Bald Head Island - A Travel Guide

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Our family has been going to Bald Head Island for 26 years and when I think of the beach, I think of Bald Head!  I always look forward to summer days spent relaxing and spending time with family.  Nature surrounds you on the island and stress melts away as you transition to "turtle time"!  

Bald Head is located at the mouth of the Cape Fear River and In order to travel there, you have to take a ferry from Deep Point Marina in Southport, which is about 30 minutes from Wilmington North Carolina, that is, unless you have your own boat.  Be sure to look out for dolphins swimming alongside the ferry as your going over to the island!

Once you arrive, a tram service takes you to your accommodations.  There are no cars on the island (with the exception of emergency vehicles and construction trucks), so once you get there, you scoot around in a golf cart, ride a bicycle, or walk.  There isn't much hustle and bustle, just lots of swimming in the ocean, reading, wine drinking and conversation.

 Images from Pinterest

Images from Pinterest

 Photo by Sara-Anne Photography

Photo by Sara-Anne Photography

It's a pretty safe bet that any time you see a beautiful harbor and a lighthouse in the distance, you know you're in for a good vacation.  So begins your time on Bald'll love the beauty of the island including moss covered trees as you ride through the largest maritime forest, and the quiet beauty of natural uncrowded beaches.  This island is small and intimate and it will quickly start to feel like home.

One of the main attractions of the island is the Bald Head Island lighthouse, otherwise known as Old Baldy.  Commissioned by Thomas Jefferson, it is the oldest lighthouse still standing in North Carolina.  It was activated on December 23, 1794 and directed traffic to the Cape Fear River and the port of Wilmington.  There is a replica of the 1850's lighthouse keeper's cottage next to the lighthouse where you will learn about the maritime past of Old Baldy!  After touring the cottage and learning more about the history of the island, you'll definitely want to climb to the top of the lighthouse for a breathtaking view of the surrounding natural beauty!

Old Baldy

Be prepared for a workout when you climb the steps to the top of the Old Baldy Lighthouse!  You'll be so glad you did when you get to the top because the views are breathtaking!

 Images from Pinterest

Images from Pinterest

Path to the beach

While you won't find a water park on Bald Head, there are 14 miles of uncrowded beach to discover as well as opportunities to paddle board, kayak, fly kites, surf and canoe.  There are two clubs located on the island with swimming pools and delicious restaurants.  The Shoals Club is just steps from the beach and provides beach chairs and towels.  After you've spent time on the beach, the Sandbar Grill has frozen cocktails, salads, seafood and burgers.  

Hudson and me at Bald Head Island - Beach Style

I love knowing that my grandson Hudson will grow up going to Bald Head!

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Sailboat on Bald Head Island

I took this picture just about a month ago as I was sitting on the beach!

 Photo by Sara-Anne Photography

Photo by Sara-Anne Photography

Long walks on the beach will feed your soul as you soak in all the beauty of this amazing island.

Bald Head Island

Golf cart rides and kayaking are about as crazy as it gets on Bald Head.


The Bald Head Island Club includes a golf course originally designed by golf course architect George Cobb and recently renovated by architect Tim Cate, the Bald Head Island Club golf course winds its way over dunes, around lagoons, along the ocean, and through a maritime forest.

Chapel at Bald Head Island

The Bald Head Island Chapel is a charming destination for weddings and has a beautiful view of the marsh.

Bald Head Island Grocery Story

The Maritime Market is the only grocery store on the island, but it has pretty much everything you'll need for your stay!

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Two of my favorite shops are All About Art, which features work from local artists as well as gifts, and Room Service, which carries beautiful candles and housewares and also offers design services.  Other shops include Island Passage for the cutest selection of beachy fashion, Coastal Urge for clothing and gear, Island Hardware for all of your hardware store needs, The Silver Peddler and Bald Head Blues for the best selection of "coastal clothes" for men and women.

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 Photo from Visit North Carolina

Photo from Visit North Carolina

 Images from Pinterst

Images from Pinterst

The island is a nesting location for endangered sea turtle populations and you won't want to miss going on a Turtle Walk provided by The Bald Head Island Conservancy.  There is so much wildlife to on the lookout for creatures like River Otters, White-tail Deer, and Red Foxes.  The conservancy also works to protect the maritime forest, sand dunes, marsh properties and keep the waterways healthy.  Over 200 bird species use the Smith Island Complex as a feeding and nesting ground or a stopover point in migration.

 Photo by Sara-Anne Photography

Photo by Sara-Anne Photography

Dining on Bald Head Island

The Bald Head Island Club

The Grille - The Grille is the Club’s primary and most elegant dining venue where lunch and dinner are served daily in the clubhouse. The menu features land and seafood favorites as well as appetizers the whole family can share and desserts you won’t be able to resist.

The Palms - The Palms features panoramic views of the croquet greenswards and hole #10 & #18. The relaxed social setting is highlighted with large screen televisions, a fully stocked bar, and an informal place to enjoy a cold beverage after a round of golf. 

The Palms Terrace - The Palms Terrace is the Club’s newest dining venue and features al fresco dining for lunch and dinner surrounded by stunning views of the golf course and croquet greens. 

The Ocean Room - The Ocean Room conveys an ambiance that feels exclusive and reveals outstanding ocean and sunset views. Throughout the season, especially during the busy summer months, the Ocean Room hosts larger events such as the annual Easter Brunch or Thanksgiving Dinner which feature lavish buffets, complete with musical entertainment.

Other Restaurants on Bald Head Island

Aqua's at The Shoals Club - As the Club's premier dining venue, Aqua's talented chefs present simple, yet sophisticated preparation that allow fresh, regionally sourced ingredients to shine. The main dining room is family-friendly, perfect for either dinner for two or a large gathering with all the kids to end a spectacular day on the island, watching the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.

 Delphina Cantina - Delphina Cantina brings the fresh flavors of Latin cuisine to Bald Head Island. Located in the harbor this lively restaurant serves Mexican food with a Spanish and Cuban flair.

Mojos on The Harbor - MoJo's delivers imaginative food, welcoming hospitality and a relaxed family friendly environment.  They offer outstanding wines by the glass or bottle and new specialty cocktails, icy cold beer and the best view on Bald Head Island.

Honey's BBQ Shack - Located next to Mojo's on the Harbor, Honey's BBQ Shack  serves the best pulled pork, ribs, brisket, chicken and BBQ sauces ever.

Staying On Bald Head Island

Rent a house, condo or cottage through Bald Head Island Rentals.

The Marsh Harbour Inn - Overlooking the Marina on Bald Head Island, this 10,000 square foot property dominates the Harbour Village landscape. Open, common area decks and porches provide ample opportunities to bask in ambiance of a seaside village and get to know your fellow guests and owners.

The Inn at Bald Head Island - Artfully placed in the heart of the Harbor Village, the Inn offers 10 unique bedroom suites each with their own full bath.

I hope you've enjoyed my little tour of Bald Head Island!  It's truly a place that will capture your heart!