All posts by Alan Holden Vacations

Summer’s last weekend: Make the best of your beach trip

The following article recently appeared in the Fayetteville Observer about Holden Beach and Alan Holden Vacations. Story by Kim Hasty and photography by Cindy Burnham.

Make the best of your beach trip

Photography by Cindy Burnham


Of all people, Alan Holden has probably heard just about everything when it comes to questions regarding renting a beach home.
He’s a sixth-generation member of the family that developed Holden Beach and has owned Alan Holden Vacation Rentals for decades. Still, there are always one or two questions that take him aback.
For instance, there’s nothing unusual about someone wondering if a home features an outdoor shower for rinsing off all that beach sand. And, OK, maybe it’s even a good idea to ask whether the outdoor shower is enclosed. “I’ve actually had people ask if it will fit two people,” Holden said.
Then again, when it comes to finding that perfect place to call home for a week or a long weekend, it’s best to know in advance if your favorite amenities are available. Even if your favorite amenity is a shower for two.
“No question is a bad question,” said Heather Hill, of Alan Holden Vacation Rentals. “You don’t want to get there and it’s not what you envisioned.”
We hope these tips we compiled will help you spend more time dipping your toes in the sand and less time heading off to the store in search of a decent paring knife.

Make the best of your beach trip to Holden Beach

Photography by Cindy Burnham


Speaking of paring knives, it’s smart to bring along a couple of good ones if you plan to do any cooking, unless you are certain the home you’ve selected has a well-stocked kitchen. After all, one person’s idea of a good knife might be the same ol’ trusty one they use to filet fish. Same holds true for a good pasta pot or cast-iron skillet. If those things are important, bring them along.
Here’s a handy tip: you can wrap knives, spatulas, tongs, slotted spoons, kitchen shears and any other significant kitchen tools together inside a couple of dish towels. Speaking of dish towels …

Ask before assuming any towels and linens are provided.

During the peak season, most rental agencies provide linens. But though beaches may be packed over Labor Day, it’s nevertheless not considered peak season.
That means you need to find out the size of each bed and bring sheets and pillowcases for each. Comforters are usually already in place, but it’s a good idea to bring along a couple extra lightweight blankets in case Aunt Agnes likes the air conditioner yanked down to a setting fit for polar bears.
And that means you need to bring your own bath towels, beach towels and washcloths. And dish towels and dishcloths, too.
Pillows also usually are provided, but if get a wry neck if yours doesn’t have a certain firmness, by all means bring your own. Neck pain does not go well with relaxing in a beach chair with a good book.
And it certainly does not go well with sitting on a towel on the beach, which is what you may find yourself doing if you forget to bring your own.

Beach chairs.

Some rental owners are happy for you to tote their chairs to the beach, but others will lock them up out of sight as if they were Blackbeard’s treasure.
If you are the antsy type and reading for you is as fun as a sunburn, you might like to bring along a boogie board or raft for playing in the waves. You might also want try out a beach game. Most everyone knows about cornhole, but one of the newer games is known as spikeball, a combination of volleyball and four-square.
Whether you’ve had a day relaxing in a beach chair, playing spikeball or breaking up a lot of arguments between the kids and Aunt Agnes, many of us find it’s nice to watch the sunset with a cocktail or a nice glass of wine.
Now, where is the corkscrew in this place?

Casa de la Playa at Holden Beach has an open kitchen with amenities. Photography by Cindy Burnham

Casa de la Playa at Holden Beach has an open kitchen with amenities.
Photography by Cindy Burnham


The corkscrew.

Of course, it is among the handy kitchen tools you wrapped up in your dish towel. And, since some of us are a bit peculiar about glassware, bring sturdy wine glasses and highball glasses from home if you don’t want to find yourself relegated to Solo cups.

Entertainment for the little ones.

But before you can have that cocktail, you must be sure the youngsters are happy. Many parents recommend packing a container of baby powder in your beach bag, since a sprinkle or two works magic to remove sand from little (and big) feet.
For indoor entertainment, one of the beach rental houses we checked out had an actual pool table. That’s awesome, but not customary. Lots of beach rentals, however, provide a supply of board games for everyone’s enjoyment, but it’s a good idea to bring a few things to keep family members occupied, such as jigsaw puzzles, a deck of cards, coloring books, crayons and gerbils.
Make the best of your beach trip


Just kidding about the gerbils! Because, of course, pets are not allowed unless specified. Some beach rentals are specified as pet-friendly, but usually that requires a nonrefundable pet deposit. It also pays to note that each North Carolina beach has its own regulations regarding pets, including restricted hours and leash laws.
Something pet owners may wish to consider is bringing pets along, but dropping them off at a kennel near the beach. That way, you can spend some time with Fido on the beach, then return him to the kennel in the evening. It’s advisable to reserve kennel space early. Oak Island has Greenwood Pet Camp for boarding pets and Holden Beach has an off-leash dog park.

