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4 Aug 2023
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Travel Tips

Where to begin? Summertime fun is certainly one of the most popular things about Holden Beach….. along with a leisurely, coastal pace on a family-oriented island. The list of things to do for all ages is endless!

Whether you want a relaxing island vacation, time for sun and fun, or family outings and adventures, hopefully, this guide will help you ride the waves of summer's delight on Holden Beach!

Concerts, Festivals & Holidays

If you are visiting between May and September, you'll enjoy joining the tradition of Sunday evening concerts under the Holden Beach bridge. The free summer concert series is held at the Pavilion under the iconic bridge from 6:30 to 8:00 PM (see the current schedule here). Additional live music can be enjoyed at area restaurants and festivals.

Commemorating special occasions on the NC coast is a nice way to make memories with family and friends. Celebrating the Fourth of July, for example, is always a fun thing to do during your summer vacation at Holden Beach! In making your plans, you’ll want to start with our guide to July Fourth fireworks. You’ll find other ways to celebrate the holidays from Memorial to Labor Day by checking out our calendar of events.


Anglers love spring and fall fishing, but you might want to try your hand during your summer getaway or teach the kids in your group the basics of casting a line. Whether it’s surf fishing from the beach in front of your vacation rental or along the inlets, smiles will shine! Of course, inshore fishing in the Intracoastal Waterway and surrounding canals is a great option if you have a boat; or you can rent onshore, nearshore, and offshore fishing charter trips.

Just imagine the fish tales to share over dinner!

HOBBS TIP: Children under 16 years old can fish in North Carolina without purchasing a license. Saltwater licenses for adults are reasonably priced, with a 10-day license costing $5 for NC residents and $10 for non-residents. Many people enjoy trout fishing when they are in season, but there are several species you can try catching from different fishing spots while you are here! 



The Brunswick Islands are perched among a mecca of popular and beautiful golf courses!

Whether you’re a mini-golf fan or enjoy a competitive game of golf, you can use this guide to start planning your golf adventure now!

Holden Beach Activities


Daily walks on the beach are a Holden Beach vacation staple, but they can be even more fun when you go beachcombing along the way.

Enjoy the treasured time and finds  - and remember to check your shells for living creatures before taking them home with you.

The Holden Beach Memory Mailboxes

You’ve probably heard about the mysterious memory mailboxes around here. We have three right here on Holden Beach, located on the East End, the West End, and the most accessible on Sailfish Drive. We share all of the information you need to find them in our We’ve Got Mail blog. Have fun exploring! And most folks enjoy the tradition of leaving stories, letters, and notes to others in the notebooks inside the mailboxes.

Holden Beach Activities for Kids

In addition to fishing, beachcombing, building sand castles, and jumping in the ocean or pool, summer months are ideal for some good, old-fashioned fun at the Magic Mountain Water Slide; cooling down at the Holden Beach Splash Pad; a fun round of miniature golf at Fantasy Isle Ice Cream and Mini Golf; or a yummy treat at one of the favorite local sweet spots, like Saltwater ShantySandcastles Sweets & Treats, or other ice cream shops.

On your drive down to our North Carolina beach, the kids can get in island mode with these fun beach coloring pages.

Ice Cream

We can’t share summer recommendations without talking about ice cream! Seriously, Holden Beach has an amazing selection of local ice cream and other sweet shop options. Check out our list in this blog under the “Holden Beach Sweets & Treats” section. Can you try them all during your week at the beach??

Indoor Activities to Beat the Heat

Sunny days rock, but we might just need a break from the heat once in a while. Some of our favorite non-beach activities include visiting a local museum or aquarium, checking out local art galleries, or shopping at local antique and gift shops.

Planet Fun Center, a popular bowling alley and arcade, is located at 349 Whiteville Road in Shallotte, and the closest movie theatre is in Southport. Some of the best indoor activities might be family game time together right in the comfort of your vacation rental! Many of our vacation homes have games and books for our guests to use during their stay.


Water Adventures & Parks

Summertime is prime time for water adventures and exploring nature! We’ve created an expansive list of resources and places to check out.

If you’re ready to dive in for a day of kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, and surfing but need some equipment, check out our Hobbspitality partners that offer the rental equipment to fit your needs. A variety of stand-up paddleboards, surfboards, and kayaks are available to rent from Beach Fun Rentals and Boomers Rentals.

You can also enjoy Hobbspitality discounts for jet ski rentals at Holden Beach Jet Ski Rentals.  Both jet ski and boat rentals are also available from Holden Beach Watersports at the Holden Beach Marina, with discounts provided for jet skis. And be sure to review this great guide for the best local surfing spots.

For more information, here’s a handy resource for all things water-related.

A trip to Holden Beach is usually not considered complete for the kids without a traditional trip to Magic Mountain Fun Park, just across the bridge on the Holden Beach Causeway. There are three adult water slides, two kids’ water slides, an indoor arcade, and an ice cream shop located inside  - which means fun for the whole family!

