Explore Holden Beach: A 2023 Review Of This Unique NC Beach

Nationally recognized as one of the country’s premier “family beaches,” Holden Beach, NC is one of five islands that make up the North Carolina Brunswick Islands. With many accolades for its laid-back beach town vibe, visitors flock to the island year after year to continue making memories with their friends and families. 

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What makes Holden Beach, NC unique?

Holden Beach, NC has prioritized staying true to its small, beach town roots. In doing so, the town is well known for being family-friendly. With endless outdoor activities and restaurants with something for everyone, Holden Beach is a picture-perfect NC beach town.

Being an island, Holden Beach, NC is surrounded by water, making watersports the activity of choice for most visitors! You’re bound to see countless kayakers, paddleboarders and boaters out on the water each day taking in the region’s beauty. 

End your day with a water view at Dock House Seafood for dinner and a moonlit walk on the beach. We’re certain everyone in the family will be worn out from a day in the sun and ready to tackle the next day’s activities! 

If you’re a first-time visitor to Holden Beach, or just need a refresher on all the town has to offer, check out our round-up of info below!

Beach Quality At Holden Beach

Holden Beach, NC offers everything you need for a successful beach day, whether you’re hopping in the ocean or not! Comb the beach for seashells, go fishing in the surf (with a permit, of course!) or even take a surf lesson in North Carolina from Holden Beach Surf Crew.

The beaches are very well maintained to make families feel safe and at ease during their stay. 

Beach Activities at Holden Beach

Holden Beach is the perfect place to enjoy a variety of beach activities. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day in the sun or an action-packed adventure, Holden Beach has something for everyone.

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Swimming and Sunbathing

One of the most popular activities at Holden Beach is swimming and sunbathing. The beach has a wide stretch of sand and clear waters that are perfect for swimming and lounging in the sun.

Visitors can also rent beach chairs and umbrellas to make their beach experience even more comfortable.


Holden Beach is a great place for fishing enthusiasts. Whether you are looking for a relaxing day on the pier or an adventurous deep-sea fishing trip, Holden Beach has something to offer for everyone.

The Holden Beach Pier is a popular spot for fishing. The pier is open year-round and offers a variety of fish species, including flounder, trout, and red drum. The pier also has a tackle shop where you can rent equipment and purchase bait.

If you are looking for a more adventurous fishing experience, there are plenty of charter boats available for hire. These boats can take you on a deep-sea fishing trip where you can catch larger fish such as tuna, marlin, and mahi-mahi.

Some of the popular fishing charter companies in Holden Beach include the OIFC Fishing Center and the Rigged and Ready Charters.

For those who prefer to fish on their own, there are plenty of public access areas along the beach where you can fish. Some of the popular spots include the Lockwood Folly Inlet and the Shallotte Inlet.

Before you head out for your fishing trip, make sure you have the appropriate fishing license. You can purchase a license online or at one of the local bait and tackle shops.

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If you are new to fishing, there are plenty of guides and tutorials available online that can help you get started. Overall, fishing in Holden Beach is a great way to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery while catching some fish.

Beach Games

If you’re looking for a fun way to spend time with family and friends, Holden Beach has plenty of beach games to choose from. Visitors can play beach volleyball, cornhole, and frisbee on the sand. There are also several companies that offer beach rentals, including bikes, beach wagons, and beach games.

Overall, Holden Beach is the perfect destination for those looking to enjoy a variety of beach activities. With its wide stretch of sand, clear waters, and abundance of activities, visitors are sure to have a memorable experience.

Water Sports

Holden Beach is a great place for water sports enthusiasts. With miles of coastline and calm waters, there are plenty of activities to choose from. Here are a few of the most popular water sports in Holden Beach:

  • Kayaking: Paddle along the Intracoastal Waterway and explore the area’s marshes and creeks. Kayak rentals are available at several locations on the island.
  • Paddleboarding: Stand-up paddleboarding is a fun and challenging way to explore the waters around Holden Beach. Rentals and lessons are available at several locations.
  • Jet Skiing: Rent a jet ski and explore the ocean at high speeds. Jet ski rentals are available at several locations on the island.
  • Parasailing: Get a bird’s-eye view of Holden Beach and the surrounding area by parasailing. Several companies offer parasailing excursions.
  • Fishing: Holden Beach is a popular spot for fishing. Whether you prefer surf fishing or deep-sea fishing, there are plenty of opportunities to catch a variety of fish.

No matter what water sport you choose, be sure to follow all safety guidelines and regulations. Always wear a life jacket and be aware of your surroundings. With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to have a great time on the water in Holden Beach.

Holden Beach Nature and Parks

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Holden Beach is a great place to experience the natural beauty of the coast. Here are some of the top nature and park activities:

Park NameDescription
Lockwood Folly River ParkThis park offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and a boat launch for kayaking and fishing.
Brunswick Nature ParkThis 900-acre park features hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and a disc golf course.
Ocean Isle Beach ParkThis park has a playground, picnic areas, and a walking trail that leads to a beautiful view of the ocean.

Whether you’re interested in birdwatching, hiking, or just enjoying the beach, Holden Beach has plenty of options for nature lovers.

Holden Beach Attractions

Holden Beach, North Carolina, is a charming coastal town that offers a variety of activities for visitors of all ages. Here are some of the top local attractions:

Holden Beach Fishing Pier

The Holden Beach Fishing Pier is a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts. The pier is open 24 hours a day, and visitors can rent fishing gear and purchase bait on site. The pier also has a restaurant and souvenir shop.

Holden Beach Turtle Patrol

The Holden Beach Turtle Patrol is a volunteer organization that works to protect sea turtles and their nests. Visitors can join a guided tour to learn more about sea turtles and their conservation efforts.

Old Brunswick County Jail Museum

The Old Brunswick County Jail Museum is a historic landmark that dates back to 1904. The museum features exhibits on the history of the jail and the local area, including artifacts from the Civil War.

Holden Beach Shopping and Dining

Holden Beach offers a wide range of shopping and dining options for visitors to explore. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, the town has something for everyone.


One of the best things about Holden Beach is its seafood. With its proximity to the ocean, there are plenty of seafood restaurants to choose from. Here are a few of the top options:

  • Provision Company: This waterfront restaurant offers fresh seafood and stunning views of the Intracoastal Waterway. Try their famous shrimp burger or the local catch of the day.
  • Castaway Grill: A family-friendly spot with a diverse menu, including seafood, burgers, and salads. Enjoy live music on the outdoor patio during the summer months.
  • Mermaid’s Island Grill: This Caribbean-inspired restaurant serves up delicious seafood dishes, as well as jerk chicken and other island favorites. Don’t miss their famous fish tacos.


Holden Beach has a variety of shops and boutiques for visitors to explore. Here are a few of the top options:

Shop NameDescription
The Mermaid’s PurseA beachy boutique with clothing, accessories, and home decor.
The Coastal UrgeA surf shop with clothing, gear, and rentals for water sports.
Holden Beach Surf ShopA family-owned shop with surfboards, beach gear, and clothing.

Overall, Holden Beach offers a great selection of shopping and dining options for visitors to enjoy. From fresh seafood to unique boutiques, there’s something for everyone to discover.

Holden Beach Accommodations

Holden Beach offers a variety of accommodations for visitors. Whether you’re looking for a cozy beach cottage or a luxurious oceanfront rental, there are plenty of options to choose from.

One popular choice for families and groups is renting a beach house. There are many vacation rental companies in the area that offer a wide range of properties to fit any budget or group size. Some rental homes come with amenities such as private pools, hot tubs, and beach access.

For those who prefer a more traditional hotel experience, there are several hotels and motels located within a short drive of Holden Beach. These options offer standard room amenities such as free Wi-Fi, cable TV, and continental breakfast.

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Our Top Holden Beach Rental Houses

You’re sure to find the perfect vacation home for your group with all of the options Holden Beach has available. 

Check out our favorites below! 

  • Sandy Claws
    • Four bedroom, three bath houseboat that sleeps 8
    • Private pool
    • Ocean views
  • Eternal Sailor
    • Six bedroom, five bath home that sleeps 161
    • Located right off of the beach
    • Great for larger groups 

If you’re looking for a more rustic experience, there are also several campgrounds in the area. These campgrounds offer RV and tent sites, as well as cabins for rent. Some campgrounds also offer amenities such as swimming pools, playgrounds, and fishing ponds.

Regardless of your accommodation preference, it’s important to book early, especially during peak season. Many properties fill up quickly, so it’s best to plan ahead to ensure you get the accommodations you want.

Does Holden Beach, NC get busy with tourists?

While Holden Beach, NC does attract tourists, the town doesn’t get as busy as its neighbors to the North and South. Located nearly 15 miles from the nearest main highway, Holden Beach is off the beaten path, further solidifying its family-friendly environment. 

Is Holden Beach, NC safe?

One of the main reasons Holden Beach, NC is known for being family friendly is due to its safe beach community. Crime rates are significantly below the state and national level, but it is always important to stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings. 

Water safety should also be top of mind for visitors. Remember to never swim alone, keep your eyes on your children in the water, and check the forecast for rip currents! 

What airports are close to Holden Beach, NC?

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Holden Beach, NC is conveniently located within an hour’s drive from two international airports in Wilmington, NC, and Myrtle Beach SC. 

  • Wilmington International Airport ILM (45 minutes)
  • Myrtle Beach International Airport MYR (1 hour)

Driving Directions to Holden Beach, NC:

  • From Wilmington, NC (45 minutes)
    • Take US-17 S to Stone Chimney Rd SE in Lockwoods Folly for 30 miles
    • Continue on Stone Chimney Rd SE. Drive to NC-130 E in Holden Beach for 9 miles
  • From Myrtle Beach, SC (1 hour)
    • Get on SC-31 N from US-17N BUS N and Robert M Grissom Pkwy for 6 miles
    • Follow SC-31 N to SC-9 N. Take the SC-9 N exit from SC-31 N for 14 miles
    • Follow State Hwy 57 N to US-17 N in Shallotte for 8 miles
    • Turn left onto US-17 N for 13 miles
    • Drive to NC-130 E in Holden Beach for 8 miles


If you’re waiting for a sign to visit Holden Beach, NC, here it is! With endless family-friendly activities, we can promise you’ll make memories for many years to come.

If you know of any other families looking for a beach getaway, be sure to share this article with them to help plan their trip!

One Comment

  1. I was looking to purchase a beach house some where in North Carolina so I could be close to my home base of Charlotte, NC and not feel like when I returned, I would need a vacation from my vacation.. I checked out all the beaches from Sunset to the outer banks and this is what my wife and I surmised: We immediately crossed OBX off our list because it was very far and because of the lack of medical care nearby…you have to think of these things once you have children. Sunset was ok, but not quite what I was looking for in a beach destination. Ocean Isle was very pretty, had lots of charm, but way overbuilt now for my liking. I am needing relaxation from the city enviornment, so I didn’t want to be stressed out at the beach too. We really enjoyed Holden Beach because it was not overbuilt, no high rise hotels or condos, very family oriented and very peaceful…almost like going back in time when things were slower and quieter. Oak island had beach erosion issues which I didn’t want to deal with every year. Wrightsville has become very expensive and very crowded even thought it is a beautiful island. Carolina Beach was a headache to reach and maybe too much of a party town for me. So, there you have it….we settled on Holden Beach and we are enjoying it immensely.

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