Sunset Beach, described as a diminutive island gem, is only 3 miles long. Despite its size, this island experienced a 150 percent population increase between 1990 and 1997, with a current year-round population of more than 2,000 residents. Because it is reached by a one-lane pontoon bridge, making it the only island without a high-rise bridge in Brunswick County, there is sometimes a bit of a wait to get to Sunset in the high tourist season. However, the island is well-worth the wait. This bridge will probably be replaced by a high-rise someday, if the Department of Transportation has its way, but that discussion has been going on for years. Islanders like their bridge the way it is because it tends to keep traffic levels down.
Although this island is residential in character, it is a great choice for a family vacation. Some of the best bargains in vacation rentals are here, and the visitor who wants a quiet coastal place will do very well to book a house on this beach. As with all of the beaches on the southern coast, quality golfing is available on the mainland. For fishing enthusiasts, there is a full-service pier. Sunset Beach also offers a special delight — a walk to Bird Island at low tide.