Start Planning Now: The Ultimate Vacation Activity Guide

Whether you’re planning a quiet couples getaway or a fun family vacation, we’ve assembled a complete vacation activity guide to help you plan your next vacation to the Carolina coast!

Ocean Isle Beach Area

Free Summer Concerts Vacation Activity GuideFree Summer Concerts
What’s better than an outdoor concert? A FREE outdoor concert! All summer long, all over Brunswick County there are great bands playing free shows featuring the best in beach music, rock n’ roll, Motown, country, oldies, and shag! All you have to do is show up! You can find out the schedules, the locations, and the band playing on the Coastal NC websites or by searching for Community Events on the Brunswick Parks website

Museum of Coastal Carolina
A visit to the Museum of Coastal Carolina is a treat for all ages. With interactive programs and exhibits on coastal reefs, marine life and even sharks, the whole family will have a blast! The museum emphasizes all of the wildlife and marine life that can be found on the coastal area of North Carolina and hopes to educate visitors on how to preserve it.

The museum provides fun activities like summer camps, touch tank feedings, beach bingo, and arts and crafts for kids! Make sure you check it out on your next vacation!

Ingram Planetarium
Interested in Science? Head to Ingram Planetarium in Sunset Beach and check out all they have to offer! The planetarium offers a state of the art Sky Theater showing live star shows and laser light shows set to Pink Floyd, The Beatles, U2, the Best of Country Music, and Metallica. They also have a Hurricane Simulator, step inside and experience what it’s like to be inside of a real hurricane with winds ups to 78 mph.

There are lots of exhibits to teach everyone, young and old, about space and our solar system. The best part about Ingram Planetarium—it’s all free! That’s right, admission is free, so stop in and learn about the great unknown.

Planet Fun Bowling & Arcade
Need a break from the beach? Take your kids to Planet Fun Bowling & Arcade for some family fun! Planet Fun has everything from bowling to mini golf to arcade games and laser tag. And next door is Starz Grille serving burgers, nachos, wings, salads, pizzas, sandwiches, steaks, seafood, and pasta.  Check out their website for great family deals and specials!

Silver Coast WinerySilver Coast Winery Vacation Activity Guide
Just minutes from the beach, Silver Coast Winery has been making its own wines and offering tours for over 10 years. Here you can enjoy a wine tasting of their award winning wines, tour the vineyard and production facilities, and browse the gift shop and art gallery. You can even take a bottle or two home with you!

Ocean Isle Beach & Sunset Beach Ghost Walks
Come and hear about forgotten Civil War battles, haunted trains, lost ships, ghost planes, lights that baffle scientists, whiskey smugglers, haunted plantations, amazing apparitions, legends of lost treasure, and haunted houses, all here on Ocean Isle and Sunset Beach!

The walks are approximately 1 mile with stops along the way. Tours leave from Salty’s on Ocean Isle Beach and from the Trading Company on Sunset Beach. For more information about dates and tour times visit their website.

Bald Head Island Lighthouse Vacation Activity GuideOak Island Lighthouse
Completed in 1958, the Oak Island Lighthouse was once the second brightest lighthouse in the world. Standing at 169 feet tall, the beacon of light on the Cape Fear River is available for tours year round. Reservations are required during winter months, but during the summer it is open to the general public with no reservations. All tours are free of charge.

Bald Head Island Lighthouse
Visit Bald Head Island Lighthouse and step back in time! The original tower was first built in 1795 but was torn down; the still standing lighthouse was erected in 1816. The lighthouse played an important part in American History and Civil War. You can tour the tour by boarding the Bald Head Island Ferry in Southport, NC and either taking the 5-minute walk or bike/golf ride to the lighthouse (there are no cars allowed on Bald Head Island!) Hours and rates are available on their website.

Myrtle Beach, SC

Brookgreen GardensBrookgreen Gardens Vacation Activity Guide
This is a must-see Myrtle Beach attraction! Named one of the Top 10 Gardens in the US by Coastal Living Magazine, Brookgreen Gardens will take your breath away. The sprawling attraction offers visitors a unique opportunity to see beautiful sculpture, amazing gardens, and a zoo—all in one place!

Brookgreen offers guided tours, special programs, and exhibits for all ages. It’s a wonderful place to visit no matter what season!

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How to Find Sand Dollars

How to Find Sand DollarsEven the most seasoned beachcomber is excited and pleased to find a whole, intact sand dollar on the beach. A common sand dollar is another name for a particular type of “flattened” sea urchin. The common sand dollar is found in the Northern Hemisphere in temperate and tropical waters. On a good day at Ocean Isle, Sunset or Holden Beach, you might find many sand dollars ranging in size from one to approximately four inches in diameter.

