Recently, I was telling a coworker that I was visiting my family at Sunset Beach, to which they asked, “Where is Sunset?” I then explained to them that it is North of North Myrtle but the most Southern beach in North Carolina. This explanation I have become accustomed to telling. People know where Myrtle is, people know where the Outer Banks are, some even know where Ocean Isle is, but not many know where Sunset Beach, North Carolina is. This is because it is truly an unique vacation spot. Actually, if I can channel my inner Mad Hatter, Sunset is the UN-vacation spot.
You may be saying, “Wait! I want a vacation! Not an un-vacation…”
I truly say un-vacation with as much excitement as possible. The “un” part of this island is what will make you fall in love with it from the moment you arrive, until the moment you leave, and then to the moments you spend counting the time until you can visit again!
1. But those sunsets...
Sunset Beach is a southern-facing beach. If you’re used to seeing sunrises peeking through the horizon where the ocean meets the sky, you may be slightly disappointed with this beach; but those sunsets! Sunset Beach has the most beautiful Sunsets. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another view as spectacular on the East Coast. This only make sense since the beach is named, “Sunset Beach.”
But, don’t be too sad about those sunrises – although you will not see it coming up behind the sea, they are most certainly beautiful too! This picture was taken after I drove all night – I just could not wait to get to Sunset!
2. Community, Nature and So Much More...
Sunset Beach has a truly unique community. The city of Sunset Beach does not allow commercial chains on the island. No hotels. No fast-food. No supermarkets. By not allowing these businesses, the island is able to create a slow-paced life. I’m a fan of Nicholas Spark’s books, and I could imagine this island in one of his stories.
This ordinance also allows small businesses to be successful. The island is home to several great stores and shop fronts. Grab a burger and fishing gear at The Sunset Fishing Pier, an Italian ice at Sunset Slush, grab quick grocery needs at The Island Market, all while enjoying a quiet community. If the smaller stores do not have what you need, a Food Lion is less than five minutes away.
The slower pace allows you to take in some nature on and around the island. The island is home to Bird Island, a nature preserve. This lies between the residential areas of Sunset Beach and the Little River inlet. There’s about 1.5 miles of beach with no surrounding houses or business– this makes for great fishing! If you want a knowledgeable fishing or kayak guide, check out Summertide Adventure Tours.
3. Sunset was Voted 4th Best Beach in the World...
National Geographic picked Sunset Beach as the 4th Best Beach in their 21 Best Beaches in the World article; specifically naming The Kindred Spirit Mailbox as a place to visit. The Kindred Spirit Mailbox is a place that visitors can leave their thoughts in a note book inside the mailbox. The notebooks are then kept in the local library. My nephew Caden loves to write in the notebook. He started doing so even before he could spell. Even still, he knew it was important to leave his mark.
4. Biking on the Island...
Our family loves to bike right on the beach! We get our cruiser bikes and mountain bikes ready. From end to end, there is about 3 miles of beach that is perfect for biking. One end you’ll get to see the neighboring island of Ocean Isle, and during low tides, it looks as if you can cross right over to it. The opposite end has a rock barrier that protects the Little River Inlet, but across from that, you can see North Myrtle, SC.
If road biking is more of your thing, there are plenty of roads on the island to bike. For more adventure and challenge, you can head inland and bike through the neighborhoods. You may even make it to Ocean Isle or perhaps Holden. Just be warned, the causeway can be challenging, but it offers such a great feeling of seaside breeze and accomplishment.
5. If you must, Myrtle is only but a Drive...
The island life offers a great combination of fun and relaxation; but if you need some extra excitement, Myrtle Beach and Sunset Beach practically rub elbows. You do have to travel through Little River and North Myrtle to get there, but both towns offer a great selection of fun and restaurants.
We love to take our family to ride go-karts at The Track . They also have an arcade inside. They seem to have a good ratio of tickets to prizes. The family always enjoys it, even the adults!
All links in this blog are provided in our link section of "About" > "About Sunset Beach"