17 Best Things to Do in Sunset Beach, NC

Sunset Beach, NC
Richard A. McGuirk / shutterstock.com

Welcome to Sunset Beach, North Carolina.

Let me share with you the unique rhythms and secret spots, the sun-kissed sands and hushed whispers of the ocean breeze that have captivated my heart.

This quaint town, wrapped in nature's magnificence, is brimming with hidden treasures waiting to be discovered.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: John Miller, Connie Key, Damon Alicea, Fernando Ross, Evelyn Lewis, John Lawson and Aylin Whitaker.

Take Snaps at Kindred Spirits Mailbox

View of the Kindred Spirits Mailbox
The Beehive Design Co / Shutterstock.com

Walking barefoot along the Sunset Beach, I’ve often found the most unique solace at the Kindred Spirit Mailbox.

There's something truly special about this hidden gem nestled among the sand dunes.

This quiet spot has become my own sanctuary of sorts, providing a haven for introspection, retrospection, and prospective letters to the universe.

The journey to the mailbox, about a 1.4-mile walk from the nearest public access, is as therapeutic as it is scenic.

With each footstep imprinted on the sandy trail, I feel my worries melting away.

As I breach the sand dune, the ethereal view of the mailbox against the serene backdrop of the ocean always takes my breath away.

Kindred Spirits Mailbox loaded with books and documents
The Beehive Design Co / Shutterstock.com

Something magical happens each time I pen down my thoughts and tuck them into the mailbox.

The Kindred Spirit Mailbox, for me, has become a lighthouse, guiding me through life's high tides and storms.

It instills in me a renewed sense of peace and strength, inspiring me to keep pushing forward, no matter what life throws my way.

Visitors looking at the Kindred Spirits Mailbox
PQK / Shutterstock.com

Walk through Bird Island Reserve

There's nothing quite like waking up early and heading for a morning stroll at Bird Island Reserve.

This hidden gem, nestled between Sunset Beach and the South Carolina border, is an incredible slice of nature right on our doorstep.

The beaten sand path stretches for around 1.5 miles, from the end of the road to the Kindred Spirit mailbox, a charming local landmark that I often visit.

Pop culture aficionados often get surprised to know that the mailbox made an appearance in the Nicholas Sparks book "Every Breath".

It's a sweet sight - a lone mailbox standing amidst the sand dunes.

Inside, you'll find a journal where everyone can pour out their thoughts, and dreams, or just a simple hello.

It's a beautiful testament to our tight-knit community.

Once you pass the mailbox, you're only a few steps away from reaching South Carolina.

It's a unique experience, being able to walk from a North Carolina beach to a South Carolina beach in a matter of seconds.

Bird Island Reserve is always quiet and serene.

It's never crowded, which only adds to its charm.

Inland, there's a nature trail that winds through a diverse array of native plants.

The community and visitors alike are dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of Bird Island Reserve.

From the beach to the wildlife, everyone pitches in to keep their environments clean and safe.

Go Birdwatching at Sunset Beach Town Park

It's just another Sunday in our quaint little town, and here I am, heading to my favorite spot, the Sunset Beach Town Park, tucked away in a corner of our beloved town.

It's a scenic 5-acre waterfront park, a stunning masterpiece with oaks dotting the landscape.

The park is a hub for us locals.

Casual walks along the waterfront, relaxing on benches and watching the world go by.

There's something about bird watching that brings tranquility, you know.

And on hotter days, the shade from the towering oaks is a blessing.

The park also hosts multiple walking piers, leading to breathtaking views of the surrounding waters.

But mind you, the signs warn us to keep away from the waters and not to feed the alligators.

I've yet to see one myself, though.

The Veterans' Memorial within the park is a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made for our freedom.

It's a peaceful, reflective space, and we locals hold it in high regard.

It's not uncommon to see people taking a moment of silence there.

The park is also a great place for families, with swings along the waterfront, where you can take in the sight of the boats lazily sailing by.

The Sunset Beach Town Park is more than just a park.

It's a part of our lives, the fabric of our community.

Whether it's the laughter of children playing, the peaceful solitude of a bird-watching enthusiast, or the quiet solemnity at the Veterans' Memorial, the park reflects the many faces of our town.

And in the evening, when the sun dips below the horizon, coloring the sky in hues of orange and purple, the park lives up to its name.

Cast Lines at Sunset Beach Fishing Pier

I must admit, there's something special about the Sunset Beach Fishing Pier.

The charm of it all begins to creep up on you the moment your feet touch the wooden boards.

And as night descends, the view- it's otherworldly.

The lull of the waves, the soft murmur of conversation, the distant laughter of children playing, it's a place that comes alive with the setting sun.

The pier is always welcoming, no matter the time of day.

It's not just a picturesque spot for a leisurely stroll but also a haven for avid anglers.

Finding a spot to cast your line is seldom a problem, even during peak season.

I've spent countless hours here, rod in hand, waiting for that exciting tug on the line, signaling an interested fish.

For history enthusiasts, each pier pole tells an interesting tale of the area's past.

And it's not just the history that will keep you engaged, but also the unpredictable moods of the ocean.

I remember one particular day when the surf warnings were high, and the ocean was very angry.

Winds were gusting at a furious speed, but the sight of the furious waves was an experience in itself.

Sunset Beach Fishing Pier has a store where you can grab a snack or fishing gear if you need it, but remember to carry cash because they don't accept cards.

I've missed out on buying a few things because of this.

The pier is also a great place for kids.

I've seen them grow up here, learning to fish, getting their first taste of the sea and its wonder.

It's a heartwarming sight that never gets old.

Indulge in the Taste of Italy at La Cucina

It's no secret that I have a soft spot for a hearty Italian meal, and when that craving hits, I know exactly where to go: La Cucina.

This intimate, casual bar and restaurant is nestled right here in our neighborhood, offering a delicious escape to the Italian countryside.

From the moment you step inside, the inviting aroma of simmering sauces and freshly baked bread fills the air, instantly transporting you to a cozy trattoria in Tuscany.

Their menu provides a plethora of delectable Italian and Italian-American specialties to choose from.

And let me tell you, their dishes are nothing short of amazing—each bite is a testament to the skill and passion that goes into their cooking.

It's so good that even after a long day on the Sandpiper course, my friends and I make a beeline for La Cucina for our post-golf meal.

To make the dining experience even better, the service is always spot on.

One tip, though: the place is so popular that you may want to make a reservation in advance, especially during the weekends.

Soak Up the Sun at Bald Beach

Imagine waking up to the gentle melodies of seagulls and waves lapping on the shoreline, a daily reality at Bald Beach — my home, my haven.

The salty sea breeze, a constant companion, serves as a gentle reminder of how close we are to the ocean.

The day at Bald Beach usually starts early.

The beach, adorned by a beautiful gazebo entrance, is a fantastic spot for morning yoga or a brisk walk.

There's a certain tranquility to the place, particularly in the early hours when it's just you, the beach, and the rising sun.

It's a sight that never gets old and a feeling that never wears off.

Just a few steps from the beach, there are restaurants that offer a great variety of food and apartments perfect for short-term rentals.

Believe me, nothing beats grabbing a bite at a local eatery after an invigorating swim.

As the day progresses, the beach comes alive, transforming into a bustling hangout spot.

Families, couples, and groups of friends flock to the sandy expanse, each seeking their own kind of beach day fun.

Over the years, I've met some of the most interesting people right here on Bald Beach.

The local community takes immense pride in the upkeep of the beach.

From the parking area to the walkways, everything is meticulously maintained.

Even the benches are dedicated to the memories of loved ones — a tribute that adds a touch of warmth and personal history to this public space.

As the sun sets, the mesmerizing hues of oranges and pinks paint the sky, and the serene beach ambiance takes on a more relaxed vibe.

The transition from day to night at Bald Beach is a spectacle to behold - one that has a way of reminding you to slow down and appreciate life's simple pleasures.

Go Stargazing at Ingram Planetarium

I've been a frequent visitor to the Ingram Planetarium ever since it opened its doors in 2002.

