Your Travel Guide To North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands 🏖

The Brunswick islands North Carolina travel guide what to do sunset beach house holden beach ocean isle oak island sunset sunrise rental visit vacation beach

Your Guide to The Brunswick Islands: Simply Taralynn Travel Blog

Even though I’ve been to some pretty great places, the Brunswick Islands has landed in my top favorite spots to travel. Fortunately for me, it’s not too far of a drive from Charlotte. Last fall, I was invited to visit the Brunswick Islands on a media trip. Unfortunately, it was when the hurricane hit, and we had to postpone. Luckily everyone was safe, and the Islands recovered quickly. Last week, I finally packed my bags and made the road trip down to the Brunswick Islands to experience it all. We were blessed with sunny weather, the entire itinerary was planned out perfectly, and I left with a whole new group of friends, who happen to be talented writers from all different publications.

We tested our strengths and fears by climbing the steepest lighthouse, ziplining over a 300-year old swamp, kayaking against the wind, riding bikes on the beach, and taking our first bites of crawfish. We wrote letters the Kindred Spirit, drank wine at sunset, filled our bellies with all the freshest seafood, chatted with the kindest locals, and went to bed listening to the sounds of the waves outside the window.

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.
The Brunswick islands North Carolina travel guide what to do sunset beach house holden beach ocean isle oak island sunset sunrise rental visit vacation beach

Before I begin sharing what we did in the Brunswick Islands, let me tell you a little bit more about the Islands. It’s made up of ten different communities. You may have heard of some of them, and some may be very new to you!

Bald Head Island                             Leland                            Shallotte          Holden Beach
Calabash                                          Oak Island                     Southport
Caswell Beach                                 Ocean Isle Beach         
Sunset Beach

If you can, venture out from where you are staying and explore as many of the communities as you can. They all offer unique experiences, and you’ll be able to see that in this travel guide. I can’t wait to visit again. There are endless activities to do, and places to eat. I covered maybe 1% of them in this blog, so that means a second trip will be necessary. If you’ve ever been to the Brunswick Islands, please share a memory or your favorite spot in the comments! I’d love to add it to my next trip, or a suggestion for someone else reading here. And if you have any questions that I didn’t answer for you in the guide, please feel free to leave them for me! 💜 (ps there’s a giveaway at the end of the blog!)
The Brunswick islands North Carolina travel guide what to do sunset beach house holden beach ocean isle oak island sunset sunrise rental visit vacation beachThe Brunswick islands North Carolina travel guide what to do sunset beach house holden beach ocean isle oak island sunset sunrise rental visit vacation beachIn my opinion, if you’re going to visit the Brunswick Islands, rent a beach house! The sunrise, the sunset, coffee with a view, and waking up to the ocean waves is all so worth it. We stayed at one of the beautiful homes on Holden Beach. If you’re looking to rent a beach home during your trip to the Brunswick Islands, check out Holden Beach Vacations! You’ll be able to search hundreds of rentals and find the perfect one for your trip.
Oak Island lighthouse Brunswick islands North Carolina beachOur first stop was the Oak Island Lighthouse. It was completed in 1958 and was the last lighthouse to be built in North Carolina. This lighthouse is no ordinary lighthouse climb. This climb is one of those experiences, that’ll make you want to buy the “I climbed the Oak Island Lighthouse” t-shirt afterward! Who would have thought climbing a lighthouse could be adventurous? You’re in for a real treat!
Oak Island lighthouse Brunswick islands North Carolina beach
Every lighthouse I climb from here on out will be an easy-breezy lemon squeezy after climbing 131 “steps” on ships ladders to get to the observation platform. Most lighthouses have spiral staircases leading up to the top, but not this one! Oak Island Lighthouse Climb will surely get your adrenaline pumping, but worth it because the views from the top are breathtaking. You will be able to capture unbelievable aerial photos of Oak Island and the ocean views from the top look like a real-life painting.
Oak Island lighthouse Brunswick islands North Carolina beach
The tour is more than just a climb. It’s very informative, and I learned a lot about lighthouses. The way for boats to identify a lighthouse is by their characteristic flashing pattern. Since it’s hard to see lights during the day, every lighthouse has a unique distinguished color pattern. This is why no lighthouse looks the same.

The Oak Island Lighthouse is owned by the Town of Caswell Beach and run by the volunteers.
Oak Island lighthouse Brunswick islands North Carolina beach
See what I mean about the view being worth the climb?

Here’s what you should know!

• Make sure to wear closed-toe, rubber-soled tennis shoes.

• You must be nine years and older to climb

• You will need to make a reservation to take a top tour at least two weeks in advance.

• Tours are free.

Location: 100 Caswell Beach Rd. Caswell Beach, NC 28465 // WebsiteOak Island lighthouse Brunswick islands North Carolina beach

Oak Island lighthouse Brunswick islands North Carolina beach pierOak Island lighthouse Brunswick islands North Carolina beach pierWe stopped by to visit Oak Island Beach Pier! This pier is still in the process of being built. We could only admire it from the bottom because it’s not scheduled to open until May of 2019! If you visit the pier, you’ll have to let me know what the views are like from the top. Oak Island Beach is the picture perfect spot where you’ll see visitors riding beach cruisers with melting ice cream cones, and dogs running to catch frisbees.
Oak Island lighthouse Brunswick islands North Carolina beach pierMake sure to stop by Oak Island Beach. It was recently named one of the best beaches in North Carolina by US News & World Report and USA Today 10Best. Unlike most beaches on the “best beach” list, Oak Island is uncrowded. You won’t have to wake up at 5 am to save your beach spot here.

Here’s what you should know!

• Oak Island is extremely dog-friendly, with designated areas for dogs to run free.

• You may be able to witness the sea turtle protection in full-force since this is a popular beach for loggerhead sea turtles to nest.

• According to Yelp, The Pizza Shack & Lil & John’s Sweettreat Ice Cream are highly rated!

Location: 705 Ocean Dr, Oak Island, NC 28465 // Website
Brunswick islands North Carolina southport souther town Nicholas sparks Carolinas travel visit guide what to do traveling safe haven

Brunswick islands North Carolina southport souther town Nicholas sparks Carolinas travel visit guide what to do traveling safe havenBrunswick islands North Carolina southport souther town Nicholas sparks Carolinas travel visit guide what to do traveling safe havenBrunswick islands North Carolina southport souther town Nicholas sparks Carolinas travel visit guide what to do traveling safe haven
If you’re a romantic movie lover, Southport should be number one on your list. Southport is like walking through a real-life movie set. It’s picture-perfect, and its natural charm is the reason why so many movies have been filmed here. Some of the films and shows you may know of are A Walk to Remember, Safe Haven, Weekend at Bernie’s, Domestic Disturbance, Dawson’s Creek, Revenge, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Secret Life of Bees, Nights in Rodanthe, and so many more!

Now can you see why people call this America’s happiest seaside town? Even though this is a favorite spot for filming, it hasn’t lost it’s “small town feel.” As we were taking a tour with our guide, everyone stopped to wave from their porches and converse back and forth with him. They would exchange jokes with one another, and you could tell that they’ve all known each other for a long time. I will say that the Brunswick Islands are filled with some of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Brunswick islands North Carolina southport souther town Alex house Nicholas sparks Carolinas travel visit guide what to do traveling safe havenBrunswick islands North Carolina southport souther town Nicholas sparks Carolinas travel visit guide what to do traveling safe haven
You will most definitely want to sign up for a Southport Fun Tour. Not only do they live up to the “fun” in their name, but you’ll be able to learn so much more history about Southport and see it all in a short drive. Southport is filled with history, and the stories are better when told by the locals. You’ll also be told a few “off the record” stories that’ll make your day (but oops, those off the record stores somehow made their way into my video)

If you think the cute little Grey Burriss house looks familiar, that’s because it was Alex’s house in the movie Safe Haven.
Brunswick islands North Carolina southport souther town Nicholas sparks Carolinas travel visit guide what to do traveling safe haven

Here’s what you should know!

• If you are a bed & breakfast type of traveler, Southport is rich with them.

• Southport has an excellent downtown for shopping and dining.

• The 45-minute Southport Fun Tours are only $10 for adults & $5 for children.

