You can bring pretty much anything you’d like, but it’s going to cost you. A ferry ticket to and from the island costs $23 and if you’re bringing a bike it’s another $23. Each ticket comes with a FREE one-time tram ride to and from anywhere on the island but you have to schedule it before you get to the island. Here’s a number to the Southport terminal: (910) 457-5003.
In order to fully enjoy the waves with a paddleboard, it’s recommend to rent a surf style SUP board. It comes with a leash, which is required on the beach. It is also much more difficult to standup paddlesurf or to standup paddle in the ocean than it is to paddle in flat water. We recommend taking a SUP Surf lesson or start out in the creek.
Standup Paddleboarding is a great activity for the whole family! If your children can swim, they’re old enough to be on a board. We provide life jackets for everyone and if they can’t paddle alone, they can ride with mom or dad. In our experience, children 10 or older will be able to paddle alone, but you know your children better than anyone.
Not really. You are more likely to die from Food-Borne Illness (1 in 500), than become a shark attack victim (risk of a shark attack is actually 1 in 60,453) but if you are curious, we included a map below which shows data since 1935. There have only been 7 attacks in our area (Brunswick County) with no fatalities in that time frame.
This is straight from the NC Website and you will get a ticket on BHI if your child is under 16, riding a bike and with out a helmet. All of our rental bikes come with helmets; however, if you have your own bike, but now helmet, we rent those separately here.
The NC Bicycle Helmet Law requires:
- Every person under 16 years old must wear an approved bicycle helmet when operating a bicycle on any public road, public bicycle path, or other public right-of-way.
- All child passengers falling at or below 40 pounds/40 inches, must be carried in a separate restraining seat.
- Any parent or legal guardian who knowingly allows a child to ride without a helmet or to ride as a passenger not secured in a restraining seat (when applicable), will be in violation of the law.
- Violation of the law carries a $10 civil fine. The fine may be waived upon the receipt of satisfactory proof of purchase of helmet or restraining seat.
You’ll reach Bald Head Island by ferry. Once you’re here, your ferry ticket includes a one-time tram ticket to and from any location on the island. You do have to make reservations in order to take the tram. Learn more about that here.
Our boards stack really easily on top of your golf cart. Straps / tie-downs for transport are included with your rental.
Our bike store is located at 12-B Maritime Way next to the market, which is in the middle of the island. If you are arriving by ferry, each round-trip ferry ticket comes with a FREE tram service to and from anywhere on the island. To make your FREE tram reservation to Coastal Urge, call 910-457-5003 or ask the ticket counter when you get to the ferry terminal. You will also need a FREE tram back to the ferry after your amazing adventure around the island. Call 910-457-5006 at least 2 hours before your ferry departure time to make your reservation. See you soon!
Our boards are stable, so if you can stand on dry ground, it’s very unlikely you’ll take a swim; however, we always suggest to wear a swimsuit just in case… and leave the cell phone on the dock or at the house. We require paddlers taking an excursion to wear water shoes so that if you do fall off you won’t cut your foot on oyster beds in the salt marshes. By the middle of the excursion, you’ll probably be ready to jump in and cool off, anyway!
You’ll have fun whether you take a guided standup paddleboard tour or go on a self-guided excursion. If you’ve never paddled before, it’s a good idea to go with a guide so you can make sure your’re holding the paddle correctly and getting the most out of your experience. Your guide will point out wildlife along the way and will share the history of Bald Head Island. Once you’ve taken a guided tour, you can rent a board for the length of your stay here. If you haven’t seen the video of our crew paddling around BHI, take a second and watch here.
We suggest you dress like you’re going to the beach; wear sunscreen, a hat and bring a bottle of water. It is required that everyone wear water shoes, old sneakers, or flip flops. If you don’t have a pair, stop by our store at 12B Maritime Way right next to the market.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
The southernmost of North Carolina’s cape islands, Bald Head Island is located at the confluence of the Cape Fear River and Atlantic Ocean. A pleasant 20-minute passenger ferry ride transports you from the ferry terminal at Deep Point Marina in historic Southport, N.C. to the harbour at Bald Head Island, a distance of two nautical miles.
