The story of Sunset Beach and Sea Trail began about forty years ago when Mannon Gore built the first bridge connecting Sunset Beach to the mainland. Prior to this, all of the land in the area had been owned by International Paper as timberland and had remained undisturbed as a coastal paradise.
Over the following decades, the vision of building a wholesome, family-oriented beach and golfing community was shared by five men. Their simple dream has become the guiding force behind the growth and development of North Carolina's number one beach and the only complete golfing community on the North Carolina coast.
1957 Mannon Gore sold his farm several miles north of Sunset Beach, raising money to purchase the land that would become the barrier island and mainland property of the town of Sunset Beach.
1963 The town of Sunset Beach was officially incorporated.
1976 Ed Gore (Mannon's son), Paul Dennis (now deceased), Miller Pope, John Williams and Harris Thompson (now deceased) founded Sea Trail Corporation, a company committed to thoughtful, quality development. The partners shared the dream of a master-planned community incorporating the very best residential, recreational and commercial interests.
1983 Oyster Bay Golf Links, located on Sea Trail property, was Sunset Beach's first golf course. Golf Digest was so impressed that the magazine named Oyster Bay "the Best New Resort Course in America".
1985 The Dan Maples Course at Sea Trail Plantation opened in October of 1985, and quickly gained a reputation as one of the best-conditioned courses in the Southeast. Golf Digest named it to the list of the most outstanding new resort courses in the country. The Maples Clubhouse opened as a complement to the course, offering a full service pro shop, Brassies Lounge, and fine dining overlooking the 18th green at Tavern on the Tee.
1988 The celebrated designer Rees Jones began development of the Sea Trail championship course bearing his name. That year, Golf Digest chose the Rees Jones course as one of the most outstanding new resort courses in America.
1989 Just after the Jones course opened, Willard Byrd, celebrated architect of courses at both the Atlanta Country Club and The Country Club of North Carolina, designed his I8-hole course at Sea Trail Plantation. The course begins and ends at the magnificent Jones/Byrd Clubhouse, which houses a full-service pro shop, and Magnolia's Restaurant &Bar.
199O The Maples Swim & Tennis Center opened as the first "members only" recreational facility on the property, where homeowners can enjoy the pool, whirlpool, sauna, fitness center and tennis courts. Meeting rooms at the Center are home to many social events for owners and their guests. A favorite gathering place is the porch and its comfortable rocking chairs.
1991 This year, Sunset Beach and Sea Trail were named the top coastal community and "best North Carolina beach" by Duke University.
1992 The Experts agree with what locals have known all along. Money Magazine named Sunset Beach one of the best buys in the nation. Changing Times called Sea Trail and Sunset Beach one of the top five retirement areas in the country
1993 The private Plantation Swim & Tennis Club opened for members, offering a pool, exercise facilities and social rooms. Known affectionately as the "Pink Palace, the club is open to Sea Trail property owners for a wide range of social activities.
1996 The on-site Sea Trail Medical Center, a joint venture between Sea Trail Corporation and Brunswick Community Hospital, opened and provides an expansion of hospital services to area residents. The lovely Chapel on the Green was completed, providing residents a place to meet together regularly to pray for the needs of others and to enjoy the serene setting.
1997 Several new neighborhoods were opened on both the Jones & the Byrd Courses, including single-family homes, town homes and golf villas. The Village Activity Center, offering indoor and outdoor pools and whirlpools, a cardio-vascular theater, fitness classes, and children's activities (in season) opened. VAC membership is offered at a reduced rate for residents.
1998/1999 Sea Trail broke ground for Phase I of The Village at Sunset Beach, a mixed- use development. A 10-year project, the 87 -acre property adjoins Sea Trail and will include shopping, restaurants, office space, entertainment, and living space (including assisted living). Phase I of the Village at Sunset opened in summer of 1999 with a 46,000 square foot Food Lion super store and fifteen specialty shops. Also in early summer, Sea Trail broke ground for a new Conference Center.
2000 Sea Trail opened the new 30,000 square foot Carolina Conference Center. Combined with existing meeting facilities, the Conference Center gives Sea Trail over 70,000 square feet of meeting and function space, making us the largest conference facility on the North Carolina Coast. Also in 2000, Golf Digest Places to Play gave all three golf courses a four-star rating.
2003 Sea Trail was host to the Governor’s Conference on Tourism
2006 Sea Trail was host to the U.S. Open qualifier held on the Jones Course
2007 Magnolias Restaurant underwent a total renovation for the main dinning room and bar area, and was renamed Magnolias Fine Food & Spirits.
2007 Sea Trail was again host to the Governor's Conference on Tourism