From the moment that you depart on a private passenger ferry from the Indigo Plantation Marina in Southport, you will know that you are about to experience something special. The first thing that you will notice about Bald Head Island is the natural beauty that surrounds you. From the quiet unspoiled beaches to the maritime forests this is a truly exceptional place.
Another thing that you will notice is the absence of gasoline powered vehicles. Transportation here consists of bicycles, electric golf carts and walking.
Amenities and recreation on the island include a championship golf course, clubhouse facilities, a marina, croquet, tennis, swimming pools, restaurants, snack bars and relaxing on the beach or by the pool.
The most famous landmark on the island is North Carolina’s oldest lighthouse. Built in 1817, Old Baldy has guided many ships safely into the mouth of the Cape Fear river for over 86 years. Old Baldy was retired from service in 1935 but has been restored and is open to the public for tours.
Bald Head Island is tiny but has played a part in two American wars. During the American Revolution, it was home to Fort George, a British fort. During the Civil War, the same redoubts served as Fort Holmes, a Confederate base of importance to shipping and smuggling.
Located at the tip of Cape Fear and residing at the convergence of the Cape Fear River and Atlantic Gulf Stream, the land mass of Bald Head Island ends, trailing off into thirty miles of treacherous sand bars known as Frying Pan Shoals. In this area, large sand bars seasonally emerge from and subsequently retreat into the sea.
Bald Head is the southernmost of North Carolina’s cape islands, marked by the legendary Cape Fear. It’s also the northernmost subtropical environment on the East Coast, making it a haven for a wide array of wildlife, including nearly 200 species of birds, dolphins, loggerhead turtles, alligators, deer, foxes, and an amazing variety of fish.
With beaches rimming its eastern, southern and western shores, the island’s geography presents another remarkable phenomenon: the sun both rises and sets over the Atlantic Ocean each day.
With 10,000 of the island’s 12,000 total acres set aside as nature preserves, choosing which environment to explore first can be a tough decision. Ocean beaches stretch for 14 miles, while a serpentine tidal creek, perfect for paddling a kayak or canoe, traverses the salt marsh. The maritime forest, with its miles of walking trails, beckons hikers with an enchanting mix of palms, live oaks, dogwoods and cedars.