Brunswick Islands In The News


Explore our travel journal to learn more about the visitor experience in NC’s Brunswick Islands.

This North Carolina Island Is One of the South’s Most Underrated Vacation Spots

April 20, 2024 – Southern Living by Lisa Cericola

There are lots of sweet little beach towns across the South that check all of those boxes, and many of them—understandably—are jam-packed with tourists during the spring and summer months. Which is why Sunset Beach, North Carolina’s southernmost barrier island, is such a gem… Sunset Beach has a peaceful small-town feel and everything you need for a laid-back beach trip. Read More

The Allure of North Carolina’s Sunset Beach

February 17, 2024 – Wealth of Geeks by Kelley Dukat

When it comes to beach vacations, many people choose popular crowd-filled destinations for their boardwalks, activities, and nightlife. Others seek the quiet serenity of a resort area to escape the noise and bustle of the outside world—one where the best activity is relaxation. Sunset Beach has earned a reputation as the latter...Read More

NC’s Brunswick Islands offer vivid sights, sounds and tastes, from sunrise to sunset

February 1, 2024 – Akron News-Reporter - by Mary Ann Anderson (Tribune News Service)

In addition to those dramatic barrier islands and beaches and their dazzlingly vivid sunrises and sunsets, the Brunswick Islands, at its heart and soul a quiet seaside getaway that is beach- and outdoor-focused, offer myriad opportunities, among them dining, antiquing, visiting museums and historical sites, exploring art galleries, shopping and selecting a variety of accommodations from campgrounds to grand vacation homes. Read More

How to Plan the Perfect Trip to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

January 9, 2024 – Travel+Leisure by Lydia Mansel

No matter which island or town you choose as your base camp, you’re sure to get a heavy dose of the history, food, culture, and natural beauty that make this part of the country so remarkable. Interested in planning a trip to the Brunswick Islands? Read on to discover some of the best things to do, eat, and see, according to locals. Read More

Brunswick Islands – North Carolina’s Hidden Gem Golf Destination

October 6, 2023 – Golfing Magazine by Sean Fitzsimmons

Our first taste of Brunswick Islands was the classy Carolina National, a Freddie “Boom Boom” Couples Signature Golf Facility. The 27-hole layout is divided into the Egret, Heron, and Ibis nines, and all three are visually stunning and really pop during the twilight hours. The course has a certain flow to it, just like the rhythm of its designer’s swing. Read More

Experience Fall At the Beach With a Trip to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

September 30, 2023 – Southern Living by Southern Living Editors

...the sandy-footed travelers we are, we’re always looking for our next coastal getaway, and North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands offer all of the excitement and outdoor adventure of a beachy destination with the addition of uncrowded shores, charming small towns, and fresh seafood, as well as an annual celebration of oysters that you won’t want to miss. Read More

The Secrets of the Kindred Spirit Mailbox

July 20, 2023 – Garden & Gun by Trudy Haywood Saunders

It’s perched between sand dunes a mile and a quarter from the last access point at Sunset Beach, North Carolina, so you have to be committed, or crazy, or a little bit of both to find the Kindred Spirit Mailbox on Bird Island. Some walk, and others bike, but all who persevere are rewarded with a bit of serenity—and a connection to those who came before. Read More

Brunswick Islands in NC: Few High Rises in Sight

June 2, 2023 – GoNOMAD by Anne Braly

North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands span 45 miles along the southern coast of the Tarheel State’s Brunswick County...From family-friendly Holden Beach to the charming, laid-back village of Calabash where the seafood is served by the platterful in true Calabash style, visitors can pick an island to fit whatever kind of vacation suits their fancy. Read More

Family-Friendly Things To Do In Oak Island, North Carolina

April 25, 2023 - Southern Living by Trudy Haywood Saunders

Oak Island is situated about an hour south from of Wilmington and an hour north of Myrtle Beach and offers endless family-friendly adventures, like s'mores around the fire pit and listening to a beach band at the park. Whether your group wants to do everything or nothing at all, Oak Island is the perfect setting for a family getaway. Read More

