In a recent article by AAA Carolinas, our very own Sunset Beach, North Carolina, with its South facing, stretches of white sandy beachfront, was named as a beach you must visit in your lifetime! That came as no surprise to those of us who live here as we already know Coastal North Carolina offers visitors something extra special.
This area boasts a breathtaking shoreline and both its landscape and its relaxed atmosphere are appealing to many. Sunset Beach is the southernmost of the North Carolina barrier islands and is 3 miles of the most beautiful beachfront in the state. It’s an ideal spot for those who enjoy pier fishing, surf fishing, charter fishing, swimming, surfing, and even just playing in the sand. The mainland portion of Sunset Beach offers spas & salons, shopping, grocery stores, small boutiques, dining, golf and the Ingram Planetarium.
Here’s some really great little natural attractions you’ll want to check out the next time you visit Sunset Beach, North Carolina!
Natural Attractions in Sunset Beach
North Carolina Birding Trail
Sunset Beach is a part of the North Carolina Birding Trail, with 102 birding sites in just the Atlantic Coastal Plains portion of the state-wide trail. There are five sites in Sunset Beach alone. The Town of Sunset Beach has published a brochure about the birding trail that can be downloaded here. There are 260 species of birds within the boundaries of the Town of Sunset Beach.
Thousands of bird lovers enjoy visiting this 1,300-acre state preserve barrier island every year. Connected to Sunset Beach, Bird Island is home to Loggerhead turtles and the Purple sandpiper. Various species of birds that are threatened or endangered use the shoreline, dunes, maritime forest, and marshland as their habitats and nesting areas. Follow the path from the parking area and gazebo at Sunset Beach, along the Bird Island beachfront, all the way to South Carolina. When you visit, be sure to stop at the Kindred Spirit Mailbox.
Nesting Sea Turtles
Loggerhead sea turtles are the most common visitors to the North Carolina beaches. The loggerhead is a "threatened" species though their numbers are more stable than that of other Sea turtles. This status gives them protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). Residents of Sunset Beach have formed the Sunset Beach Turtle Watch Program to help monitor turtle nesting at Sunset beach. Volunteers record nesting sites, will move nests that may be threatened, record turtle hatches, and help to ensure that hatchlings reach the ocean safely.
Loggerhead sea turtles can lay up to 7 nests in one season and usually nest every two years. Nesting season is from early May through August. Once a nest is laid it takes 55 to 90 days for the hatchlings to emerge. Baby loggerhead turtles begin hatching in late July and continue through October.
With so many things to do around Sunset Beach, it’s definitely somewhere you should plan on visiting. Come spend the day on foot or by boat exploring the area while enjoying all the wildlife, play on one of the many golf courses the area has to offer or take a fishing charter out on the ocean. Vacationing in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, just might be one of the best vacations of your lifetime!