Via Highway 17, Southport is 30 miles south of Wilmington, N.C. and 60 miles north of Myrtle Beach, S.C. From points west, Interstate 40 and Highway 74/76 link the region directly with I-95.
Bald Head Island’s main land ferry terminal at Deep Point Marina is located at 1301 Ferry Road in Southport, NC, just before the state-operated Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry Landing. Entering Southport on Route 211 South (Howe Street), take a left on East Moore Street and then a right onto Ferry Road at the roundabout. Proceed about a half mile and then turn right into the entrance to Deep Point Marina, following the signs to the ferry terminal.
New Hanover International Airport in Wilmington, N.C., is just 35 miles north of Southport, and the Myrtle Beach Jetport is 60 miles south. Please consult your carrier or travel agent for daily flight schedules.
Additionally, Brunswick County Airport/ Ocean Air Aviation, Inc. is a public, non-commercial airport in the Southport area. Please call (910) 457-6483 for more information or visit brunswickcounty.ncflyports.com.
Ground transportation to ferry terminal is available.
PASSENGER FERRY INFORMATION
For most of the year, ferries leave the mainland on the hour and the island on the half-hour, beginning at 8 a.m. The winter schedule may be abbreviated, and the summer schedule expanded.
Advance ferry reservations are required, and should be confirmed three days in advance by calling(910) 457-5003. Please arrive at the ferry terminal at least 30 minutes before your scheduled departure time.
Round-trip tickets cost $23 for adults, $12 for children ages 3-12. There is no charge for children age two and younger. Tram service to your accommodations is included in the price. A discounted “no-frills” ticket is available at the Bald Head Island Marina for same-day round-trips that originate on the island and require no baggage handling or tram service.
Bald Head Island Harbour, located near buoy #13 at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, is accessible by boat from the Intracoastal Waterway, Cape Fear River and Atlantic Ocean. The full-service Bald Head Island Marina can accommodate vessels up to 94 feet in length, with 8′ draft at MLW. Winter-monthly and daily slip rates are available.
Contact the dockmaster on VHF channel 16, by phone (910) 457-7380 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up to have BHI Information Kits delivered to your rental house for free*!
Information kits include:
- The latest map of BHI featuring biking trails, hiking trails, & the best beach spots
- BHI Beach Report magnets
- Coastal Urge stickers
- And more!
Bald Head Island SUP Guided and Self Guided excursion instructions:
Please meet for your Guided/Self guided SUP excursion at the Coastal Urge Boardroom, located in the harbor at 86 Keelson Row.
- All participants must wear protective footwear while on the water. Water shoes or an old pair of sneakers are ideal. You can pick a pair up at Coastal Urge’s retail store at 12 B, C Maritime Way if you do not have them.
SUP Rentals (Delivery & Pickup by Coastal Urge)
All SUP deliveries will be made in the morning starting at 9:00a. (times subject to change)
- An adult must be present at the specified delivery address to sign for, and receive rental equipment. A signature is required.
SUP pickup will be in the evening between 4-5:00pm. (times subject to change)
- Please rinse all equipment after use and lay it where it was dropped off.
- If you decide to drop it off on your own do so at 12-C Maritime Way – please call and make arrangements at (800)383-4443 x2.
Bikes: (Delivery and Pickup by Coastal Urge)
All bike deliveries will be made in the morning starting at 10a (time subject to change). Someone has to be at home to receive the equipment. If no one is home we cannot leave equipment. Pickup will be in the evening between 4-5:30 (time subject to change). Please leave equipment where it was dropped off.
Coastal Urge Paddleboard Excursions 86 Keelson Row | Store 12-C Maritime Way | (800)383-4443
Rental and Excursion Policy
Cancellation Policy / No refund policy
ALL PADDLE and BICYCLE EXCURSIONS/LESSONS/RENTALS ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.
In the event of inclement weather, the LESSON or EXCURSION will be rescheduled. This is solely determined by the guide/instructor and you will be contacted accordingly.
Coastal Urge Paddleboard Excursions 86 Keelson Row | Store 12-C Maritime Way | (800)383-4443