Things to do on Bald Island, NC

Relax And Unwind On Bald Head Island, NC

Did someone say National Relaxation Day?

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With school beginning, I decided to try to fit in one last vacation while I could. Bald Head Island is located in North Carolina and very close to Oak Island. I have been able to visit for the past few years as my boyfriend's grandparents own a charming house on the island. National Relaxation Day took place just a few days ago, August 15, while I was on vacation. So, for those of you who are unfamiliar with Bald Head or this holiday, here are some wonderful things to take advantage of while vacationing here and ways to relax as well.

1. Take a 30-minute ferry ride from the Deep Point Marina to the island.

Once you get to the Deep Point marina, there will be workers who will assist you with you bags and put them on the ferry for you. You can decide to go on the top deck of the ferry where you can be outside enjoying the breeze from the ferry ride and see dogs that visitors are bringing to the island or you can stay in the indoor seating area with air conditioning.

2. Drive around a golf cart. 

In my opinion, golf carts are more fun to drive than cars!

3. Not have to deal with cars beeping at you or any traffic.

Who wants to deal with a ton of traffic while on vacation, anyway?

4. Visit Old Baldy Lighthouse which is the oldest lighthouse still standing in all of North Carolina.

You can climb the stairs inside all the way to the top to get an amazing view of the island. There are over 100 stairs to take so you can get some exercise while you're at it!

5. Take a guided tour to learn more about the island’s history which is two hours long and includes a visit the Old Baldy Lighthouse as well.

This is a great way to familiarize yourself with what Bald Head is all about. You also have the ability to ask the tour guides any questions you may have.

6. Go kayaking or canoeing through the creeks.

These outdoor activities are a lot of fun on a day when there is beautiful weather and allow you to see the marshes on Bald Head.

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7. Walk through Keeper's Cottage located within walking distance of Old Baldy Lighthouse.

This museum includes a replica of what a cottage would have looked like in the mid-1800's where the keepers stayed.

8. Enjoy a scavenger hunt hosted by the island’s conservancy that allows you to explore parts of the island you may not see otherwise.

The Bald Head Island Conservancy works on conservation and preservation as it pertains to the island. People who work at the conservancy are very knowledgeable and friendly so you can stop by to ask them any questions about nature or the wildlife.

9. Try standup paddleboarding and experience beautiful views of the surrounding water.

Standup paddleboarding is a newer version of the original but has been receiving a lot of attention lately and is becoming more popular. Why not give it a try?

10. Grab lunch or a cold Italian ice treat at Mike’s Bites which is located at Turtle Central.

The owner, Mike, changes up the Italian ice flavors often so you can always count on being able to try something new. My favorite flavor is mango and pineapple. Besides being delicious, it is also a great way to cool down on a hot day during the summer!

11. Look for deer by driving your golf cart around the island after the sun starts to go down.

This is one of the biggest bucks we have seen on the island.

Leah Fryar

You can even find deer crossing over the roads you are driving your golf cart on and witness them from a close distance.

12. Stop by the Turtle Pond to see if any alligators are out and about.

Here is a baby alligator surrounded by two turtles.

Leah Fryar

We saw an alligator that was 8 feet long! You can also find bass and turtles swimming around as well.

13. Not have to deal with overly crowded beaches.

Every time we go out onto a beach access, there are barely any people out or even none at all. It feels like your own private beach!

14. Complete a round of golf or take lessons at the golf course which provides amazing views of the island, too.

Sometimes you can even see an alligator or deer passing by on the course if you are lucky. Since the island is not overly crowded, you will most likely be one of the only players on the course.

15. Enjoy time spent with family and friends.

Make memories with the people that mean the most to you while on the island.

16. Eat at Mojo’s on the Harbor where you can eat seafood, drink cocktails, and take in the sights since this restaurant is waterfront.

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Mojo's is a wonderful choice if you do not feel like cooking or if you are just wanting to treat yourself to a nice and relaxing meal.

17. Buy a membership to the Shoal’s Club or Bald Head Island Club which offers outdoor swimming pools and poolside restaurants with a bar as well.

The pools are very family-friendly which is also nice. There is a lot of seating around the pool and towels are provided for you when you arrive.

18. Enjoy a relaxing end to your day by watching the sun set over the ocean.

Here is one night spend on the beach watching the sun go down on BHI.

Leah Fryar

The view is definitely hard to beat!

19. Go on a nature walk through a few trails where you can see wildlife also.

What a love about the trails are that they are not very demanding so almost anyone can walk them.

20. Bike on the 15 miles of roadways available for leisure or to get a workout in.

The roads are fairly flat so they are not difficult to maneuver on either so you don't have to be an experienced biker to do this activity on the island.

21. Peruse through several of the shops on the island which include jewelry, equipment for the outdoors, shoes, bags, accessories, bathing suits, and more.

This is the Maritime Market which has all of the grocery items you may need while on your trip.

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There is even a new candy shop that opened recently which is a lot of fun to look around in.

22. Experience a relaxing day at the Island Retreat Spa and Salon where massages, treatments, manicures, pedicures, and hair styling is offered.

I know some people who really enjoy getting their hair and nails done here. I will have to treat myself to it sometime soon if I get the chance.

23. Stop by Sandpiper Coffee and Ice Cream located right near the ferry terminal.

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This cute shop serves yummy treats from lattes to ice cream to freshly baked pastries. My favorite ice cream is definitely the oreo mocha.

24. Go saltwater fishing on the beach.

You may be able to catch a baby shark, stingray, and other species!

