Bald Head Island is a small town (its population is less than 200) that is only accessible by ferry. It’s an ideal vacation destination because its remote location means it feels far away from the rest of the world. The island also has a few claims to fame — it’s a major location for sea turtles to nest, the location of two movies, and the site of the oldest still standing lighthouse in the state, “Old Baldy.”
Bald Head Island has 14 miles of beaches, and if you’re there you probably want to use them. Different beaches on the island are great for different things — East Beach has good surfing while West Beach is good for beachcombing. Beachgoers can also try sailing, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, and kiteboarding. When you’re done with the water, go inland to find the Bald Head Woods Maritime Forest Preserve, with several hiking trails with beautiful trees. You can also kayak inland on the creeks with the Bald Head Island Conservancy. Rentals typically include temporary membership to one of the island’s two clubs, where visitors can play tennis, golf, or just eat in one of the many dining establishments.
Leaving Bald Head Island means taking a ferry from there and then back, so make sure you find some place with plenty to do to make the trip worth it. The closest big city is Wilmington, where visitors can see the beautiful Airlie Gardens, take in the historic section of the city, and even go to the Wilmington Railroad Museum. About two hours away from Bald Head Island is Myrtle Beach, a much larger ocean retreat. The beaches there are more crowded, but there’s also more shopping and restaurants. If you really want to make a trip, spend a night in Charleston, which is about four hours south of Bald Head Island. While there, explore the amazing culinary scene, walk along the waterfront, and shop on King Street.
Almost all accommodation is located along the southwestern area of the island, namely because that’s where the beach is and farthest from the maritime forest. Because the island is so small, however, there aren’t different districts from each other, so just stay where you find the best property or closest to the section of beach you like the best.
One of the unique things about Bald Head Island is there’s almost no cars on the entire island. Instead, residents and visitors get around in one of three ways: golf cart, bike, or simply on foot. If you’re there for some time, you may want to rent a golf cart (but first, check if your rental provides one), but you’ll definitely want to borrow some bikes. You can easily get around the majority of the island this way. Luckily, you don’t need to worry about transportation when you first get to the island as buying a ferry ticket also ensures tram service to your accommodation upon arrival.
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