Sand dollars live on sandy or muddy flat areas of the ocean floor in shallow water near land. They often live in colonies. Female sand dollars release eggs that are fertilized externally. Interestingly, the newly hatched larvae can clone themselves as a means of self-defense. If threatened, they can double their numbers by halving their size, thereby lessening the chance of being detected. The larvae go through a few stages of development before forming an external skeleton that houses the animal’s internal organs. The skeleton is called a “test” and it is this sun-bleached skeleton that beachcombers find. If you find a sand dollar that is brownish and covered with short, dark, fur-like spines, the animal is alive and should not be removed from the beach.

A live sand dollar’s spines are covered with small hairs called “cilla.” By moving the cilla and spines, sand dollars are able to move across the sea beds in which they live. Mature sand dollars have few predators and can live up to ten years.

Beachcombers are most likely to find sand dollars at low tide, especially after a storm. The sun-bleached shells will be extremely fragile and will crumble or break easily. To preserve the sand dollars that you bring home, rinse them several times in fresh water, then soak them for 15 minutes in a water/bleach solution. When the sand dollars are dry, carefully paint them with a mixture that is half water and half white glue. The glue solution will make them less likely to break. Your beautiful sand dollars will last a long time if treated with care.

The Museum of Coastal Carolina has several sand dollars in its extensive shell collection. You can also see and handle live sea urchins in the museum’s touch tank. Admission is free for museum members. Non-member all-day admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $4 for ages 3-4, and free for ages 2 and under. For more information, call 910-579-1016 or visit


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How to Fish for Crabs


How to Fish for CrabsCrabbing’s a fun and easy way to spend a few hours at the beach. What makes crabbing unique among the different kinds of fishing is how easy it is—it’s a great activity for kids. Follow the steps below and start fishing for crabs!

1. Purchase some turkey or chicken parts from your local grocery store. Necks, wings and backs work best, but crabs aren’t all that picky about their bait. Whatever’s available will do.

2. Tie the bait to a long strand of string or very thin rope (durable string works best). There’s no special method for tying great crab-bait knots, so experiment and don’t be afraid to start over if your knot doesn’t hold.
(*Note they also make special crab catching pots or baskets that require less work.)

3.Wade out into the water, or go to the edge of your dock and cast your line. If the bait doesn’t sink, try again but first tie a small fishing weight to the end of the string. This will keep the bait down where the crabs can find it.

4. Wait patiently for a crab to grab onto your line. If you’ve picked a good spot, you’ll hopefully get a nibble or two in the first half-hour. If not, pull in your line and cast it out somewhere else on the beach.

5. Once you’ve got a crab on the line, maintain tension in the string as you pull the crab in, don’t pull too hard. Keep a dip net handy for catching the crab when it arrives.

6. Scoop your dip net into the water and seize the crab. This can be tricky with rushing currents and especially waves, so it helps to have someone else nearby to work the net while you watch the string.

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“Take A Beach Break” Package!

Take a Beach Break“Take A Beach Break” for Two with Dinner!

This package is for a two night stay for two people.

You and your loved one deserve a break, come enjoy Ocean Isle Beach at its prime!

Enjoy quiet days at the beach, a great dinner at local restaurants, and a “break” from it all!

October 1st through February 28, 2015 the package rate is from $197.00 for two people

Package Includes: 

  • Two night’s accommodations for two in an Island Side Garden View Camellia Guest Room
  • A bottle of Champagne or Sparkling Cider
  • Dinner for two at Sharky’s Waterfront Restaurant or Roberto’s Italian Ristorante
  • Hot Southern Breakfast Buffet for two each morning
  • Free Water Aerobic classes

    Click Here To Book This Package Online!

Package is subject to advance reservation and availability. Please call 800.334.3581 two days prior to your arrival to make your dinner reservation. Roberto’s Italian Ristorante is available Monday through Sunday.

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A Brand New Look for The Winds Resort!

We’ve been working hard all winter and spring to make The Winds the best it’s ever looked. We’ve upgraded several of our rooms, gardens, and outdoor spaces. We want to make sure you have your best vacation with us! We’d love for you to see some of our hard work. Check out this video and our photo gallery to see what we’ve been up to:

Click Here to See The Full Photo Gallery

The Winds Resort Beach Club

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Looking For A Beach Book?

Beach ReadingHeading to beach and looking for a great summer read?