• Reservations are highly encouraged and can be made by phone.

Location: 203 E. Bay St, Southport, NC 28461 // Website 
Brunswick islands North Carolina southport souther town Nicholas sparks Carolinas travel visit guide what to do traveling safe haven fishy fishy cafe food to eat

Brunswick islands North Carolina southport souther town Nicholas sparks Carolinas travel visit guide what to do traveling safe haven fishy fishy cafe food to eatBrunswick islands North Carolina southport souther town Nicholas sparks Carolinas travel visit guide what to do traveling safe haven fishy fishy cafe food to eatI’ve been to Fishy Fishy twice now, and the second time was just as good as the first. Fishy Fishy Cafe is the perfect spot to have dinner with sunset views. Sit outside on the patio with a cocktail, and enjoy the historic yacht basin and marsh views while listening to live music. This restaurant was featured in the show Revenge as Jack’s Stowaway Tavern. 

Here’s what you should order:

Appetizers

• The baked crab dip is a popular one, and it’s served with french bread. You’ll want to save some to dip your french fries into!

• Fried green tomatoes are also a must. They are served with a red onion jam and remoulade sauce.

• The coconut shrimp and crispy calamari were just as popular at the table.

Entrees

• You can never go wrong with Fish n Chips.

• Keeping it healthy? Try their strawberry harvest salad topped with salmon.

• Crab steam buckets are my cup of tea! It comes with 1 pound of crab legs, six clams, five shrimp, sausage, corn, and red potatoes!

• Seafood isn’t your thing? I hear they have some pretty epic burgers.

Drinks

• Famous Fishy Bloody Mary

• The Fishbowl

• Sangria

• Refreshing IPA

Dessert in Southport

• After dinner, head to Flavas Ice Cream for dessert. It’s one of Southport’s favorite ice cream spots.
Location: 318 W Bay St Southport, NC 28461Brunswick islands North Carolina southport souther town Nicholas sparks Carolinas travel visit guide what to do traveling safe haven fishy fishy cafe food to eat

Here’s what you should know!

• Fishy Fishy Cafe is pet-friendly.

• They do not accept reservations but have plenty of seating.

• Vegetarian options are available.

• Casual attire.

Location: 106 Yacht Basin Dr. Southport, NC 28461// WebsiteThe Brunswick islands North Carolina travel guide what to do sunset beach house holden beach ocean isle oak island sunset sunrise rental visit vacation beach coffee

The Brunswick islands North Carolina travel guide what to do sunset beach house holden beach ocean isle oak island sunset sunrise rental visit vacation beachThe Brunswick islands North Carolina travel guide what to do sunset beach house holden beach ocean isle oak island sunset sunrise rental visit vacation beach coffee
The Brunswick islands North Carolina travel guide what to do sunset beach house holden beach ocean isle oak island sunset sunrise rental visit vacation beach
One of the best parts about a beach vacation is waking up for the sunrise. Before you go to bed, ask Google what time the sun rises, set the alarm, make some coffee, and enjoy it.

Sunrise is the best time to take a walk and collect seashells or look for sea turtle nesting tracks. One of the great things about staying in the Brunswick Islands is that the beaches are not overcrowded. The morning beach is calm and quiet. I was living the best of both worlds as the moon hovered over the ocean while the sun slowly made it’s way up. Not a soul on the beach and the only footprints were my own. Imagine waking up to a view like this every morning? Sign me up. shallot river swamp park the Brunswick islands adventure park alligators ziplining atv tours boatshallot river swamp park the Brunswick islands adventure park alligators ziplining atv tours boat
Make sure you sign up for some adventure at the Shallotte River Swamp Park to spice up your beach vacation! They offer zip line tours, an aerial adventure park, boat rides, walking tours, and now muddy ATV tours. We are making a trip back just for that! Just like the Oak Island Lighthouse Climb, Shallotte River Swamp Park is the ideal spot for all of you adrenaline seekers. shallot river swamp park the Brunswick islands adventure park alligators ziplining atv tours boat
Be prepared to see lots of gators. Lots & lots of gators! The Shallotte River Swamp Park embraces the naturally beautiful landscape. “We do not sacrifice our surroundings for adventure, but rather cautiously enhance the experience by weaving the two together.” The tour was very educational, and we learned a lot about the surrounding habitat and had the best views of all the swaps critters.
shallot river swamp park the Brunswick islands adventure park alligators ziplining atv tours boatshallot river swamp park the Brunswick islands adventure park alligators ziplining atv tours boat
The zip line towers are nestled among 100-year-old cypress trees. The tour lasts about 2 1/2 hours, but it’s so fun that it feels like five minutes. Not only will you be ziplining, but you’ll be crossing bridges, and stopping for a few photo ops!

Things you should know

• You may see animals such as deer, turkeys, gators, snakes, turtles, beavers, raccoons, owls and wild boar.

• Before ziplining, you’ll go through a quick safety and demonstration talk, and then practice your first go on a small line.

• Your guides work so hard, and I highly recommend tipping them.

• Water is provided on the tours.

• Leave your cell phone and camera in the provided lockers. They’ll take pictures of you during the tour.

• Ziplining is a great teambuilding activity, and they offer group rates.

• You must be ten years or older with a 70lb – 250lb weight limit.

• You will want to wear tennis shoes and athletic pants.

• Check their tour availability and book online before your trip!

Location: 5550 Watts Road, Ocean Isle Beach NC 28469 // Website waterfront seafood calabash best place to eat Brunswick islands fishing fleet crab legs grouper best dessert where to eat North Carolina travel blog

waterfront seafood calabash best place to eat Brunswick islands fishing fleet crab legs grouper best dessert where to eat North Carolina travel blog
I’m going to use my beg card on this spot. Please, please, please stop at Waterfront Seafood Shack for lunch. Not only is the food fresh as it gets, and perfectly prepared, but it’s owned by the sweetest, most down to earth couple you’ll ever meet. This spot is truly a gem, and it’s a place you’ll be talking about long after your visit is over.

When they say “fresh seafood,” they don’t mean seafood that is freshly defrosted from the freezer, they mean freshly off the boat and into the kitchen! The Calabash Water Seafood Shack knows for a fact that the seafood is fresh because they own the boats that go out to catch the fish. waterfront seafood calabash best place to eat Brunswick islands fishing fleet crab legs grouper best dessert where to eat North Carolina travel blog

waterfront seafood calabash best place to eat Brunswick islands fishing fleet crab legs grouper best dessert where to eat North Carolina travel blogWhat You Should Order:

• Don’t think twice, order a basket of hushpuppies for the table.

• 1 lb of steamed snow crab legs.

• Grilled grouper with a side of slaw

• Crab cakes and deep-fried corn.

• Dessert is an absolute must. Split a selection of fresh pound cake, key lime pie with a crust that’ll melt in your mouth, or creamy ice cream. You never knew you needed dessert until you take your first bite. Soon, your “I’m too full” excuse turns into “pass me that pound cake.”

Location: 9945 Nance St.,  Calabash, NC 28467 // Website kayaking at sunset beach summertide adventure Brunswick islands North Carolina guide travel what to do kayak intercoastal way cari van winkle actives beach water fun
If you’re ready to pack more adventure into your vacation, sign up to go kayaking at Sunset Beach with Summertide Adventure Tours.
kayaking at sunset beach summertide adventure Brunswick islands North Carolina guide travel what to do kayak intercoastal way cari van winkle actives beach water funkayaking at sunset beach summertide adventure Brunswick islands North Carolina guide travel what to do kayak intercoastal way cari van winkle actives beach water fun
Even though I felt it in my arms the next morning, kayaking at Sunset beach was more of a relaxing and leisure activity. Our guide, Cari VanWinkle was the best. She helped us whenever we got stuck in the marsh (it happens), let us know when we were holding the paddles the wrong way and took the time to explain the wildlife and all kinds of sea creatures. I didn’t expect to learn so much during our tour. Now, I feel like an oyster, jellyfish, spider crab, and seashell expert. You may even see dolphins or sea turtles on your trip!