Brunswick Islands offer sun, surf, seafood and seaside scenery

April 7, 2023 - The Columbus Dispatch by Steve Stephens

The region comprises several islands and beach towns, each with its own vibe and traditions, but all offering some combination of lovely ocean views, sandy beaches, natural beauty, world-famous seafood and intriguing visitor attractions. With so much variety, nearly every ocean-loving traveler will find something to treasureRead More

This North Carolina Beach Town Might Just Be the State's Best-kept Secret

March 16, 2023 - Travel+Leisure by Lindsay Tigar

...a 12-mile strip of sand known as Oak Island. It’s separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway and offers a unique haven for avid fishermen and those seeking hidden gems over well-trodden tourist attractions. Read More

Southern Charm 

February 22, 2023 - Golftime by Gary D'Amato

This is the height of golf in the Low Country, or more specifically the Brunswick Islands, just a few miles north of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, but a world away from the traffic, the noise and the kitsch associated with the Grand Strand. Read More

A Beachin' Road Trip

June 20, 2022 - by Ellen Kanzinger

On the southern tip of North Carolina’s coast, you can find secluded spots to set up your chair and watch the waves roll in. Between six beaches and 10 coastal towns, the Brunswick Islands offer a peaceful getaway for those who prefer a laidback vacation. Read More

Top 12 things to do in North Carolina: from mountain escapes to the Outer Banks and grand castles

June 19, 2022 - by DeAnna Taylor

But if you're looking for a unique experience, check out this coastal destination to see the creations of local resident Hunter Gibbes, who goes by the name of the Sunset Beach Maze Man. Beyond the mazes, check out the Oak Island Lighthouse, said to be the last lighthouse built in the state. Read More

Beach getaway: 25 things to eat and do around Ocean Isle Beach and the southern NC coast

June 17, 2022 - Axios Charlotte by Michael Graff

...the best of anything is the One That’s There For You When You Need It. The beaches of Brunswick County, specifically Ocean Isle, have long filled that role for me. They’re among the rare places on this planet where at certain times of the year you can see sunrise and sunset over the ocean on the same day, and be reminded that this ball we’re on is much bigger than each of us. Read More

WEEKENDER: North Carolina's Brunswick Islands

June 10, 2022 - by Taylor Bowler

North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands encompass five barrier islands—Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach, Oak Island, and Bald Head Island—along the southernmost stretch of North Carolina’s coast. It’s roughly three-and-a-half hours from Charlotte; from Ocean Isle Beach, you’re about halfway between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach. Read More

Have You Heard of NC's 'Maze Man'?

June 8, 2022 - by Zoe Yarborough

He's known throughout much of the South as the "Sunset Beach Maze Man." But there is an incredible story behind the jaw-dropping sand-carved beach mazes that bring so much joy to coastal North Carolina. Read More

Sunset Beach: North Carolina's smallest Brunswick Island offers plenty of low key charm

May 24, 2022 - by Renata Parker

Located on the southernmost coast of North Carolina, between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach, Sunset Beach is the smallest of five barrier islands known as North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. With its captivating sunsets, waterfront dining, and understated coastal charm, you’ll find all the simple pleasures at this low-key getaway. Read More

A first-timers guide to the Brunswick Islands

May 10, 2022 - by Alex Temblador

In the Brunswick Islands, the seafood is fresh and most of the attractions focus on the beaches, lagoons and ocean, though there are plenty of shopping, food and historical experiences to be had too. Read on to learn more about North Carolina’s best-kept beach secret. Read More

On Location: Southport Auditions for "Most Charming Town in America"

June, 2021 - Upstate Lake Living by Vanessa Infanzon

It's easy to imagine a movie crew filming in Southport, N.C. Restored homes with wide porches and gingerbread woodwork boast long histories. Read More

