Holden Beach With Kids
Article by Ericka of Little Apple Styles
I am sure that by now you already know how much we love Holden Beach. Growing up in Peru I was a 20 minute bus ride away from the Ocean – with rocks and freezing water, but the ocean none the less. Maybe this is why the sound of the waves and the sweet smell of sea salt brings me to my happy place.
As of now we had only been able to enjoy things around the beach. Mostly because with a toddler in diapers, who couldn’t miss his mid-afternoon nap, you just can’t do much. This year was different – the “baby” can use the restroom and isn’t much of a Godzilla if we cut his nap shorter. Life changing events here – Beach trips with kids are actually fun and RELAXING now!
We arrived to our rental on Saturday and I unpacked/organized the house while Mr. Little Apple fought all the tourists at the grocery store. I have an ongoing list with items we pack from home – such as linens, paper products, seasonings, and my favorite wooden spoon to name a few. We learned to shop for fresh fruits at Ludlum’s Produce and any other necessities at the “popular” Food Lion right at the entrance of Holden. Be ready to fight for milk and wait in long lines if you stop by on a Saturday morning. Thankfully they re-stock quickly and everything is back to normal by Saturday evening. We learned there are some services that, for a small fee, would drop your groceries right after you arrive – we are totally trying this next year.
We planned on spending mornings at the beach and afternoons exploring surrounding towns. The kids were excited to see dolphins – so we joined the Calabash Fishing Fleet for a Dolphin Tour. SO.MUCH.FUN. It is a ride of about 30-40 minutes into SC sea waters – where you meet a shrimp boat and can see several dolphins jumping around. We also saw a huge sea turtle! We learned they like to hang out around the shrimp boats to get some food when the boats lift their nets. The seven year old was in heaven and the three year old’s highlight of the adventure was getting soaked. PS – when the captain tells you not to go in the front until you are closer to the shrimp boat – listen to him… He might know what he is talking about *smile*. The tour lasts approximately 3 hours. At the end we stopped by the Seafood Shack for an early dinner- delicious fresh seafood made to order. Dessert is also delish – the littlest loved the grilled pound cake!
The next day we had plans to go to the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher – but we missed the ferry…twice! Instead we decided to explore Southport. A cute little town where several movies have been filmed (there is even a tour you can take to explore the locations). We stopped by the NC Maritime Museum and walked around the small shops in the area. The kids LOVED The Christmas House, maybe because it houses a large collection of old fashioned candy and toys. The store has things for everybody and the cutest nautical knick knacks for sure! We asked locals for the best place to eat and they sent us to the Fishy Fishy Café – glad we listened– the food was amazing.
On Wednesday we took the kids to Turtle Time, organized by The Holden Beach Turtle Watch – we had so much fun it deserved its own whole post. You can read more about it here.
For Thursday, we had planned in renting bikes and looking for Holden Beach mailboxes – unfortunately for us, everybody else had the same idea and we could not find any bikes left at the rental places. My advice is to call ahead and reserve your items if you want to rent any bikes, chairs or umbrellas! Instead we spend the afternoon at Beaches -N-Cream because…why not?! The best ice cream we have ever eaten for sure! Last year the hubby was obsessed with Krispy Kreme Ice Cream, this year Red Velvet was the chosen one. The kids chose strawberry as their favorite. I do not blame them!
Since we did not want to risk it with the ferry, we decided to try the Museum of Coastal Carolina at Ocean Isle. It is not as busy as and much smaller than the NC Aquarium. However, the kids LOVED it. At the touch tank, they were able to touch sea urchins, horseshoe crabs, start fishes and several other sea creatures. Their favorite was Sailor, the balloon fish – who they were able to help fish. A very interactive museum for sure! Check the event page so you can arrive there close to a tank feeding time.
Last but not least we went to Pirates Voyage in Myrtle Beach. I was concerned about the drive – but it was so worth it. The show is GREAT – and the food is actually very, very, decent. Make sure you arrive early so you get to enjoy the pre-show. The pirate’s sing along was a great way to start our pirate adventure! Both kids were in awe. At the end Eva was grinning ear to ear and whisper to me: “I told you Mermaids were real mommy!” Keeping her little as long as we can! It definitely was a great way to end our vacation.
We had a great time at Holden and can’t wait to go back – 324 days left in case you were wondering! In the meantime I get to admire the pictures Becky was able to squeeze right before a rainy evening. I am glad she talked me into jumping in front of the camera. I just LOVE our family picture. You can tell how much fun we are having at 33.9135° N, 78.3039° W (of course I got my Holden Beach’s coordinate necklace at my favorite Supply/Holden shop)
Ericka Jimmerson is a busy mom of two who runs Little Apple Styles, photography + event styling. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help making your event picture perfect!
Rebecca Keller is a family photographer featured in People Magazine who spends her time chasing after her two little ones, reading, running, and editing. Contact Rebecca Keller Photography for more information about family photography and travel sessions.