Bald Head Island Shows Off Patriotic Spirit with Golf Cart Parade

BALD HEAD ISLAND, N.C. — Marching bands, truck-pulled floats and giant balloons are mainstays of July 4th parades in towns throughout America, but when an island is only accessible by boat and the preferred methods of transportation are bikes and golf carts, a parade takes on a different feel. Bald Head Island, a ferry-accessed community off the coast of Southport, NC, is home to an annual Independence Day celebration which includes picnics, a carnival and an arts show, but the main event is the much anticipated Annual Golf Cart Parade, which draws more than 100 entries each year.

The popular parade honors the July 4 tradition while celebrating the island’s dedication to remaining a car-free destination. Whimsically decorated golf carts with papier-mâché, flashing lights, and a wide array of accoutrements vie for a coveted slot among the best in show in categories including: Patriotic, Tacky Tourist, and Anything BHI. The parade isn’t just for fun. It also serves as a fundraiser for the Old Baldy Foundation which oversees the preservation of the Bald Head Island’s 202-year-old lighthouse.

In addition to the Golf Cart Parade, Bald Head Island offers a jam-packed schedule of activities beginning June 28 and lasting until July 6. The Bald Head Island Conservancy, which has the mission of conservation, education and preservation of the island’s coastal environment, will lead activities like Kayaking on the Creek; Kids Marsh Crabbing and Fishing; Tidal Explorations and programs that educate visitors on the island’s most famous visitors – sea turtles. Visitors are invited to participate in daily Beach Patrol Ride Alongs, Turtle Walks and a 5K Turtle Trot.

The island’s two private clubs – open to members and temporary members – both have a roster of activities for the whole family. The Shoals Club, located on the historic Frying Pan Shoals of Bald Head Island open to members and guests, hosts a Scavenger Hunt around the island, pool parties, family movie nights, arts, crafts and family-friendly games. The Bald Head Island Club with its signature seaside golf course will highlight its new Aquatics Center with its large leisure pool, zero-entry children’s pool, splash pad and waterslides along with a Firecracker Tennis Tournament and Cardboard Boat Race.

Food and live music play an important role in any July 4 celebration and the Maritime Market will host wine and cheese tastings, samples from Sweet Bay Catering and a Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar while the Bald Head Island Club hosts a Seafood Festival. Guests of all ages can boogie down at the Rock the Dock Concert Series or Sunset Celebration that ends with S’mores on the beach.

The holiday celebration ends with the Bald Head Island Artisan Show and Sale where numerous handcrafted items created by Island Artisans will be on display and for sale. Handcrafted jewelry, handmade pottery, photos of BHI including drone photos, quilts, and bird home replicas of BHI buildings.

Click here for a full schedule of July 4 events taking place June 28-July 6, 2019, and see favorite family-friendly moments from past celebrations in the Kid’s Bits video series.

Bald Head Island is a boat-accessed community located two miles off the coast of Southport, NC. Transportation on the island is restricted to golf carts, bicycles and pedestrian traffic. Of the island’s 12,000 acres, 10,000 acres of beaches, salt marsh and maritime forest are protected and will remain undeveloped. Old Baldy, the most famous manmade structure on the island, and one of the first things visitors notice when they arrive on Bald Head Island, was built in 1817 and is one of the few lighthouses where visitors may climb all the way to the top. Those who ascend the 108 steps to the lanthorn room are rewarded with epics views of the marsh, forest, beach and mouth of the Cape Fear River. To learn more about the island, visit



Lauren Frye 
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