Beachin': Bald Head Island

Somehow Bald Head Island gets lost in the mix when Charlotteans begin mapping out their summer beach vacations. But it shouldn’t. After all, it’s an easy four-hour drive from Charlotte on Highway 74, which takes you straight into the cozy seaside town of Southport where you’ll hop on a ferry for a twenty-minute ride to the island. Cars aren’t allowed on Bald Head—which was the setting for the movie Weekend at Bernie’s and is home to former Steelers coach Bill Cowher—making it great for those who yearn for a beach experience where they can lay out their blankets and won’t be bothered by crowds. —B. M.

➼ WHAT’S NEW:
Re-opened in October 2011, MoJo’s on the Harbor was formerly the island’s beloved Eb & Flo’s Steam Bar. Owned and operated by longtime Bald Head residents, MoJo’s Italian-inspired food takes advantage of the local seafood and serves up freshly caught fish on a daily basis. 910-457-7217, mojoontheharbor.com

WHERE TO STAY:
The Marsh Harbour Inn (from $295 per night) overlooking Bald Head’s marina is one of the island’s only B&Bs, and with its Nantucket-inspired feel, you’ll find it’s one of the most relaxing spots on Bald Head, too. 910-454-0451, marshharbourinn.com

WHERE THE LOCALS EAT:
For casual fare, bring the family to the kid-friendly Pelicatessen ($4-$19.95), where you can sip on a cool cocktail and watch the kids swim. 910-457-0266, bhiclub.net

WHERE TO DRINK:
Hop back on the ferry to Southport and make your way to the ultra-casual Provision Company on the harbor where you’ll find great seafood (the crab cakes are a must try) served up with the coldest beer around. 910-457-0654, provisioncompany.com

FOR THE KIDS:
Sign the kids up for one of Bald Head Island Conservancy’s nature programs, including   crabbing and beachcombing biology. bhic.org

KAYAK THE CREEKS:
Bald Head is full of tiny waterways and creeks, making it the perfect place to spot wildlife and get some exercise, too.  bhic.org/family-adventure-programs

WHERE TO SHOP:
Kids love the Friendly Fox Toy Shop (910-454-8248) while adults enjoy Canopy Outfitters (910-454-8248, canopyoutfittersnc.com), which features Lilly Pulitzer beach coverups and casual wear for the pool.

FOR THE ADULTS:
Nothing says relaxation like a trip to the spa. Book a massage or facial at Island Retreat Spa and Salon to fully unwind. 910-454-0333, baldheadisland.com

 

 

 

Dinner at the Club

The beauty of Bald Head is its remoteness, which also means there aren’t many dining options. Locals head to Shoals Club ($26-$38 per entrée), 910-454-4850, shoalsclub.com

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