David and Carolyn Pryor, both highly experienced educators and sailors extraordinaire who have been involved with the Southport Sail and Power Squadron since its inception (see Watersports section for information about the Southport Sail and Power Squadron), invite you to participate in their customized adventure cruises aboard the 52-foot cutter...more about Priority Sailing
Southport, NC Attractions
Interesting attractions, including some annual events and a host of amazing history can be found in the Southport, NC area. The Southport Visitors Center located in the Fort Johnston Garrison House on Davis Street is a great place to begin. You will find a fascinating wall display of the history of the area, historical artifacts and playbills from the films that were made in Southport, NC. A free brochure for the Southport Trail, a self-guided tour, is available as is information from one of the friendly and knowledgeable volunteers who will be happy to answer your questions.
Adjacent to the visitors’ center is the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport. You can wander through the museum on your own or take a guided tour through the exhibits of maritime life from the time of the American Indians to the present, including a pirate exhibit and interactive exhibits such as a deep diving research periscope and a nautical knot board. You can purchase souvenirs including pirate memorabilia from the gift shop as well.
If you are interested in chartering a sailing cruise you may want to check out Priority Sailing at 106 Yacht Basin Drive. Priority Sailing offers adventure cruises aboard the 52-foot cutter, Carolina Gale. S/V Kelly Allen Cruises, located in the Southport Marina at 606 W. West Street offers cruises aboard the Kelly Allen, a 37-foot O'Day center cockpit sloop.
Landlubbers can participate in a lantern lit Ghost Walk or ride in a surrey pulled by a mule with Katie of the Old South Tour and Carriage Company. Historical Southport Bicycle Tours are available as well. Just contact Emma at The Adventure Kayak Company in the 800 block of N. Howe Street. If you prefer to stroll the tree lined streets there are a number of sites you will not want to miss. Southport’s oldest church, The Chapel of Cross at St. Philip's on E. Moore Street, was built in 1843. Trinity United Methodist Church on E. Nash Street was built in 1890. Each church is lovely to behold yet distinctly different. You can visit The Grove at Franklin Square Park on Howe Street where the low walls were constructed of ballast stones used in ships more than 100 years ago. Stroll to Keziah Memorial Park on W. Moore Street where the main attraction is the Indian Trail Tree estimated to be more than 800 years old. You will find a free library here where you can take a book, leave a book. At the corner of Nash and Rhett Streets you will find the Old Brunswick Jail and across Rhett Street, the Old Smithville Burial Ground. Then head back to Waterfront Park at Bay and Howe Streets and relax on the swings while taking in the gorgeous water views.
Oak Island, NC Attractions
It should come as no surprise that most of the attractions on Oak Island, NC are nature related. Though the island has quite a large year round population, it is a family vacation destination. You will find no neon here, however. What you will find is uncrowded beaches, fishing piers, nature trails, nature centers, lighthouse tours, outdoor arts festivals and more
At the eastern tip of the island, in Caswell Beach,,NC you will find Fort Caswell. The earthen ramparts here are the remains of the original 2,800 acres of the fort and make for interesting exploration. The Town of Oak Island, NC maintains a number of Environmental Overlook Trails. At the western end of the island, paths wander through the dunes and stop at overlook points where you may see indigenous animals and shorebirds. You will find that The Butterfly/Hummingbird Garden is on the trail behind the Recreation Center at 3003 E. Oak Island Drive where there are elevated platforms overlooking the path. At the east end of 31st Street and next to the Oak Island Recreation Center is Tidal Waves Park. You can bring a picnic lunch and dine al fresco at a small picnic shelter near the floating dock – then launch your canoe or kayak and paddle at your leisure using the canoe/kayak trail maps you received at the recreation center. The Environment Crossover is here as well. You can walk across Davis Canal and the adjacent wetlands on this elevated boardwalk. Then the trail winds through the trees to the south side of the island where a crossover walk will take you to the ocean.
The town also operates the Ocean Education Center located on SE 49th St. and directly across the street from the beach as well as the Oak Island Nature Center which is on the north side of the island at NE 52nd Street and Yacht Drive. The nature center also includes walking trails.
The Oak Island Lighthouse in Caswell Beach, NC always makes for an interesting visit and tours to the top of the structure can be arranged in advance.
Bald Head Island, NC Attractions
On Bald Head Island, NC you will find some unique attractions. You will most likely ride Bald Head Island Ferry to get there and that in itself is an exhilarating experience – especially if you ride outside. You can climb to the top of the oldest standing lighthouse in North Carolina, located on Lighthouse Wynd, for a bird’s eye view of this intriguing island. You can visit the Smith Island Museum located next to the lighthouse. You can go on a turtle walk, hike the trails of the maritime forest, take a guided nature tour and visit the nature center all provided under the auspices of the Bald Head Island Conservancy, located at 7000 Federal Road. You can go kayaking, paddle surfing or canoeing in the water trails. You can drive a golf cart all around the island; play a round of golf or spend the day at the beach and watching the huge container ships that pass by. You may choose to take the Bald Head Island Historic Tour which combines a number of the aforementioned activities and includes lunch at Mojo’s on the Harbor.