From Land’s End, the isolated tip of Great Britain, to Florida’s Key West, people are drawn to places where the world seems to come to an end. Situated at the tip of Cape Fear in North Carolina, Bald Head Island is one such place. To the west lies the Cape Fear River, already an estuary by the time its waters wash over the island’s sands and shores; the north points to a stretch of other isolated islands sandwiched between river and sea.
Look southward or eastward and your eyes will become lost in the seemingly infinite expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, interrupted only, perhaps, by the arrival of sea turtles which come to the island to build their nests.
Sparsely populated and scenic, Bald Head Island is an excellent vacation destination for travelers looking to enjoy themselves in a unique environment. Dominated by maritime forests, a rare ecosystem found on barrier islands like these, Bald Head Island (BHI) offers plenty of opportunities for relaxing outdoor activities. The diversity of waterways (which include creeks, rivers, marshes, estuaries, and the ocean) makes BHI a great place for kayaking, fishing, and boating.
Due to the lack of any steep gradients, many guests explore the island’s beauty atop a bicycle. Golf is another big draw to the area. Acclaimed courses bring in everyone from PGA professionals chasing victory to dedicated amateurs looking for an expertly designed course in a beautiful spot.
Private cars are forbidden on the island, but visitors can get around easily enough using golf carts, boats, and public transportation. Many of these house rentals come with carts. Bikes, beach gear, kayaks, surfboards, and more are also widely available for rent from the island’s shops.
Whatever brings you to Bald Head Island, finding the right place to stay is always crucial to having a good getaway. We have selected 10 fabulous vacation rentals to consider during your upcoming Bald Head vacation.
East Wind – Oceanfront Cottage On 40 Acres$660/nightly avg
Private and spacious, this rental home is ideal for groups looking for a place to relax and recreate in peace. Bald Head Island is a small one with many houses. The relative isolation of this oceanfront home is definitely not the norm. The 500-foot driveway marks this house and the land it sits on as yours and yours alone.
More remarkable still, the house sits by a 40-acre private nature reserve, accessible only to you and your companions. The house comes with three golf carts and all the chairs you need to enjoy a day on the island’s East Beach (considered the best for surfing, body boarding, and kiting). Other amazing features include a nature trail and a 500-year-old bronze cannon recovered from a local shipwreck.
Indoor amenities rival the incredible outdoor ones. Each of the four bedrooms has a private bathroom.
Salty Dog – Grand Beachfront Home$1,148/nightly avg
There’s no shortage of light, space, or possibilities in this magnificent house overlooking BHI’s South Beach. Skylights, white walls, and south-facing windows ensure that everything inside is awash in light.
The comfort of the two-storied common area, porch, and balconies are almost enough to convince guests to forgo the pleasure of the adjacent beach. Each of the second-floor master kings has a private balcony. There is also a porch-side queen room on the main level and a kids’ bedroom with three twins. From the marbled bathrooms to the modern kitchen, Salty Dog doesn’t skimp on luxury.
It’s location that really makes this property a winner. South Beach is considered the best for those keen on a calm beach day. It has smaller waves and gets much less wind than the island’s other waterfronts. There’s also more sand and less scrub.
About Time Vacation Home In The Forest$643/nightly avg
Bald Head Island is crisscrossed by a half dozen or so rivers and creeks, many of which, if they were just a few hundred feet longer, would turn the island into an archipelago. This pet-friendly freestanding two-story house is just feet away from one such creek.
It’s easy to appreciate the forest from one of the property’s two balconies or the screened-off porch area on the ground floor. Wildlife sitings are quite common in this neighborhood, so it’s definitely worth making use of the spacious outdoor areas. The floorplan is traditional, with a queen bedroom (and bath) on the ground floor and three more bedrooms above (bunk, another queen, and the master suite).
Accessing the island is easy from this property as the garage comes filled with two golf carts. If you’re interested in taking advantage of the golf course at Bald Head Island Club during your stay, contact the owners early so they can arrange it for you.
