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Lesser Known Islands of the USA: Bald Head Island, NC

May 21, 2014 at 7:26 PM | by | ()

According to the calendar we’re just days away from the start of the summer season, and that means it’s time to turn our attention towards some great warm weather destinations. So get out on the water, wave goodbye to the mainland, and set you watch to island time.

What’s Bald Head Island?

Situated off the coast of North Carolina, Bald Head Island does its thing as a vacation wonderland. The business and industry is based on you coming to visit, so hurry up and head down for a trip. It might not have the charm of a seasonal seaside village, but what it does have is the attention to detail of what most are looking for when it comes to rest and relaxation. Thanks to past storms the island is no longer truly an island by some definitions, but you're going to need to get there by boat. So we say it counts.

How To Get There

Those coming in to North Carolina should probably make their way to Wilmington, and then from there it’s about 90 minutes to where you’re going to pick up the ferry. Travel by boat only takes 20 minutes, and it will set you back around $25 per adult for a round-trip fare. Things depart out of Deep Point Marina in Southport, and ferries leave the mainland on the hour and from the island on the half hour. No need to worry about the rates for taking your car, as that’s not an option—we’ll get to that in a minute.

What to Do

The beach, the sand, and the seashore are the main three attractions here, so be sure to lather on the sunblock during the ferry ride to the island. Unlike a couple of the places we’ve mentioned before Bald Head Island has put some thought into their offerings, so you will have plenty to do. There are golf courses, spas, and marinas, and if you’re looking for more there’s always kiteboarding, fishing, or checking out the local wildlife—try to find the sea turtles over at the Bald Head Island Conservancy.

Where to Stay

Staying for a night or two is certainly possible, but the system is kind of setup to accommodate you—and probably your family—for like the week. Plenty of rental homes are to be had, and you can head over here to check out all of the listings and options. Rates vary with the season, and understandably the cost heats up along with the weather. Try to travel there before school gets out for the summer, or right after the kids head back to class. The only thing you need to remember is hurricane season, as that could be quite the bummer.

Who Goes There

We’d imagine there’s quite a few tourists with some deep pockets, as the island real estate company is quick to offer up their premier properties. We checked out a few, and as soon as we have $12,000 for a one-week stay we’re going to make ourselves right at home at Loggerhead Lady. Unfortunately it’s going to be a while, as we’re like $11,500 short of our goal.

Where to Eat

Like it or not the officials that kind of run the island and its village also kind of run the dining options. That means no McDonald’s, but that also means no local barbeque or taco trucks. Maritime Market Café offers soups, salads, and sandwiches—along with breakfast. There’s Delphina Cantina, MoJo’s on the Harbor, and Sandpiper Ice Cream and Coffee for when you need a sweet treat after dinner or before.

What Else

North Carolina loves itself a few good lighthouses, and there’s one to check out on Bald Head Island. Known as Old Baldy, the spot is the state’s oldest standing lighthouse, and as a result there’s some history to go along with the sights. Visitors are welcome—for a fee—to climb the 108 steps up towards the top, and then you can look back mockingly at the mainland knowing what they’re missing out on.

Oh—and about the cars—there aren’t any allowed on the island, so everyone gets around on bicycles or golf carts.

[Photos: Bruce Tuten and ridingsilky]

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