Kitchen essentials

After you’ve had your fun day on the beach, returned Fido to the kennel, had your outdoor shower for two and enjoyed a cocktail, it’s time for dinner.
The last thing you want to realize is that there’s no salt and pepper in the house to provide the perfect finishing touch to that shrimp boil. That’s why you should bring along your own condiments, sugar, cooking oil, coffee and Silk French Vanilla Soy Coffee Creamer, because that’s the absolute best and some of us despair if we have to use any other coffee creamer, or regular milk. (Also, be sure to ask whether the coffee maker is a Keurig or brew type.)
A good tip is to fill one of those plastic storage bins before you leave home with nonperishable kitchen necessities and a cooler with your Silk French Vanilla Soy Coffee Creamer and other things that must stay cool.

Make the best of your beach trip to Holden Beach NC

The rental home’s shaded porch and comfy outdoors furniture on the waterway at Holden Beach.
Photography by Cindy Burnham


Finally, relax. You’re at the beach, for goodness sake.

Staying cool is the ultimate tip. And we aren’t just talking about Aunt Agnes and her thermostat settings. Keep in mind that there will always be little problems that arise, but most of them are easily resolved. Keep in mind, too, that everyone has their little personality quirks, but that it’s best to be calm and assure that everyone has a good time. Because, after all, it might be next summer before we all get the chance to ride the waves of a beach rental vacation again!



Holden Beach Implements Beach Renourishment Project

Holden Beach Implements Beach Renourishment Project

If you’ve always loved vacationing on Holden Beach, North Carolina, you’ll be happy to know there’s going to be much more beachfront to enjoy soon! Fox Wilmington news recently reported on the project slated to cost $15 million and said it is the most extensive beach replenishment project in the town’s history.
Town Manager David Hewitt explained the need for the replenishment project by saying, “It’s about storm protection, wildlife habitat and just more beach to have fun.”
Half of the money needed will come from increased property taxes on Holden Beach, the rest from an occupancy tax and FEMA relief bond. For a family in a $500,000 home, it will mean an additional $350 a year on their tax bill.
Holden Beach Implements Beach Renourishment Project

“We view this type of project as infrastructure,” Hewitt explained. “Just like a road, water, or sewer lines for a beach community, a nourishment project is infrastructure.”
Cathy Moffitt’s family has been vacationing in Holden Beach for four generations. “We love it here. It’s our escape,” Moffitt said. “But you can’t help but notice the ocean is creeping closer than it used to be.”
The replenishment project will widen Holden Beach by about 80 feet over a four and a half mile stretch. That’s 1.3 million cubic yards of sand.
Holden Beach Implements Beach Renourishment Project

“In terms of being able to provide storm damage protection, that’s always a proactive measure,” Hewitt said. “But just like beaches, worldwide, the town of Holden Beach is not immune to erosion and the threat of storms.”
The replenishment project is slated to kick off November 15 and run through April. Town leaders hope it has a life cycle that runs through 2032.

If you’re staying in one of our Alan Holden Vacation Rentals know that the renourishment project won’t affect your vacation plans at all. The beaches will still be open and we’ll be doing business as usual.


Come Spend Easter on Holden Beach NC

The official First Day of Spring is this Sunday along with Palm Sunday. That means Easter Sunday is just a little more than a week away on March 27, 2016. Have you made your plans for how to celebrate the holiday yet? If you haven’t given it much thought it’s a good time to do so. At Alan Holden Vacations we have plenty of beautiful oceanfront properties with Easter availability that would be just perfect for your family’s holiday this year.

