One of the distinct features of living in the Coastal Carolina region is the ability to live, work or play on our beautiful islands. North Carolina is fortunate to have to the unique natural phenomena of barrier islands which not only provide protection to the mainland, but offer a lifestyle set apart from inland communities.
Wrightsville Beach, once called New Hanover Banks, is located about five miles from Wilmington, North Carolina. This island sits just beyond the Intracoastal Waterway and spans a little over a mile and a half. Although cars are allowed on the island, many residents get around on bike, skateboard, or foot. The island is well-known for its “loop” walking path stretching the island onto the mainland and back. Wrightsville Beach has restaurants, shops, and a grocery store but consists mostly of private residences.
Pleasure Island, located southeast of Wilmington, comprises Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. Carolina Beach is closest to Wilmington, then further down Kure Beach culminating in Fort Fisher at the southern tip of the island. Freeman Park, located in Carolina Beach, is well-known for camping and the ability to drive on the huge stretch of sand with permit. Fort Fisher, a Confederate fort during the Civil War, is known as home to the North Carolina Aquarium.
North of Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington is Topsail Island which is comprised of Topsail Beach, North Topsail Beach and Surf City. Topsail Island is 26 miles long and approximately 40 minutes north of Wilmington. The island is accessible by two bridges, one in Surf City and another in North Topsail Beach. The residents of Topsail are extremely conscience of the environment and the island is home to a Sea Turtle Rescue Operation and Sea Turtle Hospital.
Bald Head Island is a place free of vehicles and must be accessed by ferry or boat. This island also preserves its natural habitat of 14 miles of beach and some 10,000 acres of protected salt marsh and tidal creeks. The striking maritime forests are inhabited by herons, egrets, ibises, foxes and alligators. Most homes are of traditional coastal architecture with picket fences and walking trails linking properties, but houses vary in size from quaint to grand.
Oak Island located in Brunswick County is over 12 miles long and little over a mile wide. The island is made up of two towns, Oak Island and Caswell Beach. The island is unique in that its beaches face the south instead of the east. The island is located closest to Southport, North Carolina. Shops, restaurants, and parking are all available on the island.
The most private and exclusive community of the Coastal Carolina region is Figure 8 Island located just north of Wrightsville Beach. This 1,300 acre island with five miles of beach is only accessible by guarded causeway bridge across the Intracoastal Waterway. There is no commercial property of any kind on the island and only 441 private residences. The island is exceptionally peaceful and residents take advantage of the tranquility to preserve the natural environment. This area is mostly marshland and home to multiple species of birds and other wildlife.