Holden Beach is a lovely place to spend a week. The beach is inviting, the roads quiet enough for biking (at least in the off season), and the houses luxurious enough to enjoy when you’re not outside. However, on a recent trip I discovered an element I’d never experienced before: parks along the Intercostal Waterway. The two parks I visited were close together in the middle of the island: Sanddollar Park and Sailfish Street Park. Both offer visitors a peaceful place to fish or watch the boats go by and watch wildlife; Sailfish Street Park also offers a lovely place to have a picnic. I even got to see porpoises swimming less than 10 feet away!
Sanddollar Park is at the end of Sanddollar Drive. There isn’t
a designated parking area, but there is enough space to park several vehicles without blocking any of the resident’s driveways (several houses are located right across the street from the park). The park itself isn’t much to look at; simply a grassy area and a sandy beach. There is also a small platform over the canal where you can fish. I was a bit disappointed, but if you’re looking for peace and quiet, this would be a great place to sit and watch the boats go by.
How many boats are on the Intercoastal Waterway? Well, it depends on the season. When I visited the parks in early January, there were very few. However, on another trip in September I kayaked on the Waterway, and there were many boats, some pleasure crafts and some commercial boats (the tug boat was the most memorable because it made a huge wake that nearly swamped us!). In the summer, I’d assume that there would be even more boats.
Sailfish Street Park is slightly more developed and is also larger. There is the same expanse of grass, but trees have also been planted and there are several picnic tables. There is also a similar beach and the fishing platform over the canal (which I saw someone using, so it likely the fish bite). I think that the entire park is nicer overall. A post-and-rail fence has been set up along the parking area (a fairly large one it seems for the size of the park), and it simply looks better cared-for. Again, there are houses across the street, though at least some of them were empty in January.
There are no playgrounds in these parks. This was a slight disappointment for some of my group members, but for others this would be a plus. However, nearby there are a couple of “marsh loops” (as I call them); trails that have been made by filling in part of the nearby marshes to create a loop that is great for biking and might also be good for walking. I’ll talk about these in next week’s post!
Key GPS Coordinates for Sanddollar Park and Sailfish Street Park
Sanddollar Park: 33.914794N / -78.307296W (33N 54’ 53.2584”/-78 W 18’ 26.265”)
Sailfish Street Park: 33.912592N / -78.335405W (33N 54’ 45.3306”/-78 W 20’ 7.4574”)
Getting to Sanddollar Park
From the Holden Beach Causeway, turn right. Drive 2.2 miles, then turn right on Sanddollar Street. Follow this road to its end at the canal, about 0.5 miles later. (Note: the road will turn sharply to the right before meeting the canal; the park is after this turn).
Getting to Sailfish Street Park
From the Holden Beach Causeway, turn right. Drive 3.9 miles, then turn right on Sailfish Drive. Follow this road to its end at the canal, about 0.4 miles later. (Note: the road will turn sharply to the right before meeting the canal; the park is after this turn).
Facilities: Picnic tables in Sailfish Street Park; fishing platforms in both parks; otherwise none (no restrooms)
Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this?
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Interested in the history of Holden Beach? This is the book for you, written by a long-term resident. The history is varied, too, with shipwrecks, fishermen, and beaches to tell the tale.
- 10:32 PM EST on February 19, 2018
- 10:00 AM EST on February 20, 2018
Tue Feb 20
Mostly cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy in the afternoon. Slight chance of a rain shower. High 69F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
Wed Feb 21
Partly cloudy skies. Near record high temperatures. High 72F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.
Thu Feb 22
Mostly sunny skies. High 72F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.
Fri Feb 23
Partly cloudy skies. High 71F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
Sat Feb 24
Mostly sunny skies. High 72F. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph.