Bald Head Island is a village on a barrier island of the same name between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean in North Carolina. Accessible only by boat from the mainland city of Southport, Bald Head Island offers a stunningly beautiful oasis of serenity. With transportation throughout the island limited to bikes and electric golf carts, your family can walk and cycle the roads and trails, head for the beaches, play sports, and visit unique local attractions within minutes of your accommodation. Book your Bald Head Island vacation rental today. Here are the top activities you can do with your kids on Bald Head Island.
1. Enjoy the Beaches
Bald Head Island has 14 miles of wide sandy beaches on its western, eastern, and southern sides. South Beach has long spreads of flat sand and placid water perfect for families with kids to relax, swim, sunbathe, and build sandcastles. East Beach has excellent breakers for surfing. The conjunction of West Beach and South Beach is a great spot for shell collecting. Be sure to visit Cape Fear Point at the southeastern tip of the island, where Frying Pan Shoals jut out into the ocean for 30 miles.
2. Play Sports
The island is a great place to enjoy water sports. If you and the kids have always wanted to try boogie boarding or surfing, you can easily rent some equipment from a local retailer and sign up for lessons. For more thrills, you can learn to kiteboard on the sand or water. Popular land sports on the island include golf, tennis, and croquet.
3. Swim in the Pools
If you prefer to swim in the sand-free waters of swimming pools, Bald Head Island has got two excellent choices. Shoals Club has a lap pool and a shallow children’s pool. There, you’ll find showers, a changing area, and complimentary towels. There’s also a food and drink service area. You and your children can take swimming lessons or enjoy water aerobics. Bald Head Island Club’s pool has a water slide for children, a playground, and a nearby beach volleyball court.
4. Go Cycling
Without the impediment, stink, and danger of motor vehicles, Bald Head Island’s 15 miles of roads offer ideal conditions for cycling. The terrain is gentle and fairly level, making it easy for you and your family to take extended cycling trips to explore the beautiful island. You can easily rent standard bikes, children’s bikes, tandems, and tricycles. If necessary, you can attach training wheels, a baby seat, or a trailer to your bike. Take advantage of this opportunity to ride bikes in comfort and safety.
5. Hike the Trails
Bald Head Island offers numerous trails for hiking enthusiasts. The Kent Mitchell Nature Trail provides easy hiking through a beautiful forest for people of all ages. Most of the trail is paved, and boardwalk bridges take you over watery stretches. The Bald Head Woods Maritime Coastal Preserve, located in the island’s center, has a number of trails on both sides of Federal Road. The forest features extremely old live oak, laurel oak, and red cedar trees. For a unique experience, you can skiff or kayak to Bluff and Kim Islands, where you can hike around and enjoy spectacular views.
6. Explore the Waterways
The numerous creeks on Bald Head Island are perfect for exploring by canoe or kayak. You can strike out on your own or join a guided tour. Alternatively, you can try stand-up paddle boarding, which involves standing on a board like a surfboard and using a long paddle to move yourself forward. For an unforgettable family adventure, you can rent a sailboat and take lessons on how to sail the creeks and rivers.
7. Observe Wildlife
Wherever you go on Bald Head Island, you have the opportunity to observe the local wildlife. For instance, on your hiking trips, you can spot deer, foxes, and raccoons. You may also see blue jays, cardinals, Carolina wrens, and many other species of birds. As you paddle the waters, watch for ospreys, bald eagles, herons, and egrets. The island is also an important nesting area for loggerhead sea turtles. In early August, the mother turtles crawl up onto the beach to lay their eggs, and in late August and September, the baby turtles dig out of the sand and head for the sea.
8. Join a Nature Tour
Bald Head Island offers several guided opportunities to learn about its wildlife. The Bald Head Island Conservancy organizes Turtle Walk programs in the evenings during nesting season so you can see the turtles up close. You and the kids can also join the Sea Turtle Patrol, which allows you to accompany Conservancy personnel as they search the beach for sea turtle mothers and babies. At Budding Naturalists, Junior Scientists, and Conservancy Corps, children of various ages enjoy exciting activities as they learn about the island ecology. The Bald Head After Dark program takes you on a tour to observe island wildlife that comes out at night, such as alligators, bats, frogs, toads, and fireflies.
9. Visit the Lighthouse
Bald Head Island is home to the oldest standing lighthouse in North Carolina. Known as Old Baldy, this iconic out-of-commission structure stands on the west side of the island, just a short distance from the ferry landing. You can climb to the top for a magnificent view of the island, its surrounding waters, and the distant mainland. At the base in the old Keeper’s Cottage is the Smith Island Museum of History, where you can learn the history of the lighthouse and the island.
10. Meet Ghosts and Pirates
For a real thrill, take the family on the evening island Ghost Walk to learn about eerie local legends of lighthouse keepers, river pilots, pirates, and mysterious women. At the Enchanted Island Treasure Hunt, children can work with a troupe of actors to solve the puzzle of a treasure map. They can fight their way past pirates, and dig for buried gold. The island also stages a pirate invasion in the middle of summer, which involves parties, sea battles, sword fighting, and treasure hunts.
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