Brunswick Islands Area
Sea Trail: Something For Everyone
From golfers to families to meeting attendees, those in the know hit the trail to Sea Trail Golf Resort & Convention Center anytime of year. Situated just across from the barrier island of Sunset Beach (look for one of the east coast’s last swinging bridges), Sea Trail seemingly has something for everyone.
Founded in 1976 and firmly established as one of the North Carolina coast’s most popular getaways, the sprawling 2,000-acre property features a variety of activities, accommodations, and dining options. The resort is named for the historic winding road that led from Wilmington, through what’s now Sea Trail, and to Georgetown down in South Carolina. George Washington once traveled the road on his famed “Southern Goodwill Tour” to promote the new U.S. Constitution and unify the nation.
The Village Activity Center serves as the hub for many Sea Trail pursuits. The possibilities include: an outdoor pool and whirlpool; a heated indoor pool and whirlpool; spa services; fitness classes; bike rentals; seasonal children’s activities; board games; and much more. This is also the place to arrange off-site water-oriented activities like kayaking or deep-sea fishing, as well as horseback riding at nearby stables.
Of course, Sea Trail also offers the very popular Tar Heel State activity called golf. The resort features three championship layouts designed by a trio famed architects – Dan Maples, Rees Jones, and Willard Byrd. Each designer delivered a unique course with distinctively different challenges and each of the signature 18 holes is named for the architect.
The Maples Course opened in 1985 and features the award-winning work of Dan Maples, whose roots run deep in North Carolina golf (his father and grandfather worked with Donald Ross on the famed Pinehurst courses). This layout seamlessly blends traditional and modern design.
The Jones Course debuted in 1990, with “The Open Doctor” Rees Jones using his experience of U.S. Open venue re-designs to provide Sea Trail with a modern gem. Jones also has great golf genes – his father, Robert Trent Jones, is known as the father of modern golf course architecture.
The Byrd Course opened a year later. Willard Byrd, who passed away in 2005, considered the Sea Trail layout one of his finest in a large body of work.
Additional golf-oriented amenities at Sea Trail include practice greens, a lighted driving range, two full-service clubhouses with golf shops, a Custom Clubs Store, and a PGA-sanctioned Golf Learning Center.
With panoramic views of the 18th greens on both the Jones and Byrd layouts, Magnolias Fine Food & Spirits serves as a popular 19th hole watering hole and one of the resort’s varied dining options. Magnolias features hearty breakfasts, casual lunches, and gourmet dinners.
Other entrees on Sea Trail’s food front include Brassy’s Pub (soup to sandwiches), the Oasis Pool Bar (casual summer fare), and Sea Trail Poolside (a small summertime general store).
Sea Trail is also known as an ideal North Carolina meetings and conventions destination. With more than 60,000 square feet of meeting and function space, the resort easily handles meetings and events of virtually any size.
Of course, those who come to play need a place to stay. Sea Trail accommodates with a wide variety of accommodations. The possibilities include beautifully appointed rooms, suites, and villas (many with golf course views). Many who visit Sea Trail choose to purchase a more permanent place to stay and play, so the master-planned resort also has a range of golf villas, townhouses, and custom single-family homes in both established and new communities.
Those who can pull themselves away from Sea Trail proper can take a complimentary shuttle service to Sunset Beach, where they’ll find a quiet strand with specialty shopping and dining. Historic Wilmington is just a short drive from Sea Trail.
By Lynn Seldon
By Lynn Seldon
added: December 20, 2008
updated: December 24, 2008