‘Happy Ours’ On South Beach$633/nightly avg
Mere feet away from South Beach, “Happy Ours” is perfectly located for those who can’t get enough of smooth sands and calm waters. The sea is easily appreciated from the screened-in porch and beach access is steps away.
Recently renovated and built in the classic coastal style, the house has a ground-floor queen suite. Above it is another queen and a room with two twins. For additional sleeping space, the cozy den has a pull-out sofa.
Though Bald Head Island has many excellent dining options, there’s nothing like a home-cooked meal. For that reason, the kitchen comes fully stocked and the outdoor grill is always ready for use.
Mahi Mahi$250/nightly avg
Tucked away in the southeast corner of the island, Mahi Mahi is a comfortable and economical option for a family, couple, or pair of couples looking to experience Bald Head Island’s unique lifestyle. This two-story duplex has a queen bedroom on each floor, plus a cozy sleeping nook with a comfortable twin bed.
It is in a quiet neighborhood just minutes away from the beach and The Shoal’s Club, a popular resort with dining, pools, and all the amenities one expects to find in a quality beachside resort. Rentals for kayaks, beach gear, and more are easily arranged, but there’s no need to worry about a golf cart as the house has a six-seater for guests to use.
Saltmarsh Retreat$400/nightly avg
Beautiful pine paneling and flooring give this isolated home a unique feel compared to your typical beach house. It is on Bald Head’s “middle island,” an area enclosed by Fish Creek and the Cape Fear River. Both waterways are just a few hundred feet away.
The property is surrounded by undeveloped land, providing guests with a remarkable sense of privacy and space to roam around. The common area is beautiful and the four queen bedrooms cozy. The undeveloped coastline and waves of East Beach and tranquil sands of South Beach are just a few minutes away by golf cart, four of which are provided.
Balvenie On Flora’s Bluff$425/nightly avg
Balvenie is a fine home sandwiched between South Beach and the Bald Head Woods Maritime Forest Preserve. The reverse floor plan features a master suite on the ground floor and queen and trundled twin rooms that share a bathroom.
The back deck offers ocean views, including rocking chairs and a hammock from which to best enjoy them. Guests find themselves drawn to the pleasures of South Beach, where the sand stretches for over a mile in either direction. A great property for a family looking to stay in a good location for good value.
Cozy Retreat On The Harbor$320/nightly avg
Right on the waters of Bald Head Island’s harbor, this small studio home is ideal for a couple looking for a big adventure. Windows on all sides bring in enough light to fill this small studio to the brim. Two cots are available if you’re planning to bring the children with you.
And don’t fret if your children are furrier than most: it‘s dog-friendly so they are allowed to tag along. Being on the harbor gives guests easy access to the ferry, boat rentals, and great sunset views. The no-frills kitchen can be used to prepare basic meals.
Guests looking for something more can walk to The Wisp for wine and snacks or Delphina for something more substantial.
Island Haven on Keepers Landing$421/nightly avg
Island Haven is an ideal home-away-from-home for a family looking for a fuss-less vacation on the island. Property management ensures everything is provided, including golf carts, kayaks, ping-pong, and a grill.
The open-plan kitchen and common area is a great place to congregate, but there is also a “kids’ pad” with an adjacent media room. The property abuts a nature preserve and is a few thousand feet away from both the East and South beaches. Visitors should inquire about getting temporary access to The Shoals Club and BHI Club.
Condo With Marshview$325/nightly avg
Just south of BHI’s harbor, this condo has great views of the estuary and mainland marshland on the other side. A community saltwater pool is just steps away (the beaches are about 5 minutes away using one of the complimentary golf carts).
Each of the three bedrooms is nice but the master, what with its bath and balcony with marsh views, is particularly enviable. Enjoy a meal on the screened-in patio or haul the beach chairs to the sand for a fine picnic.
To discover things to do in and around Bald Head Island, check out: