Holden Beach is a perennial favorite of Dr. Beach, who first included it in his book, AAA’s Beach Vacation Travel Journal in 2003. He has often called this small seaside community one of his favorite family beaches when interviewed by various media outlets, including National Geographic Traveler magazine and USA Today. With the population less than 600 and mostly residential, Holden Beach is the ideal combination of small-town charm and unspoiled beauty. Nearly all the island’s stores and restaurants are situated on the Intracoastal Waterway, so “downtown” can also be accessed by boat or kayak. At low tide near Lockwood’s Folly inlet, families with small children find fish and other captivating marine life in the tidal pools while enjoying a respite from the surf. On the mainland, a waterslide, bumper cars and miniature golf entertain the kids. The 20-mile Olden Holden Bike Tour routes offer active outdoor recreation.
Holden Beach is the third of the five barrier islands that comprise North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, running from the South Carolina/North Carolina border to the Cape Fear River. The area’s six pristine beaches provide plenty of room for families and nature lovers to stretch out and explore. Quaint island and mainland towns beckon with independent shops and family-owned restaurants, from seafood shacks to fine dining. Forts, lighthouses and historic architecture, as well as boating, fishing and 30 golf courses, offer plenty to see and do.
While each of the beaches of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands have their own character and charm, they all share two things in common: friendly, welcoming locals and an experience reminiscent of yesteryear’s beach vacation. Accommodations, many pet-friendly, range from an attractive campground to luxurious golf resorts. Charming motels, B&Bs, inns and plenty of comfortable, affordable vacation rental homes round out the options. While the area is a well-loved, best-kept secret, it’s best to book ahead, for many families come back year after year to build upon what they call their best vacation memories ever. To learn more, please visit www.NCBrunswick.com, and on Facebook www.facebook.com/NCBrunswick.
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