Bald Head Island / Boiling Spring Lakes / Calabash / Holden Beach / Leland and Northern Brunswick County / Oak Island/ Caswell Beach / Ocean Isle Beach / Saint James Plantation / Shallotte / Southport / Sunset Beach / Sunset Harbor
In 2006, North Carolina was ranked #1 for the state that people would choose to move to if they could. If you are considering relocation to North Carolina, Brunswick County is the place. You would be joining the trend that has led to phenomenal growth for this slice of Southeastern North Carolina throughout the 1990’s and into the 21st century. From the silver-sand beaches to the quaint fishing villages, Brunswick County has always been one of the most beautiful, yet undiscovered, locations on the East Coast. Growth of permanent residents and tourists has outstripped most areas of the country. These lucky individuals have discovered what the early settlers found: mild temperatures, fertile soil, abundant wildlife, friendly natives and peace. The lifestyle is relaxed and friendly, and it doesn’t take long for newcomers to unwind and join the fun. There’s a wonderful spirit of southern hospitality and a sense of pride of home and work that is uniquely southern.
The beaches, barrier islands and quaint towns have drawn visitors for years, but more people are choosing this life for every day of the year, making Brunswick their home. Brunswick’s eye popping growth is expected to continue. According to the United States Census Bureau, the county saw it population jump 5.4% just between July 2004 and July 2005, making it the second fastest-growing county in NC and the 29th fastest-growing county in America. In addition, Brunswick saw an 11.5% increase in retail sales for the 12 months ending in May 2005, with total sales reaching $1.2 billion.
Statistics show a population growth of 37.5% from 1996 (63,803) to 2005 (87,715). Local forecasters predict that Brunswick County’s population will surge past 100,000 by 2015. The school enrollment growth was 19% from 1996 (9,056) to 2005 (10,789).
Brunswick County manages to preserve its relaxed, down-home hospitality while still enjoying steady growth in the real estate market. Taxes in North Carolina have added appeal. The 2004-2005 tax rates in North Carolina showed a high of $1.10, average of $0.66, and low of $0.35. Brunswick County was $0.54 ranking it the 22nd lowest out of 100 counties in North Carolina. Housing opportunities are plentiful whatever the needs, preferences or price range.
More and more businesses are relocating or starting up in Brunswick county in the five industrial parks, thousands of acres of waterfront property, multiple green field sites on major highways as well as various sites for commercial ventures. Brunswick County is one of the largest counties in North Carolina with more than 860 square miles of land which makes it ripe for business development. A growing, productive workforce and the availability of vocational training result in diversified, highly skilled workers. Unemployment insurance and workman’s compensation rates are some of the lowest in the country. Utility rates are also reasonable. Families who live or relocate here can expect a safe, nurturing environment where family values are a way of life.
We move at a slower pace than the big cities, and that is part of the Brunswick appeal. The un-paralleled beauty of our beaches, southern hospitality and the freshest seafood along with weather that is ideal year-round make Brunswick County inviting. With the annual average high temperature of 73 degrees and an average low of 51 degrees F, the sub-tropical climate keeps outdoor activities enjoyable all year.
Golf is a large part of life in Brunswick County which hosts over 30 incredible golf courses with more on the way. The Southeast North Carolina mild climate allows golfers to enjoy teeing it up nearly 12 months out of the year.
Nearly fifty miles of coastline and multitude of full service fishing piers and marinas throughout the county make fishing available to anyone. Salt water fishing, deep sea fishing, pier fishing, surf casting, fresh water ponds, lake and rivers offer the right opportunities to meet all levels and needs.
History buffs and curiosity seekers will enjoy the various history venues throughout the county especially Brunswick Town where the archaeological exhibits provide an historical insight to this colonial capital of North Carolina. Nearby Orton Plantation is an antebellum mansion with magnificent gardens. Southport and it waterfront park offer a glimpse into the nautical past. Just to the north in historical Wilmington is the USS Battleship North Carolina from WWII and all of the historical attractions of the Wilmington Riverfront and downtown area.
For detailed information on Health Care, Schools, Religious and Community Groups, and Real Estate Developments and neighborhoods, visit these pages on this website.
You can truly get away from it all on Bald Head Island. The island is only accessible by powerboat or a pedestrian ferry which will take you and your luggage on a short trip across the mouth of the Cape Fear River to the 12,000 acre escape. Visitors and residents get around the island by way of golf carts and bicycles.
Bald Head Island is best known for Old Baldy, the eight-sided brick lighthouse build in 1818. From the top of Old Baldy you can get a panoramic view of stunning beaches and the championship golf course. Bald Head Island was once a favorite place for pirates to hole up, protected by the island’s forestation and calm waters, and by the pro-pirate communities in the area. Legend has it that Blackbeard often used the island to replenish his food stocks and hide his treasure! During the War between the States, Union blockades used the island as a natural barrier to help keep Confederate ships from entering the Cape Fear River inlet.
Since the early 1900’s the pristine beaches and luxury accommodation have been a favorite vacation spot. Daily life on the island is unlike that what most people are accustomed to. All the conveniences of the outside world remain on the outside and must be brought over by boat. Quiet, rest, retreat are only interrupted by a day at the beach, on the golf course or catching great fish. Whether for a vacation home or a full time residence, Bald Head Island offers some of the most spectacular homes in the NC coastal area.
Boiling Spring Lakes, as the name implies boasts an incredible 50 natural and man-made lakes. The centerpiece of all these is the 150-acre, 2 ½ mile long “Big Lake” with ten miles of shoreline which is fed by five springs and Allen’s Creek. As far as history reveals, the boiling spring remained hidden until developers happened upon it in 1961. The spring had laid hidden for countless years but local legend holds that Indians once visited the spot annually as they made their way to the oceans to replenish their supply of seafood and game. Drinking from the fountain reportedly assured a safe return home.
Now Boiling Spring Lakes proves to be one of the fastest growing towns in Brunswick County. Given its proximity to Brunswick Island beaches, as well as the beauty of its own unusual lakes, it’s no wonder the town continues attracting new residents and businesses. All the activities associated with fresh water lakes – boating, water skiing, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, fishing and swimming are available. The town’s proximity to the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic beyond presents opportunities for saltwater activities. Golfers in Boiling Spring Lakes are challenged by the 18-hole Lakes Country Club course there or the more than 30 courses in the surrounding area.
Boiling Spring Lakes is a popular choice for permanent or second home living with an easy commute to downtown Wilmington.
Known as “The Seafood Capital of the World,” Calabash has long been a favorite spot for seafood lovers. It is positioned as the southernmost river town and located on the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to restaurants, Calabash boasts many specialty stores and local art galleries and golf courses.
The town took its name from the Calabash River, which was named by the local slave population in the early 1800’s. Later it was known as Pea Landing because of the large amount of peanut farming. The Great Depression forced a majority of the local labor force out of the fields, and many of them turned to the sea to feed their families. Soon the local seafood market began to flourish and fisherman began selling their catch on the dock. It was then that Calabash became known the world over for their seafood “Calabash Style”, a low country style of cooking with a taste and personality all its own. When Jimmy Durante closed his show with “Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are” he was referring to Lucy Coleman who ran a Calabash style restaurant.
Calabash has been referred to as: “A fishing village with a timeless legacy and rich tradition, undaunted by the encroaching modern world.” But it offers a wide range of activities and its location on the Calabash River and proximity to the Intracosatal Waterway makes it ideal for coastal living.
Several developments, golf course communities, luxury waterway homes and condos in the area make Calabash a favorite for full time or vacation living.
One of North Carolina’s most beautiful barrier islands, Holden Beach offers natural beauty and serenity yet is rated as one of the best family beaches in the country. Mostly residential, the beach has some of the most spectacular homes in the area. Thanks to a modern bridge, completed in 1986, Holden Beach offers the best of an isolated beachfront community and all the conveniences of the modern world.
The tiny island remained in the Holden family after it was purchased from the Crown prior to the Revolutionary War. In 1969 the island was sold and incorporated with the stipulation that commercial development be kept to a minimum. Except for a few, small, ,locally owned stores, a post office, and meager dining establishments, the island has been able to repel the hordes of commercial chains and developments.
Holden Beach has embraced those who share a love for everything beachfront communities have to offer. It is one of the largest nesting areas and a sanctuary for the endangered Loggerhead sea turtle. Residents take pride in this and considerable measures are taken to protect nests on the beach and the hatchlings until they are big enough to fend for themselves.
Though the island may be secluded, there is still plenty to do: fishing, boating, swimming and proximity to some of the finest restaurants, entertainment, shopping and golf on the mainland. The full time population is small but growing, the vacation home market is flourishing on Holden Beach
Holden Beach Mainland area offers the commercial shopping and restaurants and several developments in this area offer golf course living, waterway beauty or neighborhood friendliness.
Northern Brunswick County, located just across the Cape Fear River from the historic port city of Wilmington, recently has emerges as one of the fastest growing counties in America. In the face of this expansion, local leaders are working hard to ensure the area retains the family-friendly atmosphere that makes it such and attractive place.
The town of Leland has emerged as the centerpiece of Northern Brunswick County continued growth and economic expansion. The small towns and rural countryside offer Southern charm, old-fashioned hospitality and a slower, more relaxed pace that is a welcome relief. Belville, Sandy Creek, Northwest and Navassa can be accessed easily by Highway 17. These towns are more rural in nature and they hold a beauty and personality of their own.
Leland is poised to become the largest municipality in Brunswick County. It is located on the picturesque Brunswick River, just 5 minutes west of Wilmington. The convenience of living in Leland is that it is still close to the city, but still far enough away to get the small town atmosphere. It is also conveniently located about 20-30 minutes from the beaches in Brunswick or New Hanover counties. The river offers kayaking, boating and fishing. Thanks to the Cape Fear Region’s temperate climate and championship golf courses, Northern Brunswick County is an ideal place for golfers. History buffs have plenty to choose from with Orton Plantation, historic downtown Wilmington, and the Battleship Memorial nearby.
As a “suburb” of Wilmington, the Leland are is fast becoming popular neighborhood for those who commute for work as well as those who enjoy relaxing and recreating.
Oak Island is the largest of the barrier islands in Brunswick County, in size and year round population. Oak Island is the largest beach community in North Carolina. Geographically it consists of Oak Island (formerly Long Beach and Yaupon Beach), Caswell Beach and Oak Island Mainland areas along Long Beach Road.
Caswell Beach is on the easternmost end of the Island and takes its name from Fort Caswell build in 1826 and seized by confederate troops in 1861. The fort is now the home of the N.C. Baptist Assembly camp/retreat conference center. Caswell Beach is also home to the Oak Island lighthouse, the brightest light in the United States and second-brightest light in the world. This light can be seen as far as 24 nautical miles offshore. Oak Island Golf Course is located in Caswell Beach.
Oak Island has more than 50 public beach accesses, along with boat ramps, recreational areas and a skate park. The beaches of Oak Island are the focal point for the protection of sea turtle nesting and habitats. The town’s recreation department has an Ocean Education Center with a turtle display and the Oak Island Nature Center. Oak Island also has a bird sanctuary and a greenhouse for growing sea oats and other native beach vegetation.
Oak Island businesses are geared toward the tourist population but the year round population’s needs are met as well with several fine restaurants and shops and a new Supermarket.
Oak Island offers a variety of locations for living full time or for vacation. Homes on Oak Island and Caswell Beach range from oceanfront homes, 2nd and 3rd row, canal homes, golf course, wooded area and Intracoastal homes and condos.
Ocean Isle Beach has been know as a family destination and has much to offer every member of the family. From its early fish camp days, Ocean Isle Beach has evolved into a special place to visit or live. Just over 7 miles long, it is proud to be known to have the best beaches on the NC coast. Besides the beaches what distinguishes Ocean Isle Beach from other barrier island communities is a system of canals that run throughout the island connecting almost every home to the Intracoastal Waterway. This feature makes the island an ideal home for boat owners, as most homes are equipped with a dock.
Since its incorporation in 1959, the island community has made a concentrated effort to maintain its beach community atmosphere without the glitz and glitter.
Ocean Isle hosts the Museum of Coastal Carolina which features historical artifacts and natural history information about the region. The mainland area of Ocean Isle offers shopping, golf and restaurants for all tastes. Vacation homes on the island abound but the year round population is growing. There are many developments on the mainland offering golf property, condo living or modern quiet neighborhoods within a short distance to the Myrtle Beach area.
A gated golf community, St. James is the newest incorporated community in Brunswick County growing out of the explosion of growth in the area. St. James was incorporated in the late 1990’s but it actually started out as a retirement golf community, it later became a municipality and now enjoys a nice blend of age groups.
Located along the Intracoastal Waterway just outside the commercial district of Long Beach Road, St. James has the peacefulness of the country within the close proximity of shops and restaurants and the historic town of Southport.
The town of St. James includes 4 ½ golf courses, a marina, restaurants, chapel, library and its own fire station. Golf reigns supreme at St. James with four different signature golf courses. The marina at St. James is one of the largest on the Intracoastal Waterway.
Homes at St. James vary in style and size and in location from the golf course properties to Intracoastal Waterway with private docks, to interior wooded with plenty of ponds and nature, to condos and townhouses. Year round residents predominate, but many people planning to relocate to St. James in the future get an early start with homes and condos used for get-away vacations.
Currently, Shallotte is the center of commerce for the Brunswick County region. Centrally located about halfway between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach it is convenient for shopping, food and information.
Despite its steady growth, Shallotte has so far managed to preserve its rural, small-town, coastal character. The surrounding countryside presents an array to terrain from rolling woodlands to tidal marshes. Along the Shallotte River, the osprey and egret still thrive.
Shallotte serves as the gateway to a number of South Brunswick beaches, namely Holden, Ocean Isle, and Sunset Beach. The town is also minutes away from Calabash.
