10 Best Things To Do In Bald Head Island, North Carolina

things to do in bald head island north carolina
| 6 min read

Bald Head Island, historically known as Smith Island, is a village located on the east side of the Cape Fear River, in Brunswick County, North Carolina. No matter your interest or age, there’s no shortage of things to do on Bald Head Island. Spend the day at the beach, golf, sail, paddleboard, surf, fish, climb Old Baldy Lighthouse, or explore the island’s protected creeks and maritime forest!

Read on to find out about the top 10 things to do in Bald Head Island.

1. Old Baldy Historic Island Tour

The Old Baldy Foundation has a BOGO deal running now through the end of June on its Historic Tours. Buy one no-frills...

Posted by Bald Head Island on Monday, 11 June 2012

If you are a history buff, you will enjoy the Old Baldy Historic Island Tour. Bald Head Island was the site of both a revolutionary war and a civil war fort. There have also been three lighthouses on Bald Head Island. Enjoy hearing stories of shipwrecks and pirates, as well, while the historian takes you around the island. Discover southeastern North Carolina’s rich maritime history at the Old Baldy Lighthouse and Smith Island Museum. Explore the Keeper’s Cottage and climb to the top of North Carolina’s oldest standing lighthouse, Old Baldy.

Old Baldy Historic Island Tour

Website: Old Baldy Historic Island Tour

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2. Island Nature Tours

Posted by Bald Head Island Resort on Sunday, 22 June 2014

If nature is your thing, the BHI Conservancy offers several different nature and birding tours, year-round. Some of the tours are specific to summer but their birding walk takes place every Monday morning. During the summer months, Bald Head Island is fortunate to have a large nesting population of the beautiful painted bunting. The island is also home to hundreds of egrets, herons and ibis, as well as dozens of other species. Trips last about two hours and location is dependent on tides, weather and recent sightings.

Island Nature Tours

Address: Island Wide,700 Federal Road,Bald Head Island, North Carolina 28461

Website: Island Nature Tours

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3. Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP)

Getting ready for sunset stand up paddle boarding (8616936712)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Angelo DeSantis used under CC BY 2.0

SUP is a relatively new sport, that’s gaining converts with every trip through the marsh. Paddlers use large boards resembling surfboards and a paddle to maneuver themselves through the water. There’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to standing on the board and getting your balance, but it’s fairly quick to master, making this sport popular with all ages and degrees of experience.

Once you’re up and paddling there’s plenty to explore. Try Lighthouse Creek, an easy loop that puts you in the shadow of Old Baldy and gives you a chance to get your feet under you. For a longer paddle, follow Bald Head Creek to the boathouse that used to serve as a supply point and storage building, for the lighthouses and the U.S. Lifesaving Service Station on the island. When you have the feel for the sport and want more of a challenge, take your board out to West Beach, south of the marina entrance, to test your skills against some small, but fun, waves.

Stand Paddleupboarding (SUP)

Address: 96 Keelson Row, Bald Head Island, NC 28461, USA

Website: Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP)

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4. Golfing at Bald Head Island Club

Bald Head Island is a great golf choice for your group. Plan on enjoying the entire day (which includes a ferry ride to the island) and take advantage of their extensive clubhouse lunch menu.

Posted by Thomas Golf Vacations on Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The Bald Head Island Club golf course provides a magnificent golfing experience, on the Carolina coast. Originally designed by famed golf course architect, George Cobb and recently renovated by architect Tim Cate, the Bald Head Island Club golf course presents a variety of challenges to test every golfer’s skill. Successfully navigating the ever-present winds, strategically placed contours, hazards and natural areas will prove truly rewarding.

Bald Head Island Club

Address: Salt Meadow Trail, Southport, NC 28461, USA

Website: Bald Head Island Club

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5. Fly high on a kiteboard

No beach trip is complete if I can't fly my kite!

Posted by Scott Hawkins on Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Kiteboarding lessons are ideal for those new to the sport. Start with a 90-minute lesson on land, where you learn flying techniques with a trainer kite, then graduate up to Level 1 lessons, that will teach you to launch your board and get you on the water. Level 2 teaches board skills and riding techniques. Customized coaching is available for advanced riders. All lessons include the rental of required equipment.

For those who want to experience the thrill of kiteboarding on land, Coastal Urge also offers land traction kiting lessons. A traction kite can pull you across the sand and teach you the basics of large kite maneuvering. Traction kites are suitable for all ages.

Coastal Urge is your source for everything kiteboarding on Bald Head Island. They offer 90-minute land-based kiteboarding lessons designed to teach you the ins and outs of this thrilling sport. Once you pass the lesson, you’ll learn how to launch your board and start flying along the water.

Kiteboarding with Coastal Urge

Address: 6 Keelson Row, Bald Head Island, NC 28461, USA

Website: Coastal Urge

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6. Walk with the sea turtles

Bald Head Island, North Carolina. Home to loggerhead sea turtles and the occasional green sea turtle, the island's...

Posted by Standard Travel on Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Did you know that scores of loggerhead sea turtles return to Bald Head Island, each summer, to lay their eggs? The Bald Head Island Conservancy is dedicated to protecting these amazing creatures and their Turtle Walk program gives you the chance to experience them, close up.

Turtle Walks start around the first week of June and run nightly through the first week of August. The conservancy focuses on nesting mothers during this time, but switches to nest monitoring from mid-August through late September. Volunteer nest monitors – often Bald Head Island residents – watch nests 24 hours a day, seven days a week as they draw close to hatching. They’re watching for the nest to “boil,” where the sand above the eggs churns and moves as the turtle hatchlings dig their way out.

Seeing a nesting sea turtle or watching a nest boil and release a hundred turtle hatchlings are once-in-a-lifetime experiences, so be sure to become a member of the conservancy and participate in a Turtle Walk, during your stay on Bald Head Island.

Walk with the sea turtles

Website: Walk with the sea turtles

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7. Fishing with Yeah Right Charters

Always good fishing on Bald Head Island

Posted by Bald Head Island Stage 2 Association on Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Fishing on the island can take you from tuna fishing offshore to reeling in red drum in the creeks to bringing home a flounder hooked in the surf. From the shore, flounder, red drum, blue fish, mullet, pompano and more, wait to be caught. On the creeks, you’ll find speckled trout, gray trout, flounder, red drum, blue fish and spots. Offshore fishing trips can put you on the right track to grab some blue fish, grouper, mackerel, tuna and even some sailfish.

A variety of outfitters and guides provide boats and gear and can pick you up in the harbor. Both the Bald Head Island Conservancy and the Sail Shop offer instruction, so if you’re new to fishing or just want to know where to go, they can help put you out.

Yeah Right Charters

Address: 4909 Fish Factory Rd, Southport, NC 28461, USA

Website: Yeah Right Charters

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8. Sailing with Riverside Adventure

The Sail Shop will not be reopening until March 17th If you would like to book a kayak or sailing adventure you can contact Riverside Adventure Co. at 910.457.4944 or contact us at manager@thesailshop.com

Posted by The Sail Shop on Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Experience the thrill of sailing during your visit, whether you’re new to this sport or a seasoned sailor. The Sail Shop offers sailing experiences for any skill level. For kids, learning to sail on the creek in one of the Opti Prams will be a memory they’ll never forget. More experienced youth may want to try sailing on the river in one of the 420s, a larger, but still manageable, sailboat, designed to help young sailors reach their next skill level.

Two 26 foot (7.9 meter) J-80 Olympic-class sailboats, Jive and Joyride, are ideal for adult instruction, from the basics up to certification, through US Sailing. For a more relaxed, introductory experience, try one of the Fun Sails aboard Jive or Joyride. An instructor will take you and up to four others for a two-hour tour of the Cape Fear River and along South Beach, for views of the island seen by few other visitors.

Riverside Adventure

Address: 10 Marina Wynd, Bald Head Island, NC 28461, USA

Website: Riverside Adventure

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9. Kayak the creeks

Kayaking on Bald Head Island in North Carolina

Posted by Mackenzie Daley on Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Imagine gliding through the creek, as silent as the grass around you, coming within feet of egrets and herons, or hearing the call of an osprey circling overhead. The creeks of Bald Head Island are easily accessed by kayak and canoe and experienced naturalists and expert guides can show you the ropes. Even if you’ve never dipped a paddle in the water, you’ll learn to love experiencing nature like this.The Bald Head Island Conservancy offers guided kayak and canoe tours, for individuals and small groups. These tours are perfect for any age or skill level and the Conservancy’s expert naturalists can help identify all of the flora and fauna.


Address: 700 Federal Rd, Bald Head Island, NC 28461, USA

Website: Kayaking

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10. Take a hike

When the great #outdoors offers as much beauty as the forests of Bald Head Island, there’s no reason to stay inside. #BaldHeadIsland #Hiking #Exercise #Trails http://bit.ly/1Pb1vEt

Posted by Bald Head Island on Friday, 18 December 2015

On Federal Road, near the Maritime Market, the Kent Mitchell Nature Trail trail provides nearly 360° views of the marsh. Markers on the trail identify the flora. While you’re on the trail, if you keep still enough, a few of the bolder fiddler crabs may come out of their holes to investigate. Even if you’re just passing through, look for them at the base of the marsh grass, where you’ll see more than one scurry into its hole.

The Bald Head Woods Maritime Forest Preserve offers several trailheads along either side of Federal Road. Trails range from easy to moderate and lead you through the woods, beneath an enchanting canopy of trees.

Kent Mitchell Nature Trail

Website: Kent Mitchell Nature Trail

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Get ready to explore heaven

Since the days of notorious pirates like Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet, Bald Head Island has been attracting curious explorers. Reachable only by ferry or private boat, Bald Head Island is now Brunswick’s most resort-style island and the perfect place to get away from the everyday. This is everything you love about an unplugged beach stay – and all your vacation needs are right here on the island.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Nevedha, an engineering graduate, channels her passion for travel through her lifestyle website, Life Simplified 101. Writing is her liberating medium, allowing words to articulate her thoughts....Read more

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