For those seeking a less commercial beach experience, South Brunswick Isles may fill the bill. Located between the land fingers of Wilmington and Myrtle Beach along the Atlantic Ocean, these islands have a laid-back atmosphere and mostly attract Carolinians. While land is always in demand and the future could bring changes here, North Carolina's South Brunswick Isles are for true beach lovers who don't demand amusement parks, multi-layer tourist shops or bright lights as part of their vacation experience.
Developed in the 1930s, Holden Beach is the first island heading south from Wilmington. Since the island faces south, it is said you can see the sunrise and sunset here without moving your beach towel. Further south, Ocean Isle Beach is a planned community developed in the 1950s. There is a water slide here for the kids and the Museum of Coastal Carolina for the entire family. Silver Coast Winery offers tours and a tasting room.
Only three miles long, Sunset Beach was developed last. To reach the island, you must cross an old-fashioned swinging bridge. Ingram Planetarium here is state of the art with a 40-foot dome.
Dining options center on seafood, of course. Buy your own seafood to grill at Bill's Seafood Market or enjoy the view and a meal upstairs at Crabby Oddwaters, both at Sunset Beach. Sharky's on Ocean Isle has a deck where boaters can tie up and a variety of entrees. Nightlife includes Streamers II, also on Ocean Isle, with live bands playing all kinds of music.
Accommodations on the three islands range from B & Bs to seaside motels, vacation rentals to resorts.
South Brunswick Isles are located about one hour southwest of Wilmington on US 17 south.