Brunswick Islands NC

Tucked away between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina, the Brunswick Islands are a hidden treasure just waiting on your discovery! The Brunswick Beaches are made up of five barrier islands (Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach, Caswell Beach, and Bald Head Island) and charming coastal towns with views of the Inter-coastal Waterway. Each of the Brunswick Beaches has a unique charm. Avoid the crowds of the neighboring vacation destinations', and experience something unique, the Brunswick Islands NC!

With six different beaches across five barrier islands, there is something for everyone. With a range of tastes, activities, and interests as varied as everyone in your family. All with sea breezes, sunny days and rolling surf. Whatever island or town you choose to visit, there is something to fit your style and budget. All within reach of all the best North Carolina Beaches!

Brunswick Islands Weather – When to Visit

The best time to visit the Brunswick Islands is March to May or September to November, when rates drop and crowds dissipate. Most locals and out-of-towners arrive during the summer months when the temperatures are the warmest. Similar to other parts of the Southeast, the temperatures stay relatively warm and humid – with average highs hitting the upper 80s in the summer – until the winter months, when the weather dips into the 40s and 50s. Keep in mind that during the off season some attractions, as well as restaurants and shops, may close or operate under more limited hours. 

Best Brunswick Islands Beaches

Sunset Beach, Brunswick Islands NC, best Brunswick Islands beaches, things to do in the Brunswick Islands, best Brunswick Islands hotels, best Brunswick Islands restaurants
Sunset Beach

If you want sweeping views of endless sand and long for serenity, then head to Sunset Beach. A walk to Bird Island is a must as well as a visit to the Kindred Spirit Mailbox where visitors can share their thoughts and stories in the pages of the notebooks within.

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Holden Beach, Brunswick Islands NC, best Brunswick Islands beaches, things to do in the Brunswick Islands, best Brunswick Islands hotels, best Brunswick Islands restaurants
Holden Beach

Holden Beach is a great family beach with lots of activities to keep families busy. Explore the island with a walking tour, by bike, or with a kayak or canoe excursion along the Intracoastal Waterway. Spend a day on the beach spotting dolphins and playfully chasing ghost crabs with flashlights in the evening.

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Caswell Beach, Brunswick Islands NC, best Brunswick Islands beaches, things to do in the Brunswick Islands, best Brunswick Islands hotels, best Brunswick Islands restaurants
Caswell Beach

The last lighthouse built in North Carolina, the Oak Island Lighthouse stands 169 feet above the water, and its light can be seen for 16 miles. Take a tour and climb to the top of the unique lighthouse by a series of ship ladders with 131 steps, all leading to incredible views of Caswell Beach and the lush, green inland marsh from the outside balcony.

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Ocean Isle Beach

Ocean Isle Beach has an abundance of activities both on and off the sand. It's one of the top surf spots in the Brunswick Islands. Other activities include biking, zip lining, kayaking, fishing, helicopter tours and much more – all without leaving Ocean Isle Beach!

Bald Head Island, Brunswick Islands NC, best Brunswick Islands beaches, things to do in the Brunswick Islands, best Brunswick Islands hotels, best Brunswick Islands restaurants
Bald Head Island

Reachable only by ferry or private boat, visitors and locals explore the resort-style island by bike, boat and golf cart. Bald Head Island is unspoiled, yet charming, and provides quiet relaxation for a vacation hideaway filled with natural landscapes and pristine beaches.

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Best Tours & Activities Near the Brunswick Islands

Sunset Sail Tour from Wrightsville Beach

Cruise through the waters of Wrightsville Beach aboard a 42-foot (13-meter) yacht during this small-group coastal sailing adventure. Enjoy scenic views of the surrounding waterways and barrier islands, and catch a glimpse of marine life. Soft drinks, juice, bottled water, and light refreshments are provided on board the boat. Plus, choose from morning, afternoon, or sunset cruises to best suit your schedule. Learn more about the Sunset Sail from Wrightsville Beach.

Private Charter

The captain works with the guest to design a custom outing based on his 30 years of cruising experience in the local area. With knowledge of the local sea conditions and coastal ecology. you build a custom experience. Learn more about the Private Charter tour.

Wrightsville Beach Fishing Trips

Let Capt. Jennings Rose of North State Guide Service take you to fish and explore the water around Wrightsville Beach! We are dedicated to ensuring you have a excellent experience on the water. Fishing trips, family outings, scenic cruises and dolphin tours; we've got you covered! Over 10 years of professional guiding experience. Learn more about the Wrightsville Beach Fishing Trips.