Immersed in the stunning full-dome theater, I've seen countless astronomy shows that had me spellbound, gazing at the starry spectacle above.

The hands-on activities are an absolute delight, not just for kids but also for us adults who are kids at heart.

One of my favorite memories at the planetarium was when I took my nephew for a day.

We watched two mesmerizing shows and spent some time exploring the interactive Science area.

The hurricane simulator was a hit with my nephew.

But what really stole the show were the educational space items at the gift shop.

From miniature telescopes to glow-in-the-dark stars, it was like a small universe packed into a store.

The staff at Ingram Planetarium deserve a special mention.

They were always friendly and ready to help, adding to our wonderful experience.

Even the restrooms were spotlessly clean, which is a clear sign of their attention to detail.

However, I must mention that if you're prone to allergies, the planetarium might have a little musty smell, which could trigger an allergic reaction.

It was something I noticed during the Beatles Laser show - another gem that the planetarium offers.

Have a Staycation at Sea Trail Resort Villas

Nothing beats the feeling of a weekend retreat in your own backyard.

And by backyard, I mean the Sea Trail Resort Villas.

As someone who lives nearby, I've had countless escapades here, and every time, I'm left in awe by its grandeur.

The moment you set foot into the resort, you're greeted with a stunning blend of contemporary design and the tranquility of nature.

The resort features abundant lodging and event space, perfect for any gathering, from family get-togethers to business conventions.

But the real magic lies in their three golf courses.

As an avid golfer, I can't resist the allure of their well-manicured greens stretching out under the vast Carolina sky.

Sea Trail Resort Villas isn't just a golfer's paradise, though.

With both indoor and outdoor pools, my family and I have spent countless afternoons splashing around, reveling in the warmth of the sun.

Post-swimming, we usually head to the on-site restaurant.

Their menu caters to every palate, with dishes that are as comforting as they are delicious.

The resort's villas have always been a favorite of mine.

They are spacious enough for an entire family and highly comfortable.

The soft beds are so inviting that you might find it hard to get up in the morning.

They are indeed a slice of home away from home.

Enjoy a Perfect Pint at Fibber McGees

There's nothing quite like kicking back with a cold one at my favorite watering hole, Fibber McGees.

This festive Irish tavern has become a go-to spot for me and my friends, and not just for the drinks.

The food here is something to write home about.

The Shrimp Burger and the Fish and Chips top my list, but their scallops dish is beyond compare.

Do yourself a favor order the sweet potato fries - they are downright addictive.

Upon walking in, you're instantly hit with a friendly vibe that makes you feel right at home.

The inside oozes traditional Irish charm, it's cozy and clean and sets the perfect mood for a relaxing evening.

Step out to their patio, and you're greeted by a beautiful display of flowers and lovely umbrellas that offer some respite on sunny days.

It's so idyllic and peaceful it almost feels like you've been transported to a quaint European town.

Being served by their attentive and accommodating staff always makes my visits more pleasurable.

The last time I was there, I tried the fried green tomatoes, club sandwich, and grilled chicken pita; all were scrumptiously delightful.

The service at Fibber McGees is always quick which makes it an ideal spot for a delicious, hassle-free lunch.

The Reuben spring rolls are another dish that's been a hit with us.

Stay a Few Days at Brunswick Beaches Campground

Whenever I feel the need to take a break from the bustle of everyday life, I head over to my favorite local sanctuary, the Brunswick Beaches Campground.

The calmness of the campground is an invitation to serenity and the numerous amenities uphold the perfect balance of comfort and outdoor simplicity.

The very moment I park my RV, I feel welcomed by the friendly staff and the immaculate surroundings.

The campground always exceeds my expectations with its meticulously maintained RV sites and tents.

Packed with conveniences like clean bathrooms, laundry services, and a store, it's all the comfort of home within the embrace of nature.

The inviting pool becomes my retreat after a long day of exploring the beautiful shoreline of North and South Carolina, just a short drive from the campground.

Sometimes, I prefer to spend my day fishing at the on-site pond or engage in a friendly game of giant checkers.

