We launched from Bonaparte's Landding which is on the ICW just north of Calabash, NC. We departed about 1 hour before peak high tide. At low tide the landing is almost unusable so be sure you get there near high tide.
From the landing, paddle directly across the ICW Bonaparte's Creek. It is helpful to take a look at a Topo map and a satellite view prior to the trip. You can't get lost too bad for too long, but the cord grass begins to all look the same and with all of the little side creeks you can get a little twisted up. We fought a pretty stiff breeze heading over and with the tide still coming in, it was a bit of a work out even for a short 2-mile paddle.
After clearing Bonaparte's Creek, Bird Island will be off to the left several hundred yards. There is a nice stretch of sandy beach to pull up on. Once up on the beach you can wander the Island.
If you cross over the dunes and get over to the ocean side of the island, you can head up to the "Kindred Spirits" mailbox. There you can read notes left by others or leave one of your own for others. The experience is really quite moving.
The round-trip paddle is just short of 4 miles. Watch the weather and the tides. There are only a couple of places at high tide you can actually still scrape bottom if you are not careful. However, for the most part 1-1/2 hours on each side of high tide and you are good. You can still do the trip at low tide but the launch is a little messy since you will have to walk out into the mud a ways. The creek is still navigable at low tide.
From North Myrtle Beach: take 17 North toward Wilmington.
North of Little River take 179 toward Calabash.
Continue on 179 toward Sunset Beach and then take a left on 179B. Turn right on 179B. The road runs dead into Bonaparte's Landing.
Topo maps, nautical maps, and satellite imagery