A Traveler’s Guide to Bird Island, NC

There’s something special about Bird Island. Perhaps it’s the remote location, reachable only by foot or by boat. Or the fact that it’s home to one of the largest breeding colonies of brown pelicans on the Atlantic coast.

Whatever the reason that brings you here, this tiny island off the coast of the Carolinas is definitely worth a visit. A perfect day trip from your vacation rental home in North Myrtle Beach, this is where to go for a day of serenity on the coast.

If you’re looking for a unique and wildlife-filled island experience, Bird Island is the place for you.

A Few Tips Before Visiting

Photo Credit: Rick C Lanier

There are a few tips that every visitor should keep in mind when visiting the island.

First, visitors should be aware that the island is only accessible by walking down the beach at low tide or by boat. There are no bridges or causeways leading to the island, so visitors will need to arrange for transportation beforehand.

Second, the island is a wildlife refuge, so visitors should be sure to respect the natural habitat and not disturb the birds!

Third, the reserve has no visitor accommodations, so plan accordingly. Pack water and snacks and carry out any trash.

Keep these tips in mind when planning your visit, and you’re sure to have a memorable experience.

A Unique Island Ecosystem

Photo Credit: Delano Graves

Located in the Outer Banks in the state of North Carolina, Bird Island is a National Wildlife Refuge that offers miles of pristine beachfront, a variety of rare bird species, and plenty of opportunities for recreation for visitors in the North Myrtle Beach area.

Although in North Carolina, it’s right on the other side of the border from NMB so it’s a quick day trip idea.

It is a small, uninhabited island located just offshore from South Carolina in Brunswick County, just south of the town of Sunset Beach. It is a small island reserve, only about two miles long and one mile wide.

Despite its small size, Bird Island is home to a variety of birds, including pelicans, herons, egrets, and ospreys. It is also a popular spot for birdwatchers, as it is one of the best places in the area to see a variety of birds in their natural habitat.

The beautiful undeveloped barrier island is a part of the Cape Fear Coast Birding Trail and is home to a variety of bird species, including brown pelicans, royal terns, and black skimmers.

Visitors to the Myrtle Beach area or the North Carolina Coast can enjoy a day trip full of bird watching, swimming, fishing, and picnicking. There are no overnight accommodations on the island, but there are a few restaurants and cafes located nearby.

Birdwatching on the Island

Photo Credit: savitskaya iryna

With a name like Bird Island, it’s clear why the area is known as a popular destination for bird watchers. It is home to over 200 species of birds, including pelicans, egrets, herons, wood storks, Wilson’s plover, and terns. You’ll also find plenty of other bird species, like the American oystercatcher, black skimmer, and least tern.

The island is part of the NC Coastal Reserve and is managed by the NC Division of Coastal Management. Its nature preserves are home to a variety of migratory and resident bird species that make nesting areas on the island. Be sure to check out the National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Bird Island Coastal Reserve for great bird sightings.

Bird watching is one of the most popular activities on the island, so whether you are an amateur ornithologist or live for birds, bring your field guides and a good pair of binoculars to make the most of your trip.

Other Recreational Opportunities

Photo Credit: JGA

The island is also home to a variety of other wildlife, including deer, raccoons, opossums, and the loggerhead sea turtle, known by its scientific name, Caretta Caretta.

Bird Island is a great place to go for a nature hike. The island boasts miles of unspoiled beachfront, perfect for swimming, fishing, and beachcombing. There are several trails that wind through the salt marshes and sand dunes. The island also has beach access where you can relax and enjoy the views. Explore the island’s tidal creeks, marshes, and dunes, all of which are teeming with wildlife.

If you’re looking for more recreational opportunities, there are plenty of activities to choose from. You can rent a kayak or canoe and explore the island’s waterways, or take a guided nature tour. You can also go beachcombing, shell collecting, and fishing.

Hiking is also a popular activity on Bird Island. There are several trails to choose from, and the scenery is simply breathtaking. So, whether you’re a wildlife lover or just looking to explore the environment and get moving, Bird Island, North Carolina is the perfect destination.

A Place for All Seasons

There is no definitive answer to the question of when is the best time to visit Bird Island. It depends on what you are looking for in a trip, and what your schedule allows.


Springtime is a good time to visit because the weather is usually mild, the beautiful flowers start to bloom and the trees start to green up. The birds are also back, and they are such a joy to listen to in the mornings. The days are getting longer, and there is a feeling of hope in the air.


The fall is also a good time to visit because the leaves are changing color and the air has a crispness to it. The days are still warm, but there is a hint of winter in the air.


Of course, in the winter, the island is absolutely magical. It is so quiet and peaceful, and the air is so clean and fresh. There is nothing like the rare snowy day on the island.


In the summer, the weather is absolutely perfect. It is warm, but not too hot, and there are always a few breezes blowing. The days are long and lazy, and there is time to enjoy all of the wonderful things that the island has to offer. The best time to see the pelicans is during the summer when they come to the island to nest and raise their young.

The weather is warm and sunny, and the beaches are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. You can also enjoy fishing, boating, and hiking a bit easier in the summer weather.

In general, if you are looking for great wildlife viewing, the best time to visit is during the spring and fall migration seasons, when the variety of birds is at its peak.

But, with its sandy beaches, dunes, and maritime forest, Bird Island is beautiful at any time of year. Each season has its own special charm, and that is one of the things that makes Bird Island so special.

Getting to Bird Island

Photo Credit: freevideophotoagency

There are a few ways to get to Bird Island, depending on where you are coming from and what mode of transportation you are using.

The best way to get to the reserve is either by walking there from just north on the island or by hiring a private boat or charter boat. There are also a few public ferries that run to the island, but they are limited and only run during the summer months. Once you are on the island, there are no cars or roads, so you will need to either walk or bike around.

If you are driving from the south, take I-95 North to exit 11 for NC-87 North/Oak Island. In about 3 miles, take a slight left to stay on NC-87 North. In another 8 miles, turn right onto NC-133/Bird Island Road. Bird Island will be on the left in about a mile.

If you are taking the ferry from Southport, NC, take the Ferry Road exit off of NC-211 and follow the signs to the ferry terminal. The ferry to Bird Island runs every half hour and the trip takes about 15 minutes.

There is also a ferry that runs from Bald Head Island to Bird Island. The ferry terminal is located at the Bald Head Island Marina. The ferry runs every hour and the trip takes about 10 minutes.

A Truly Unique Vacation Destination

Overall, if you’re looking for a truly unique and special vacation spot, then consider Bird Island, North Carolina. With its miles of unspoiled beachfront, a variety of bird species, and plenty of recreational activities, it’s the perfect spot for a memorable and unforgettable getaway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *