Looking to take a vacation where you can remain active, or maybe even venture out of your comfort zone? North Carolina's Brunswick Islands is filled with a variety of excursions for all levels of adventurers. Whether you prefer to be on or in the water or prefer to stay dry, there are plenty of ways, from the surf to the sky, to have an active vacation filled with adventure in the Brunswick Islands! 

Surfing and Scuba Diving 

Don’t just dip your toes in the water, dive straight into the surf! Several local outfitters in the area offer surf lessons for all ages and skill levels. And, with relatively small breaking waves, the Brunswick Islands' beaches are perfect for beginners who are ready to ride a wave. Looking to enjoy deeper waters? Those who are certified divers can reserve a dive charter to explore some of the best sites off of the North Carolina coast. Scuba South Diving Company and Blackbeard Scuba both offer charters out of Southport where you can venture to reefs and many WWII wrecks!  

Boy surfing in Oak Island, North Carolina.

Paddlesports and Fishing Charters

Feeling landlocked? Your next adventure is just around the bend! In the Brunswick Islands, you can paddle your way through local creeks and rivers, salt marshes, or the Intracoastal Waterway. Need some guidance or gear before you paddle out? Several adventure outfitters in the area offer equipment rentals, training, and guide services. If you prefer to do your own thing and already have your equipment, then check out the many different launch sites in the area! Those who prefer a deep-sea or inshore fishing adventure will find plenty of fishing charters to choose from. Whether it's out in the Gulf Stream or along scenic marshes and inlets, our local charter captains will lead you to a prized catch!

Marsh Kayaking


Prefer to stay dry? From the comfort of a golf cart to a classic walk, there are many ways to tour the area’s southern architecture and charming waterfront attractions. For history lovers and movie buffs, a tour of Southport is a must! Named by USA Today as one of the “Best Coastal Small Towns,” Southport is home to many TV and motion picture film locations and its history dates back to the 1800s. The real thrill seekers can even learn about the town's rich history through chilling stories of specters and haunts on a lantern-led Ghost Walk tour! Looking to do your own thing? Treat yourself to a quintessential seaside experience by renting a bike to explore our enchanting island towns for yourself. You’ll feel like a Brunswick Islands local as you breeze past scenic ocean views and colorful storefronts while searching for your next adventure!

Safe Haven_watermark

Nature Preserves and Parks

Looking for a tour with a hint of wildlife? During summer, you can take a guided education walk with members of the Bird Island Preservation Society and explore Bird Island's beautiful ecosystem! Featuring over 1,200 acres of salt marsh and tidal creeks, Bird Island is located in Sunset Beach and is also home to the Kindred Spirit Mailbox, which served as the inspiration behind the Nicholas Sparks novel Every Breath. Visitors to the Brunswick Islands can also reconnect with nature through a self-guided tour at some of the nature preserves throughout the area where wildlife thrives and beautiful scenery filled with native plants and animals awaits!

Bike ride on Bird Island in Sunset Beach, NC.

Swamp Park Excursion  

Take your coastal excursion to new heights as you soar high above the Shallotte River Swamp on a Cypress Canopy Zip Line Tour at The Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach. Families can make a day of it and embark on the variety of other activities that the park has to offer. Explore the swamp’s natural habitat in a more relaxed setting on a swamp boat eco-tour, take a guided ATV tour across 300 acres of wooded area, challenge yourself through 53 different obstacles in the Aerial Adventure Park, or enjoy the mile-long, elevated river walk trail. With something active and adventurous for all ages, you're guaranteed to find something fun for everyone in your family to enjoy.

Zipline at The Green Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.

Sky High Adventures  

Experience the clearest view of the Carolina coast on a helicopter tour with High Tide Helicopters. If you’re interested in learning to fly, they also offer discovery flights where you can fly a helicopter for the first time with an instructor! Looking for another sky-high adventure? Head over to Skydive Coastal Carolinas for the biggest thrill, skydiving! Those who prefer a middle ground between a high-flying adventure and a grounded escape will love the breathtaking view from the top of one of the lighthouses in the Brunswick Islands. The Oak Island lighthouse, located in Caswell Beach, and Old Baldy lighthouse in Bald Head Island, are both filled top to bottom with history and boast spectacular sights. Be sure to visit our lighthouse page for information on scheduling a climb. 

View from the top of the Oak Island Lighthouse in Caswell Beach, North Carolina.

Whether you paddle along a salt marsh or zipline over southern swampland, you'll find plenty of ways to stay active and quench your thirst for adventure during your vacation to the Brunswick Islands. Visit ncbrunswick.com to learn more about the area and start planning your trip!