Bald Head Island: An Island Reprieve

By Catrina Tomsich and Ariana Fronti |

Arriving at the Deep Point Marina in Southport, we instantly felt at ease. Leaving behind our car set the tone for the day ahead… after all, there are no cars on Bald Head Island; the only form of transportation is bikes or golf carts. While waiting to board the ferry, we sat on the terrace overlooking the water and watching the sun rise. We boarded the ferry and chose to sit as close to the front as possible to get the best view. It was a quick and pleasant trip to the island; we even got to see a few dolphins along the way.

Bald Head Island NC marina

Exiting the ferry, there are golf cart trams that will take you to your destination of choice. A sudden feeling of vacation surrounds you. Cary Cart Company provided us with a golf cart rental, and we began our tour about the beautiful Island. The setting and beautiful beach houses instantly made us second guess a one-day stay. A week off for a stay in one of these amazing homes would be idyllic.

The first turn we took was into a tunnel of trees that guided us towards the beach. There are three beaches on BHI, one of which consists of marsh. We saw a family of deer gently grazing alongside the road. Between the wildlife and trees that encompass the island and the seclusion of the beaches with the gorgeous ocean views, everything about BHI is serene and relaxing. There is also plenty of local shopping and restaurant options, including boutiques, gift shops, a market, a spa, and both fine and casual dining.

Bald Head has a very cool and exciting history. Bald Head Island was historically named Smith Island, but later renamed Bald Head by the early river pilots’ in reference to its bald headland. Ten thousand of its 12,000 acres are protected and will remain undeveloped, allowing for the beauty of the island to flourish and ensuring that wildlife has a home. BHI offers one of the most important nesting grounds for loggerhead turtles and is home to the BHI conservancy, a nonprofit group that protects this endangered species. In the 1700s, Bald Head was used as a hideout by infamous pirates such as Edward Teach aka Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet. Bald Head Island also had a part in two American wars: the American Revolution and the Civil War providing forts to the British and the Confederate armies. It is believed that Native Americans used BHI as a vacation spot much as it used today. No trip to BHI is complete without checking out the famous lighthouse Old Baldy, built in 1817. At 110 feet tall, it is the oldest standing lighthouse in North Carolina.

History, scenery, beach and shopping are not all Bald Head Island offers. Visitors will never be bored with the variety of cool activities to enjoy: island tours, nature trails, kayaking, canoeing, a magnificent golf course, and a family fun night with games, music and more.

Bald Head Island NC Brooke's WallFor dinner, we went to Mojos, with its intriguing memorial named Brooke’s Wall, a wall papered with money. The story behind the bills is that, on the first day of business, Brooke and Nonie, good friends of owner Andrea, had a seat at the bar at opening time. They were the first customers. Upon payment, Brooke signed the very first dollar the restaurant made for good luck. Other friends and customers asked to be able to sign their bills and write good wishes on them, and they are all displayed on the wall. Andrea decided to dedicate the wall to her dear friend Brooke, who recently passed away of pancreatic cancer. The money will one day be donated to Duke Cancer research. Until then, the wall continues to be decorated in signed bills.

After dinner, we caught the sunset at one of the secluded beaches. The never-ending water, with shades of reds and oranges wrapping the sky, is the perfect backdrop for bird watching. The abundance of experience – both nature and recreation – on Bald Head guarantees that even after you check a visit off your bucket list, there will be many more trips to this magical island.

Bald Head Island NC sunset

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths that we take but by the moments that take our breath away.” -Unknown

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