Bald Head Island Recreation in North Carolina for the Whole family

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Find out about the recreational activities for the whole family to enjoy

Situated just off the coast of southeastern North Carolina, this charming island is home to miles of pristine beaches and a laidback lifestyle. Bald Head Island Recreation offers outdoor activities, historic sites and kid-friendly adventures that are sure to please.

Board the passenger ferry and ditch your car for a relaxing vacation on this lush subtropical oasis.

Some of the best Bald Head Island recreation are listed below:

The Sail Shop

The 14 miles of pristine beaches on this secluded island are a dramatic setting for family fun and adventure. Explore the island’s historic sites including Old Baldy Lighthouse and a collection of redoubts that played a role in two American wars – the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

The tidal creeks and maritime forests on the island offer a natural playground for nature lovers of all ages. The Club provides regular children’s programs and clinics throughout the summer along with golf and tennis lessons for all ages and skill levels. The croquet greensward on the island regularly hosts United States Croquet Association tournaments and lessons are offered for beginners as well as seasoned pros.

Rent bikes and enjoy exploring the island on its gently sloping coastal terrain free from automobiles. Riverside Outdoor Adventure is your one-stop shop for bicycles and accessories, kayak tours and lessons, sailboat rentals and lessons, surfing and more. All of their gear is located at the Marina just steps from the ferry landing.

Budding Naturalists

The beauty of Bald Head Island is that there are plenty of opportunities to explore the island’s nature. Families can golf, sail, kayak and hike along the island’s maritime forest, salt marsh and tidal creeks. The Conservancy also hosts many family adventure activities throughout the summer. Kids can learn about wildlife from a local naturalist during a guided tour of Old Baldy Lighthouse and museum or through the Conservancy’s ride-along beach turtle patrol.

For an aquatic adventure, try stand-up paddleboarding. Rentals are available through Riverside Outdoor Recreation and Coastal Urge. Kids can also get their feet wet with crabbing or surf fishing at a local marina.

The 186-acre Bald Head Woods Coastal Reserve is home to upland and wetlands that represent the local maritime forest communities. The Conservancy offers several hiking and birding trails throughout the year and hosts nature walks at night during the summer for the chance to walk side by side with newly hatched loggerhead sea turtles.

Junior Scientists

Coastal breezes fill the air year-round on Bald Head Island, so it should come as no surprise that this charming North Carolina island offers plenty of outdoor activities for both kids and adults. The Sail Shop teaches sailing lessons for both children and adults, and the golf pro also schedules beginners clinics. Buy a ferry day pass and spend a leisurely afternoon strolling historic Southport, where you can pick up great antiques, shopping and dining in this lovingly preserved Southern village.

The Bald Head Island Conservancy conducts a series of outstanding childrens camps throughout the summer. Budding Naturalists, for kids age 4-6, lets them catch bugs and critters, hold snakes and make island-oriented arts and crafts. Junior Scientists, for rising 2nd-6th graders, allows them to get their hands dirty while learning about salt marshes, tidal creeks and sea turtles.

The Old Baldy lighthouse and museum is a must for history buffs, while nature lovers will love the kayaking tours of the islands salt marshes and tidal creeks. The Shoals Club offers family friendly events like bocce and volleyball tournaments, games around the pool and tie-dying Tshirts.

Conservancy Corps

Located off the coast of southeastern North Carolina, Bald Head Island is a nature lover’s paradise. The subtropical island, reached by passenger ferry or private vessel, has 10,000 pristine acres of beach, salt marsh and maritime forest preserves plus charming neighborhoods. Discover Old Baldy, the state’s oldest lighthouse, or hike through the pristine 173-acre Bald Head Woods Maritime Forest Preserve.

In addition to promoting environmental stewardship, corps members often develop new career skills such as public speaking and leadership. They also learn to work alongside people from different regions, religions, races and socioeconomic backgrounds, giving them a more inclusive perspective on the world.

The Island Club’s Recreation Team offers a variety of fun, family-oriented events throughout the summer. They host pool parties, family movie nights and holiday events, and they can help you plan an exciting outing at the beach or a trip to the leisure pool. Kids ages 5-10 can get an up-close look at barrier island ecology through the Conservancy’s half-day Nature Camps. The camp immerses them in the salt marsh, tidal creek and maritime forest to teach them about the complex web of life here.

The Shoals Club

As the summer ends and kids return to school, the Conservancy’s intern-created & led kid’s programs are a great way for them to learn more about our natural environment. They’ll enjoy crabbing & casting-netting in the Crabbing & Casting program, fishing on the marsh or beach during their Fishing Camps, and even touch horseshoe crabs and sea stars in the Touch Tank.

The Shoals Club is a member’s club that includes a second-floor oceanfront dining room with sweeping views and fresh coastal cuisine, as well as a lounge, fitness center, pools, easy beach access with provided chairs and towels, and an outdoor bar/grille. The clubhouse also provides locker rooms, laundry facilities and showers.

Vacationers who stay in a Bald Head Island rental home from Maritime Market get temporary membership access to the Shoals Club and the Bald Head Island Club as part of their rental fees. Make sure to check if your rental home offers guest access to these clubs when you reserve. You’ll be glad you did!


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