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Saturday, May 18, 2024

In Pictures: Coastal Brunswick County, seen from the air

The expansion of Cape Fear Regional Jetport reveals a growing demand for the beaches, islands, golf courses, and mild climate of the county's southern coastline areas. We took to the air for a look.

The southeastern point of Bald Head Island. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
The southeastern point of Bald Head Island. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

OAK ISLAND — The coastal portion of Brunswick County is home to an abundance of golf courses, beaches, islands, and relatively cheap beach real estate (at least compared to coastal property elsewhere in the country). To understand its popularity, it helps to have a bird’s eye view.

Howie Franklin, the director of Cape Fear Regional Jetport in Oak Island, has seen much of the world as a chief flight steward on Air Force One, serving five U.S. presidents – from Ford to Clinton.

To Franklin, the coastal area of southern Brunswick County is a hidden secret, but the current expansion of his airport shows a growing demand from wealthy business groups and beach homeowners looking for something different — and more private — than wealthy getaways like Naples, Florida, or the Hamptons, on New York’s Long Island.

RELATED: Brunswick County may front $1.8 million for 45-acre expansion of Cape Fear Regional Jetport

On Monday, Jan. 7, the North Carolina Department of Transportation released a report showing an overview of the state’s aviation economy. Out of the state’s 62 general aviation airports — those not landing commercial jets — Cape Fear Regional was ranked number four in terms of its economic impact. The report showed that the airport contributed a total output of $277 million to the economy.

Franklin said you had to see the area from the sky to understand why the area was attracting so much money – so we took him up on his offer.

View aerial photos of coastal Brunswick County below:

Coastal Brunswick by Air

Mark Darrough can be reached at or (970) 413-3815

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