25. Go on a riverboat cruise to travel past the Cape Fear and bring a bottle of wine to share with others.

You have the opportunity to be on the water, socialize with people who attend, and try a variety of different wines.

If you are looking to find a few ways to relax and are wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, consider traveling to Bald Head Island and enjoy some much-needed fun and relaxation with everything this island has to offer.

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11 Must-Go To Day Trips In North Carolina

For the wanderers and curious...
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It's finally summer, classes are out! There are so many things to do in this beautiful state. There are many small towns to visit. These towns are perfect day trips. From the mountains to the beach and everything in between, there is something for everyone! Pack your car up and get ready for a summer of adventure.

1. NoDa

This is a small hipster district right outside of Uptown Charlotte. Music and art paint this town and it has a very creative energy flow. Amelie's Bakery, a 24/7 french bakery, is located in this district. There is always something fun and new to try in this cute, artistic town!

2. Asheville


This town is known for the beautiful scenery and historic importance. The Biltmore Estate is located here, and it is open for tours every day of the year. It is the biggest estate in America. The downtown area is very artistic, and the mountains make for a gorgeous hike. This is definitely an adventure you don't want to miss.

3. Boone

This small town has a lot of outdoor activities. It is perfect for hiking and whitewater rafting. If you love nature, this is a must see. It is a college town where Appalachian State University is located. The downtown area is very old school and for modern hipsters.

4. Crowders Mountain

This is located in Gaston County. Once you reach the Pinnacle, the peak of the trail, with clear skies you can see for miles. It is a quick four-mile hike for the short one, the view is amazing.

5. Wilmington

This city is known for the beachfront. It makes a perfect day to hit the waves. There are many beach fronts to visit, such as Carolina Beach. Cape Fear Ocean runs through this city. White sand, waves and the boardwalk. If you are a fan of One Tree Hill, it was filmed here.The small restaurants and characteristics give this town a vibrant energy.

6. Serendipity House

This house is from the movie Nights In Rodanthe located on a beach in Avon, North Carolina. It has been remodeled, but the amazing characteristics of this make it a sight to see.

7. Linville Falls

This is located in Linville, North Carolina. Attractions close by are also the Blue Ridge Mountain. To get to the main fall, it is about a mile hike.

8. Outer Banks

Small beaches on the outer banks of North Carolina have wild horses. Corolla Wild Ponies run free, and you can even take a ride on them in the water.

9. Sliding Rock

Located in Brevard, this rock is actually naturally made from a small waterfall. You can actually go sliding down it. It is in Pisgah National Forest also near Asheville.

10. Devil's Tramping Ground

This is located near Bennett. It is a 40-foot circle that cannot grow life. If you leave something or sleep in the circle, the rumor is it will be outside of the circle the next day.

11. Land of Oz Theme park

Located in Beech Mountain, this theme park that was once full of life is now closed and for the most part abandoned. It comes alive for one night a year for an event. This is definitely a place to take a night adventure to...

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Abroad 'Grew' Me

Change can not even begin to describe it

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"Abroad changed me."

It's the cliche, all-encompassing, slightly asshole-ish phrase that any student returning from a study abroad experience is bound to let slip at least once. As ironic and annoying as it may sound, especially when repeated 100 times, it's definitely not false. However, I believe it best gets its point across when modified slightly.

The one slight correction that can be made to this statement is the word "changed". I know for a fact that my study abroad experience opened my eyes to new cultures, new perspectives, and new possibilities. I was able to branch out and pursue areas of interest I had never imagined. However, I am still me. I did not morph into a new person or lose anything I once had before I boarded that plane. If anything the correct phrase (although not grammatically proper) should be "Abroad grew me". The path I followed in my experience, every twist, turn, and bump that hit me along the journey, helped me to become something more of myself.

My problem-solving, communication and overall interpersonal skills have become so much stronger than those which I left JFK Airport within early September. All of this combined, my confidence has grown tenfold. In terms of my self-confidence, I have never felt more validated or reassured of who I am, what my values are, and what I want out of this life. All of these things are due to the situation I was put into, but I would not call them changes. Because the word "change" insinuates I never had any of these skills or characteristics before.

Being brave, for example, is not something I typically would label myself as. But when you are lost in the streets of Morocco, frantically running in circles to find a blue building (in what is known as the "Blue City") when your bus is leaving in under 5 minutes, the act of going up to a complete stranger and getting your Spanish to somehow coincide with their Arabic is not just a show of bravery, but a necessity. It is how you survive. Although I quickly learned that after a few too many travel fiascos, I also came to realize how much better life can become when you let this bravery into other aspects of your life - not just the emergencies. The little parts like trying new foods, volunteering to make a fool of yourself and flamenco dance, stopping at the street corner to converse with the woman selling flowers, these are the small things that shaped my entire experience. And these are the biggest things that helped me to grow. This bravery was something that I always had, just never to the extent at which I tapped into during my time abroad.

Yes, coming back from studying abroad I feel like the world around me and my normal life have changed. I never could have expected it to stand still just because I was absent. However, I do not feel that I have "changed" from who I was before. A desire for a challenge is what led me to go abroad in the first place and I am extremely blessed to be able to say that my wish was fulfilled. With each new experience, I expanded my horizons, and piece by piece I watched myself morph into what I would now call a confident and well-rounded individual. This growth has brought me to where I am today, but it is only the starting point on my adventure to further explore cultures, the world, and where my place is in it all.

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