9 of the Most Interesting Places Around Sunset Beach, North Carolina
Sunset Beach, North Carolina is known for amazing vacation rental homes, quiet beaches, and plenty to do! Friends who return to our shores year after year have sites and activities that always make their to-do list. Today we have gathered some of the most interesting of the bunch. Next time you visit Sunset Beach, be sure to carve out time to tick a few off the list.
Bird Island (and The Kindred Spirit Mailbox)
Bird Island is a true nature sanctuary that deserves a visit. Here you can learn about sand dune wildlife and experience the habitats of our beautiful coast. This protected land has clean, sandy beaches and over 1,200 acres of salt marsh and tidal creeks, which means plenty of opportunities to spot birds, crabs, and even nesting loggerhead sea turtles!
Bird Island is primarily used as an outdoor laboratory where scientists, students and the public can learn about the influences that shape our natural coastal area, like weather, erosion, and even human intervention.
While you are visiting Bird Island, don't forget to stop by the Kindred Spirit Mailbox. Featured in a novel by Nicholas Sparks, this seemingly out-of-place mailbox has a simple mission: it holds small notebooks full of the thoughts, dreams, and prayers of those passing by. Take a moment and share your ideas, and be sure to read notes left by other travelers.
ADDRESS: 40th Street and West Main Street, Sunset Beach, NC 28468
The Dreaming Tree
This impressive oak is thought to be at least 2,000 years old! Is this true? No one knows for sure, but oaks are especially sturdy and are perfectly adapted to our coastal climate. They can withstand our crisp salty air and have an extremely deep, strong root system that holds them in place during even the toughest hurricane or flood.
Drop by this beautiful landmark in the heart of Shalotte, NC. You can find it by following these directions: Take Old Hwy.179 from Sunset Beach and Ocean Isle Beach toward Shallotte. After the 90-degree left curve, turn right on Pigot Road and then right again on Village Point Rd. The tree is near on the left. (Read more)
This small natural history museum will probably only take you about an hour to explore, and is a great option if you need to get out of the heat (or rain) for a bit. It is ideal for children, but adults are sure to learn and enjoy as well. You will find a touch tank (with starfish, sea urchins and horseshoe crabs) and detailed exhibits featuring life-sized models of whales, sharks, rays and turtles. Learning more about the sea life right outside the door of your vacation rental is sure to enhance your entire experience.
Be sure to do the scavenger hunt … it helps you get the most out of your visit and you will receive a prize at the end. You can also check out cool native american artifacts, shark jaws, live snakes (do you know which ones are venomous?), an insect collection with magnifiers, a puppet playhouse, puzzles and much more!
Don’t forget that you get a discount to the Ingram Planetarium when you visit the museum (and vice-versa), so it pays to visit both. You can even get a discount to the Children’s Museum of Wilmington with your receipt (read more). The museum also hosts various events including Touch Tank Feedings and programs about specific topics like jellyfish or how shells are formed. Here is the event calendar.
ADDRESS: 21 E Second Street, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
PHONE: (910) 579-1016
PRICE RANGE: All-day admission: $9.50 Adults, $8.50 Seniors (62+), $7.50 Children (3-12), Age 2 & under -- Free
The Planetarium is best known for informative and interesting laser light shows. See the schedule here and choose your favorite. There are some exhibits to check out as well, especially if you have a space or science lover in your group! It’s hard to believe that we have a planetarium in our little coastal town but we are so lucky that we do! You will receive a discount for both the Museum of Coastal Carolina and the Children’s Museum of Wilmington when you visit them within 7 days so take advantage! Please note that the Planetarium is only open on Fridays and Saturdays.
Hours and visitor information for both the museum and planetarium can be found here.
ADDRESS: 7625 High Market St, Sunset Beach, NC 28468
PHONE: (910) 575-0033
PRICE RANGE: Per-show admission: $9.50 Adults, $8.50 Seniors (62+), $7.50 Children (3-12), Age 2 & under -- Free
Riding horses on the beach sounds pretty dreamy, doesn't it? You can do just that, year round, with Inlet Point Plantation Stables. They offer a couple of different options depending on your budget, skill level, and sense of adventure. You can start out slow with a simple pony ride for the kids (ages 7 and up, $35 per person for a half hour guided walk through the pecan groves). For $60/person, you can enjoy a “Waterway Trail Ride” (again, for ages 7 and up). If you want to ride on the beach you can opt for the one (or two) hour oceanfront rides on Waites Island. This place gets fabulous reviews for their knowledgable and caring staff, not to mention the sweet, gentle horses. You will love special touches, like the option to purchase photographs from your ride at the end, and a delicious ice cream treat when your ride comes to an end.Reservations are required!
Phone: (843) 249-2989
5800 Highway 236 • N. Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
Teetering on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina, the Indigo Farms Market has various activities and events throughout the year. You should always check their website (especially the blog) for opening dates and to learn which “You-Pick” fruits and veggies that are in season. Strawberries will kick off in spring, followed by tons of veggies, melons and peaches in the summer, and of course, pumpkin picking and hayrides in the fall. There is even a little “Barnyard” you might enjoy, where you will find a few animals waiting for your visit. The goats will be especially thrilled to see you!
A recent addition to the farm is the recently opened Moka Cafe, offering “Coffee, Breakfast, Lunch, and Baked Treats”.
The Indigo Market also offers a traveling farmer’s market in Myrtle Beach. Check here for details.
The history of Indigo Farms is interesting, but also quite tragic. Indigo farming began in the 1740’s using slave labor, and the rich, blue dye was a symbol of wealth and class. Please read more here.
1542 Hickman Rd. NW, Calabash, NC 28467
(910) 287-6794 and (843) 399-6902
Did you know that Venus Fly Traps are actually native to this area? You can spot these crazy cool plants in the Green Swamp Preserve, along with other native species like the carnivorous pitcher plant, delicate orchids, Henslow’s Sparrow and even the American Alligator.
Within the preserve are over 5 miles of hiking trails for visitors to enjoy.
NC Hwy 211, Supply, NC 28462
To see the most beautiful sunsets you must visit the Sunset Beach Pier! Jutting out 900 feet into the ocean, this pier isn't just for fishermen (although if you fish, this is a great spot. You'll find a double sink at the cleaning table, a bait shop and rod rentals). In addition to nature's most stunning sunrises and sunsets, you will find a snack bar, juke box and game room in the air-conditioned pier house.
Kids will enjoy playing under and around the pier while looking for shells and ghost crabs (especially in the early evening hours).
When you walk to the end of the pier you are actually facing South, which is rather unique on an East coast beach! Check out the Live Webcam at any time.
ADDRESS: 101 W. Main Street, Sunset Beach, NC
Southern Living said it best in their recent article about Bald Head Island: “Board the ferry, ditch your car, and head outside.” Home to “Old Baldy” (the state’s oldest standing lighthouse - since 1817!), visitors flock here for the beauty and quiet that is guaranteed when no vehicles are allowed! It’s a great little day trip from your vacation rental on Sunset Beach.
To plan your visit, you will need to take a ferry from Deep Point Marina in Southport, NC (they depart every hour and it takes about 20 minutes to get there). Once you arrive on the island you will take a tram, rent a golf cart, or rent a bike to reach your destination.
Now, you can explore the lighthouse and grounds, rent a kayak or stand up paddleboard, or visit the Bald Head Conservancy. Check the event calendar for island activities.
Contact Sunset Vacations
Sunset Beach, North Carolina is such a special place. Please get in touch with us so we can help you plan your next vacation, no matter what the season! These wonderful spots are perfect to visit all year long. See you soon!
401 South Sunset Blvd.
Sunset Beach, NC 28468
1-800-331-6428 (Reservations Only)
What interesting spot did we forget?
Please let us know for future blogs!