Local Coastal Landmarks
Coastal North Carolina has a lot of famous iconographies along its sugar-white shorelines. From Cape Hatteras to Fort Fisher, several landmarks continue to be the center of attention for decades (and rightfully so!) The greater Southport area is known for its abundance of coastal landmarks. Places like the Bald Head Island Lighthouse and Fort Anderson have all become cultural representations of the coastal Carolina lifestyle.
Lots to Explore
An advantage of living in Southport is being in the proximity of many historic and monumental markers. Southport, like greater Wilmington, places you in the center of one of the fastest-growing coastal areas. There’s always an adventure just around the corner. Next time you’re out exploring, take some time to venture out to one of these historic emblems or monuments! You will find our coastal landmarks have a fair bit of history behind them.
Affectionately and historically known to North Carolinians as “Old Baldy,” the lighthouse at Bald Head Island is the oldest standing lighthouse in the state. It has stood in the same geographical location for over 187 years and can trace its roots back to before the American Civil War. First built in 1817, this famous landmark rises 110 feet above Bald Head Island and has been seen on many postcards, posters, pictures, and promotional materials over the years. When people think of coastal Carolina, Old Baldy is guaranteed to be one of the images that come to mind. Originally built to guide ships past the treacherous Frying Pan Shoals at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, Old Baldy has long since been decommissioned from its purpose. Despite having weathered wars, storms, surf, and wind, Old Baldy still stands and is open for tours. If you’re headed to Bald Head Island, no trip is complete without seeing Old Baldy at least once. For those feeling bold enough, you can climb all 108 steps and 5 landings to the lantern room for an unforgettable coastal view.
Oak Island Lighthouse
Completed in 1958, Oak Island Lighthouse was created to replace the one at Bald Head Island. Over time, it was discovered that Old Baldy was built too far inland, too short, and not bright enough to safely guide ships away from the shoals of the Cape Fear River. Oak Island Lighthouse was built to remedy that. Most visitors to Southport can easily look across the river to see this landmark. Oak Island Lighthouse is 169 feet high and can be seen for miles out at sea. 131 steps lead to the very top, which visitors are welcome to climb and see the view from up above.
One of the earliest port towns in the Cape Fear Region’s history, historic Brunswick Town was a pre-Revolutionary settlement on the shores of the river. Razed and burned to the ground by the British in 1776, only the brick skeleton and stone foundations of Brunswick Town’s foundations remain. This extraordinary landmark provides a compelling glimpse into Brunswick County’s past. Not far from Brunswick Town lies Fort Anderson. Fort Anderson was used as a defensive emplacement during the Civil War. If you’re looking to see two historic landmarks, these two areas are perfect.
Photo Attributed to lighthousefriends.com
Price’s Creek Lighthouse
Not far from the Southport ferry entrance is Price’s Creek Lighthouse. Now on private land just outside the local power plant of Archer Daniels Midland, Price’s Creek is the only conical structure left of what was once an entire range of lights to mark the Cape Fear River route to Wilmington. During the American Civil War, these range lights helped to guide Blockade Runners up the river. While visitors are not allowed at this very small brick structure, it can be seen from the ferry ride between Southport and Fort Fisher.
Southport is an entire treasure trove of amazing landmarks! It’s all a part of what makes this a wonderful place to live.