Afternoon Sail

Take a 2.0 hour sailing cruise on a Sparkman and Stephens Sailing Yacht. With your small-group, engage on this classic 42 ft yacht, that accommodates a 6 passenger maximum for an intimate cruise through the waters of Wrightsville Beach. This tour is a spectacular way to see the waterways, barrier islands, and marine life surrounding Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina. Learn more about the Afternoon Sail.

Best Brunswick Islands Restaurants

Captain John's Seafood House $11 – 30

They are a family run waterfront seafood restaurant and lounge in their 41st year of operation! Also great chicken and pasta. Best rib eye steaks in Calabash. Telephone: 910-579-6011 Web: Captain John's Seafood House

Captain Nance's Seafood $11 – 30

They feature all of your favorite seafood as well as a variety of land lover meals. They also have an amazing outside seating area where you can often see their shrimp boats bringing in their catch for the day. Telephone: 910-579-2574 Web: Captain Nance's Seafood

The Dockside Seafood House $11 – 30

Check out their menu of “Calabash Style” seafood favorites as well as Slow Roasted Prime Rib, NY Strip Steaks & rib eye steaks for the land lover. Telephone: 910-579-6775 Web: The Dockside Seafood House

Crabby Oddwaters $11 – 30

Crabby's has since evolved to into a full service restaurant and bar, popular with locals and visitors alike, offering the freshest seafood possible. Their menu features classic seafood dishes and southern favorites, as well as traditional options for kids and landlubbers. Telephone: 910-579-6372 Web: Crabby Oddwaters

Jinks Creek Waterfront Grill $11 – 30

Jinks Creek Waterfront Grille is an energetic with fresh seafood, blending classical preparations and exciting new flavors. Their raw bar features the best variety of fresh shellfish and seafood in Ocean Isle Beach. Welcoming of all palates, Jinks Creek also features non-seafood options daily. Telephone: 910-579-9997 Web: Jinks Creek Waterfront Grill

Best Brunswick Islands Hotels

26 Comments

  1. Alex Chivers

    Hi Leah,  Just finished reading your post about the Outer Banks in California.  I must say I would be more tempted to visit there than the Brunswick Islands but still, another looks like another beautiful place.  I think Ocean Isle Beach would be the one for me.  I bet the helicopter tour is amazing.

    Thanks for sharing 👍

    Alex

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I believe you would love the helicopter tour.  Thanks for visiting my Brunswick Islands NC guide Alex.

      Reply
  2. Ann

    I’m excited about going to Brunswick beaches. With five beaches stretched across five barrier islands, I know we’ll find a range of tastes, activities, and interests as varied as the members of our family, LOL. From a resort-style stay to a forget-the-make-up break to a full-on family adventure. There definitely seems to be something for everyone. Do you 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Agreed Ann!  Plenty for everyone and a good variety in the Brunswick Islands NC.

      Reply
  3. Jean

    After reading your detailed article, I have noticed some great tours and activities that I would love to experience. The Sunset Sail Tour from Wrightsville Beach is definitely something to enjoy and can potentially be very romantic for two. A Wrightsville Beach Fishing Trip lead by such an experienced guide will definitely be worthwhile too and will give me some time alone to just relax and clear my thoughts.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Jean!  I hope you visit the Brunswick Islands NC soon!  And thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  4. Sylvia

    Wow, I had no idea that North Carolina is so beautiful. 

    It is a shame that I don’t know very much about the States of America anyway. As a nature child, I would love to visit all the beauty. You have so many beaches over there, which is my favorite because I am born and grown up with the beach, the sea, and sand.

     Here in Europe, everything is smaller, but of course, we have many beaches, especially in France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries. Still, you have for certain a beautiful mixture of several components. If I lived in the States, I wouldn’t need to go to other countries. There is so much to see in your country. Absolutely beautiful! 

    The weather is perfect, and these long-distances beaches. I hope so much that Corona will pass very soon, and we will travel again. Thank you very much for this excellent post. By the way, I loved that video. 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Sylvia!  I have been to many beaches in the U.S. and live in Florida.  But to go to a different country and experience their culture, their food, and everything is wonderful!  Here for me, it’s all the same LOL  Granted each beach area is unique, but the food and culture and all is pretty much very similar.

      Reply
  5. Gaurav Gaur

    Hi Leahrae
    Thanks for sharing your views on Brunswick Islands NC. The garland of 6 beaches seems to be very interesting. As you said there is something for everyone, this beaches are going to make their impression for the first-time visitors as well as the seasoned repeat visitors. You have done quite an extensive research to showcase everything available on this beaches .Thanks for your efforts.
    Thanks and regards,
    Gaurav Gaur

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Guarav for taking the time leave me comments.  I appreciate it!

