SC History Trail

Bird Island

Located on the state line adjacent to South Carolina's historic Little River Inlet, Bird Island is a North Carolina Coastal Reserve site famed for its birdlife, coastal vegetation and loggerhead turtles. Access is available by foot and boat.


Bird Island
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Site Description
Located between South Carolina's history-rich Little River Inlet and the modern North Carolina resort of Sunset Beach, Bird Island is an undeveloped barrier island that is regionally renowned for its birdlife, sea turtle population and varied marsh grasses.

Bird Island is a North Carolina Coastal Reserve Site with strict requirements for environmental protection. Public access to the site may be made from Little River Inlet by boats, which are allowed to land on the beach, and by foot from the strand at Sunset Beach. Visitors to the site by boat should consult local authorities for information on vessel draft and local tide times. Foot access can be made easily from parking areas at the intersection of Main Street and 40th Street in Sunset Beach. A boardwalk leads to the beach and signs direct visitors to the reserve.

Bird Island consists of 1,481 acres of marshland, tidal flats and beach. Along with rare coastal grasses and vegetation, including several threatened species, it is home for nesting loggerhead sea turtles and a wide variety of coastal birdlife.

Adjacent Little River Inlet has a little-known but significant role in maritime history, ranging from pirate ventures in the Colonial Era to blockade running and naval raids in the Civil War. During War War II, German submarines patrolled the offshore shipping lanes in search of American Merchant Marine targets.
Tours and Events
Guided Tours: No