Bald Head Island Beach Guide


This guide is for those who will be visiting Bald Head Island for the first time. Weather plays a major roll on this island and if you understand how different parts of the Island are affected, you can make the most of your trip. Not only do we personally post daily beach reports, but we also provide local weather information at your finger tips.

Study the Map

A copy of this map is available at our store, 12B Maritime Way next to the market, or you can download it here.

Beach Orientation

Each beach is named by the direction it faces which is extremely important when deciding where to spend your day. You’ll soon realize each beach has it’s advantages and disadvantages and this has everything to do with the wind and tides (we’ll come back to that).

Starting near the Marina area and moving counter clockwise North, West, South, East; each beach access point has a number 1-50. Starting at North Beach, access 1 and moving around to access 50 on East Beach.

Below is our assessment on each Beach.  The main advantages and disadvantages of each.

North Beach

Access 1

  • Best on low tide due to beach space, sandy bottom, and calm waters.
  • Best beach next to West Beach to enjoy sunset.
  • Great for shell hunting, kite flying, skim boarding, fishing, flatwater paddleboarding, kiteboarding, and relaxing around low tide.

  • Strong currents around incoming and outgoing high tide.
  • Not a good beach if it’s blowing North or North West
  • Watch your step and don’t drop your kite due to underwater hazards.  Most are visible, but be careful.
  • This is not a surf spot nor does it have waves.
  • High tide doesn’t provide much beach hang out on.

West Beach

Accesses 2-11

  • Best sunset on the island at access 2 / Twin Towers.
  • Watch the ferry come in and out.
  • Sheltered from S, SW, E, SE, and NE wind.
  • Decent for long walks.
  • Access 11 is a great spot for a Beach Fire.

  • Strong rip tides and currents. It’s not recommended for children to swim.
  • Not a great beach for paddleboarding or kiteboarding if you’re a beginner because of currents.
  • Waves are sub par unless there’s hurricane swell.

South Beach

Accesses 12-38

  • Most popular beach for families.
  • Widest beach at low tide.  Plenty of space to fly kites.
  • Lots of access points and parking.
  • Decent waves for the kids and beginner paddlesurfing.
  • The temperature is consistently 5 degrees warmer than East Beach.
  • Great Kiteboarding between access 35 and 38 durring low tide on a SW wind.
  • Lots of breeze.
  • Waves become sloppy and have no power for surfing.
  • Can get crowded
  • On a real windy day, the blowing sand can be annoying.  Go to East or North Beach to get away from this.
  • Ocean can get too rough for the kids.
  • Hard to kiteboard due to consistant directly on shore South winds.

East Beach (The Shoals)

Accesses 39-50

  • Best beach for surfing, kiting, paddle surfing, and fishing.
  • Waves can get real powerful and a point break will form off access 39.
  • Perfect beach to get away from strong Southernly winds.
  • Water temp is consistently 5 degrees cooler.
  • Surf can become too strong for children.  
  • Watch out for incoming tide when walking on the point.  People get caught all the time.
  • Most drownings have happened on this beach.
  • Limited parking.