswick Island is 45 miles of quiet upspoiled sandy beaches, with a delightful slower, laid-back atmospere is separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway. 

shovels-on-beachOther coastal towns of the islands include Caswell Beach and Southport.  The two mainland towns are Calabash and Shallotte. 

Calabash is at the southern end of the area and Shallotte is located in the center. 
Brunswick Island is perfect for a family vacation or special romantic getaway. 

Kick your shoes off, crank up the beach music --

and take a drive along the ocean as we explore the islands! 


Starting from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and driving 25 miles north on Highway 17, we will reach the North Carolina-South Carolina border.  This is the southern point of the beautiful Brunswick Island. 
Just past the "Welcome to North Carolina" sign is the small fishing village of Calabash.

It is situated along the banks of the Calabash River which links to the Intracoastal Waterway and is best known as the "Seafood Capitol of the World".

ellas-calabash-seafoodCornmeal battered Calabash-Style deep fried seafood with famous southern hushpuppies is served in the waterfront seafood restaurants along the dock. 

The fishing boats deliver catches of the day to over 30 restaurants.  If you love great seafood, you have to try it Calabash-Style! 

Sunset Beach

Moving on, a quick drive straight through Calabash takes us to the junction of Highway 179 and 904 where we will turn right.  Traveling one mile to the traffic light, we will turn right and cross over the Intracoastal Waterway bridge. sunset-beach-sign
This will take us onto the barrier island of Sunset Beach, North Carolina.

It is the smallest of Brunswick Island.  Even though the island is only 3 miles long, it is a wonderful quiet, secluded beach for a great family vacation or reunion. 

For the fishermen, you can enjoy the full-service Sunset Beach fishing Pier. 
It is 900 feet long and you don't even need a fishing license to fish from the pier! 

bird-islandA few miles south of the Sunset Beach Pier on Brunswick Island is a special place called Bird Island Coastal Reserve.  It is a 1300 acre, uninhabited State Preserve barrier island that connects with Sunset Beach. 

Actually, because the inlet is now filled with sand due to hurricanes, it is no longer an island.  It is home to the Loggerhead Turtles and nesting areas for various species of birds. 

With good walking shoes, you can explore Bird Island about two miles south of the pier!  On your way, look for the "Kindred Spirits" mailbox.  If you like, open the mailbox to find notebooks and pens to write down your own thoughts and messages.  Bird Island is a beautiful place to see, and most definitely worth the walk!

Ocean Isle Beach

Next stop on our Brunswick Island tour is Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina!  Leaving Sunset Beach on Sunset Boulevard N and driving about 4 miles to Causeway Drive, we will turn right.  ocean-isle-beach-sign

This will take us to Ocean Isle Beach Pier and Arcade, one of the oldest fishing piers along the North Carolina coast.

Seven miles of gentle surf and white sandy beaches make this a perfect vacation spot any time of the year. 

oyster-festivalOcean Isle has a small airport and the only place on the island with a high rise hotel. Just a block from the pier is a great family fun activity, the Museum of Coastal Carolina. The museum offers natural history of the coast with a touch tank, reef gallery, and the Carolina Shells and Fossils exhibits. And, you can even see an American Bald Eagle up close! 

Just behind the Museum of Coastal Carolina, the 31st annual North Carolina Oyster Festival will be held on October 15-16, 2011!  Mark your calendars to join us in the fall for this spectacular festival!  

Holden Beach

Back on the road, heading to Holden Beach, North Carolina!  We will take NC Hwy 179 out of Ocean Isle Beach and drive about 7 miles to Highway 17.  This will take us into the mainland town of Shallotte

Shallotte serves as a commercial hub for Brunswick Island because it is in a central location and is easily accessible. Shallotte has major department stores, shopping malls, movie theatres, great restaurants, and most anything you would need! 

Leaving Shallotte, we will take Highway 17 to NC-130 and drive about 8 miles to Holden Beach!

carolina-pierYou are going to love this beach!  By the way, Holden Beach was voted one of the top 10 beaches in the United States by USA Today, and National Geographic Traveler magazine voted it as one of the best family beaches!

