Sunset Beach North Carolina
Sunset Beach, NC, is the southernmost of North Carolina’s South Brunswick Islands. Incorporated in 1963, the small Brunswick County, NC, town consists of several planned communities on the mainland and a barrier island with approximately three miles of shoreline on the Atlantic Ocean. Just north of the North Carolina / South Carolina border, Sunset Beach is a perennial favorite with families. The peaceful, coastal town is characterized by uncommonly beautiful sunsets and an unhurried lifestyle. Sunset Beach was named as one of “The South’s Most Secret Beaches” by Southern Living Magazine in 2010.
This remarkable, hidden gem is located just a half-hour drive from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and less than an hour from Wilmington, North Carolina. Sunset Beach, NC, is an ideal destination for anyone who desires a tranquil, small-town seaside atmosphere that’s still within an easy drive from world-class shopping, entertainment, attractions, dining, and healthcare. Sunset Beach attractions include white, sandy beaches, world-class golf courses, Ingram Planetarium, Sunset Beach Pier, and Bird Island. While Sunset Beach is fairly small and secluded compared to larger beach towns, you can still find conveniences like a grocery store, small boutiques and shops, and restaurants on the mainland portion of the town.
Sunset Beach NC Real Estate
Searching for Sunset Beach NC real estate? The experienced and knowledgeable real estate professionals at Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage can help you find just what you’re looking for. Sunset Beach NC has home of all styles and price ranges.
Whether you’re looking for a little place at the beach, a vacation home that you can use as a rental property, a beach house large enough for the whole family, a seaside cottage, a low-maintenance condo, a boat slip, a golf villa, a lot to build your dream home, a bank-owned property, or a timeshare – the Realtors at Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage can help you find what’s just right for you. Our real estate professionals are some of the best-trained and best-selling real estate agents in the business. Put our high-tech real estate search tools and good old fashioned know how to work for you.
Considering selling your house or lot in Sunset Beach, North Carolina? Contact the real estate professionals at Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage for a free, non-commitment analysis of what your property is worth. We’re the Sunset Beach NC real estate experts.
The majority of homes on the island portion of Sunset Beach, NC, are rental houses and beach cottages. Many people find that purchasing a house on the island to use for family vacations and then renting the home for the remainder of the year is an affordable way to own a beach house or condo. Though the population peaks during the summer months, there is still a vibrant community of folks that live on the island all year round. The island is also dotted with accommodations that include small motels and inns and small beach resort hotels.
In addition to the island’s beach homes, the mainland portion of Sunset Beach, NC, is home to several beautiful planned communities. Every detail of these neighborhoods is carefully considered, from the highly rated golf courses to amenities, like pools, tennis courts and walking trails. Discover relaxed, coastal living at its finest in golf communities that include Ocean Ridge Plantation, Sandpiper Bay and Sea Trail Plantation. Activities in these communities include aerobics, bible study, book club, bowling, bridge, dining out, gardening, gourmet cooking, mahjong, golf, sewing and needlework, pinochle, prayer circle, tennis, yoga, exercise classes, cycling, and singing groups. Housing options range from single-family Sunset Beach homes to residential and resort townhomes and villas. Want to build your dream home? Home sites are available too.
Sunset Beach NC Attractions and Activities
Some things never go out of style. Though there are new and exciting ways to have fun in Sunset Beach, NC, all the time, the top attraction is still the beach.
Sunset Beach is known for its wide, white sand beach. Even at high tide, the gentle slope of the beach provides ample room for building sand castles, lounging in a beach chair, walking on the beach, reading a book under a beach umbrella, playing games, surfing, flying kites, and collecting shells.
A wide swath of sand dunes separates the shoreline from oceanfront homes, making the beach feel even larger. In order to protect the dunes, there are wooden walkways leading to the beach. There are more than 25 of these public beach accesses. It takes five minutes or less to walk to the beach from most homes on the island.
Sunset Beach, North Carolina, is named for the stunning show each evening when the sun seems to melt into the Atlantic Ocean. Sunset Beach has an unusual south-facing orientation that makes for spectacular sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean, something you’d normally need to visit the West Coast to see.
