Oak Island is a barrier island and beach town located in southern Brunswick County. It faces south, affording residents beautiful sunrises and sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean. Caswell Beach is also located on Oak Island, which is where you’ll find the Oak Island Lighthouse casting its light over the Caswell Basin, Fort Caswell, and Boathouse Creek.
Nature takes center stage on Oak Island. You’ll notice homes are built further apart and surrounded by more trees than some other beaches in Southeastern North Carolina. The island’s layout provides opportunities to own a home on the beach, marsh, or Intracoastal Waterway (ICWW), as well as inner rows that are a walk or bike ride to one of the public beach accesses.
Oak Island provides multiple options for enjoying the water. Up and down the island are over 115 public beach accesses and ICWW accesses. If you enjoy stand up paddle boarding, many of the public accesses along the marsh and ICWW are suitable starting points, but we also recommend checking out Long Beach Paddle Company and their quiet launch area.
For boaters, there are public boat ramps for accessing the ICWW, Atlantic Ocean, and Cape Fear River, including the NE 55th St Municipal Boat Ramp, Dutchman Creek Boat Ramp, and public kayak launch (see more options here).
Fishing is a popular sport on Oak Island, which is home to the U.S.Open King Mackerel Tournament. There’s a variety of fishing charters for hire. But if you’d like to fish more leisurely, you can try one of the ICWW access points or fishing piers: Oak Island Pier and Ocean Crest Fishing Pier. You can also try crabbing at TheCrab Dock, Heron Lookout, or the end of W. Oak Island Drive. Check out Ian Sands’ tips for crabbing at Oak Island.
Of course, Oak Island wouldn’t be a true island destination without great seafood options. There are many to choose from, but we recommend checking out Swain’s Seafood, Island Way, and Tranquil Harbour. You can also stop by one of the local seafood markets, like Haag & Sons.
Looking for some time on the green? This area features two golf courses:
For more outdoor fun, Oak Island has a mini golf course and a variety of town-sponsored nature trails and outdoor parks, including a splash pad (open Memorial Day to Labor Day), disc golf course (Bill Smith Park), and butterfly garden. The island’s Kevin Bell Skate Park was also an option for many years but is currently being rebuilt. You can check the progress of it here.
Oak Island is pet-friendly. Dogs are allowed on the beach at any time if they are on a leash. They are allowed off their leash from October 15 - March 15, but always remember to clean up after your pet to keep the beaches human-friendly too. The town also has two dog parks – Salty Dog Park and Hannon A. Templeton Park.
This beautiful island has a tourism industry, and many homes are vacation properties. However, there is a growing population of year-round residents thanks to technology and the increased acceptance of remote work. Just don’t be surprised if your favorite small business takes a break when winter rolls around. Closing shop for a few weeks helps them save money and regain the energy they’ll need when they reopen closer to spring.
When the island gets quiet, there are additional shopping and entertainment options in Southport (20 mins), Leland (33 mins), Wilmington (48 mins), and Myrtle Beach (1 hour, 15 mins).
While the island may get quiet depending on the season, residents of Oak Island have access to top-notch medical care year-round. Dosher Medical Center - Oak Island is a family practice providing services right on the island. They offer even more options at the Dosher Memorial Hospital in Southport (20 mins). Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center is also a short drive away in Bolivia (20 mins), but some residents may need to drive to Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical center in Wilmington (50 mins) for specialized care.
If you have questions about living on Oak Island, we invite you to contact us. This is a wonderful area for home buyers looking for a laid-back beach atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for a primary or secondary home, we are experienced with each and can help you negotiate the purchase of your dream home.
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