The tour was about 2 1/2 hours, but we stopped at a sandbar halfway through to check out the shells, jellyfish and gave our legs a good stretch. On the way back, we made our way through a marsh maze that was so fun to navigate.
kayaking at sunset beach summertide adventure Brunswick islands North Carolina guide travel what to do kayak intercoastal way cari van winkle actives beach water fun

What You Should Know:

• Summertide Adventures will provide all equipment

• Bring a bottle of water and water-friendly clothes + shoes

• Low-moderate fitness level on all tours.

• Make a reservation online.

Location: End of Park Road, Sunset Beach NC 28468 // Website (confirm your tour’s location after reservation)dinner jinks creek waterfront grille ocean isle beach nc North Carolina Brunswick islands travel guide where to eat best food seafood dinner water travel cocktails restaurant
dinner jinks creek waterfront grille ocean isle beach nc North Carolina Brunswick islands travel guide where to eat best food seafood dinner water travel cocktails restaurant
After a day of activities, treat yourself to a delicious seafood dinner at Jinks Creek Waterfront Grille in Ocean Isle Beach. I heard that the seafood is the star of the show at Jinks, but after seeing all of the appetizers, I started to question that statement. If you plan on heading to Jinks, you’re in for a real treat. No matter what you decide to order, it’ll be the right decision.

Jinks Creek is a beautiful restaurant and the perfect spot to catch the sunset. I would recommend this place for a romantic date night, or special occasion dinner.
dinner jinks creek waterfront grille ocean isle beach nc North Carolina Brunswick islands travel guide where to eat best food seafood dinner water travel cocktails restaurant
dinner jinks creek waterfront grille ocean isle beach nc North Carolina Brunswick islands travel guide where to eat best food seafood dinner water travel cocktails restaurant

What You Should Order:

• Geechie boy cornbread with the hot honey glaze.

• Low Country Smothered Grouper (instead of greens, go for the fingerling potatoes!)

• BBQ Shrimp & Grits

• Signature Cocktail: Jinks Juice

Location: 14 Causeway Drive, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469 // Website holden beach, old ferry seafood fresh shrimp low country boil fishing ana boat ride Brunswick islands travel tour guide North Carolina wine beach house local sunset

holden beach, old ferry seafood fresh shrimp low country boil fishing ana boat ride Brunswick islands travel tour guide North Carolina wine beach house local sunset
The Brunswick Islands are just like the Nicholas Sparks movies. It’s the perfect excuse to grab a book and sit on the beach for a chance to unplug. If you want a book fitting to your location, grab a copy of Nicholas Sparks Book, Every Breath. It takes place in the Brunswick Islands, and you’ll find yourself looking up to get a glimpse into what the characters were seeing at that moment.
holden beach, old ferry seafood fresh shrimp low country boil fishing ana boat ride Brunswick islands travel tour guide North Carolina wine beach house local sunset coffee holden beach ahora cafe
holden beach, old ferry seafood fresh shrimp low country boil fishing ana boat ride Brunswick islands travel tour guide North Carolina wine beach house local sunset coffee holden beach ahora cafeI was looking for a coffee shop in Holden Beach to get my afternoon pick-me-up and came across Ahora Cafe. After reading it’s highly rated reviews, I knew I had to try it out for myself.  Their blends are from three tropical regions, Costa Rica, Indonesia, and Tanzania. Since they roast them at their coffee shop, the coffee is fresh as it gets.

I ordered the almond milk cappuccino with an extra shot of espresso, and it did not disappoint. I can confirm that the coffee is delicious. Make sure to stop by Ahora Cafe to enjoy a latte in their surfer-decor coffee shop.

Location: 3369 Holden Beach Rd., Suite 4, Holden Beach NC 28462 // Websitebrunwick islands travel nc North Carolina sunset beach nc old sunset beach swing bridge museum Ann bokelman preservation what to do travel guidebrunwick islands travel nc North Carolina sunset beach nc old sunset beach swing bridge museum Ann bokelman preservation what to do travel guide
If you love learning about the history of the places you visit, make sure to stop at the old Sunset Beach Swing Bridge Museum for a tour. The iconic Sunset Beach Swing Bridge linked the island and the mainland from 1958 to 2011. It’s fascinating to hear about how the bridge was built and why it holds a special place in the city’s heart. You will be able to walk on the old bridge and visit the tender home since it was moved to dry land to serve as the museum.

Location: 109 Shoreline Dr. W, Sunset Beach, NC 28468 // Websitethe kindred spirit mailbox bird island sunset beach bike ride Beach Brunswick islands Nicholas sparks every breath beach day travel vacation guide sunset beachthe kindred spirit mailbox bird island sunset beach bike ride Beach Brunswick islands Nicholas sparks every breath beach day travel vacation guide sunset beach the kindred spirit mailbox bird island sunset beach bike ride Beach Brunswick islands Nicholas sparks every breath beach day travel vacation guide sunset beach
Taking a bike ride to the Kindred Spirit Mailbox was a dream, and should be added to your plans while visiting the Brunswick Islands. If you’ve read the new Nicholas Sparks book, you’ll know what I’m talking about here. This place is just as magical as it is in his story.

The “Kindred Spirit” a lonely mailbox is filled with notebooks and pens for visitors to write down their thoughts, prayers, sorrows, dreams, memories, or reflections. This mailbox came about in 1981 when a couple took a walk on bird island, a secluded beach. They planted the mailbox, and now it’s filled with letters from the heart from people all around the world. The letters are there for anyone to read, and there are empty pages and pens for anyone to contribute.

“The destiny that matters most in anyone’s life is the one concerning love.” That’s the quote that Nicholas Sparks found in the mailbox which led him on a journey to search for the man who wrote it, in hopes he could turn this man’s story into a novel. the kindred spirit mailbox bird island sunset beach bike ride Beach Brunswick islands Nicholas sparks every breath beach day travel vacation guide sunset beachthe kindred spirit mailbox bird island sunset beach bike ride Beach Brunswick islands Nicholas sparks every breath beach day travel vacation guide sunset beachthe kindred spirit mailbox bird island sunset beach bike ride Beach Brunswick islands Nicholas sparks every breath beach day travel vacation guide sunset beach
What you should know:

• Bird Island is approximately 1,300 acres of a secluded beach. You won’t find any homes, or buildings, just a lonely mailbox.

• The Mailbox is a little hidden but looks for the flag pole with the American flag.

• Rent a bike from Island Hoppers Bicycle to get the full beach cruise experience. It’s the best way to visit the mailbox!

• Keep an eye out for the pelicans!

Location: 432 Sunset Blvd S, Sunset Beach, NC 28468 // Website  turtle talk sea turtles Brunswick islands ocean isle beach museum of coastal Carolina for turtle talks protection
turtle talk sea turtles Brunswick islands ocean isle beach museum of coastal Carolina for turtle talks protection
We headed to the Museum of Coastal Carolina for the Turtle Talk with the Ocean Isle Beach Sea Turtle Protection Organization. I enjoyed learning about the turtles and surprised at how smart these gorgeous sea creatures are. Watching the demonstration of how the mamas lay their eggs, how the babies make their way to the ocean, and what we can do to help protect these magnificent animals was so cool. The community comes together to help these turtles. And when they are about the hatch, people will gather all around to help the turtles make their way to the sea. I’m so glad we got to experience this talk, learning how we can contribute to saving the sea turtles. The museum also has a touch tank, a dry exhibit, and other fun activities to explore.

Location: 21 E 2nd St, Ocean Isle Beach, NC // Website lunch at provision company intracoastal waterway grilled shrimp burger seafood and sandwiches outdoor dining Brunswick islands holden beach nclunch at provision company intracoastal waterway grilled shrimp burger seafood and sandwiches outdoor dining Brunswick islands holden beach nclunch at provision company intracoastal waterway grilled shrimp burger seafood and sandwiches outdoor dining Brunswick islands holden beach nc
The restaurants we visited during this trip are filled with character and charm.You can quickly tell why they are the local’s favorites. We stopped at Provision Company in Holden Beach for lunch. You’ll be able to enjoy delicious seafood, salads, & sandwiches with views of the Intracoastal Waterway. You can even get here by boat if you want.

When you walk in, you’ll order your food at the counter right away, and head into the dining area to find a spot. There is also outside seating, but the inside is so fun to look at with all its decor. License plates and dollar bills cover the walls, and the dining area was built to resemble a ship.
lunch at provision company intracoastal waterway grilled shrimp burger seafood and sandwiches outdoor dining Brunswick islands holden beach nc

What you should order:

• Provision Company is known for their famous grilled shrimp burger (everyone raved about it at the table)

• The french fries are a must! They are perfectly fried, seasoned, and make the perfect side.

• Grilled Grouper on the house salad. Keep things light with fresh fish on a salad dressed in their housemade Italian dressing.

Location: 1343 Cedar Landing Rd SW, Supply, NC 28462 // Website

holden beach, old ferry seafood fresh shrimp low country boil fishing ana boat ride Brunswick islands travel tour guide North Carolina
holden beach, old ferry seafood fresh shrimp low country boil fishing ana boat ride Brunswick islands travel tour guide North Carolinaholden beach, old ferry seafood fresh shrimp low country boil fishing ana boat ride Brunswick islands travel tour guide North Carolina
holden beach, old ferry seafood fresh shrimp low country boil fishing ana boat ride Brunswick islands travel tour guide North CarolinaWe stopped by Old Ferry Seafood for a little tour. It was fun to learn all about their process of catching fresh fish, and being able to see where our dinner later that night was coming from. Visitors can get fresh local seafood straight off the boat here. holden beach, old ferry seafood fresh shrimp low country boil fishing ana boat ride Brunswick islands travel tour guide North Carolina wine beach house local
Grab a bottle of local wine and enjoy a low country boil prepared by Anna, from Old Ferry Seafood. This was my first low country boil experience, and it was one I’ll never forget. Visitors can order a low country boil prepared by Anna to take back to the house for dinner, which is perfect for parties. All you have to do is grill, steam, or boil to finish it off. If you want the full coastal experience, you have to finish your trip off with a low country boil!

Location: 1069 Songbird Ln SW, Supply, NC 28462  // Websiteholden beach, old ferry seafood fresh shrimp low country boil fishing ana boat ride Brunswick islands travel tour guide North Carolina
holden beach, old ferry seafood fresh shrimp low country boil fishing ana boat ride Brunswick islands travel tour guide North Carolina
We took a boat cruise through the Intracoastal Waterway, and it was a perfect way to relax while enjoying the beautiful views. A boat ride, a low country boil, and a beautiful sunset was the ideal way to end the trip. I wish I could pack all of my bags and move here permanently! ocean isle beach drift coffee Brunswick islands avocado toast gluten free coffee green smoothie
ocean isle beach drift coffee Brunswick islands avocado toast gluten free coffee green smoothieAfter packing my bags, I felt sad to be leaving. The only thing that doesn’t have four legs but has the power to cheer me up is a good cup of coffee.

I decided to make a stop at Drift Coffee & Kitchen before making my trip back to Charlotte. I’ve heard many good things about Drift Coffee, and it was a place many people were messaging me about daily. It’s a few steps from the ocean, and the atmosphere is a very rustic beach vibe. It reminded me a lot of a spot I used to visit on the Big Island of Hawaii. I loved all of the healthy and delicious options. I went with the popular avocado smash on gluten-free bread, a green smoothie, and a small coffee. That first sip of coffee was heavenly.

It gets pretty busy, so the seating is limited. If I were going to stay longer, I would have taken my breakfast over to the beach to enjoy. Luckily, an older gentleman noticed I was standing by the bar and offered a seat at his table. He was sitting at a larger table by himself, and it was kind for him to offer up a chair. We chatted a bit before he finished up his avocado toast and iced coffee. I learned that he was from Raleigh, which isn’t too far from Charlotte. He has owned a house in Ocean Isle for many years, and it’s his favorite place to escape during the weekends. He shared a few of his favorite coffee spots for me to check out the next time I visit. He said, “I can tell you’re a real coffee lover by the way you enjoy its natural flavors without all that creamy stuff.” It made me laugh because it’s only been a few years since I’ve been able to drink coffee without all that creamy stuff. When he got up to leave, about three people called him by name and waved at him as he walked out the door. At that moment, the small town feels felt more real than ever. The people you meet in the Brunswick Islands are all similar to this friendly man I had just met. You don’t feel the rush of the overcrowded tourist trying to make their way down to the beach to snag a spot. You’ll meet people that inspire you to talk to strangers, take a step back from your busy lives to enjoy a moment, and to go out of your way to open a door or offer up a seat. I can see why many people make this place their permanent home. It’s a gem, and I hope you feel inspired to plan your next trip to the Brunswick Islands.

Location: 20 E Second St Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469 WebsiteThe Brunswick islands North Carolina travel guide what to do sunset beach house holden beach ocean isle oak island sunset sunrise rental visit vacation beach
I will be giving my Nicholas Sparks book away with a $20 Starbucks gift card and the best granola (a Brunswick island’s local business hippie chick granola) you’ll ever have to one lucky winner! The book brought much joy to my day, and I’d love for you to experience it yourself. All you have to do is leave a comment with your suggestions of where I should travel to next! I will be writing more of these types of blog posts this year, so I hope you enjoyed it! xo -I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday, May 8th!

Questions for you!

  1. Have you been to any of the Brunswick Islands?
  2. What do you look for in a vacation? Adventure or Relaxation.
  3. Which activity in this post would you like to do?

Please visit the NC Brunswick Islands for more information about my trip!

This was not a sponsored blog post, but the cost of my trip was covered by Pineapple PR. Thank you for supporting Simply Taralynn! 

Comments

  • Hannah

    So cool to see this — my family spends a lot of time in the Brunswick Islands area. We love the Bagel Dock Cafe in Calabash if you’re up for some gluten, and The Parson’s Table just a bit south in Little River, SC is delicious. Vereen Memorial Gardens in Little River, SC is great for dog walking and Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, SC is a great day trip!

    Reply to Hannah
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That is so awesome!!!

      Unfortunately, I can’t have the gluten 😢 but I’ll keep that place in mind when I visit with Kyle! Thanks so much for your recommendations!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jesse

    The Brunswick Islands are Home for me! Thanks for inspiring me to go exploring in my home towns ☀️💛

    Reply to Jesse
  • Stephanie

    You could visit Ashville or anywhere near the smokies really. Getting a cabin is a really peaceful getaway. Hopefully, that’s where our next trip will be.

    Reply to Stephanie
  • Shannon Griffin

    Gosh I don’t know of a place that you haven’t been but I’d say Mystic Connecticut and you have to go to Mystic Pizza. If you haven’t been already that is. But if you do go you have to watch Mystic Pizza first! 🙂 It’s a cheesy movie but so cute!

    Reply to Shannon Griffin
  • Aimee

    Nice recap!

    You could visit Chicago, in the summer. It is amazingly beautiful and shiny, with great parks and sky scrapers that reflect the blue sky and Lake Michigan.

    It has beaches, boat tours, Magnificent Mile shopping, rooftop restaurants and some of the biggest Art, Natural Science and Science museums in the U.S.

    It’s close to Indiana Dunes Parks, miles and miles of white sand beaches bordered by woods, on Lake Michigan ( no sharks!). It’s a hidden gem with lots todo

    Reply to Aimee
  • Teri

    Sanibel and Captiva Islands here in Southwest Florida. Absolutely beautiful and it feels like your in the Caribbean. Captiva is the more secluded one. Highly recommend.

    Reply to Teri
  • Kelly

    Hi Taralynn!

    I have never been to the Brunswick Islands but after reading your post I want to book a plane there right now! I have been to the Outer Banks, which is also very beautiful and somewhere you should travel to next if you haven’t been before!
    I like a good mix of adventure and relaxation when I go on vacation.
    The zip-lining would definitely be on the top of my list!

    P.S. you should also make a second trip to Denver! It’s very beautiful during the fall and you weren’t there long enough!

    Kelly

    Reply to Kelly
  • kim

    Hi – Can you give me any insight into how hot it will be in July in Asheville? I know the temp, but what will it FEEL like?
    Also, any hiking and dining tips are welcome!

    Reply to kim
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Kim!

      It’ll be around 90-100! But in the mountains, it can get cool at night! But you may get lucky with a mid-80’s day!

      PLANT is a MUST for food. It’s a vegan restaurant, but will please anyone! Reservations are recommended.