      Reply
  6. Nina

    It looks like you covered everything! I can’t think of anything regarding traveling you haven’t covered, except maybe bringing pets on your vacation. However, it may already be on your site and I just missed it. Families enjoy taking their pets with them. Maybe that could be another subtitle, Family Vacations? In that way you open your site up to a whole different demographic of people.

    All in all I think you have done a wonderful job creating your website. I like how it includes products and where to purchase them. I hope that works well with you and affiliates. Best of luck.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks so much Nina.  Yes, I plan on doing family beach vacations as well.  I have just kind of “splurged” on my beach passion LOL

      Reply
  7. Sasha

    This is such a great post- so glad I came across this. I have never heard of the Brunswick islands and that is the beauty of it. I always love discovering places that many people don’t know about. Less crowd, more beauty! I would love to visit the islands someday and im excited to know that there are so many different beaches within. I wonder how far away from each other they are? I mean the beaches.
    Thanks for the awesome post- I have bookmarked your site and will be visiting again to get the best info on travel ideas. Your site is now my go-to for all things travel!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      The beaches are all within easy reach of each other 🙂  And very true, not known about by most so more untouched and less crowds.  A win win!  I am headed there this summer….great for relaxation.

      Reply
  8. Alblue

    Thanks for recommending Brunswick Island. I have been planning to go to the US sometime during this midyear, so apparently, it’s the best time to visit there. I have some questions though. Do all the perks and activities remain the same even during this pandemic period? Is it ‘safe’ there? I’ve been longing to visit US beaches, but I want to make sure they still implement the health safety protocols.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It is safe there.  They are open, of course face coverings are required when going inside restaurants and such.  They are operating at 75% capacity to be safe.  All of the towns and beaches are open.  Just follow the CDC guidelines as you would at home for safety.  

      Reply
  9. Sergej

    Hi Leahrae

    I am a vacation enthusiast. Your article really carried my mind to the wildest vacations.
    Brunswick Island. With 4 islands and their strategic positioning, there is no other place in my mind to enjoy that soothing sea beach breeze and ride the rolling surf plus enjoying a cool beer during sunset by the shores. My next Vaccay is already planned, guys!

    Great article. I will definitely share with my friends!

    -Sergej

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Sergej!  The whole area is beautiful and you can’t go wrong with a vacation to the Brunswick Islands NC!

      Reply
  10. Cogito

    HI Leahrae. What a charming place. I didn’t have occasion to visit Brunswick Island but looking on pictures and your review this is a place I definitely want travel to. It seems quiet, peaceful and relaxing – ideal place to go with family. There is something to do for kids, and prices are really reasonable. Thank you for great post, I hope soon traveling will be so easy as in the past.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great, I am glad you enjoyed my Brunswick Islands NC guide.  Thanks for visiting Beach Travel Destinations.

      Reply
  11. LineCowley

    The Brunswick Beaches sound like an amazing destination and I didn’t know about the five barrier islands. I love walking on the beach, so Sunset Beach will be a definite for me. And to visit Caswell Beach and climb up the ship ladders sound like an absolute must do. 

    You mention that Bald Head Beach can only be reached by ferry or private boat. Is the ferry just for foot passengers, or can one take your own car onto the ferry to have transport on the island?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      The ferry to Bald Head Beach is a people Ferry.  So you won’t be driving there.  It is worth it though, so beautiful!

      Reply
  12. Monique Richie

    Hello, Leahrae, and thank you so much for this interesting article about the Brunswick Islands. Those 5 Islands look really like a hidden treasure. I like the Ocean Isle Inn the most. We love the familiar atmosphere. For us, it is important to have private beach access. We run every morning, and therefore it is crucial to have beach access. When we saw the indoor pool it was love at first sight. This could be our next vacation domicile. Thank you so much, we are longing to come out of Europe this summer.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      The Ocean Isle Inn would be your best choice 🙂  I believe you will truly enjoy a visit to North Carolina.  Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  13. Christine

    When I think of beaches, I always think of the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, well, the usual famous spots, but these beaches here look beautiful. I especially liked Bald Head Island. It looked very remote, the perfect place to hide from busy society. There are lots of great restaurants to visit too! 

    I love boats, so I would definittely go on some of the tours that are offered, a sunset sail tour or an afternoon sail. I just love being on the water. I think that Brunswick islands are definitely worth a visit. Perhaps I’ll go there one day 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, most do think of the Mediterranean or Bahamas, or possibly the Virgin Islands.  But for a great deal less money, but just as beautiful, the beaches on the U.S. East Coast are wonderful!

      Reply

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