Bald Head Island, known through history as Smith Island, is a village located in Brunswick County, North Carolina, on the east side of the Cape Fear River. It is part of the Wilmington metropolitan area. Small and remote, the island is accessible by ferry from the town of Southport and by all-terrain vehicle from Fort Fisher. There are very few cars on the island and most residents drive electric golf carts. Bald Head Island is known for its sea turtle nesting, .picturesque nature and "Old Baldy", the lighthouse built in 1817 and the oldest lighthouse in the state still standing. The Village Chapel on Bald Island was dedicated on Easter Sunday, 1987, and was designed by Texas architect Clovis Heimsath in Carolina coastal architectural style. The Bald Head Island Conservancy is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 to promote conservation, preservation and education about the island. The Bald Head Island Historic Tour helps visitors explore the island in comfort of an open golf cart. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Bald Head Island Lighthouse
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Bald Head Lighthouse, known as Old Baldy, is the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina still standing. It is one of three lighthouses built on Bald Head Island to help guide ships past the dangerous shoals at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. North Carolina's coastline from Cape Hatteras to Cape Fear is called the Graveyard of the Atlantic because about 2,000 shipwrecks are found along this coast. These shipwrecks include Spanish privateers, blockade runners, and freighters. Lively maritime traffic into the thriving port of Wilmington required the construction of a harbor light to help navigation into the mouth of the Cape Fear RiverThe lighthouse was completed in 1794 of 80,000 bricks. After the erosion endangered the original lighthouse, the new octagonal 110-foot tall one was built in 1817.
101 Light House Wynd, Bald Head Island, NC 28461
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2.Bald Head Island Conservancy
The Bald Head Island Conservancy is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 with a mission to promote conservation, preservation and education about the island. The conservancy is located in the Smith Island Complex in Brunswick County, North Carolina. The complex includes Bald Head Island, Middle and Bluff Islands, all between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean. The conservancy facilitates and sponsors scientific research that helps coastal communities. It provides a range of recreational and educational activities for educators, students, visitors, and residents. The conservancy and the Smith Island Land Trust work on protecting critical habitats on the island through conservation easements and land donations. The conservancy organizes many activities including Guided Kayak Tours; Turtle Walks for observing loggerhead sea turtles coming ashore to nest; Sea Turtle Patrol Ride Along; Birding BHI; Bald Head After Dark; and much more. Each summer, the Conservancy holds camps for all ages.
700 Federal Rd, Bald Head Island, NC 28461, Phone: 910-457-0089
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3.Bald Head Historic Island Tours
If you are visiting Bald Head Island, you probably know already about its exciting history, spectacular nature and people that shaped its past and its future. The Bald Head Island Historic Tour can help you explore the island in comfort of an open golf cart, while spending two-hours with a tour guide who will tell you the legends and true stories about the island pirates, times of colonization, the U.S. Lighthouse Service, U.S. Life-Saving Service, and how Bald Head became an island resort. You will visit the Smith Island Museum of History, climb Old Baldy Lighthouse, and get 10 percent discount on souvenirs in the Old Baldy Foundation gift shop..
Bald Head Island NC
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If you are visiting Bald Head Island with kids, beware that there is the cutest candy shop in town and once your kids spot it, you will lose them inside. This happy , cheerful and colorful place is full to the rafters with candies of all colors, flavors, sizes and shapes. There are old-fashioned candies, handcrafted sweets, gourmet popsicles, chocolates, gift boxes full of assorted goodies and anything else your sweet tooth might desire. They also have toys, party supplies and party décor. Their Bald Head Island shop is closed during the winter, but they have another one in downtown Wilmington, NC.
6 Maritime Way, Bald Head Island, NC 28461, Phone: 910-769-2611
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5.Maritime Market Cafe
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Maritime Market is a bright and spacious grocery store on Bald Head Island, North Carolina, that has everything you need in case you get hungry, thirsty or just have a little craving. If you are visiting the island, leave your cooler behind, Maritime Market has fresh local seafood, baked goodies, ice cream, wine and beer and a whole menu of gourmet food prepared in their Café. The café is open for breakfast and lunch and serves pizzas until closing. Breakfast at the café is an island tradition and you will see many locals enjoying Chef Marc Berruet’s creations such as house-made sausages or slow-cooked cheese grits. For lunch you can have one of their rich burgers or deli sandwiches. You can eat at the café and open that bottle of wine you purchased at the market or take it all with you for a picnic while exploring the island.
8 Maritime Way, Bald Head Island, NC 28461, Phone: 910-457-7450
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6.The Village Chapel of Bald Head Island
The first worship service on Bald Head Island was held on Easter Sunday, 1984, in the cozy lounge of the Bald Head Island Inn. On Easter Sunday, 1985, a sunrise service was held at Old Baldy. This inspired George and Cynthia Mitchell Family to donate the land next to the Lighthouse for the construction of the Village Chapel. The chapel was dedicated on Easter Sunday, 1987, after the sunrise service although the construction was not finished. The chapel was designed by Texas architect Clovis Heimsath in Carolina coastal architectural style. The Chapel layout is a traditional cruciform floor plan. It has seating for 130 persons. Behind the altar, a bay of windows overlooks the marsh providing to the worshippers a beautiful view of Bald Head Creek, Middle Island and Bluff Island in the distance. The Village Chapel is a popular destination for weddings.
105 Light House Wynd, Bald Head Island, NC 28461, Phone: 910-457-1183
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6 Best Things to Do in Bald Head Island, NC
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