      Hiking looking glass falls in the Pisgah forest is my favorite.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Heather

    Go somewhere completely out of your comfort zone! Travel to Tokyo or Seoul!

    Reply to Heather
  • Danielle

    The Brunswick Islands look amazing!! You should visit Dauphin Island in Alabama next! My friends and I went there in March, and it was such a cute little island…it was very quiet (not too busy at all), has a rich history, was relatively inexpensive (we rented a house on the beach), there were some great locally owned restaurants, a very neat aquarium, there were boat tours including a sunset one (we didn’t have time to go unfortunately but they looked so fun) and so much more!

    Reply to Danielle
  • Tammy Fezza

    That place sounds so beautiful!! Next place you should visit is Newport RI or Connecticut shoreline.

    Reply to Tammy Fezza
  • Danielle

    Wow! This is now added to my list of places to travel too:) Looks amazing! Not sure if you’ve been, but I LOVE Ocean City, MD! The boardwalk is amazing and there are so many fun activities to do

    Reply to Danielle
  • Liz

    Orange County in CA! There are so many small beaches between San Diego and LA that I think you’d love. And I’d love to see a comprehensive post like this for the area 🙂

    Reply to Liz
  • Emily Carlson

    Bar Harbor, Maine! Especially in Fall. Amazing nature sights, adorable local coffee shops and restaurants, and close proximity to fun activities.

    Reply to Emily Carlson
  • Michele

    Love the pictures. Try Virginia Beach too. Went last year and was so relaxing and quiet. Can’t wait to see where you travel next

    Reply to Michele
  • Ann

    Such beautiful photos and fun and informative video! That’s on my bucket list now, even if I have to go by myself someday! RELAXATION! Thank you for all the information. Enjoy your weekend! ☀️❤️

    Reply to Ann
  • Shannon

    Omg! What a wonderful article! As a regular vacationer/ home owner of this area I can say you certainly hit some great spots! Ive been to many but also look forward to trying some myself. I like a bit of adventure and that gator zip-lining looks pretty fun!

    Reply to Shannon
  • Jacqui

    ALL of your photos are incredible! Can you do an updated post on photography?? This sounds like a great place to plan my next trip 🙂

    YOUR next trip should be the southern NJ beaches – Avalon, NJ in particular! Not that there’s anything wrong with the “Jersey Shore” tv show beaches, but these are NOTHING like that haha 🙂 Come visit and I’ll be your personal travel guide!

    Reply to Jacqui
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Jacqui!

      Thank you so much! 🙂 I’ll look into writing a new photography post!

      I’ve been to a couple of beach/boardwalk spots in NJ with Meighan back when we ran our half! I need to get back during the summer days to actually enjoy the beach 🙂

      xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Amanda Hopkins

    Loved this post! Makes me want to go to the beach so bad. Out of all your noted locations, i’ve only ever been to Southport and it was amazing!

    A trip idea for you would be the Florida Keys if you have never been there. That would be a great trip for you and Kyle. It’s beautiful and so fun!

    Reply to Amanda Hopkins
  • Jen

    Hi! Avid blog reader for years! Just moved from Charlotte to Florida to be with my family. Love your blog and I think you should check out Palm Beach Gardens, FL on your next trip. I know your man’s fam is in FL so it’d be perfect! Tons of restaurants I could fill you in on and blog-worthy posts…hope you consider it! Xox

    Reply to Jen
  • T

    That gator photo is spectacular. Love this post!

    Reply to T
  • Samantha

    If you liked this trip you would love central Florida. There is way more to see and do besides Disney! (I know Disney is amazing, but next time add a few days and explore other parts!) Places like Homosassa Springs and the Crystal River are a great way to experience Florida’s wildlife, especially the manatees. There is also Weeki Wachi, where you can you and be a mermaid…seriously. I’ve been dying to go check out their mermaid school but haven’t had the time yet!

    Reply to Samantha
  • Courtney

    I HIGHLY recommend Blue Ridge Georgia! The mountains are spectacular and so are the trails and waterfalls in the mountains. You can start the Appalachian Trail from there too which is really cool. Downtown Blue Ridge is adorable with many cute shops, great food, and of course coffee 🙂 We stayed in Ellijay which is about 30 minutes south of Blue Ridge for even more amazing shops, food, and coffee. I don’t have one negative thing to say about the whole week we stayed there.

    Reply to Courtney
  • Megan

    You should visit the Pacific Northwest! Portland and/or Seattle!

    Reply to Megan
  • Anne

    So cool!! I was JUST at Oak Island for a vacay…we visited Southport and Wilmington then headed towards Raleigh. I’ll put some of these places on my bucket list for next time! 🙂

    Reply to Anne
  • Dez

    Please share where all your outfits are from!

    Reply to Dez
  • Carly

    This place looks amazing. Adding it to my short list. And it’s fun to read all of the suggestions. Someone already said Austin and I second that! I’ve always wanted to go but would love to see a good break down of the must sees.

    Reply to Carly
  • Carolyn

    This post has me wanting to make a trip ASAP!! Your pictures are GORGEOUS!!

    Reply to Carolyn
  • CAE

    What a beautiful spot to vacation! I would love to zip line. Sounds really fun!
    Please keep doing travel blogs with all these great suggestions. They are so enjoyable.
    You should visit Carmel, California. It does not ever disappoint. You would love the quaint
    cottages and restaurants as well as running on the Scenic Bluff Path. Just gorgeous!

    Reply to CAE
  • Amanda

    You could do Wild (like the book). =) California would be a great place to do a travel blog. Maybe even somewhere near the redwood national parks. That would be something to experience.

    I have never been to the Brunswick Islands. I am from the middle of the country, so getting to the ocean takes a lot of planning for us. We are a little land locked. You have totally convinced me to put this on my bucket list though! Thank you!

    I look for a mixture of adventure and relaxation. I don’t like to feel like I can never sit down and enjoy the view, but I also love to try a couple new things here and there.

    I think I would most like to try the kayaking! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply to Amanda
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Amanda!

      My friend, Caitlin, and I are doing the coast of California next month!!

      I hope you do visit! I know how it feels to be landlocked. We rarely went to the beach when we lived in Iowa!

      Yes! Kayaking is the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jess

    Looks so fun! Who else did you go with? Glad you had a nice time 🙂

    Reply to Jess
  • Hayley

    I know you’ve been to Hilton Head before but truly that is one of my favorite places in the world!!! This post really made me want to visit the Brunswick Islands though- nothing like reading this at work and pretending like I’m actually there with all the beautiful pictures. Another cool place you may not have been though is Milwaukee, WI. Very cute place right on the lake, really loved visiting there recently!

    Reply to Hayley
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I’ve been but not long enough to explore! Can’t wait to go back.

      I have a friend in Milwaukee and she loves it! May have to go with its warmer!:)

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Nikki

        This looks amazing, the kindred spirit mailbox gave me goosebumps! This is so helpful too. Looking for a spot for our family’s next vacation and this might be it. You should go to Asheville, NC. That’s on our list too and would love some travel info there. 🙂

        Reply to Nikki
  • Ariel LaVenture

    Hi Taralynn!

    I have never been to any of the Brunswick Islands but would love to take a trip their when my mum. ☺️
    I prefer a little more adventure on my trips and like to see local holes-in-the-wall.
    I would love to try zip-lining! I’ve been skydiving before and think zip-lining would be so cool! Maybe for my birthday this month…

    And Montana is an absolutely beautiful, mountainous place! I grew up there and it’s simply stunning! You should visit!

    Cheers,
    Ariel

    Reply to Ariel LaVenture
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Ariel!

      It would be the perfect trip for you and your mom! ♥️

      Yes, you should most-definitely try ziplining! Such a thrill.

      okkk yes, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Montana! I went there for my senior trip when I was 18!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Ainsley

    You should check out Boston! It is super pretty now with all of the spring flowers and trees coming back to life and so many amazing places to eat. Plus you could catch a game at Fenway and classic Boston experience!

    Reply to Ainsley
  • Lisa

    I have never heard of the Brunswick Islands! Thank you so much for this travel guide. I will be using it it ASAP! I would highly recommend that you visit Cape May, NJ… I promise you, it will not disappoint!