Come Spend Easter on Holden Beach NC
It’s a gorgeous time of the year to vacation in Holden Beach on the Southern Brunswick Islands of North Carolina. The weather is temperate this time of year and there aren’t crowds milling about. If you’re overdue for a beach vacation it’s time to treat yourself and Easter is a perfect time to do just that. Here are nearby events taking place for the holiday.
Easter Egg Hunt at Hugh MacRae Park
There will be an Easter Egg Hunt at the Hugh MacRae Park baseball fields in Wilmington on Friday, March 25, 2016 starting at 10 a.m. Sponsored by Winter Park Baptist and Wesley Methodist churches and features hunts, crafts, and more. Location: Hugh MacRae Park, 314 Pine Grove Drive, Wilmington, NC.
4th Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Capt’n Bill’s Backyard Grill
Join us for the 4th Annual Easter Egg Hunt at Capt’n Bill’s Backyard Grill in Wilmington, NC, taking place on Friday, March 25, 2016. The day features goodies for kids under age 14, an appearance by the Easter Bunny, refreshments and door prizes. Free! Location: Capt’n Bill’s Backyard Grill, 4240 Market Street, Wilmington, NC. For more info, call (910) 762-0173.
Dinosaur Egg Hunt
NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher
The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher in Kure Beach will hold a Dinosaur Egg Hunt for ages 3 to 10 and offers the opportunity to create a special dinosaur egg basket as well as to search for candy-filled “dinosaur eggs”. The hunt takes place in the Aquarium garden during which you’ll meet a live baby alligator and learn about reptiles, both prehistoric and those currently stalking the earth. Hours: 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Admission: $10.95 to $20.00. Location: NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, 900 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach, NC. For more info call (910) 458-8257.
Southport Spring Festival
Franklin Square Park
The Southport Spring Festival is being held March 25 & 26 at Franklin Square Park in Southport. The festival features activities for kids, over 130 arts & crafts vendors, raffles and live music ranging from big band to R&B and country rock. Sorry, no pets. Hours: Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Location: Franklin Square Park, Corner of Howe & West Streets, Southport, NC.
Easter at the Old Bridge in Sunset Beach
Bring your Easter basket and meet the Easter Bunny! An egg hunt, tasty treats, fun and games, and an Easter parade are the order of the day from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, March 26. Join the fun, get your face painted, enter an egg roll or sack race contest, and enjoy decorated cupcakes, beverages, and more. Location: 109 Shoreline Dr. W., Sunset Beach, NC. For more info, call (910) 363-6585.
Oak Island Annual Easter Egg Hunt
William “Bill” Smith Park, Oak Island
This annual event is being held on Saturday, March 26 beginning at 10 a.m. Don’t miss a visit from the Easter Bunny! This free event is for children 10 and younger. Children will be divided into age groups of 3 and under, 4 to 6, and 7 to 10 years old. Location: William “Bill” Smith Park, 4410 Fish Factory Road, Oak Island, NC. For questions, please call (910) 278-5518.


Featured Property: A Yacht Watcher

You can be assured this month’s featured property earned its name – A Yacht Watcher – due to the fabulous Intracoastal Waterway views it provides to guests. This is one of the finer vacation properties that we offer at Alan Holden Vacations so take a look and book your reservations soon! The best places go fast!

Featured Property: A Yacht Watcher
A Yacht Watcher has 6 bedrooms, 4-1/2 baths and will comfortably accommodates up to 20 guests. This home makes an ideal rental for vacations, holiday getaways and family reunions!

There are 3 bedrooms conveniently located on the first floor with a queen bed in the first, a queen bed in the second, and 2 queen beds in the third. Also on the first floor is a large laundry area and exercise room for guests to use.

You’ll enjoy relaxing in the large master suite on the second level. A spacious kitchen and living room feature spectacular views and the open floor plan will add spaciousness to an already sizable home.

The third level boasts a second living area and 2 more bedrooms. There is a king bedroom and an extra large bedroom with 2 queen beds and 4 single beds

Picture yourself sitting on the large covered porch overlooking the private pool and waterway. Now that is relaxation! With the waterway this close boat owners will enjoy the convenience of docking their boat at this beautiful home.

Amenities in this home include a well-equipped kitchen with all appliances, washer/dryer, wireless high speed internet service, boat dock, fireplace and a swimming pool.

At Alan Holden Vacations we give both Military Discounts and Senior Citizen Discounts (Resort and Value Seasons Only) and look forward to hearing from you.


Things To Do If You’re Spending the Holidays in Holden Beach

Maybe we’re a bit biased because this is our home but we think spending the holidays in Holden Beach this year could start a whole new tradition for you and your family. Take it from us it’s a tradition you’ll wish you’d started long ago.

From the comfort of our holiday vacation rentals you can enjoy Thanksgiving in a whole new light. You’ll have everything you need for complete holiday meal preparation or, if you prefer, dine out in one of the nearby restaurants where you can enjoy a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.


What To Do If You're Spending the Holidays in Holden Beach
Wilmington Riverfest
Riverfest is a street fair that is held each year in historic downtown Wilmington NC. This free street fair will be held November 20-22 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. It will feature plenty of food, arts and crafts, dance performances, fireworks, children’s activities, a car show, live music, and plenty more. Taking place from the foot of Market Street to Cape Fear Community College, it’s a great setting along the banks of the Cape Fear River.

The event has about 200 craft and food vendors plus fireworks, entertainment on two stages, the Great Waiters Wine Race, Run the River 8K Race, various exhibits and a children’s area. Additional Riverfest activities include a Stand Up Paddleboard Competition and the Invasion of Pirates, a kind of festival within a festival hosting a Pirates Ball on Saturday. Kids can pick up a treasure map and participate in a treasure hunt.


What To Do If You're Spending the Holidays in Holden Beach
5k Turkey Trot
The Rotary Clubs of Brunswick County will hold a 5k Turkey Trot on November 21, 2015 at 8 a.m. to celebrate the end of the season for Girls on the Run, Heart & Sole, and STRIDE participants. Come join over 100 boys and girls from grades 3rd through 8th as they celebrate their accomplishments of the season! The Turkey Trot starts and ends at Planet Fun, 349 Whiteville Road, Shallotte, NC. Entrance fee is $25.00 per runner. Race day registration is from 6:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m. All runners are welcome.


What To Do If You're Spending the Holidays in Holden Beach
Holiday Music Shows
Each week from November 27 until December 23, 2015 the Ingram Planetarium will hold holiday music shows on Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays from 6-8 p.m. These shows are free for members. Non-member prices are $9 adults, $8 seniors (62+), $7 children (3-12) and free for ages 2 and under. Ingram Planetarium, 7625 High Market St., Sunset Beach, NC.


What To Do If You're Spending the Holidays in Holden Beach
OIB Christmas Parade, Tree Lighting & Flotilla
The Ocean Isle Beach annual Christmas Parade begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 28 from the Museum of Coastal Carolina. Locals call this Super Saturday because of the three big events taking place. All events are open to residents and vacationers alike.

At 5:00 p.m. the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place at the Ocean Isle Beach Causeway, across the street from the Fire Department. Gather up your Christmas spirit and your best singing voice and join us for some caroling. Afterwards there will be hot cocoa, coffee and goodies at the Fire Station to await Santa’s arrival!

The 12th Annual Christmas Flotilla and Party will begin at 6 p.m. to benefit Hope Harbour Domestic Violence Shelter. Sharky’s Waterfront Restaurant will host the shindig and local bands will provide music for dancing and fun after the awards.


Sandcastle Building Contest at the Festival by the Sea

Every year in late October the popular North Carolina Festival by the Sea event takes place in Holden Beach. This year the festival will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 25. It’s open to all residents and vacationers alike!

NC Festival By the Sea

This 2-day festival begins with a jubilant parade that proceeds down the Holden Beach Causeway on Saturday. This is the only day of the year that you can walk across the bridge to Holden Beach.

Festival By the Sea

During the festival, there will be arts & crafts vendors open all day, both days. Full-filled events will be taking place like a horseshoe tournament and a sandcastle-building contest. Everyone is invited to participate!

Sandcastle building contest at NC Festival by the Sea

If you’re entering the sandcastle building contest here are some tips to help you increase your chances of winning:

1. Use moist sand!
2. Build towers using funnels and shovels.
3. Bring tools such as plastic cutlery to add details to towers such as carving the roofs, making walkways and creating windows.
4. Create a wall connecting the towers.
5. Add details to the wall with a smaller tool like a knife.
6. Create steps going up to the tower.
7. Carefully dig out an arched doorway in the middle of the castle wall.
8. Stand back and admire a job well done but try to be humble!

Facepainting at Festival By the Sea

A special treat for children will be the face painting, huge kites flying overhead and children’s rides and amusements.

And last but not at all least — bring your dancing shoes because there will be live musical entertainment both days at the Holden Beach Pavilion. All of us at Alan Holden Vacations hope to see you there!




Free Family 5k Color Run

Every year Holden Beach hosts a free, family-oriented 5K race that all Brunswick County locals and vacationers alike are welcome to participate in. On October 10, the Free Family 5k Color Run is taking place starting at 123 Jordan Blvd., Holden Beach.

 Free Family 5k Color Run

Come out and join in this family fun event whether you walk, run or do a little bit of both – everyone is welcome to join us! Younger children, age 5 and under, that want to ride their bikes are welcome to do so.


For the best effect, either wear a white shirt or purchase a white event t-shirt, and enjoy the color burst. There are 400 t-shirts available for this race so please reserve your t-shirt by emailing your size to T-shirts are $10 each. Your shirt will be held for until 30 minutes before the race. All t-shirt money will go back into this race and the other running programs that keep kids active.


Be here by 9 a.m. for registration. The race begins at 10 a.m.! The start of the Color Run is just a short distance from any of our Alan Holden Vacation rentals.


Free Family 5k Color Run


The purpose of this event is to have as many families as possible come out and enjoy getting exercise. Dogs, cats, gorillas, and baby strollers are also all welcome!



Featured Property: Club Ed

While the last month of summer may be upon us, the warmer weather will continue for a few more months. This is a great time to book a vacation rental as there is just more availability later in the season, like this month’s Featured Property. Many families have already turned their thoughts to their children returning to school. That frees up many vacation rentals for the  beach vacation you’ve been promising your friends.

Featured Property: Club Ed

Our Featured Property this month is Club Ed located at 107 Seaview Drive, Holden Beach, NC. This is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath dune home that accommodates up to 6 guests comfortably.

If you’re looking for a one story vacation rental, this is it. You’ll also be just a short walk to your own private beach access at the end of the street.

Club Ed has central heat and air, dishwasher, microwave, washer and dryer, ice maker, cable TV, VCR, DVD player, CD player and telephone.

Other amenities include open and covered porch, screened porch, enclosed outside shower with hot and cold water and parking underneath the house. This is a non-smoking home.


What’s Happening Around Holden Beach

So you’ve decided you’re spending your summer on Holden Beach, North Carolina, this year. Congratulations! This is one of the most laid back and family oriented beaches along the North Carolina coastline and you’re going to have a wonderful summer here. We have many summer vacation rentals that are available weekly or monthly that you’re just going to love!

What's Happening Around Holden Beach

When you’re filling out your calendar of things to do you’ll want to prepare for fun times and free concerts every Sunday night at Holden Beach! Dance a little and smile a lot or dance a lot and just keep smiling! Refreshments will be for sale on site so when you need to take a break to refresh and recover you won’t have far to go.

Every Sunday night through September 6, 2015 there will be free concerts open to the public from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Holden Beach Pavilion on Jordan Boulevard. The music ranges from beach music to jazz to oldies and some good old rock ‘n roll. Here’s the run down on who’s playing and when.

June 7 – The Entertainers

June 14 – Brickhouse Band

June 21 – Steve Owens & Summertime

June 28 – Rick Strickland Band

July 5 – Gary Lowder & Smoking Hot

July 12 – Jim Quick & The Coastline

July 19 – Marsha Morgan

July 26 – Fantastic Shakers

August 2 – Embers featuring Craig Woolard

August 9 – Carolina Breakers

August 16 – The Attractions

August 23 – Band of Oz

August 30 – Sea Cruz

September 6 – The Imitations

This free concert series at Holden Beach is sponsored by the Holden Beach Merchants Association.


Featured Property: Carolina Reel Time

This month’s featured property is Carolina Reel Time. A 4 bedroom, 4.5 bath home located at 155 Southshore Drive in Holden Beach NC. You’re going to love this beautiful waterway home. Bring your boat, jetski, kayaks and canoes and launch them just steps outside your back door.

Featured Property: Carolina Reel Time

Plan on some intense relaxation while you’re staying in this home. Whether you’re doing it on the water in your own boat as you fish or tour around or you’re hanging out at home, time moves slowly here at the coast. Plan to kick back and sit a spell on the porch where you’re sure to thoroughly enjoy watching the boats go by.

Two of the four bedrooms in this home are located on the first floor – a great benefit for those that find stairs to be a challenge. Amenities in the home include a large open kitchen and living area perfect for entertaining family or guests, central air and heat, fireplace, cable, DVD player, washer/dryer and wireless Internet.

Featured Property: Carolina Reel Time

This coastal vacation rental comes fully furnished with everything you’ll require for a comfortable stay with your family or friends while you’re here. The kitchen is well equipped for preparing meals for any number of people. Don’t settle for a hotel this year where you’ll have to go out for all of your meals. Enjoy the convenience and savings of having your own kitchen right where you’re living! Outdoor amenities include a screened in porch, enclosed outside shower, boat dock and both covered and open parking.

When you in our Holden Beach vacation rentals you’ll be situated close to the fishing pier, an ice cream shop and a small grocery store. The convenience of having easy access to anything you may need from the store is priceless. Be sure to ask about the Military Discount and/or Senior Discount at Alan Holden Vacations if you qualify.