Fishing, crabbing, boating, jetskiing, kayaking, sailing, swimming, paddleboarding, skimboarding, boogieboarding, kiteboarding, parasailing, riding bicycles, cruising the island in golf carts, lying in the sun, taking walks, and sitting on the porch are all popular pursuits in Sunset Beach, NC. All year round there are an array of local events and festivals going on in Sunset Beach and nearby towns.
Sunset Beach, North Carolina, prides itself on planned growth and its efforts to preserve the pristine white-sand beaches and wetland areas of Sunset Beach. At low tide, you can walk or bicycle across Mad Inlet from the island of Sunset Beach to Bird Island, a 1,300-acre North Carolina Coastal Reserve area. You can also reach Bird Island by boat. The shoreline, marsh grasses, and maritime forests of Sunset Beach and Bird Island are natural nesting grounds for wildlife, including Loggerhead sea turtles, wood storks, and other species of birds. The undisturbed isle is the perfect place for a barefoot walk along the white-sand beach. Keep and eye out for herons, egrets, ibises, sandpipers, and fish, but leave only your footprints.
As you walk along the shoreline of Bird Island, you’ll spot a lone mailbox labeled “Kindred Spirit” back among the dunes. It’s about a 30-minute walk from the last beach access in Sunset Beach. The Kindred Spirit Mailbox is filled with notebooks, pens and pencils. Since an artist erected the original mailbox in 1981, people from around the world have stopped to leave notes, poems, prayers, and drawings in the Kindred Spirit Mailbox. Some write letters to lost loved ones, some leave their names and addresses, and others write about the things they’ve seen on their visit to Sunset Beach, NC. There’s a bench nearby where you can sit while you record your thoughts or read the thoughts of other kindred spirits. Many think of the mailbox as a place to write about your burdens and leave them behind. Whether you think of the Kindred Spirit Mailbox as a spiritual stop on your journey or a bit of local color, it’s something you surely don’t want to miss.
The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway separates the mainland and the barrier island. For many years, Sunset Beach was famous for the floating pontoon swing bridge that connected the barrier island with the mainland. The bridge, built in 1961, was the only one of its kind on the East Coast. In the early days, boats would pull up to Sunset Beach developer Manon Gore’s house and honk their horns twice. He would run out and open the bridge to let them pass. Later, boat captains used radios to signal the bridge tender, but cables and pulleys used to pull the bridge remained the same. The swing bridge was Sunset Beach’s most famous feature for many years. Whenever the horn sounded to announce the opening of the one lane, wooden bridge, locals and visitors would regularly stop what they were doing to watch barges, yachts, and craft of every description pass through the open bridge. The bridge set the pace for life in Sunset Beach and served as a reminder to slow down and enjoy simple pleasures.
Over the years, tourism brought more traffic to the island and the elements took their toll on the bridge, too. Though officials began talking about replacing the bridge as early as 1979, the little bridge defied the corrosive salt air and faithfully served Sunset Beach until 2010. Though the aging bridge was one of Sunset Beach’s most famous attractions, it caused many headaches for locals and visitors alike when it didn’t function properly. In 2010, a modern bridge replaced the old floating pontoon bridge. The new concrete bridge is 65 feet high, eliminating the need for a bridge that opens to let boat traffic pass on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway or a bridge tender to look after it. The 2010 opening of the new bridge marked the end of an era. As traffic now flows freely off and on the island, many will always remember the retired Sunset Beach pontoon swing bridge fondly.
Ingram Planetarium in Sunset Beach, North Carolina is a favorite attraction of folks of all ages. Planets and constellations are projected across the 40-foot dome of the 85-seat sky dome theater during variety of fun and educational programs. Planetarium staff point out different features of the heavens on your journey across the universe. There’s also a science hall and gift shop. In addition to regularly scheduled shows, the Ingram Planetarium also offers special events that are fun for the whole family, including launching rockets and building solar cars. Sunset Beach’s Ingram Planetarium is open year round, though hours vary seasonally.
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