    Reply to Lisa
  • Erin Hitchens

    The Great Smoky Mountains! We just climbed part of the Appalachin trail and went to Charlie’s Bunion and it was amazing.
    We drove but it was still fun times. We rented a cabin and it was totally worth it.

    Reply to Erin Hitchens
  • VALERIE C

    I’ve read you come to Florida. On your next visit, if you haven’t already, you need to visit Sanibel Island and Captiva Island on the west coast! They’re side by side and an absolute dream!

    Reply to VALERIE C
  • Leslie Caskey

    What a fun trip! Maybe one day I can venture out but for right now, I will just have to live through your travel blog 🙂
    I have a random question… where did you get your straw hat? I love that it looks very flexible. I’m going on a cruise in June and wanted to find something that would pack easy.

    Reply to Leslie Caskey
  • Hayden Slaughter

    This is now on the TOP of my list! I have read the book and have been dying to go! The trip looked so amazing!! I love adventure trips, but this looked like a mix of both adventure AND relaxation. Love it! I can’t wait to visit the mailbox one day!

    You next trip should be Oregon!! We go to Portland every year for at least 10 days and its magical! SO much to do! The coast is amazing and the hiking is gorgeous. Not to mention the food. So much unique and healthy food. Plus Seattle is just a 3 hour drive for a day trip too!!

    Reply to Hayden Slaughter
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Hayden!

      I’m so happy to hear that this is on the top of your list!!! You will absolutely love it, especially visiting the Kindred Spirit!

      Another point for Oregon!! Maybe I’ll make my first stop in Seattle to see my uncle and make my way to Oregon! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jenna

    Okay now I want to visit North Carolina!!!!! THANK YOU for such an in-depth travel guide! I am saving this post in hope that one day I too will experience all the beauty this state has to offer! ☺️

    Reply to Jenna
  • Patricia

    Taralynn! You need to visit St.Augustine, FL. My “husband’ (still feel weird saying that) and I just got back from there for our honeymoon and it absolutely captured our hearts. Not many people seem to know that it’s the oldest city in the U.S, so it has tons of beautiful history and charm. I know you would love it because it’s very similar to your favourite cities Savannah and Charleston, but has a beach too. Lincolnville, a nearby neighbourhood, has the wraparound porches and overhanging oak trees that look like it’s straight from a Nicholas Sparks novel. One of my favourite memories was stopping at a cute little bar because it was raining and seeing dolphins out in the water. Oh and the food was amazing. I really love anywhere that has a southern charm and this place absolutely took the cake.

    Reply to Patricia
  • Abby

    OMG adding the Brunswick Islands to my bucket list. So beautiful. When I’m planning a trip, picking a place where I can get fresh seafood is a top priority..mainly because I live in the landlocked Midwest haha.

    Someone mentioned this above but I would HIGHLY recommend Austin and Waco. I visited both last May when traveling for a friends wedding and absolutely LOVED both. Moonshine Grill and Jo’s Coffee are a must in Austin! And while Magnolia Market in Waco is amazing, beware the crowds- go on a weekday if you can in a cooler month because you will be waiting outside for a long time (I was there Memorial Day weekend- UGH).

    Reply to Abby
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Oh, man!! if anyone deserves to visit here, it’s you! i know what it feels like to live in the midwest lol

      YES YES YES GOING THERE!!!! fall ♥️ 🍂

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Alecia B.

    We loved going to Ocean Isle as kids! I can’t wait to go back next year for a family vacation.

    Reply to Alecia B.
  • Jenna

    I’ve never been to any of the Brunswick Islands but now I really want to go. It would be about an hour drive for me…and that’s not that bad.

    Adventure or relaxation on vacation? Both. I like getting out and trying new things but I also like just relaxing because I’m on vacation!

    Ziplining for sure! Sounds so much fun.

    Next…. you should go to Nashville!

    Reply to Jenna
  • Jackie

    Man, I didn’t realize how much stuff there was to do around there. I went to Bald head island for the first time last week and it was super cute and amazing. You’ll have to take a trip out there.

    Reply to Jackie
  • Carrie

    Wow, this trip looked like a dream! I’ll definitely be adding the Brunswick Islands to my list of places to visit! I always look for a happy medium between adventure and relaxation and this trip looks like it was the perfect mix! I think finding taking a bike ride to the mailbox would be a really neat experience. As for where you should head next- my biggest trip this year was to Sedona, The Grand Canyon, and Scottsdale, AZ! My favorite was by far Sedona and I tell everyone to head there now!!

    Reply to Carrie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Carrie!

      It really was 💜 So happy you’re adding the Brunswick Islands to your list! You’re going to love it!

      So many people have been telling me Sedona, so I’m adding it to the list!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Mary Beth

    LOVE this post! You are always so thorough and informative! It really makes me want to visit the Brunswick Islands soon. Would love for you to do a post on HHI!

    Reply to Mary Beth
  • Ashley

    I’ve never been to the Brunswick islands but it looks beautiful! I think I definitely prefer relaxation on a vacation but I still like to see and do cool things.

    I’m gonna suggest somewhere I’ve never been but would love to go. Washington state and Oregon! I always thought the national parks like Crater Lake and all the mountains and coastline looked so pretty there. And the tulip festival in Washington every spring would be really cool too. Seattle also seems like a really interesting city. Hopefully one day I’ll get to explore the west coast!

    Reply to Ashley
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Definitely beautiful and filled with relaxing and cool things to do 😃

      I need to make it out that way! Oregon looks gorgeous! My uncle lives in Seattle and my brother and I was thinking of making a trip out that way soon!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Savannah

    Taralynn have you ever been to Alabama?
    Birmingham Alabama is the biggest city and is well known for its foodie scene. In addition we have an open air market called pepper place , many historical places to visit such as the civil rights museum , 16th street baptist church. Also we have the Birmingham Museum of Art , Sloss furnace and Vulcan park. Oak mountain state park has hiking , kayaking , “ beaches “ and horse back riding. We have world class golf courses on the Robbert Trent Jones trail. All of these places and more 🙂

    Reply to Savannah
    • Taralynn McNitt

      No, but someone else mentioned it, so I am going to have to make a trip there! I’ll be keeping all of these recommendations in mind. Thank you for taking the time to share! That sounds like my kind of trip! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Emily

    Until this blog post I had no idea that I’ve been to the Brunswick Islands! My friend’s parents live in Calabash and I’ve visited them a few times. The beach near their home is absolutely beautiful. Next time I’m there I definitely want to check out the ziplining place! That looks so fun.

    I think you should visit Nashville next! It’s absolutely one of my favorite cities and is constantly changing. I try to go there at least once a year to check out what’s new and exciting.

    Reply to Emily
    • Taralynn McNitt

      How fun!! Yes, and you should try out the Swamp Park’s ATV tours!! We can’t wait to go try that out.

      I haven’t been to Nashville in so many years, but we’ve been wanting to go back since it’s too not far from Charlotte! 💜

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Muge

    Oops! Wrong email in the previous one 🙁

    Wow, I feel this post was made for me. I always wanted to go where the “Nicholas Sparks Movies” were shot and all I knew were they are in Wilmington, NC. I so did not know where to go or visit but now I even have the address of everything. Definitely pinning it. Thank you! Oh, in top of that I haven’t read the new Nicholas Sparks book so it would be so great to experience it (currently I am reading the Lucky One).

    As for your next travel, I suggest Newport, RI. They also have the most breathtaking scenes and all the famous mansions that you can visit as museums from the past. Oh, and Taylor Swift bought a mansion from there a few years ago except you cannot visit hers. Hehe.

    Reply to Muge
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Muge!

      Ohhhh man. If you make a trip there, you’ll have to bring the new book and read it on the beach! It’s the perfect setting!

      Ohhhh I bet that’s a gorgeous place to visit!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Amanda

    Bravo on this blog! Your travel stories are getting better each time. My friend and I just recently used your guide to Disney and it was so helpful.

    Reply to Amanda
  • Milena

    Hi Taralynn!

    I know I cannot participate in the book contest because I live across the ocean, but still I have to say that Nicholas Sparks is one of my favorite writers ever! I´ve been reading his books for years now on and I dream about visiting Brunswick Islands one day.

    Replying on your question, I think you should travel to Niagara Falls next time you visit New York 🙂 BTW, it would be great if you write a similar post about NY! A travel guide with the best places to eat, stay, see etc, for one week for example. You are soo good with recommendations!

    I look for both things when I´m on holidays. I couldn´t stay on the beach for one entire week, but I couldn´t go from one adventure from another neither. I like to have active holidays but with one or two days for relax 🙂

    Which activity in this post I would like to do? Definitely zip line tour!

    PS. I am so jealous of you visiting Southport for the second time! I am planning to visit your country next year and it will be my first time in US, so your blog will be my number one source of information 🙂

    Have a nice rest of the week!

    Reply to Milena
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Milena!

      Have you read his new book? I think it’s one of my favorites!!

      I’ve always wanted to visit Niagra! Especially after my parents went. They LOVED it.

      You’re going to love Southport!! Make sure to visit in the spring/summer!

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Camille

    Hi Tara,

    Really nice post ! I’m dreaming of visiting the islands now !

    I’m sorry if you’ve answered this before but could you share what camera and lenses you are using ?

    Thanks a lot !

    Reply to Camille
  • Hannah R

    I think you should travel to Bar Harbor! It’s such a beautiful little town (in pictures, because I haven’t been there in person YET) and I think you would enjoy it like you have these islands! It’s a small town with beautiful coasts and hiking areas all around you! We are making that our final stop on our “anniversary trip” (a month after our anniversary so there’s at least some green stuff growing by the time we get there 😉 haha) and now it’s kind of a babymoon, too!

    This place looks incredible, and I so hope we get out to visit sometime!!

    Reply to Hannah R
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I LOVE Maine! One of the most picturesque places! ♥️ Bar Harbor may have to go on the list too! You’ll have to let me know how it is after your trip so I can follow your recommendations! ♥️

      I think you’d love the Brunswick Islands!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    It’s absolutely picture perfect there! Thank you for the useful guide! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
  • Lee

    What a fun trip! Ummm… were you that close to that alligator?!?

    Reply to Lee
  • Allie

    Come to Canada! Fly into Toronto (where I live) and do Muskoka in summer. We have a cottage up there and I spend the entire year waiting for summers at the cottage and now get to do it with my little dude (ok he’s now 11 🙄) but I LIVE for those few months of lake swimming and my big dog can’t be kept from dock jumping without a leash on him lol! So many super cute small towns and gorgeous lakes and so fun and pretty!

    My little guy takes swim classes every summer off the beach in Roseau (super cute town near our cottage) and kids get dropped off by car or boat and we are so lucky our neighbours have been the lifeguards past few years as all the kids tend to do that as best summer jobs ever during university! So fun and beautiful and we go every weekday 2 weeks a session so awesome way to get out and he can meet other kids up there. Plus I get to read (pretending not to watch him 😏) on the beach.

    I love your recaps and I am dying to travel down south and explore all the areas you talk of as just looks gorgeous and I love the ocean.

    Reply to Allie
  • Courtney

    I just visited Sunset Beach last summer with my family and fiancé and we had the best time. You are right about the beaches not being overcrowded. It was so peaceful down there and we really enjoyed our stay. We rented a beach house a row back from the ocean and I would go out onto the screened porch every morning with a cup of coffee to watch the early morning runners/bikers and enjoy the ocean breeze. I definitely want to visit some of the other beaches around there! I am also a big fan of Nicolas Sparks and would love to visit South Port! Your intinerary was really fun to read and I’m looking forward to taking a trip down there hopefully in the near future to check out the other beaches!

    Reply to Courtney
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Courtney!

      I’m so glad you had the chance to experience Sunset Beach. Sounds like you had an amazing trip, and coffee on the porch in the morning is a must on a beach vacation ♥️ ☕️

      I hope you get the chance to visit the other beaches as well! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Brittany

    Ahhhhh your post just made me feel like I was on vacation for a few minutes! Now I need to plan a weekend trip sometime soon! As for Brunswick Island, I would LOVE to visit there one day. It seems like the perfect place for me. Too bad I am all the way across the country in Portland!

    As for places to visit, I would highly recommend visiting Portland if you haven’t already. Ever since I have moved here, coffee elsewhere can’t seem to compete! There are also SO many restaurants, unique stores, parks, spots to hike, and overall just a lot of character 🙂

    Besides Portland, I would recommend Nashville! I haven’t been there yet but it is on my list for places to see. From what I have heard, it seems like a very fun place to visit.

    Reply to Brittany
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Brittany!

      Looks like you’ll have to make a long plane ride, but it’ll ALL BE WORTH IT 💜

      YES, Portland is on my list!! I hear they have some pretty amazing donuts!

      xo xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Madison

    Ah I loved this. I’ve been to the Brunswick Islands once, but briefly, and now you’ve got me wanting to go back so bad!!

    When I vacation, I like a good mix of adventuring and relaxing. I always say that I just want to relax, but I get too bored! Gotta keep myself a little busy.

    My favorite thing about any vacation is THE FOOD. All your seafood pics has given me some serious jealousy.

    Next trip, I recommend Philadelphia. I was never interested in going, but then my best friend moved there. There’s surprisingly so much healthy food and beautiful buildings and cute cafes. One of my favorite cities!

    Reply to Madison
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Madison!

      YES YES YES GO BACK! 😃

      I’m like you, I have to keep myself exploring and busy on trips. I get bored after six minutes on the beach if I’m not doing something.

      okkkkk so if you’re a foodie, you’re really going to love the Brunswick Islands.

      I never thought about visiting Philadelphia, but I have heard good things!! Kyle is an Eagles fan so maybe, we’ll go there for a game!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Brittany M

    I’ve never been to NC but I’ve always felt inspired due to the Nicholas Sparks books and I have read them all up to his book Two by Two. I haven’t read the one featured in your post, but I’d love to!! My family loves to visit Birmingham, Alabama. Grapevine, TX is on our list next. I think you’d love both. I enjoy being on the go and staying at a hotel where we can walk everywhere! Great post ❤️

    Reply to Brittany M
    • Taralynn McNitt

      He really highlights the beauty of the Carolinas well 💜

      I have always wanted to visit Alabama! You’ll have to give me some of your favorite places in Birmingham!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Anonymous

        The museum of art, the zoo, the botanical gardens, Topgolf, Breakout Escape Rooms, McWane Science Museum, Oak Mountain State Park, Five Points South area- are a few of the incredible things to do!!!! There’s so many more. It’s probably our most favorite place to travel to as a family. It’s a super dog friendly city and everyone is so nice. There are some cool breweries also. The Summit is the best place for shopping and has some cool food places. There is a great view also! No one really knows how cool it is until you go there for a couple of days. We really never considered it as a vacation spot until we were looking for a quick weekend getaway and ended up there! You would absolutely love it!

        Reply to Anonymous
  • Grace

    I love Holden Beach!! My family has gone there every summer for years now, and you are spot on about the morning beach atmosphere. I love my morning runs on the beach or through the streets with all the beautiful houses to look at!!! I definitely recommend checking out the Fantasy Isle mini gold and Beaches and Cream ice cream shop right across the bridge next time you go. I’m sure you’ve been to Asheville before since it’s so close by here, but a travel blog for that trip would be awesome!

    Reply to Grace
    • Taralynn McNitt

      So lucky you get to go there every summer! Amazing spot ♥️

      I’ll add those to my list!

      I’ve been to Asheville many times, so maybe I’ll put together a post highlighting my favorite spots! If you go there, you must stop at PLANT! it’s the best vegan food. Even non-vegans LOVE LOVE LOVE it! The flavors are unreal.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Emily

    You should travel to Boston (sings “I think I’ll go to Boston”) 😊

    I’ve never been to Brunswick but it is GORGEOUS from your pics and video! I look for a mix of adventure and relaxation. I have a beach trip planned at the end of this month and I am excited! I have a deep sea fishing trip planned, kayaking In the schedule, and relaxing on the beach ☀️

    Reply to Emily
  • Ali

    The photos in this blog made me feel like I was right there with you! Fantastic.

    Reply to Ali
  • Chelsea

    LOVE your video and the photos! Makes me want to move to the beach!! Sooo pretty!!