A Guide to Downtown Southport

April 27, 2021 - Our State by Katie King

At the mouth of the Cape Fear River, this coastal town's colorful cottages and majestic live oaks have made it a picturesque setting for many feature films. Read More

5 Great Road Trips for Triangle Moms This Fall

October 5, 2020 - Carolina Parent by Vanessa Infanzon

Sunset Beach is a sleepy town in the southern-most barrier island beach of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. Find the Kindred Spirit Mailbox on Bird Island, hidden in the dunes and the inspiration behind Nicholas Sparks’ novel Every Breath.  Read More

5 Great Road Trips for Charlotte Moms This Fall

October 5, 2020 - Charlotte Parent by Vanessa Infanzon

Sunset Beach is a sleepy town in the southern-most barrier island beach of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. Find the Kindred Spirit Mailbox on Bird Island, hidden in the dunes and the inspiration behind Nicholas Sparks’ novel Every Breath.  Read More

Beach Eats! Dine Your Way Through NC's Brunswick Islands

August 24, 2020 - AAA GO Magazine by Vanessa Infanzon

Heading to your favorite restaurant after a day of swimming and sunbathing at the beach is a hallmark of vacation. North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands offer a selection of restaurants, cafes and tasting rooms to complement your beach vacation.  Read More

Worth the Drive: A Fresh Look at Calabash Seafood

March 2, 2020 - Cary Magazine by Amber Keister

If you think you know Calabash seafood, think again. Make no mistake, the breaded-and-fried style still sells like hotcakes — or hot hushpuppies — in this coastal town near the South Carolina border. But a few restaurants are putting a healthier, more inclusive spin on the seafood platter.  Read More


The soft side of the Grand Strand, Brunswick Islands has a personality all its own

Jun 30, 2019 - Hilton Head Island & Bluffton Local Life Magazine by Lisa Allen

Page 128 ...sometimes you just want to grab a group of your girlfriends, your golf clubs and get away. A few hours north is the perfect change of scenery that’s calm and classy: Brunswick Islands, which stretch from Calabash to Wilmington in North Carolina.  Read More

One Sweet Beach

July 17, 2019 - Richmond Magazine by Tharon Giddens

With 10 miles of beach and public access at nearly every block, it’s easy to find a place to sprawl and enjoy the view most any time of year at Oak Island, North Carolina. This family-oriented getaway features kid-friendly amenities, and it’s welcoming to dogs, too.  Read More

Around Town: Southport

Jun 28, 2019 - by Jodi Helmer

Located on the edge of the Cape Fear River and the Intracoastal Waterway, Southport — with its stunning historic homes, walkable downtown filled with shops, and legendary waterfront seafood restaurants — is a paradise for modern-day mariners.  Read More

The Nostalgic Allure of NC's Brunswick Islands

Jun 23, 2019 - NW Georgia Living Magazine by Laura Wood

Page 26  Home to one of National Geographic Traveler's "21 Best Beaches in the World" and Southern Living's "2018 Best Tiny Town", this picturesque and up-and-coming beach destination needs to be on your must-see list. I've traveled to many places, but this is a special one.  Read More

Brunswick Islands:For Dreamers and Kindred Spirits

Jun 5, 2019 - The Georgetowner by Stephanie Green

A formation of birds piercing the blue sky may distract you from Sunset Beach’s most prized possession: the Kindred Spirit Mailbox, a whimsical depository for the prayers and meditations of visitors since the 1970s. But the Brunswick Islands near Wilmington, North Carolina — which include Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach, Caswell Beach, Oak Island and Bald Head Island — are the ideal places for the dreamer and the reflective soul.  Read More

