Information about Sunset Beach, North Carolina
The southern-most of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, Sunset Beach is only three miles long but it is everything that a family beach should be. As you travel from the mainland, over the one lane pontoon bridge, across the calm salt marsh, you’ll find yourself entering a relaxed and quiet world of Southern coastal living.
Imagine a day spent browsing through the specialty shops (look under Shopping on this site), teeing off at one of the many nearby championship golf courses or launching your boat for a day at sea. Follow this up with a great meal at one of the many fine restaurants in the area, or by picnicking on your deck while watching the waves roll in.
If you enjoy the idea of visiting or even living in a soothing, slow paced atmosphere then Sunset Beach is your perfect getaway.
Pastel colored cottages and homes nestled by the sea oat covered dunes line the oceanfront. You can lounge on the beach or hunt for sea shells while children build sand castles by the shoreline.
Only three miles long, Sunset Beach is the southernmost of the three barrier islands known as the South Brunswick Islands.However, the Town of Sunset Beach is comprised of several square miles of mainland as well. A new high-rise bridge is currently under construction replacing the swing bridge that has connected mainland and island for decades and is scheduled for completion in 2010. In spite of its size this island has a current year-round population of more than 2,000 residents.
Sunset Beach NC is a great choice for a vacation. A visitor looking for a quiet coastal place to relax will do very well to book a house on this beach (look under Vacation Rentals on this site). The island of Sunset Beach features a white sandy beach with undisturbed sand dunes, a natural habitat and a nesting ground for coastal wildlife of all kinds, including the endangered loggerhead sea turtle. There is a full-service fishing pier on this island, and both island the mainland areas of the town offer shopping centers, grocery stores, small boutiques, dining, golf and the Ingram Planetarium (look under Attractions on this site).
Sunset Beach also offers a unique opportunity… a walk to Bird Island. Bird Island was once a separate island accessible only by walking through shallow Mad Inlet at low tide. Today it is connected to Sunset Beach as the inlet has filled in with sand. Bird Island is completely untouched by development as its nearly 1,300 acres of beach, marsh and wetlands were dedicated as a North Carolina Coastal Reserve in 2002 following 10 years of work by the Bird Island Preservation Society to protect it. This designation protects habitat used by several threatened or endangered species, including Kemp’s Ridley and loggerhead sea turtles, sea beach amaranth, piping plover, wood stork and black skimmer. Early morning bird walks are conducted during the summer months by persons working with the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust.
Also informal guided tours (announced by posters attached to street markers on the beach) are given frequent by locals who are happy to share their knowledge of Bird island. The purely natural environment is comforting, a place where people of the twenty-first century can experience life as it was back in the days prior to the development of the land.
Another unique feature to be found on Bird Island is a “kindred spirit” mailbox where visitors can leave inspirational messages for others to read and contemplate.