Golf courses abound in this area from Brunswick County’s original course, Brierwood Golf Course to a recent Arnold Palmer design, River’s Edge Golf Course.
For outdoors enthusiasts, all manner of water sports abound. Quail, wild turkey, deer, ducks and other native and migratory species afford challenging sport. For anglers, opportunities make both fresh and saltwater fish seem almost limitless.
Despite Shallotte’s natural wealth, the rate of growth in the community, the attraction of lower-than-average taxes and reasonable prices indicates Shallotte is a very favorable investment for those buying real estate. Whether an older well cared for home or a brand new modern home in one of the several new developments, houses of varying sizes, locations and price ranges are available in Shallotte and the surrounding areas.
Quaint, quiet and historic, all aptly describe the fishing town of Southport. Located at the mouth of the Cape Fear River on the Atlantic Ocean, Southport was an ideal location for riverboat captains who settled there. Southport was originally incorporated in 1792 as Smithville for North Carolina Governor Benjamin Smith, who served valiantly under George Washington in the Revolutionary War. Its citizens changed its name to Southport in 1887 in hopes of attracting a port but it went further upstream to Wilmington Thus, Southport retains much of its old-world charm today. This historic charm captivates you as you walk under a canopy of 200 year old live oak tress and past majestic Victorian century homes which belonged to those riverboat captains and perhaps a pirate or two who made their homes in Southport because of the pirate-friendly local governments in the hay-day of piracy. The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Southport chronicles the exploits of many of those pirates.
Southport features Fort Johnston, a Civil War military post, as well as great views of Old Baldy Lighthouse on Bald Head Island and Oak Island Lighthouse. Legend has it that some of the historic homes and businesses in Southport are still inhabited by spirits from the past. In fact, you can take an historic walking tour along the streets of Southport and learn all about the city’s rich history. You will also want to see various set locations for popular TV shows and movies.
Southport also is home to one of the finest hospitals in the region J.A. Dosher Memorial Hospital. The hospital’s reputation draws medical professionals from across the county to practice in the area, providing residents some of the best health care in the Southeast.
Southport offers sailors and boaters a safe haven through the Southport Marina, Old Yacht Basin and City Pier.
Southport is the quintessential small Southern town, right down to it’s five block, tree lined commercial district, home to local businesses galleries and antique shops and restaurants.
Rand McNally ranked Southport as one of the best places in the country to retire. Whether for retirement, vacation or permanent full time lifestyle, Southport is attractive to all ages. From Historic homes that the residents have made preserving their rich history a priority, to brand new homes in picturesque developments, to marina or marshfront condos and homes, Southport offers choices of small town Southern living with ocean beaches and plenty of golf nearby.
Each time your cross over the bridge to Sunset Beach, you will be reminded to slow down and relax as you enter into a more laid-back atmosphere. A special attraction of Sunset Beach is the quality of the sand which is a beautiful powdery-white. The island has a home-like feel and quiet surroundings, but there is still plenty to do and see. Take a walk on the beach at sunset, and learn for yourself why it is called “Sunset” Beach. Due in part to the beaches southern exposure, as are all the Brunswick Beaches, they afford some of the beautiful and breath-taking sunrises and sunsets in the world.
The mainland area at Sunset hosts the Ingram Planetarium, as well as many stores and restaurants. Golf abounds in this area which includes the Sea Trail Golf and Conference Center. One of the most beautiful gems is Bird Island, an undeveloped and secluded island that can only be accessed by land by way of Sunset Beach. Bird Island is one of the last undeveloped barrier islands and is home to a large variety of wildlife. Many indigenous species live on the island, many of which are endangered, almost completely isolated from man. The island is the perfect window to the past of the area, giving visitors a glimpse back into time, before the islands up and down the coast were lined with condominium developments and high-rise hotels.
The majority of the Sunset Beach permanent residents make their living from the fishing, shrimping and crabbing of the waters that surround the village. Village residents are also famous for the custom fishing nets made on the island. People come from all over the world to buy the handmade nets.
Sunset Beach is becoming a favored destination for vacation or full time living because of its easy-going lifestyle, multitude of recreational activities and proximity to larger cities. Real estate whether on the island or the mainland is moving rapidly as it is throughout Brunswick County.
Sunset Harbor is the most undiscovered exquisite natural settings in Brunswick County. It’s roots are as a small fishing village and most of the original fishing shacks remain near the waterfront. Choice and timing have kept Sunset Harbor waterfront area unique and resistant to change but it is coming. Several new developments have sprung up in the surrounding area.
Sunset Harbor lies across the Intracoastal Waterway from Oak Island and Holden Beach with beautiful views of each. The Atlantic Ocean lies directly south. Homes and properties in this area are affordable and unique whether wooded, waterway or marshfront.