Day Trip: Bald Head Island
The ferry departs the island every hour on the half-hour. Ferry tickets are $15 per person for adults and $8 per child ages 4-12. Children 3 and under are free. Make sure to check out the ferry schedule before your trip at http://www.baldheadisland.com/contact/ferry_information.aspx or call 910-457-5003. You will also have to pay for parking at the Deep Point Marina: $8 per car, per day.
Some fun facts you might want to know about the history of Bald Head Island are threaded through its many colorful people and connections. Through the years, the island has been home to pirates, lighthouse keepers, Indians, river pilots, soldiers and farmers. The name of the island, in fact, was given by the early river pilots that would help navigate ships approaching the entrance to the Cape Fear River. They would have to take watch on top of dunes to give accurate directions. Their headland lookout was bare of vegetation, making it stand out in contrast to the forest behind them. So they used the reference “Bald” headland for the ships entering the river.
Today, there are no cars allowed on Bald Head Island; transportation is limited to electric carts, bicycles and foot traffic. The island complex is 12,000 acres, including marsh and creeks, and is 3 miles long.
There are many things you can do while visiting Bald Head Island. First, for travel and exploration, make sure you rent a golf cart for the day. Bald Head has many roads that wind through the ancient maritime forest, along the creek and marsh, and beside the Atlantic. There are many places you can rent them from when you arrive at the ferry dock.
Visit Old Baldy lighthouse, where you will get a 360-degree view of the island, from the salt marsh to the river to the ocean. Explore the historical river pilot’s house and the grounds on which Old Baldly stands.
Take a self-guided tour of the island. There are many maps – and it’s easy to navigate on the roads. There are also many cool stop-off points and nature to enjoy. If you are ready to explore the rivers and marshes, you can also rent a kayak and take one of the guided tours.
There are 14 miles of pristine beaches with plenty of public access points. If you want to learn more about the island, make sure to take part in the GPS scavenger hunt. This is a great way to navigate the island and also learn more about its history. A preloaded GPS with designations and a clue sheet is provided for about $20 for a group of 4.
Here on Bald Head, there are restaurants that will get you refueled after a day of island adventure. Eb & Flo’s Steambar, located just a short walk from the island ferry terminal, offers casual dining for lunch and dinner with a full bar. There is also the River Pilot Cafe, The Maritime Market Cafe and the Ice Cream Shoppe.
And, yes, there is shopping. There are 13 shops, ranging from Canopy Outfitters to Turtle Central – something for everyone. You can buy something for yourself or purchase a souvenir to take home to your friends.
Bald Head Island is definitely a place to visit, and if you don’t feel like one day is long enough, there are plenty of Bed & Breakfasts for an overnight stay.
On your next Myrtle Beach vacation, take a day and explore Bald Head Island. This will be a great day for the entire family and you will want to come back and share with your friends. For more information, please visit http://www.baldheadisland.com.