Check out Islands Art & Books for some unique books by nationally renowned local authors and artists. Islands Art & Books is located in between Ocean Isle and Sunset Beach at 6885 Beach Dr, Ocean Isle Beach. You can also reach the store at 910-579-7759 or browse their website.

The works of the writers include Novels, Mysteries, Historical books, Cookbooks and even books for kids!  The store also features the works of local artists, prints of local scenery and wildlife in all sizes,  locally made jewelry, pottery and so much more. Here are just a few of our favorites!

Dead-LettersDead Letters by David Manning

Labor Day 1989: Duncan Twist’s sleazy client, Nick Varnish, has loaned him a cottage overlooking the salt marshes of Dusktide Beach, a barrier island in southeast North Carolina. Just to the south lies Lorn Island, which is deserted, except for one ethereal resident: the Kindred Spirit. Duncan accidentally encounters a former lover, Tendency Specter, who introduces him to the Kindred Spirit. In turn, the Kindred Spirit introduces him to an unnamed person who has mysteriously disappeared.





Cemetery-Kids-The-Ghosts-of-Bird-IslandCemetery Kids: The Ghosts of Bird Island by Jacqueline DeGroot

Eight kids, dead for over a hundred years, finally get a young woman to listen to their story and help them seek justice for the lives they lost to violence. For years they have tried to contact people living in the house in front of their family graveyard, but being inept with their unproven powers, they only managed to scare each person away. But this one doesn’t scare easily.






Spy-of-BrunswickSpy of Brunswick Town by Edith Edwards

The War Between the States is ending badly for the South. Mariah loves the land that has nurtured her and has made her the woman she is. She knows her efforts are futile, but continues to spy for the Confederacy.

Mariah loves Hawk, a Confederate surgeon whose time on the battlefield has left horrific scars on his soul. Hawk too, is discouraged about the outcome of the war but persists in his duty. Mariah must draw on untapped strength to outwit the Yankees, nurture her love for Hawk, and care for Waddell, an orphan who becomes her charge.




Sunset-Beach-A-HistorySunset Beach – A History by Miller Pope and Jacqueline DeGroot

A full history of Sunset Beach NC with stories from many of the “old timers” who were eye witnesses to events. Some are funny, some are shocking – all are fascinating. No true Sunset Beach Lover should be without this book!

This is the second collaboration between Author/ Illustrator Miller Pope and celebrated novelist Jacqueline DeGroot. World renowned nature photographer Ken Buckner’s photos are used through out the book in addition to the photographs and illustrations of Miller Pope.



The Mailbox Marybeth WhalenThe Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen

When Lindsey Adams first visits the Kindred Spirit mailbox at Sunset Beach, she has no idea that twenty years later she will still be visiting the mailbox—still pouring out her heart in letters that summarize the best and worst parts of her life.
Returning to Sunset for her first vacation since her husband left her, Lindsey struggles to put her sorrow into words. Memories surface of her first love, Campbell—and the rejection that followed. When Campbell reappears in her life, Lindsey must decide whether to trust in love again or guard herself from greater pain. The Mailbox is a rich novel about loss, hope, and the beauty of second chances.




Escape to the sandy shores and salty air with a celebration of Ocean Isle Beach: The beauty of Ocean Isle’s beaches, marshes, canals & laid-back lifestyle in rich full color photography. See the featured homes, parks, shops and attractions of this hidden gem we know as Ocean Isle Beach, NC!

Buy this hard cover, high quality, full-color coffee table edition and take home a piece of this treasured island and have the beach with you all year long! Signed by both authors, Jacqueline DeGroot and Miller Pope


GoodNight-BeachGood Night Beach

The beach, an iconic fixture of many children’s summers, is artfully celebrated in this boardbook. Designed to soothe children before bedtime while instilling an early appreciation for the environment’s natural wonders, the book features a multicultural group of people experiencing all that the beach has to offer. Rhythmic language guides children through the passage of a single day of fun at the seaside—splashing, playing in the waves, boating, fishing, identifying wildlife, and more.





Favorite Beach Photos by Ken Buckner

Hardcover coffee table edition with 128 high quality 8?x10? pages with 100 full color photographs – personally signed by the author.

Stroll sandy shores by the sea or the beaches of a lovely lake and see sunrises, sunsets and wildlife just as nationally renowned local nature photographer and artist, Ken Buckner viewed them through his camera.


