Fodor's Expert Review Bald Head Island

Bald Head Island, North Carolina, 28461, USA Fodor's Choice

Reached by ferry from Southport, this beautiful 12,000-acre island resort is a self-contained, car-free community, complete with a grocery store, restaurants (Jules' Salty Grub, on the harbor, and AQUA, at the Shoals Club, are highlights), marina, a 50-room hotel, a 13-room B&B, two club complexes with restaurants and pools, and the gorgeous 18-hole George Cobb golf course. Walk out onto Cape Fear, the southern tip of the island where the infamous Frying Pan Shoals extend for 30 miles into the ocean, and you'll feel like you're standing on the edge of the continent—you are—and it becomes clear why so many shipwrecks have occured in these shallow, shifting sands. On the island, there are scores of rental properties, from shingled cottages to luxury homes. You can explore the semitropical island's maritime forest preserve and its 12 miles of deserted beaches on foot, by bicycle, or in a golf cart. Climb to the top of the quaint "Old Baldy" lighthouse, visit the neighboring Smith Island Museum to learn about the island's maritime history, watch the loggerhead turtles nest on the beach, or take a guided ghost walk. The 20-minute ferry ride costs $23 per person round-trip; for most of the year, it leaves Southport's Deep Point Marina on the hour and Bald Head Island on the half hour. Advance reservations are necessary for the ferry and resort.


  • friendly small-town feel
  • secluded and quiet
  • lots of natural areas
  • children's programs
  • children's programs
  • lots of natural areas and 12 miles of beaches
  • no cars allowed on island
  • vast beaches all to yourself
  • resort amenities and restaurants when you need a touch of civilization
  • no cars allowed on island


  • island is accessible only by ferry
  • no cars allowed on the island
  • activities at the island's recreation clubs are not available to all accommodations
  • activities at the island's recreation clubs are not available to all accommodations
  • very expensive
  • expensive
  • pricey




Phones: 910-457–5000 | 800-432–7368 | 910-457–5003-for ferry reservations | 877-344–7370 | 844-833–6320


63 rooms, 200 units
Rate Includes: No meals, $85–$195 for guest members with golf privileges, 18 holes, 6823 yds, par 72; guest club membership fees for those staying on island start at $125 per week

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