Sea Monkeys, Sand Dollars, & Wild Dunes

May 23, 2019 - Our State by Jill McCorkle

For those of us drawn to the coast, there is immediate calm that comes with the sound of the waves. Now, when I cross the bridge and take in that first glimpse of the ocean meeting the sand, I feel a connection to the past equal to the anticipation I feel for the days ahead. Milk and honey on the other side — or maybe just bread and pimento cheese at the general store. Still, as always, paradise.  Read More

Your Travel Guide to North Carolina's Brunswick Islands

May 1, 2019 - by Taralynn McNitt

Even though I’ve been to some pretty great places, the Brunswick Islands has landed in my top favorite spots to travel... I believe that the Brunswick Islands are for everyone, and if it’s solitude or relaxation you’re looking for, this spot was made for you.  Read More

Beyond the Beach: Brunswick Islands

Jun 11, 2018 - Our State by Katie Saintsing

Chances are, one of our southern barrier islands — Bald Head, Oak, Holden, Ocean Isle, or Sunset — has been your beach for years. Look beyond the sand and surf, and you’ll find charming villages, acres of nature, and signature fried seafood, generations in the making.  Read More

Off the Beaten Path: Visiting Southport, North Carolina

May 1, 2018 - Columbia Metropolitan Magazine by Deena C. Bouknight

Those who desire to experience an idyllic bygone era need travel no farther than Southport, North Carolina. Just an hour or so off I-95, this quiet and quaint town backs to miles of swamplands and faces the ocean. From Waterfront Park and City Pier, where swinging, sitting, and strolling abound, clear views of Oak Island and its silo-shaped lighthouse, the Cape Fear River, Bald Head Island and Bald Head Lighthouse, the Yacht Basin, and the Intracoastal Waterway offer visitors a diverse and relaxing scene.  Read More

The South's Best Tiny Town 2018: Ocean Isle Beach

Mar 20, 2018 - Southern Living by Jill McCorkle

You might even encounter a restaurant or two as well as some gift shops, but still there remains the promise of something different that lies just on the other side of the waterway, a timeless something that begs you to simply focus on that large, churning body of water that hugs the East Coast and the wide, white strand you had once taken for granted. You breathe a little differently and pay closer attention to the natural world—the sun and the moon.  Read More

13 Best Beach Vacations You Want to Take NOW

Jan 22, 2018 - Red Tricycle by rtayrenjc

From lighthouse climbs to sea turtle sightings, the six coastal towns that make up the Brunswick Islands are teeming with just as much laid back and low key fun offshore as there is on shore.  Read More

Brunswick Islands: The Coolest Little Beach You Might Have Missed

Jan 11, 2018 - Red Tricylce by rtayrenjc

Beach towns typically focus on one thing and one thing only … the beach. But not Brunswick Islands. From lighthouse climbs to sea turtle sightings, the six coastal towns that make up the Brunswick Islands are teeming with just as much laid back and low key fun offshore as there is on shore.  Read More

Shore Bet

Jan 9, 2018 - Town Magazine by Abby Moore Keith

Page 62 This is the piece of pure heaven awaiting you on Brunswick Islands, a strip of south-facing beaches hugging the North Carolina coast. Separated from the South Carolina line by a solitary inlet, the collection of coastal communities boasts 45 miles of pristine beach and is an easy 4.5-hour escape from the Upstate.  Read More

Southport, NC, Named Best Beach Town in America for the Fourth of July

Jul 3, 2017 - Coastal Living by Lauren Phillips

Southport boasts a particularly lively Fourth of July celebration: It plays host to North Carolina’s official celebration with more than a week of festivities, including an art show, a horseshoe tournament, and a naturalization ceremony in addition to the classic parade and fireworks.  Read More

13 Offbeat Beach Towns You Need to Visit

Jun 11, 2017 - Red Tricycle by Gabby Cullen

Holden Beach in the Brunswick Islands of North Carolina has small-town charm, but plenty of activities (check out the North Carolina Festival by the Sea) to keep your family busy.  Read More

15 Best Summer Weekend Getaways You'll Want to Book This Second

May 30, 2017 - Reader's Digest by Erin Gifford

For an alternative to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, look no further than North Carolina's Brunswick Islands. Climb the Oak Island Lighthouse on Caswell Beach, kayak the Intracoastal Waterway and dig in to batter-fried shrimp, clams, and oysters in Calabash, the "Seafood Capital of the World."  Read More

The Best US Cities for Weekend Breaks This Summer

May 30, 2017 - DK Eyewitness Travel

Looking for a weekend beach escape? With around 45 miles (72 km) of beautiful beaches, Brunswick Islands are the perfect place.  Read More

The 46 Best Beach Towns in America

Apr 21, 2017 - Good Housekeeping by Brie Dyas

Bald Head Island - Don't let the funny name fool you: This village is gorgeous. Caswell Beach - Golf Courses and quiet beaches lend a peaceful air to this town. Southport - Pinterest dreams start with Southport, another town on the scenic Brunswick Islands. [See slides 34, 35, 36]  Read More

The 20 Most Magical Island Getaways in America

Mar 2, 2017 - Country Living by Perri O. Blumberg

Relaxation is the name of the game at this low-key string of islands with gorgeous beachfront rental homes waiting for you to swoop in for your sun-filled adventure  Read More

A sweet secret on North Carolina's Sunset Beach

Feb 18, 2017 - USA Today by Dayvee M Sutton

Located in the Brunswick Islands, a barrier island chain on the Atlantic Ocean, the Bird Island Reserve sports 1,200 acres protected by sand dunes. The marsh area is habitat for many bird species, turtles and other wildlife. Just on the other side of the dunes sit beautiful white sand beaches. Sunset Beach is a quiet, less populated strand which allows visitors to enjoy the serene and natural sanctuary.  Read More

The 10 Most Romantic Beaches in America

Feb 13, 2017 - Coastal Living by Bob Curley

Lovers can walk a mile along Sunset Beach to the Kindred Spirits Mailbox to drop a note with their romantic intentions and other prayers and wishes. Overwater sunrises and sunsets are a daily ritual on this unique, south-facing beach in the Brunswick Islands.  Read More

21 Best Beaches in the World

Jan 19, 2017 - National Geographic by Kimberley Lovato

At the west end of this remote beach, a mile from the access point, a solitary mailbox stands, planted by local Frank Nesmith in the ’70s, and continually replenished with notebooks inviting visitors to jot thoughts, dreams, wishes, and whatever else moves the spirit.  Read More

History of Calabash Seafood

Aug 4, 2016 - UNC TV by Jeff Smith

When it comes to seafood, one name stands out - Calabash! But what has gotten lost in the *name* is the small fishing village where the Calabash Style emerged.  Read More

Escape to Oak Island, N.C.

Aug 1, 2016 - Southern Living

With 10 miles of south-facing beaches; two fishing piers; plenty of kayaking, boating, and swimming options; and easy access to Bald Head Island and Southport on the mainland, this barrier island is a great spot for a trip that can be as active or as laid-back as you like.  Read More

Brunswick Islands, N.C., is a perfect family vacation spot

Jul 1, 2016 - Upstate Parent by Karen Gamble

What makes this area special — and a great vacation spot? I heard the same sentiment over and over: Family memories are built here. People return for a reason. The leisurely pace is just right.  Read More

Bird Island's Mailbox Holds Letters to the Sea

May 17, 2016 - Our State by Philip Gerard

The letter writers come to give thanks, to grieve, and to confess. To leave their most private thoughts, and to read what others have written, in this most public of places: a mailbox, a mile and a half down the beach from the town of Sunset Beach, flanked by two benches and tucked away in a sandy alcove. The address on the mailbox is spelled out in black-and-silver stick-on letters: KINDRED SPIRIT.  Read More

Our State Great Eight: Our New(ish) Lighthouse

Apr 27, 2016 - Our State by Jeremy Markovich

Even though it’s decades old, the Oak Island Lighthouse is coastal nostalgia at its youngest.  Read More

Thousands of People Are Leaving Their Innermost Thoughts in This 'Mailbox to Nowhere'

Apr 26, 2016 - by Maria Carter

Walk a mile-and-a-half from Sunset Beach pier on Bird Island, North Carolina, and you'll see a mailbox you might mistake for a mirage. It's nowhere near a house or any path a postal truck can travel. In fact, the mailbox was a mirage of sorts more than 40 years ago, when a woman known as Claudia began daydreaming of it.  Read More

Inspiration and Adventure Await Families in Coastal Brunswick County

Mar 25, 2016 - by Micki Bare

From central NC, the coast’s Brunswick County offers conveniently located, family-friendly venues sans the overly commercialized congestion of the bigger tourist spots up and down the Atlantic Seaboard.  Read More

Beach Housin' in the Brunswick Islands North Carolina

Jan 24, 2016 - by Liz

The Brunswick Islands in North Carolina are like a secret you want to tell because it’s sooooo good, but you’re afraid to tell too many people for fear of spoiling the magic. Lucky for you, I can’t keep secrets very well... and this one deserves to be shared.  Read More

Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash

Jan 6, 2016 - Southern Foodways by Besha Rodell

When I’m far away from this part of the world, as I usually am, three things tug at my heart the hardest. There are the beaches themselves, their old fishing piers and warm water and periwinkle-strewn sand. There’s the thrumming, intense greenness of the marshes, a kind of green that doesn’t exist anywhere else, that hits you when you cross the Intracoastal Waterway to the beach islands, an almost mossy green that’s different from the green of a forest or field or pasture, a green that is basically the color of my soul. And there are the hushpuppies and fried seafood of Calabash, North Carolina.  Read More

Life's just a laid-back beach in Brunswick County, NC

Aug 12, 2015 - Recreation News

When the Provision Company restaurant opened in Holden Beach, NC, in 2002, the manager stuck a few old license plates up on the walls as impromptu decorations. Thirteen years later, tags from every state but Rhode Island adorn the walls of this laid-back bar and restaurant.  Read More

Kindred Spirit Mailbox Serves as Symbol of Hope on Bird Island

Jun 1, 2015 - by Katie Quine

Over the span of decades, thousands have made pilgrimage to the Kindred Spirit. All different walks of life have penned heartfelt notes in the mailbox’s journals, but one message rings clearest above all else: Love endures.  Read More

America's Happiest Seaside Towns 2015

Jun 1, 2015 - by Tracey Minkin

Meet the winners of our annual search for the best coastal places to call home—for a weekend or a lifetime.  Read More

Peace for the soul: The Brunswick Islands welcome generations of travelers

Apr 1, 2015 - by Renee C. Gannon

Situated in Bird Island, a 1,200-acre state coastal preserve at the end of Sunset Beach, the Kindred Spirit Mystery Mailbox has offered pen and paper to anyone willing to venture a stretch down the beach.  Read More

Craving the Coast

Feb 20, 2015 - Go Magazine by Debbie Selinsky

Spring and summer are just around the corner, and for thousands of North and South Carolinians, it’s time to head for the water. Some say, “We’re off to the beach!” while others say they’re going to the “coast.”  Read More

Southport, NC - Historic Seaport Emerges as Hip Dining Hotspot

Jul 7, 2014 - Go Magazine

There’s a reason more than 40 movies and television productions have chosen the charming coastal town of Southport, NC as their backdrop. With its dramatic views of the Cape Fear River, ancient live oaks draped with Spanish moss, grand Victorian homes...  Read More

Sunset Beach

Apr 17, 2014 - Go Magazine by Sheree Nielsen

Sensory overload from the fresh sea air and the fragrant smell of magnolia beckoned my Australian Shepherd and me to cross the road lined with rental properties, to the Fifth Street Beach Access.  Read More