I particularly enjoy the well-equipped camp kitchen, complete with a gas grill, microwave, and a kitchen sink with a sprayer.

It's a treat to cook my meals here while enjoying the tranquil outdoors.

Being a short stroll away from a sidewalk, Brunswick Beaches Campground offers a leisurely walk opportunity that I often take advantage of.

And when I feel like treating myself, I simply head over to Sarah's restaurant, which is nearby, for a delicious breakfast.

Tee Off at Sandpiper Bay Golf & Country Club

Golfing has always been a family affair for us. Imagine the joy of swinging your club on a fine sunny day with your loved ones in tow.

It's an experience that we've enjoyed many times at the Sandpiper Bay Golf & Country Club.

This kid-friendly course has seen my husband, son, and me competing against each other round after round.

What a fun-filled family day!

The staff at this club have always welcomed us with open arms, setting the tone for a fantastic game ahead.

Even on days when a member's group was playing, they ensured that we found our spot.

Their respectful, friendly approach makes us feel right at home.

One thing that stands out about the Sandpiper Bay Golf & Country Club is that it offers a challenge suitable for every skill level.

Whether you're a novice just dipping your toe in the world of golf or an experienced player with a 10 HCP, there's a game waiting for you here.

The course is both demanding and forgiving, offering an exciting balance that keeps us coming back for more.

The course is immaculate, with well-maintained greens and fairways.

If you're someone who loves to play as the sun sets, painting the sky in a myriad of colors, then you should definitely swing by this club.

The beauty of the course at sunset is unmatched.

And once you're done with your 18-hole game, stop by their pro shop.

It's a little haven filled with golfing goodies.

My friends and I live for weekends, and one of our favorite things to do is head over to the Oyster Bay Golf Links.

It's not just about the game, but the entire experience that the place offers is simply unmatched.

I still remember last Sunday; it had rained in the morning, and we almost thought of canceling.

I'm glad we didn't because the morning drizzle only made the golf course look even more beautiful.

The cart paths could use a little sprucing up, but that doesn't hamper the game.

The 18-hole course is so well laid out that you almost feel you own the place!

The back nine holes reveal the area's rich wildlife - we usually spot gators.

Last time, there was one just chilling on the 17th green!

The staff at Oyster Bay Golf Links is always friendly and welcoming.

They are ready to assist in any way they can.

The course can be challenging, with some holes requiring you to place your shots well.

But isn't that what makes the game exciting?

What makes this place even more special is the fantastic scenery.

The layout of the course provides some really nice views.

But a word of caution - keep an eye out for the local wildlife.

The gators are quite a sight, but you wouldn't want to get too close!

To top it all off, the greens fee includes breakfast, lunch, and two drinks.

A bonus that adds to the entire golfing experience.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Catch the Sunset at Cherry Grove Point

Picturesque sunset at Cherry Grove Point
Steven Skoog / Shutterstock.com

A place that has taken hold of my heart in a way no other could, Cherry Grove Point, is the slice of paradise I have the pleasure of calling my home.

The days may change, but the mesmerizing allure of this place remains ever-captivating.

Each day starts with the delicate dance of the sun peeking over the tree line, painting the sky with hues of pink, gold, and orange.

The sunrises here are nothing short of poetry in motion - so heartwarming, they could put a smile on even the grumpiest of faces.

But it's not just the sunrise that draws people in; the sunsets at Cherry Grove Point are equally captivating, igniting the sky with intense shades as the sun bids adieu for the day.

View of the Cherry Grove beach
Steven Skoog / Shutterstock.com

The beach here at Cherry Grove is so wide, it feels almost like a private stretch.

Even on the busiest summer days, it never feels crowded, offering a tranquil escape where you can immerse yourself in the rhythm of the gently lapping waves and the calls of the seagulls overhead.

What makes this beach truly special is the temperature of the water - just perfect for a refreshing dip.

The feeling of the sun on your skin, the sand beneath your feet, and the cool touch of the water have a therapeutic effect that is hard to describe but impossible to forget.

Pier at Cherry Grove Point
Melikamp, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover Local Heritage at the Museum of Coastal Carolina

As I peered outside my window one rainy Monday morning, I decided it was the perfect day for a visit to the Museum of Coastal Carolina.

Earlier that morning, the museum was a haven of tranquility, with only a handful of visitors.

The low crowd, coupled with the sound of rain tapping gently on the roof, created an atmosphere perfect for immersive exploration.

The museum offers a fascinating blend of art exhibitions and local history displays, but for me, the touch tank always steals the show.

Filled with vibrant sea-dwelling creatures like starfish, it's a living testament to our coastal biodiversity.

I remember the thrill of touching a live starfish for the first time, feeling its rough, leathery skin beneath my fingertips, an experience that visitors of all ages relish.

Museum of Coastal Carolina is also home to a planetarium that is a feast for the eyes and mind, offering a captivating journey through the cosmos.

Once, I took my young nephews on a spontaneous trip to the planetarium after our museum tour, and the museum's accommodating staff went out of their way to ensure we had an incredible experience.

Beyond the planetarium and touch tank, there's more fun to be had.

It's not uncommon to see children and adults alike engrossed in puzzle-solving games or playing in the virtual tank.

The creation station, where kids can color and then watch their artwork come alive on a big screen, is a popular spot too.

Right next to the museum is the town's fenced playground, a bonus for families with energetic little ones.

Believe me, it's a lifesaver when you need a quick break.

And the best part?

There's plenty of free parking available.

Have a Family Day Out at Ripley's Aquarium of Myrtle Beach

There's nothing quite like stepping into a world full of vibrant colors and fascinating marine life, and that's exactly what you'll experience when you visit Ripley's Aquarium of Myrtle Beach.

I am fortunate enough to live in this beach town, and this aquarium has been a popular spot for my family and friends whenever they visit us.

One of the best parts of living near this aquarium is its accessibility.

Purchasing tickets is a breeze whether you choose to do it online or at the venue.

The souvenir shop is also a must-visit, filled with everything from adorable stuffed animals to interesting books about marine life.

Visits to the aquarium aren’t complete without going through the under tunnel.

The sight of various types of sharks, a turtle, and different fishes swimming overhead is a sight to behold.

And who can resist the adorable penguins?

They even have a small crawlspace for those who want to get a closer look.

For families with children, Ripley's Aquarium of Myrtle Beach offers an interactive play area that keeps the kids entertained.

As for the adults, the dive tours are an unbeatable experience.

The staff are friendly, and the place is kept clean, adding to the overall pleasant experience.

However, the food and drink prices can be a little steep, so it would be better to plan ahead for those.

Feel the Adrenaline Rush at Swamp Park- Zip Line and ATV Center

It's hard to believe that I have such a thrilling and unique adventure park just a stone's throw away from my home.

The Swamp Park- Zip Line and ATV Center is a gem in the heart of Shallotte River that gives me a chance to step out of my everyday routine and immerse myself in the great outdoors.

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, I felt the call of the wild and decided to take a spin on one of their quad bikes.

Greeted warmly by the staff on my arrival, they quickly provided lockers to store my personal items and a brief yet comprehensive instruction session.

I spent the day getting down and dirty, riding through a mix of mud and sand, with the wind whipping through my hair and a grin plastered on my face.

A word to the wise: bring a change of clothes - you'll need it!

Adding to the fun-filled day, I got a chance to glimpse some alligators, a unique experience that was included in my package.

It was an unexpected and delightful bonus that added to the adrenaline rush.

But the adventure at Swamp Park- Zip Line and ATV Center didn't stop there.

I also joined a Swamp Tour.

Even my often too-cool-for-school teen boys were hooked, hanging onto her every word.

Final Thoughts

There's simply no shortage of things to do in Sunset Beach, North Carolina.

Whether you're an adrenaline junkie looking for your next thrill at The Swamp Park or a nature lover seeking tranquility at Bird Island Reserve, it really is the perfect place for everyone.

Sunset Beach is not just about the stunning beaches; its true treasure lies in the diversity of its attractions and the rich experiences they offer.

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