Community Snapshot: Bald Head Island

Boat, kayak, take GPS scavenger hunts, and more on this 12,000 acre escape in North Carolina
Bald Head Island
Photograph courtesy of Bald Head Island Limited

Location Not far from Wilmington, North Carolina, Bald Head Island is 12,000 acres, with 10,000 set aside for beach, marsh, and maritime forest nature preserves. There are currently 1,200 residences divided into dozens of neighborhoods.

Bald Head Island
Thanks to its location on the end of an island chain, the resort enjoys beaches on the east, west, and south sides.

Photograph courtesy of Bald Head Island Limited

History The island has been developed by the George P. Mitchell family since 1983, but its history dates back to the Revolutionary War. It is home to North Carolina’s oldest lighthouse, Old Baldy, which was commissioned by Thomas Jefferson and built in 1817. During the Civil War, the island was home to Confederate Fort Holmes.

Price range Lots range from $50,000 to $1 million. Homes are $300,000 to $2 million. Interval ownership starts at $50,000.

Activities The 100-slip marina accommodates boats up to 100 feet long. There are two private clubs. The oceanfront Shoals Club overlooks Cape Fear and offers direct beach access, while the Bald Head Island Club offers golf and recreational activities, including three greenswards for competitive croquet. Several outfitters provide kayaking, canoeing, sailing, stand-up paddleboarding, kiteboarding, birding, GPS scavenger hunts, and turtle walks. Island Retreat is a full-service spa and salon. Other shops on the island include a grocery store, art galleries, home furnishings, clothing, and fine jewelry.

What’s unique Bald Head Island does not have a bridge and can be reached only via a 20-minute passenger ferry from Southport, North Carolina. There are no cars, and all travel is by golf cart, bicycle, or foot. The very active Bald Head Island Conservancy preserves the barrier island environment, which is a nesting ground for loggerhead turtles.

What they say “We love the solitude, gliding on a kayak in the marsh, sunrises, sunsets, and night skies filled with stars.” —Atlantans Sally and Jack Klippel, island owners since 1995.

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.