Oak Island, North Carolina
“A family-friendly beach community with a small-town atmosphere”
Facts & Figures
- Ahoy! Doughnuts
- Carolina National Golf Club
- Oak Island Par Three at South Harbor
- Oak Island Jungle Golf (mini golf and arcade)
- Oak Island Parks & Recreation
- Ocean Crest Pier
- OKI Scoop Shop and Donuts
- Pirate’s Deck Restaurant
- Shagger Jack’s Restaurant
- North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
Oak Island, North Carolina is a small beach town located in Brunswick County, about 45 minutes south of Wilmington. Oak Island is unique in that the beach runs East to West, rather than North to South, due to North Carolina’s coastal geography. Unlike many of the other numerous beach towns along the coast, Oak Island is not commercialized like other beach towns in the Outer Banks and nearby Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This makes for a very laid back atmosphere. However, the town is much quieter during the off-season, with some restaurants and stores closing down until the peak summer beach season. Oak Island offers a wide variety of attractions, including golf courses, recreation, restaurants, stores, and multiple beach access points, as well as a salt marsh inlet in between the beach and mainland.
Oak Island is our family’s favorite destination in North Carolina! After exploring many other beaches along North Carolina’s coast, we have found a home in Oak Island. We love everything about it, including the beaches, parks, restaurants, and everything else it has to offer.
Our favorite places to visit during our trips to Oak Island include the Ocean Crest Pier and the salt marsh inlet in between the beach and Intracoastal Waterway. This includes a scenic boardwalk between SE 20th Street and 19th PL East. This is a great place for exploring wildlife, including a variety of birds and marine wildlife such as Fiddler Crabs.
While in town, we also like to visit nearby Southport, a short drive from Oak Island. Southport is a great place for eating fresh seafood and watching large freighter ships coming in and out of the Port of Wilmington. There is also a nice downtown area filled with small shops. Southport is a popular filming location for television and movies.
On rainy days, we take the ferry over to Fort Fisher to visit the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. This is our favorite North Carolina Aquarium and is still fun for our kids after many visits over the years.
As golfers, we like to play golf while in town on vacation, as well. We’ve played nearby Carolina National Golf Club in Bolivia several times. I’ve also played the Oak Island Par Three at South Harbor with our son.
Finally, Oak Island Parks & Recreation does a great job with their parks and summer festivals, including the annual “Oak Island Beach Day” around the July 4th holiday.
If you’re looking for a new beach town destination, be sure to check out Oak Island!