Sunset Beach Trip PurcellSunset Beach by Trip Purcell

For Laura Babson, a seven-week vacation on Sunset Beach, North Carolina’s southernmost beach, seemed a relaxing way to escape the routines of life as a doctor’s wife in a small town. For sports columnist Neal Nickelsen, an eight-week sabbatical on the pristine barrier island promised great things for his golf game. But after seeing each other for the first time in more than twenty years, they soon discover this summer would be about something entirely different.





Tar-Heel-GhostsTarheel Ghosts by John Harden

An amazing assortment of twenty-three stories and ten “short shorts” comprise this popular selection. More than merely entertaining, Tar Heel Ghosts aims to—and does—capture the “spirit” of North Carolina’s past.

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Silver Coast Winery Tours!

Silver Coast WinesSilver Coast Winery opened in 2002 with the hopes of bringing local wines to the masses of the coastal Carolinas. Maryann and her husband Dr. “Bud” Azzato opened Silver Coast, the first winery in Brunswick County and the twenty-second winery in North Carolina, and quickly became a local favorite. All wines are produced in-house with regionally grown grapes.

The winery itself offers tours and Wine Tastings start just $6, not to mention you get a keepsake signature glass! The tours will showcase the art of winemaking from the grape to the bottle and includes sampling award-winning wines.

The winery features incredible sights including the Barrel Room— with its enchanting waterfall, the outdoor patio, an art gallery featuring local artists, and vineyards themselves.

Several packages at The Winds Resort on Ocean Isle Beach include tours of the winery, like the Take a Beach Break Package or the Couples Getaway Package.

To book either of theses packages or to get more information on Silver Coast Winery you can visit or

silver-coast-winerySilver Coast Winery


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Island Kayak Adventure Package

KayakKayaking the serene salt marshes of the Intracoastal Waterway is truly an unforgettable experience. Let us introduce you to a whole new rarely seen world of undisturbed wetlands and native wildlife. This pristine marsh is with out a doubt one of North Carolina’s priceless hidden gems.

From $383.00 per person 3/14/14 – 6/6/14
From $589.00 per person 6/7/14 – 8/8/14
From $509.00 per person 8/9/14 – 9/1/14
From $453.00 per person 9/2/14 – 9/30/14
From $339.00 per person 10/1/14 – 11/30/14

Arrival Days: Any day of week.

Length of Stay: 2 night’s min. / 14 night’s max.

This Package Includes:

    • Two night’s accommodations in an oceanfront Jasmine Guest Room, Wisteria Mini Suite, Azalea Petite Suite, Hibiscus Single Suite, or an Island View Camellia Guest Room
    • Welcome basket for each room
    • Three hour kayak tour of the Intracoastal Waterway
    • Dinner for two at your choice of: Sharky’s Waterfront Restaurant or Roberto’s Ristorante
    • Complimentary bikes to explore the island
    • Hot Southern Breakfast Buffet for two each morning
    • Free Aqua Zumba and Water Aerobic classes
    • Discounts to area restaurants and shops

Click Here to Book This Package

Package is based on double occupancy and is subject to advance reservations and availability. Please call 1.800.334.3581 to schedule your kayak tour and dinner reservations at least 3 days before your arrival

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Our Sea Turtle Has a Name!

The Winds Sea Turtle Has a NameThe Winds Resort has partnered with the Ocean Isle Beach Sea Turtle Protection Organization and signed up to sponsor a Sea Turtle nest again this year and we asked for your help in naming our “turtle”  with our annual “Name Our Turtle” contest. We got some great and very creative name suggestions! Our nest was laid  at 194 E. 1st. St. on Ocean Isle.

This year’s winning name is OIBEE! This name was submitted by Carol Allaire! Way to go Carol!

We had so many great names this time around that the office had such a hard time deciding so we also have a runner up for the naming contest from Elizabeth Thomas-Lewis with Tiki Turtle!

Thanks to everyone who submitted a name, there were so many great ones!

And don’t worry we will continue to post updates about our turtles and her nests (as well as all of the turtle nests) throughout the season on our blog and on our Facebook page, so don’t forget to follow us on there to hear about the progress.

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The Winds Adds New Waffle Machines!

The Winds Gets Waffle MachinesThe Winds Free Breakfast Buffet just got a little bit better! Some of you may think that’s impossible, but we’ve added two new waffle machines so guests can make their own fresh waffles!

Our breakfast buffet is like no other we’ve got everything from eggs, bacon and sausage, grits, potatoes, bagels and english muffins to fruit and hot and cold cereals. You’ve been hearing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for ages, well The Winds agrees so make sure you take advantage of our great breakfast buffet!


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