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September 29, 2011 6:49 AM   Subscribe

What should we eat and do in Sunset Beach, North Carolina?

This is our first time away from our kids ever (in 9 years) and we're heading to North Carolina for a wedding in Fayetteville. The first night we have the privilege of staying at a beach house in Sunset Beach. We're looking for suggestions on what we should not miss in this area - especially seafood restaurants. We'll only have a day and a half, but we want to make the most of it. I'd also love suggestions around Fayetteville, but we'll have limited free time there.

We love outdoorsy stuff, museums, and local oddities. We're also into Geocaching, but I think we can figure that part out on our own.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage to Travel & Transportation around Sunset Beach, NC (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My family vacations at the next beach over every year (Ocean Isle) and I'd just say enjoy the beach down there! If you're from further north, it's rare to actually get to such an uncrowded and beautiful beach.

I don't know anything about restaurants, since we always do our own cooking. If you like to cook, there's a really good stand between Sunset Beach and OIB that has great freshcaught seafood.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:59 AM on September 29, 2011

I don't think you are going to find much to do, especially this time of year. Sunset Beach is a pretty small beach village. I would just be prepared to spend time doing beach activities. You also might be driving a bit for restaurant choices as well.
posted by foxhat10 at 9:05 AM on September 29, 2011

Best answer: Seconding that there isn't very much to do at Sunset Beach. It's really, really small. I used to go there nearly every summer, and we always ate at the seafood restaurant that was just before the bridge mainland side. It wasn't particularly memorable but it was fine. I believe it was called Twin Lakes.

That being said, Sunset Beach is lovely and peaceful. There is one thing you must do - find out when low tide is, and take that opportunity to walk to the northernmost/easternmost section of the beach, which we always called "The Point." It's where you can look over a shallow channel and see the next island (Ocean Isle?) At low tide there are all kinds of cool tide pools and interesting sea creatures that have been stranded. It's really interesting and for me, even better than just laying around in the sand, although that's nice too.
posted by ohsnapdragon at 9:16 AM on September 29, 2011

Response by poster: Great answers so far thanks! I should note that we're from Minneapolis so this is a change of scenery in many ways. We certainly do intend to spend most of our time just relaxing away from jobs and kids, but we're also looking for a day or night out.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 9:21 AM on September 29, 2011

Best answer: Been going to sunset for 21 years. Definatly N'thing Twin Lakes, its right were the old bridge crossed the inter-coastal waterway. If you want to cook yourself, stop by Bill Seafood for fresh off the boat local catches.

If you go past the entry ramp onto the new bridge and turn on the road that passes under the bridge (there is only one road, can't miss it) you will pass the old pontoon bridge waiting to be turned into a museum. You can't get on it but you can walk around it.

Defiantly take the 10 - 15 minute drive down to Calabash. There are a few good seafood restaurants, and one of the best stores ever. Calabash is a easy way to spend a few hours browsing local stores and if they are still running this late in the year catch a tour boat.

On the Island it self stoping by the Sunset Beach Trading post is a must, browse the shop and buy some ice-cream or homemade fudge.

If you like outdoors, head towards South Carolina on the beach to enter Bird Island , keep an eye out for a famous mailbox, and at low tide a shipwreck near the jetty.

wow, on preview I feel like a travel or tourism ad. If I think of anything else I will post it. Post back of mefi mail me if you have any more questions.

ps: do you know which street on the island your staying on? or the houses name? most have names now.
posted by token-ring at 9:48 AM on September 29, 2011

Oh I forgot about the mailbox at Bird Island! That's a great way to spend an afternoon, too. Careful though, because it's a pretty long walk.
posted by ohsnapdragon at 10:15 AM on September 29, 2011

Sorry to chime in so late. I have family in Sunset Beach and have spent a fair amount of time there. I'll echo what everyone here has said that there isn't much to do beyond the beach, at least not close by. But I do have some ideas. (And do you golf? Because that area is pretty much a huge golfing mecca.)

For food, expect to see a lot of "Calabash-style seafood." Calabash style is to take everything, coat it in batter, and fry it, so that your shrimp appears remarkably similar to your okra. Not so healthy, but it tastes good. And, yes, drive a few miles south from Sunset Beach and you'll find the town of Calabash (population 711) and its myriad tourism facilities and restaurants all proclaiming to be the Original Calabash Seafood Restaurant. The main drag is slightly charming, so you might want to walk up and down for a bit.

You'll find similarly breaded and fried food, though with less actual seafood, in and around Fayetteville. Definitely try some hushpuppies (in either place) if you haven't before. Dip them in some butter and they are delicious! (Fried stuff in butter, how could it not be?)

If you are looking for some kitch, Myrtle Beach is about an hour south of Sunset Beach (maybe less depending on the traffic, especially now that it's not summer). You can also find some stuff in closer North Myrtle Beach, including the Alabama Theater.

If you want to check out a plantation, Orton Plantation isn't too far from Sunset Beach (and has been the filming location for some movies). I recall that they have very pretty gardens.

Fayetteville is a small city surrounded by rural countryside dotted with tobacco farms. You'll pass a lot of them on the way to Sunset Beach, but not very much in the way of towns. Have fun.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:30 AM on September 30, 2011

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