Sunset Beach and Bird Island, North Carolina

Jo O'Keefe Copyright 2015. Photos may be used for educational purposes only. Contact me with inquiries.

This website is four years out of date. Almost everything on is from Sunset Beach and is current.

Boat Launch and Parking Area



Answers to Your Questions


This is a website for both the 3-mile-long barrier island, Sunset Beach, NC, and the adjoining Bird Island, now a Coastal Reserve owned by the State of North Carolina. Bird Island is one and a half miles long with the final fourth mile in South Carolina. On this website you will find a list of 262 species of birds found on Sunset Beach and Bird Island, NC. It also includes a list of some of the 198 species of mollusks I have found on the eastern point of Sunset Beach between June 2008 and March 2010. It includes a list of a hundred other invertebrates, excluding mollusks (seashells) of which this website has photos. They include both common and unusual species such as Knobbed Whelks, Australian Spotted Jellyfish, Portuguese Man of War, Horseshoe Crabs, Smooth Dogtail Shark, American Aligator, sea stars, sea pansies, stingrays and endangered species. There are hundreds of additional photos of people, beach textures, flora, and sunrises and sunsets.

The richest part of the island for those who love marine life is the far east end. Many invertebrates can be found there because it is covered by high tide twice daily. Invertebrates range from barely visible amphipods and isopods in seaweed and on sponges to massive jellyfish.

Visitors love Sunset Beach and adjoining Bird Island for their tranquility. They enjoy the long walk to the jetty at the NC/SC state line on the far western end and finding sand dollars along that stretch. They visit the Kindred Spirit Mailbox, leaving journal entries and reading those written by others. Visitors and residents are fascinated by the goats of nearby Goat Island, by the pontoon bridge, and by construction of the new high-rise bridge. The greatest tourist attraction is the Wood Stork. Hundreds of them have chosen Sunset Beach for their home for decades. A recently deceased Sunset Beach Wood Stork is now at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for scientists and researchers to study.

The quaint fishing village of Calabash is included. Sunset Beach visitors go to Calabash for delicious seafood, ice cream and shopping.