Bald Head Island is the perfect East Coast get away destination if you're looking for a laid back family vacation spot. Located just off the coast of North Carolina, this beautiful island features sandy beaches and lush forests nature loves will love to explore.
We recently spent a weekend in Bald Head and got to get an inside look at what makes this hideaway a favorite for so many travelers. Thank you to HOMEAWAY for hosting our trip.
NC Family Vacation Destination – Bald Head Island
If you're looking for a quiet place to escape that's only a short drive from the Carolinas, Bald Head Island is the place. Last weekend we loaded up the car and made the three and a half hour drive from Winston-Salem to spend a few days with family.
No cars are allowed on the island so we had to take a quick 20 minute ferry ride across to the island. A tram greeted us at the ferry dock and drove us over to our rental house right off the ocean.
HOMEAWAY helped us find the perfect house for our three night stay. After searching the sites incredible database of rentals we found one that looked like a great fit for the space and amenities we needed. With more than two million unique properties in 190 countries, HomeAway has something for everyone and every budget.
Walking in we were so impressed with this place, it was even better than the pictures. Immediately I fell in love with the large white kitchen and open floor plan. Two bedrooms downstairs with bathrooms and incredible views of the ocean. The loft upstairs had two twin beds, a full bathroom and a walkout patio with rocking chairs so you sit and watch the sun rise and set over the ocean. It was amazing!
Click here for our HOMEAWAY beach house – Villa 36!
I loved that our HOMEAWAY rental had Wifi, cable and even Netflix! Also a DVD player and a whole collection of movies, current magazine subscriptions and even a cabinet full of family games. It's the little details that make a vacation home extra special and this home had everything you could think of.
HOMEAWAY Vacation Rentals, Great for Families
Let's talk about the kitchen! Not only was it gorgeous and so comfortable for making and enjoying meals together, it was fully equipped with everything we needed and more. A coffee machine, blenders, toaster oven, top grade appliances and utensils for grilling and chilling. So whether we were hosting a full-on family dinner night or just having a pizza party we had everything you could possibly want or need.
HomeAway vacation rentals are perfect for larger group travel. It's easy to find a home that has all the amenities you need for enjoying a vacation with your extended family or a group of friends. Full kitchens, laundry, multiple bedrooms and lots of extras to accommodate everyone in your group.
The bedrooms were beautifully decorated and each had a TV and even bedside charging stations for plugging in multiple electronics. The beds were super cozy with premium linens you wouldn't typically find in a rental home.
How cute is the upstairs loft room! I loved the adorable whale bedroom decor. But even more amazing was sitting out on the upstairs patio and looking out at the ocean view. It was so relaxing and the perfect place to start or end the day.
Our HOMEAWAY rental also had two golf carts ( one 4 passenger and one 6 passenger) and lots of bikes for exploring the island. Our crew really enjoyed cruising around the island on the golf carts and taking the bikes out for a little exercise.
Bald Head Island Things to Do
There are so many fun things to do in Bald Head year round. We visited in late March and while the weather was not warm enough to dip in the ocean or sunbathe we still found lots of exciting places to explore.
- Climb Old Baldy, Bald Head Island Lighthouse, the oldest still standing lighthouse in North Carolina. At the top of the 108 step hike you'll find a breath taking panoramic view of the southernmost barrier island.
- At Bald Head Island Conservancy you'll learn about the wildlife that call this island home. From alligators, turtles and foxes to over 260 species of birds.
- Hike the M. Kent Mitchell Nature Trail. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of a quiet stroll beneath the tall live oaks. Admire the wax myrtles, cedars and junipers that make up the Bald Head Woods State Reserve, one of the largest maritime forests on the East Coast.
- Adventure out on a sail boat or fishing expedition. Rent a paddle board or take a surfing lesson from The Sail Shop.
- Enjoy a round of golf… or tennis at the Bald Head Island Club
- Relax at the spa. The Island Retreat Spa offers an array of services and treatments to revitalize your body and mind. Feel the stress melt away with a massage or revitalize your youthful radiance with a facial.
- Watch the sunset. Sometimes the simplest things can bring you the most joy and serenity. Watch the sun as it slips away into the ocean and take in all the beauty of the pink sky.
- Beach bound! Find a spot in the sand to sink your toes into and watch the kids splash in the waves. Read a book, take a nap, enjoy the ocean breeze and savor the sweet. The beaches of Bald Head stretch on for 14 miles of pristine sand perfect for hunting sea shells or soaking up the sun.
- Shop for souvenirs, coastal treasures and unique gifts at one of the many shops around the island. Coastal clothing and island lifestyle wear at Bald Head Blues. Turtle Central, the Bald Head Island Conservancy's gift shop has adorable baby and children clothing as well as jewelry and housewares you'll love. But my favorite shop on the island is Room Service! Ahhhh, this eclectic boutique offers the most amazing home furnishings for your beach house or to add that perfect conversational piece to your home. From vintage goods to home decor, books, gifts, table ware and decorations, this place has the most impressive collection of carefully curated finds you'll swoon over.
BALD HEAD ISLAND PLACES TO EAT
- Delphina Cantina – Mexican food with a Spanish and Cuban flair! Here you'll taste authentic Latin cuisine and favorite meals like fish tacos, grilled Mexican corn, Baja chicken salad.
- Maritime Market Cafe. A great spot to grab breakfast or lunch, The Maritime Market Cafe inside the Maritime Market features a breakfast buffet of classics like pancakes, eggs and bacon as well as sandwiches. The lunch menu offers salads, sandwiches and wraps and daily specials like grilled shrimp or tacos.
Try the biscuits and gravy, it's delicious!
- Mojo's on the Harbor. Walking in to this waterside restaurant you'll first notice the bills that cover the ceilings and walls. Read the cover of the menu to learn more about the heart warming story that makes this place even more of an island favorite. Order a Mojo's cocktail or enjoy a glass of wine while you browse the list of dining options, everything from fresh seafood to steaks, salads, burgers, pasta and even sushi.
We loved the hushpuppy appetizer and the fish tacos!
- Sandpiper IceCream and Coffee. When you need a caffeine fix or just a sweet treat to satisfy your sugar cravings, head over to Sandpiper located next door to the Delphina Cantina. Try an interesting flavor like Strawberry Basil or a sweet surprise like Banana Pudding Ice Cream, among their many other classic ice cream flavors and gourmet coffee drinks.
- The Bald Head Island Club. From a casual bite by the pool to the pub-style Palms dining room and the Grille Terrace, the BHI Club offers lots of dining options to enjoy. Full or temporary membership is required to eat at any of the locations. The Pelicatessen ( or “Peli”) is perfect for casual dining, with menu options like pizzas, salad, grilled cheese, PBJ & chicken tenders. The Palms is perfect for golfers looking to relax and enjoy a bite after playing a round. The Grille and Grille Terrace give diners the chance to enjoy beautiful views of the course, lunch or dinner time.
- Shoals Club. Boasting the best views on the island, this spot on the Point of Cape Fear features several dining options for full or temporary members. Reservations are recommended for the popular Lattitudes lounge while Aqua offers a dining room menu with seasonal offerings and locally sources seafood, meat and produce.
Visit HOMEAWAY to find your perfect family vacation rental home!