Southport is known as the launching point for a number of barrier island adventures and vacations, including the ferry trip to neighboring Bald Head Island. A completely unique experience, the Bald Head Island Ferry is one of the only privately run ferries that transport visitors to a North Carolina barrier island is such high volume, and with such an assortment of amenities. From baggage services to incredible passenger lounges, the Bald Head Island ferry allows travelers to arrive to their island destination in style.

Deep Point Marina

Bald Head Island is the southernmost barrier island in the chain of east-facing islands that border North Carolina's mainland from Southport all the way to Beaufort, NC. A wide but small island of just under 6 square miles in area, the island is effectively a quiet paradise for vacationers who want to leave the heavy traffic behind, and enjoy an oceanfront community of vacation rental homes and empty beaches. In fact, there are no vehicles allowed on Bald Head Island, and the only way around the small territory is by foot, bicycle, golf cart, or one of the trams that provide transportation for vacation rental guests to their accommodations.

Boats at Deep Point Marina in Southport, NC

Fittingly, the Bald Head Island ferry from Southport is strictly a passenger ferry, although extra luggage and equipment, (like bicycles or kayaks), are allowed for an additional fee. Upon arriving at the Deep Point Ferry on Ferry Road, visitors will be able to park at three separate parking lots, with rates that are determined by the length of stay. Travelers who are bringing plenty of gear have the option to drop off their baggage and passengers beforehand, sending their luggage onboard via an airport-style conveyor belt. Covered containers are also available for a nominal charge at the ferry ticket window to ensure the gear stays warm and dry despite the weather conditions. Oversized items, like kayaks or bikes, can be dropped off at the lower level curb, where they will be carefully stored and waiting for passengers upon their arrival on Bald Head Island.

The ferry terminal in Southport, NC

For the majority of the year, the ferry leaves the mainland Southport terminal on the hour, every hour, from 7:00 a.m. until midnight or so, depending on the time of year and day. (For example, weekday departures in January generally only run until 9:00 p.m.) On the Bald Head Island side, ferries depart on the half hour, every hour. Reservations are accepted in advance by calling the ferry directly at (910) 457-5003, although with the exception of summer weekends and holidays, most travelers find that there is seldom a wait to climb aboard.

The ferry terminal in Southport, NC

There are two seasonally-open ferry terminals in Southport with separate arrival and departure areas, as well as a climate controlled passenger lounge, an outdoor waiting area which takes advantage of the waterfront views, and even a snack bar.

The ferry terminal in Southport, NC

Once on board, it's just a quick 20 minute ride across the mouth of the Cape Fear River to the Bald Head Island ferry terminal, where guests can retrieve their luggage and set about the business of exploring this island paradise. Many vacation rental companies feature free or discounted golf court rentals for weekly visitors, and tram reservations can also be booked by calling (910) 457-4944. Day trippers will most likely want to bring a bicycle along, which can be picked up in Bald Head Island at the Baggage Claim area, as it is the easiest way to explore the entirety of the island in a few hours time.

Deep Point Marina in Southport, NC

The ride itself is perfectly scenic, with indoor and outdoor decks to sit back, relax, and enjoy the wide open views. Although short, many visitors wish the ride was extended, as the vistas of Southport, the barrier islands, and the small marshes located in between are simply unparalleled.

The ferry terminal in Southport, NC

Tickets generally run around $24.75 for adults, and $13.75 for children ages 3-12. Additional charges may apply for extra large items, or additional concierge services. The General Lot Parking is $10 a day from Memorial Day until Labor Day, and $8 a day the remainder of the year. Annual passes are also available for frequent Bald Head Island visitors.

The ferry terminal in Southport, NC

A unique way to visit an island paradise, the ferry from Southport to Bald Head Island is one of the most exceptional privately run ferries in the state, if not the Eastern Seaboard. Absolutely accommodating with efficiency that ensures both passengers and luggage arrives to their island destination, water lovers are encouraged to take a day trip to this neighboring coastal destination for an adventure and a transportation experience that is completely one-of-a-kind and perfectly memorable.

The marina sign from Cape Fear River in Southport, NC

Bald Head Island Ferry

The Bald Head Island Ferry in Southport, NC

A sailboat in front of Oak Island lighthouse, from Southport NC

Old Baldy Lighthouse on Bald Head Island, NC

 

Victory Beach Vacations

Victory Beach Vacations

Visitors who are on the hunt for the postcard-perfect vacation rental in the heart of the Carolina Beach or Kure Beach area will find an enticing selection and plenty of friendly customer service when they rent through Victory Beach Vacations. Based in Carolina Beach in the coastal Cape Fear region, Victory Beach Vacations has more than 100 vacation rentals in all shapes and sizes to ensure that every vacationing family can find their dream home away from home on the beach.   When you book your Cape Fear getaway with Victory Beach Vacations, the fun doesn’t end when you leave the beach, it continues with an array of privately-owned properties outfitted with all of the amenities needed for a fabulous beach vacation.   Jenna Lanier, General Manager, explains that her family first opened the rental and property management business in 2002. At the forefront of Victory Beach operations is Lanier’s mother, Caroline Meeks. Meeks is both the Broker in Charge and co-owner with husband, Buck Meeks, who manages the Field Services team with Lanier’s husband, Scott.   For nearly 20 years, the Victory Beach team has worked tirelessly to establish a network of top-of-the-line rental properties for Cape Fear visitors to enjoy. “As far as our properties go,” explains Lanier, “they are all updated, well-furnished and appointed. “We have always performed post-cleaning inspections and since the pandemic, have put freshly laundered duvets over all of the comforters between rentals.”   Lanier emphasizes how important the guests experience is “we strive to give our guests a relaxing, stress free, memorable vacation.” This emphasis on customer service has led to Victory Beach Vacations having a 4.8 Google rating with over 300 reviews by happy owners and guests.In addition to Victory Beach’s superior sanitation practices, the company offers properties for every type of visitor. Choose from luxury oceanfront houses and condos to more reasonbly priced 2nd row properties with oceanviews. Many properties include pools and hot tubs as well, perfect for outdoor entertaining, and many are dog friendly.   Lanier also notes that all properties are within walking or driving distance to Pleasure Island’s main attractions – Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. The former, as described by Lanier, is the more commercialized of the two destinations and features a boardwalk, outdoor dining options and a plethora of weekly activities including fireworks, live music, amusement park pop-ups, and movies under the stars. Kure Beach offers a more residential feel with its fishing pier, intimate restaurants and family favorite, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.More water fun awaits, too. “There is a harbor and a canal that feed into the intercoastal. We have several properties on the harbor so guests can bring their boat, kayak, [or jet ski] and travel between islands,” says Lanier.   A stay with Victory Beach Vacations is an annual pilgrimage for most. “A large percentage of guests are previous guests. Some even reserve the same property for the next year as they’re checking out,” Lanier says. “It’s almost like it’s their personal vacation home.”   Even before guests arrive at their vacation destination, the Victory Beach Vacations’ website greets them with a live beach cam and exquisite aerial footage of both Carolina and Kure Beaches. See for yourself by scanning the QR code and call Victory Beach Vacations at 910.458.0868 to book your Cape Fear getaway. Start making your memories today! —Grace Silipigni

Smithfield's Chicken N Bar-B-Q
McLean Park