Sea Turtle Watches

Summers on Holden Beach often include experiencing sea turtle nest sightings and  - if you’re lucky – watching a hatchling find its way to the Atlantic Ocean. Female sea turtles are treasured part-time Holden Beach residents, and we look forward to their annual visits between May and August when they come onshore to lay their eggs.

The Holden Beach Turtle Watch is a non-profit organization operated by volunteer members who help monitor and protect sea turtles. They also offer weekly Turtle Talks on Wednesdays at 7:00 PM, June to August, to spread awareness. 

Learn more here (and check out the videos at the bottom of the blog post)!

The Children's Museum of Wilmington

Off-Island Fun

Southport is a unique waterfront village that is rich in history and character, not quite a half-hour from Holden Beach. You can enjoy the downtown boutiques and restaurants and stroll along the waterfront. Don’t forget to allow time for the NC Maritime Museum at 204 East Moore Street to learn about the maritime history of the interesting Cape Fear region. Admission is free!

Since we're located along North Carolin's southeastern coast as part of the Brunswick Islands, you might enjoy a day trip to one of our neighboring beach towns to check out museums, the planetarium, cool surf shops, and, of course, yummy seafood.

Heading a little north to historic Wilmington or south to bustling Myrtle Beach will provide additional fun options, such as touring the Battleship North Carolina or enjoying a night at a Pelicans baseball game.

Nearby Adventures

The Adventure Kayak Company: For kayak and bike tours, this might be a good place to check out in nearby Southport.

Cape Fearless Extreme:  This experience in nearby Riegelwood sounds like a must for the adventurous of all ages. Visit their website for more information about their obstacles and challenges, including ziplines, Tarzan swings, hanging nets, and wobbly bridges in a 25-acre forest.

Carolina Outdoor Adventures: For a family paintball adventure in nearby Little River, SC, check out this place.  

Visit Mary’s Gone Wild – and Other Unique Shops: Mary Paulsen, a Brunswick County native and NC Visionary Folk Artist who’s been featured on an NC series on PBS, has a unique art attraction located on the way to Holden Beach at 2431 Holden Beach Road SW in Supply. You’ll marvel at the buildings she has created from recycled wine bottles and other treasures, and her unique art is so much fun to see.

Climb the Oak Island Lighthouse: Just a short 30-minute drive from Holden Beach, you can find yourself on neighboring Oak Island. Visitors can climb the lighthouse for free, though donations are accepted to help support the ongoing maintenance and management of this historic structure. Learn more about the Oak Island Lighthouse and Bald Head Island’s Old Baldy Lighthouse in our guide about North Carolina lighthouses.

Shopping: For information about antique shops, shopping, and more, check out this post!

The Swamp Park: The adventure-seekers in your family may enjoy The Swamp Park in southern Brunswick County for zipline tours, the aerial adventure park, guided ATV tours or a swamp boat eco-tour.

Extra Hobbs Tips for Holden Beach Summers

Dogs on Holden Beach

Hobbs Realty offers a variety of Holden Beach dog-friendly rentals and can accommodate service animals. If you are planning to travel with your dog, make sure you are aware of these local regulations and beach safety tips.

Holden Beach Wheelchair Accessibility

If you’re traveling with a family member with special physical needs, Hobbs Realty has some wheelchair-friendly vacation rentals featuring an elevator and/or ramps. Please give us a call at (800) 655-3367 to discuss your specific needs.

A few other accessible places to enjoy:

  • Sailfish Park, located on Sailfish Drive about four miles west of the Hobbs Realty office, features a grassy area with beautiful views along the Intracoastal Waterway, picnic tables, and an accessible Memory Mailbox.

  • The Holden Beach Pavilion and Fishing Pier is located on Holden Beach at 131 Jordan Boulevard (under the Holden Beach bridge).

  • The Quinton Street public beach access at 112 Ocean Boulevard East features a gazebo, shower, and handicap ramp.

Rainy Days

Kids (and adults) will love a trip to Vincent Van-Go to paint a piece of pottery to take home. There are also two aquariums within an easy day-trip distance from Holden Beach.

For a little friendly competition, Planet Fun in nearby Shallotte has laser tag, bowling, a bounce house, billiards, and an arcade. You can even grab some refreshments in between games.

We've compiled a complete guide for rainy days to help you plan for lazier days at the beach!

Water Safety

It’s always important to ensure everyone is aware of the importance of beach safety. Don’t let anyone go swimming alone or unattended, and always be aware of rip currents and weather conditions. Visit our beach safety tips post for more details!

See You Soon

We hope you’ll find this summer guide helpful as you plan your NC beach getaway. Our #Hobbspitality experts are available to help you find the ideal Holden Beach NC rental when you call (800) 655-3367, and you can always check out our Spontaneous Specials page for current discounts.

We look forward to seeing you soon … at the beach!