As our ferry neared the harbor, Old Baldy came into view -- North Carolina's oldest lighthouse, standing high above the trees on cute and car-less Bald Head Island.
Just 3 miles long and 20 minutes by ferry off the mainland, visitors get around on electric golf carts and bicycles, adding to the island's laid-back charm.
Shoals Club is one of two beach clubs there. Seaside-chic and family friendly with an all-shallow-end kiddie pool and giant sandbox, the club also features a massive lounge-chair lined pool for Mom and Dad overlooking the bluffs, a wooden boardwalk that extends out to the Atlantic, and hot showers to de-salt after a day in the warm, wavy ocean.
There are three stylish ocean-front dining spaces to choose from — a casual grill for lunch, a wine bar for sunset, and a fine dining restaurant for dinner, heavy on the ambiance and locally sourced seafood dishes.
Temporary membership is available to guests renting homes from BHI property owners.