Sunset Beach, North Carolina is, in some ways, the heart of Brunswick County. Situated right on the ocean, the town of Sunset Beach has plenty to offer both year-round residents and vacation property owners. Between the beaches, the natural beauty and wonders, cultural events and festivals, unique shopping and dining opportunities and the chance to enjoy watersports and golfing, there is no good reason not to consider Sunset Beach when choosing to relocate to North Carolina. This town has it all!
The beaches of the town of Sunset Beach are free and open to the public. A major point of pride for the town, the beaches are subject to a few rules and regulations. Some are common courtesy rules: visitors to the beaches cannot use fireworks or laser pointers. Littering is forbidden, although the town provides trash receptacles for the public while they are enjoying the sand and surf. Glass containers, likewise, are forbidden, but plastic containers and cans are allowed.
Other rules pertain to public safety. Motorized vehicles, including cars and ATVs, are not allowed on the beaches. Likewise, motorized watercraft cannot disembark or land at Sunset Beach. Surfing, while welcome, is not permitted between 5th street and 32nd streets. And of course, public access ways must be available and unobstructed at all times in case of an emergency.
Unlike many beaches in North Carolina, your canine companions are welcome on Sunset Beach, provided they stay leashed at all times. Cleaning up after your dog is not only encouraged, but mandatory, and dogs are restricted from visiting the beach between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 a.m. from the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day – not just for the sake of keeping the beach neat and tidy, but also for the safety of the pets. The beach is most crowded during this season and the town wishes to prevent upset and accidents.
Strolling the beaches are likely to take up most of your time if you decide to make your home in Sunset Beach, but if you're more interested in taking in some local color, there are a wide range of events and festivals throughout the year.
Nearby Ocean Isle Beach is home to the annual North Carolina Oyster Festival. Some 30,000 people descend on the town in mid-October to celebrate the tasty mollusk central to the local culture, economy and cuisine.
October is obviously a busy month in the area, with nearby Wilmington’s highly popular annual RiverFest celebration. With something for everyone, there are loads of competitions from a battle of the bands to races and wakeboarding. At the end of the festival, a pirate ship descends upon the fest and invades the town, a spectacle that thrills young and the young at heart.
Sunset at Sunset is an overnight festival on Sunset Beach near the Ingram Planetarium, celebrating the stars on the first Saturday in October. With events, shopping, food and competitions, the festival celebrates all things Sunset Beach.
Life in Sunset Beach also allows residents to take a break from the whirlwind tour of manmade wonders by enjoying some of the natural attractions the area has to offer.
For those who prefer solo explorations, Bird Island (part of the town of Sunset Beach) is a 1,300-acre state nature preserve on the barrier island. Home to loggerhead turtles and a species of bird known as the purple sandpiper--just two examples of the abundant local wildlife. You can walk the length of the island all the way into South Carolina.
The turtle sanctuary is also free and open to the public, as is the stretch of the North Carolina birding trail in town. Placards allow guests to go on a self-guided tour and identify the various species that call the town itself home.
Perhaps the hidden jewel of Sunset Beach is Ingram Planetarium, where you can see the stars in a way that few people get to experience. With clear skies and unobstructed views, visitors to the planetarium can see how vast our universe really is.
If sports hit the spot, Sunset Beach has your number. Whether you prefer land-based sports such as golfing, hiking and biking – or prefer the almost unlimited sea-based activities, Sunset Beach caters to your needs.
Home to multiple golf courses, Sunset Beach is a haven for amateurs, novices and professionals. Packages and membership deals at one of the town’s many golf courses are available at a variety of price points.
Likewise, both fresh and saltwater fishing is excellent and boat and equipment rentals are abundant. Fishing isn’t the only water sport available on Sunset Beach, however. Opportunities abound for water skiing, wakeboarding, jet skiing and swimming.
If you prefer activities on land, Sunset Beach offers plenty of hiking opportunities – both on the beach and in the local nature preserves. Cyclists will also find Sunset Beach to be an undiscovered gem
It would almost be easier to make a list of shops that Sunset Beach does not have available to local residents – everything from wine shops to art galleries, used and new bookstores to souvenir shops await you at Sunset Beach.
Browse prints from local artists or purchase the latest novel at Islands Art and Bookstore between Sunset Beach and Ocean Isle Beach or stop in at the Brick Landing Golf Course Pro Shop for all of your golfing needs.
If you’d like a fine dining experience, drop in at The View at Brick Landing in Sunset Beach – especially on Sundays, for their renowned brunches which include, but aren’t limited to, hickory smoked bacon, jumbo shrimp and Southern staples such as hash browns, corn beef hash, fruit and all manner of breads and pastries.
It's not hard to stay busy in Sunset Beach. Between the shopping and dining activities, the festivals, local activities and the wide, wild natural world to explore and sport in, you might just wonder if you'll ever have time to enjoy your new home. Enough happens in town to keep you away from home long enough to miss it!