Bald Head Island: The Perfect Getaway
By Morgan Lehman
Have you ever wanted to get away? I mean, really get away? I know I have. And off the shores of North Carolina lies Bald Head Island—the perfect place to do so.
Bald Head Island, also known as Smith Island, is a coastal village located to the east of the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County, North Carolina. Just south of Wilmington, Bald Head Island is small and somewhat remote. You have to take a ferry to even get there. From nearby Southport, the ferry trip is only a short trip away.
Bald Head Island ends at the tip of Cape Fear at the junction of the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Gulf Stream, where the island’s land trails off into 30 miles of treacherous sandbars known as Frying Pan Shoals. In this area, large sandbars emerge seasonally and then retreat into the sea. These topographical transformations often occur rapidly and change the island drastically. Many believe that Bald Head Island emerged from one such sandbar and was stabilized by a succession of new plant life, that led to the creation of a permanent land mass.
To protect the quaintness of the village, there are few cars on the island. Instead, residents get around on modified, electric golf carts. The population of Bald Head Island is under 500 people. Truly, you could meet all of your neighbors. And if you want a little more adventure, Wilmington and other beach communities aren’t too far away. Southport is renowned for its shopping and dining.
If nature is important to you, Bald Head Island might be the place for you. From strict Village regulations and firm property owners restrictions from the Bald Head Association, Bald Head Island is nationally recognized as a barrier island where people live in harmony with nature. The Bald Head Island Conservancy actively monitors water quality, the dunes, maritime forest, and salt marsh. And the island is known for its sea turtle nesting activity. In fact, the population of sea turtles is so high residents of Bald Head Island say they are on “turtle time.”
Visitors to Bald Head Island can join the Conservancy’s Sea Turtle Protection Staff for a nightly Turtle Walk. After a 45-minute presentation about basic sea turtle biology, attendees are led to the beach to await a sea turtle nesting or hatching. Shellfish are abundant, and catching them is always profitable for fishermen. The village is admired for its scenic beauty and is a popular location for vacationing. Several movies were filmed on Bald Head Island including, Weekend at Bernie’s, and The Butcher’s Wife.
If history is your thing, Bald Head Island has a lot to offer you. The village has a rich history of war: the American Revolution and the Civil War. Bald Head Island is also home to Old Baldy, which is the oldest lighthouse still standing in North Carolina. No longer in service, Old Baldy was built in 1817. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places and is open to the public.
The weather on Bald Head Island is considered a humid, subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and cool winters. The winter temperatures never drop below the mid 50’s, so it never gets too cool.
Bald Head Island just might be perfect for you if you love seclusion, nature, history, and beautiful scenery. Go for a visit, and you might stay forever.