    The Carolina’s are seriously the best ever! We took a trip down the East Coast last fall and it was my favorite trip I’ve ever been on. You definitely need to check out Hilton Head Island and make a stop in Harbour Town. It’s the cutest!!!

    Reply to Chelsea
  • Amanda G

    Ugh, I miss this area so much! I loved visiting when we lived in Wilmington! And we were told that the place used as the general store in safe haven was actually burned down for the movie! But fishy fishy is SO GOOD

    Reply to Amanda G
  • Barbara

    I LOOOOOVVVVEEEE THIS POST!! I’ve been wanting to do everything in it especially since I’m a HUGE Nicholas Sparks fan. I’ve never visited the Outer Banks but it’s definitely on my bucket list. I’ve been all around the world and this has yet to cross my path but after seeing and reading this post it just makes me want to go!! And Fishy Fishy looks divine! I’m all about seafood. As far as where I think you should go… be spontaneous and just throw a dart at a map and see where it gets you. I saw someone else post Maryland. If you’ve never been it’s a cool state. The Chesapeake Bay Area has tons to do and lots to eat. I’ve never been disappointed with trips to Maryland or DC. Walking, running, or taking a bike ride up the trails that follow the Potomac are breathtaking. I’m always up for both adventure and relaxation. I feel like you can’t earn your relaxing moments until you’ve fulfilled adventurous ones. Sky dive, bungee jump, deep sea fishing… do. it. ALL! I’ve seen many lighthouses but never have I actually been up one and from everything you’ve posted I think that’s the main thing I’d wanna do. Such a history behind lighthouses and it would be cool to be at the top of one. Enjoy the rest of your day!! xo

    Reply to Barbara
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Yes, YOU MUST GO! Especially if you’re a Nicholas Sparks lover! He’s the reason I wanted to move closer to the beach years ago. I feel like you’d obviously love the Brunswick Islands! And if you’re wanting to climb a lighthouse, the Oak Island Lighthouse is the one for you!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Joye Mcinturff

    This was a Beautiful way to make us feel like we were right there with you. You should come visit my hometown of San Antonio, Texas. You would love the history, Riverwalk, and of course the Mexican Food!

    Reply to Joye Mcinturff
  • Clancy Phillips

    You captured this area so perfectly! I attended UNC Wilmington and visited South Port & Oak Island all the time! The coast of NC is by far one of my favorite places in the world, I hope to have a place there one day so I can go anytime I want! Your post makes me miss it even worse!! 🙂

    Reply to Clancy Phillips
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you, Clancy! (I love love your name!)

      I don’t blame you for missing it! It’s honestly picture-perfect and that small town feel in such a popular spot is rare.

      ♥️

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Stacie

    I think you should go back to Europe! With Kyle! Loved reading about your Paris trip a few years ago.

    Reply to Stacie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      We are in the process of planning a trip to Switzerland together! Don’t know when, but hopefully next Spring!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Susie

        Wow, just wow! What a gorgeous place! I must visit one day…you had the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation. I wish I were more adventurous – I thought of you on my last vacation to Hawaii and how you lost your fear of swimming in the ocean (and how you swam with manta rays!) but I just can’t shake it. Luckily I have no FOMO 😆. My fave activities on Brunswick Islands would be the lighthouse and the kindred spirits mailbox! So magical! This post is definitely one of my top favorites! And your pictures are always so breathtakingly beautiful.

        Reply to Susie
      • Emily Schemrich

        You should visit Greece in September, still great weather but no crazy crowds. Santorini is a dream: black sand beaches, wineries everywhere, and taking a boat ride to hike the volcano in the middle of the island is amazing!

        Reply to Emily Schemrich
  • Haley

    Boston, MA / New England! I’m planning a trip for the fall and I feel like you always make the best posts after trips and it would help me plan my trip so much better 😅😅

    Reply to Haley
  • JC

    I LOVED this blog post!! I am traveling to Southport for 4th of July and have always loved the North Carolina beaches! Your photos are making me want to jump in my car right now!

    Also, for the comment that mentioned going to maryland- you need to go! I grew up in Maryland, on the eastern shore. Look up the Inn at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club! It is totally your vibe. I recommend visiting the little coastal town of St. Michaels (best ice cream- scottish highland creamery!) and also Annapolis, which is just over the bridge. Just so gorgeous in the summer and in the fall! You’d really love it!

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Reply to JC
  • Madison

    Oh man, my parents live in Hilton Head and this made me miss the beach so bad! 🙂 Would you recommend this area more for a big group of friends, or a small, intimate trip with one or two people? Did your mom go with you? You said “we” a lot in the post but not who you went with, so I wasn’t quite sure what the vibe was.

    Reply to Madison
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Madison!

      I went with a media group (we) but I think this place is perfect for ANY type of group size. You can make it a girls weekend place, a romantic getaway, perfect for family vacations, or an adventurous one. SO MUCH TO DO! Check out the NC Brunswick Islands Website 😀 Linked at the bottom! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jennifer

    Oh. My. Gosh. My favorite blog post ever!! My family and I went down to Sunset Beach nearly every year when I was a kid. A family friend of ours had a condo down there, and still lives in Southport to this day. I’m going to visit her over the 4th of July for their HUGE festival. That is my first recommendation is going to the 4th of July festivities. It’s been on my bucket list and I’m so excited to finally go!

    Recommendation #2 – Sunset Beach. Next time, you’ll for sure have to visit Crabby Oddwaters! They have the best hush puppies I’ve ever had, their food is amazing, and the unique view of the channel can’t be beat. You can see the boats that bring in food right outside the window! Calabash also has a cute little gift shop with the best fudge, too.

    Recommendation #3 – Bald Head Island. This has been the most unique experience for me yet! There aren’t cars allowed on the island, and you take the ferry to get there. They have cute (and delicious of course) restaurants, and you can rent a bike to ride around the island! I recommend stopping at the lighthouse and biking riding the whole time with stops at the beach! There is also a VERY exclusive club on the island (that you can’t go to lol – my friend’s niece worked there one summer and met Bill O’Reilly – she said he was very nice – since he has a house there and was at the club!)

    I love everything about these islands and LOVED reading through everything!

    Reply to Jennifer
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Jennifer!

      OMG, you are actually going to Southport on the fourth! The jealousy I have!! You’ll have to tell me all about it 😃

      Thank you so much for all of your suggestions!! Lots of celebrities live on Bald Head Island I heard. Meg Ryan, my favorite, being one of them! 😃

      XOXO

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Allie Lewis

    You should visit Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket this summer!!! I live in NH and those are on my bucket list to visit this summer with my boyfriend! I love beach reads, so those places are calling my name.

    Reply to Allie Lewis
  • Maci

    Why no ads on the blog?

    Reply to Maci
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Funny you noticed! Sometimes the ads make the page load slow, and since this blog post is one of my favorites, I want people to enjoy it without having to wait for photos to load! This post was so fun and took a lot of time to write, so I want it to be easy for others to read! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kayla Mardin

    LOVED this guide–already planning a trip now. Can’t wait to try all your suggestions.

    Your next trip should be to the white mountains of New Hampshire (in the summer, or fall of course, for peak foliage!)

    Thanks for sharing! xo

    Reply to Kayla Mardin
  • Kat

    You should visit Hilton Head Island! It’s a favorite of my family 🙂

    Reply to Kat
  • Perri

    This was such a fun blog! All of your adventures sound like so much fun! I love kayaking too! You should definitely travel to Maryland in the spring/summertime. They have beautiful beaches, fun water activities and plenty of delicious seafood! I have always heard great things about Maryland and it would be fun to see another travel blog about it. I have never been to Brunswick Island, but you definitely made me want to put it on my travel list!

    Reply to Perri
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you, Perri!

      I do need to make my way up there! I bet it would a gorgeous place to visit in the summer or fall.

      Hope you visit the Brunswick Islands! ♥️

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Kaylin

        You need to come to Austin, TX! I don’t know anyone who leaves after visiting Austin disappointed with their trip.

        Reply to Kaylin
        • Taralynn McNitt

          I believe you! I’ve never heard anyone say anything but good things! I’m thinking of visiting Austin in the Fall and then making my way down to Waco!

          Reply to Taralynn McNitt

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