Happy Friday to all of our wonderful readers! I am sending all of you well-wishes from beautiful Oak Island, NC, where our family has been vacationing since last Thursday. We're sort of enjoying a lazy day today, because even though it's sunny outside, there's a gale wind warning, and it's pretty darn cold out there. We've all been fighting the dreaded crud all week long, and don't want to brave the cold and wind today.
Yesterday was the last day we had to spend with my sister Britt, and her husband Cory, before they headed home to OK (in the wee hours this morning). We wanted to have a fun outing, so we decided to take the ferry from Southport to Ft. Fisher, and spend a few hours at the Ft. Fisher Aquarium. We have taken many a trip on the Southport Ferry, and so enjoy the half hour boat ride. It's especially fun for Balian, who is really starting to take an interest in different surroundings.
One of the Southport Ferry Boats
The ferry is pretty neat. You drive up to the ticket window and purchase a $5.00 ticket for your car or small SUV. A pedestrian ticket is just $1.00, which means you walk onto the ferry, without a vehicle. The cars line up, and are told which lane they'll park in on the ferry. When the horn sounds, the line of cars drive onto the ferry, into their lanes, and park, one behind the other, and side by side. You have to stay in your vehicle until the horn sounds and the ferry gets going, but after you hear the whitle blow, you're free to get out the car and walk around the ferry until the horn sounds again, signaling that it's time to make your way back to your vehicle.
There is a lower deck, where there are restrooms, and where the cars sit. The second deck houses outdoor seating and scopes, and an indoor seating area, where you can take in the local scenery- out of the wind, rain or hot Carolina sun! The top deck is open air, and gives you the best view of the little islands that are situated between Southport and Ft. Fisher.
Hubby and B, looking out at the water as we made our way from Southport to Ft. Fisher.
Me, all bundled up to keep warm from the wind and yucky rain.
I can't count how many times we've been on the ferry, but I know that B has already made at least three round trips on it since his birth. Even if you don't have major plans as to what you might like to do once you make it to Ft. Fisher, the ferry ride is totally worth it. It gets out out, takes up a chunk of your day, and you have little ones, they will totally love getting to take the car onto the boat, and then get out and walk around!
Once you get to Ft. Fisher, you can swing a right from the ferry loading area, and enjoy the scenic views and public beach access. If you hang a left and follow the winding road, you'll find yourself right at the Ft. Fisher Aquarium, which is a must visit (look for more details on the aquarium next Friday). If you decide to bypass the aquarium, head down the road some more, and you'll find yourself in Kure Beach. Beyond Kure Beach is Carolina Beach, which is a nice family beach with a few shops and eateries. Beyond Carolina Beach is Wilmington, home of Wrightsville Beach. There are so many fun things to do in and around Wilmington. I lived in Wilmington for a year when I was in college and loved it. There are tons of historic sights, the big Battleship NC is there and open for tours, there are tons of great places to eat (ahem- Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn), and you never know what types of movie filming you may happen upon, since the Wilmington/Cape Fear River area is famous for filming and production.
If you do wind up in Wilmington, it's a bit of a drive back to Ft. Fisher. You can take Hwy. 17 back to Southport or Oak Island, Holden Beach. If you'd like to go back to Ft. Fisher to catch the ferry, just make sure you pay attention to the ferry schedule, so you don't miss the last ferry of the day- otherwise, you'll have no choice but to go through Wilmington and drive back to where you came from.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation operates a vehicle and passenger ferry between Southport and Fort Fisher. This is a year-round ferry. For more information please see below or call the ferry service directly at 1-800-BY-FERRY.
Ferry Rates (One Way):
Pedestrian - $1.00
Bicycle Rider - $2.00
Motorcycles - $3.00
Vehicle Less Than 20' - $5.00
Vehicle 20' Through 40' - $10.00
Vehicle 40' Through 65' - $15.00
Leaves Southport at:
Leaves Fort Fisher at:
We can't wait to be back down here during the summer to enjoy the ferry with our extended family! We love the NC coast so much and hope to one day have a house of our own in one of our favorite coastal communities!
If you're down this way, be sure to visit Southport/Ft. Fisher and take a ride on the ferry!