This spectacular beach offer year round moderate weather and over 8 miles of wide, sandy beaches.

In October every year, you can enjoy the Festival by the Sea, where you will find treasures and displays by local artists and vendors and lots of great food!

A great place to find that one of a kind souvenirs of Brunswick Island!  

Holden Beach is also a nesting beach from May through August each year for the protected species, the Loggerhead Sea Turtle.

You may be fortunate enough to see some of the babies hatching! 

This beach is very simple, laid-back, and family oriented with everything you need for a vacation to remember forever! 

Oak Island

Let's check out a hidden treasure - Oak Island!  Heading out of Holden Beach we will take Stone Chimney Road SW about 6 miles to NC Hwy 211 South, and drive about 9 miles to Midway Road SE and turn right. 

Oak Island is just 4 miles ahead!  Oak Island is the largest and most populated of the Brunswick Islands.  It is about 13 miles long and 1 mile across.

This beachfront community offers recreation trails, 52 beach accesses, landings for canoes and kayaks, two public boat launches, and the 893 foot Ocean Crest Fishing Pier!

The pier was voted the #1 fishing pier in North Carolina by the Fishing Post. 

Also, for the golfer, Oak Island has 15 area courses nearby.

Caswell Beach

Next stop, Caswell Beach!  Leaving Oak Island we will drive 5 miles on
E Oak Island Drive and take a right on Country Club Drive.  Caswell Beach is aproximately 1 mile ahead.  This 4 mile long beach, and the least populated of the islands, is just perfect if you're looking to enjoy a quiet and simple vacation.                                            

oak-island-lighthouseCaswell Beach is home to the Coast Guard Station, and also the brightest lighthouse in the country, the Oak Island Lighthouse.

It is one of the few lighthouses built by the United States Coast Guard and stands 148 feet tall. 

The amazing views of the Intracoastal Waterway and the magnificent Atlantic Ocean make this a place to visit over and over again!

One of my favorite things to do is to walk the beach at night carrying a flashlight.  This is a fun way to catch crabs and also watch the baby turtles hatchloggerhead-turtles

After dark, during the summer months, May through August, the female turtles come out of the ocean and lay their eggs. 

Starting in July, the baby turtles begin to hatch and head for the ocean.  Watching the turtles hatch is absolutely amazing! 


About 8 miles away is the charming town of Southport, the place where movies are made!  From Caswell Beach, we will head west on Caswell Beach Road, continue onto Country Club Road and follow NC 133 North to NC 211 South for 3 miles into Southport.

This is a very popular place used by movie studios as primary settings for movie scenes. Some of the movies you may recall are Crimes of the Heart; Weekend at Bernies; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Summer Catch; and A Walk To Remember. 

southport-waterfront-parkSouthport is located at the mouth of the Cape Fear River just south of Wilmington, and is considered part of the Wilmington metropolitan area. 

You will see beautiful tree-lined streets and unique shops as you walk along the Southport Riverwalk near the marina.

Be sure to visit the Maritime Museum where you can soak up the interesting history of the area!

Every October they are host to the United States Open King Mackerel Tournament. People come from all around for this tournament!

 Don't miss this absolutely charming little fishing village that is sure to steal your heart!

Bald Head Island

The last stop on our Brunswick Island tour is Bald Head Island.  Unlike the other islands Bald Head Island is only accessable by private boat or ferryIn Southport we will head to Deep Point Marina to board the ferry. 

To get to the ferry we will take NC 211 South to East Moore Street and turn left.  We will follow E Moore Street and turn right onto Ferry Road. 

The entrance to the ferry terminal at Deep Point Marina is about 1/2 mile ahead.  It is a good idea to call the ferry and make a reservation, especially during the summer months.

 Your vehicle is left on the mainland and the trip on the ferry is about a 25 minute ride to the island.  No cars are allowed on the island, but you can rent a golf cart or bicycle to get around.  For a peaceful, quiet vacation without the crowds, Bald Head Island is the perfect vacation spot!

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