16 Best Things To Do In Oak Island, North Carolina

things to do in oak island north carolina
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Oak Island is home to just under 8000 people and is a small, quaint seaside town, found on the coast of North Carolina, in Brunswick County. It is connected to the mainland by the island’s bridge to the north. Oak Island may not be North Carolina’s most popular beach destination but it is wonderfully quiet and has a great community feel. If you’re looking for a real American town with good beaches and some good seafood to match then Oak Island is the place to go. This place even has the best Vrbo vacation rentals and places to stay to make sure that your dream vacation is all set. You may think that this little town is sleepy and sedate with little action, but you’d be wrong! There are a great many things to do in Oak Island and the surrounding areas! Oak Island is just a short, one hour drive to world-famous Myrtle Beach, in South Carolina. Hop onto the 211 Interstate and you’ll be there in no time at all! Continue reading to find out about the best things to do in Oak Island, North Carolina.

1. Conquer new heights with Skydive Coastal Carolinas

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Skydive Coastal Carolinas offers an exhilarating array of fun activities in Oak Island that cater to the adventurous spirit of every individual. As one of the premier skydiving destinations in the Carolinas, thrill-seekers can experience the ultimate adrenaline rush by jumping out of an airplane from thousands of feet above the ground. With tandem skydiving options, even first-time jumpers can participate, guided by experienced instructors for a safe and unforgettable experience. The breathtaking views of the coastal landscapes add an extra element of awe to the adventure.

Whether you’re seeking a thrilling bucket-list experience or looking to conquer your fears, skydiving with Skydive Coastal Carolinas promises a life-changing and unforgettable adventure in the skies.

Skydive Coastal Carolinas

Address: 4019 Long Beach Rd SE, Southport, NC 28461, United States

Website: Skydive Coastal Carolinas

Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)

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2. Have fun at Oak Island Jungle Golf

If you are looking for fun things to do in Oak Island, North Carolina, with your family, consider visiting Oak Island Jungle Golf. Here, you can play minigolf with your kids while you admire the jungle theme of the establishment. Besides minigolf, Oak Island Jungle Golf also has an arcade room with classic games like Ms. Pac-Man. It also features ticket games, which may just win you a prize. After playing, you can head to the ice cream shop within the premises, which offers delicious flavors such as birthday cake, bubblegum, and mint chocolate.

Oak Island Jungle Golf

Address: 6321 E Oak Island Dr, Oak Island, NC 28465, United States

Website: Oak Island Jungle Golf

Opening hours: Fri: 4pm - 10pm; Sat: 10am - 10pm (closed from Sun - Thu)

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3. Get close to nature at Oak Island Nature Center

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Oak Island Nature Center is a great attraction in Oak Island for adults and kids alike. You can explore the Talking Trees Walking Trail, which can offer stunning views of the river and lush trees while tourists enjoy a refreshing hike or walk. You can also spot several native birds while you are here. With unique animal and fossil displays, your children can surely enjoy an educational experience. The place features a fishing T-dock, so it is also a wonderful place for those who love angling.

Oak Island Nature Center

Address: 5202 E Yacht Dr, Oak Island, NC 28465, United States

Website: Oak Island Nature Center

Opening hours: Thu - Sat: 11am - 2pm (closed from Sun - Wed)

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4. Check out the iconic Oak Island Light

Oak Island Lighthouse in North Carolina
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Defi22 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Oak Island Light is the most iconic landmark of Oak Island and raises high into the sky, piercing through the Oak Island landscape. It is the most newly constructed of all the lighthouses around Oak Island and certainly stands most proudly. The tower is not painted the traditional red and white of a lighthouse, but instead in hues of grey, so on a foggy day, the Oak Island Light blends right in!

The wooden boarded walkway talks you right beneath the Oak Island Light. From this angle, you can look up and take in its magnitude! The Oak Island Light can be found at Caswell Beach.

Oak Island Light

Address: Oak Island, Cape Fear River, North Carolina

Website: Oak Island Light

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5. Head out to Ocean Crest Fishing Pier

Photographing photographers
Source: Photo by Flickr user Donald Lee Pardue used under CC BY 2.0

The Ocean Crest Fishing Pier is Oak Island’s premier fishing pier. Loved by seasoned and weathered fishermen, along with the children who like to fish off the pier at weekends, no trip to Oak Island would be complete without a visit to Ocean Crest Fishing Pier. The pier looks especially lovely during a midsummer sunset!

The Ocean Crest Fishing Pier is proud to be the longest fishing pier on the Southern Cape Fear Coast. It has produced some impressive catches over the years, including Spanish Mackerel and King Mackerel too! The pier has a really friendly atmosphere and is a great way to meet local people too!

Ocean Crest Fishing Pier

Address: 1409 E Beach Dr, Oak Island, NC 28465

Website: Ocean Crest Fishing Pier

Also See: 10 Must-Visit theme parks and amusement parks in North Carolina

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6. Visit Oak Island's beaches

Caswell Beach, NC
Source: Photo by Flickr user chucka_nc used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Oak Island has some lovely little beaches that are true, hidden gems of North Carolina. Whether you head to the beach as a family with a picnic or with your partner for a romantic stroll, you will not be disappointed. The beaches of Oak Island are virtually litter free, for the local people are very proud of their environment.

The most popular beach is Caswell Beach, very close to the Oak Island Light. Caswell Beach is also close to Oak Island Golf Club that boasts a full 18-hole course. Since the 1990s, the community has invested a lot into protecting the beach as coastal erosion became a big issue.

Caswell Beach

Address: Caswell Beach, Oak Island, 28465, NC

Website: Caswell Beach

Also See: 10 Most Beautiful beaches in North Carolina

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7. Enjoy stand-up paddle boarding and jet skiing

Editor’s note: establishment is permanently closed

Carolina Waters Sports, in Oak Island, offers a great way to explore Oak Island and get out on the water! There’s nothing like the sea breeze to help you get a good night’s sleep, either! There are a wide range of water sports on offer here, including stand up paddle boarding, which is fast becoming their most popular activity!

For the true adrenaline junkies amongst you, hire a jet ski and tear up the water, leaving more than just little ripples in your wake! You can rent a jet ski for half an hour, an hour or even two hours; likewise with the stand up paddle boards. Carolina Water Sports provides you with all the safety equipment you may need!

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Address: 5710, 57th Place West, Oak Island, NC 28465

Website: Stand Up Paddleboarding

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8. Go on a helicopter tour

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by High Tide Aviation on Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Once you have explored Oak Island on the ground, it’s time to head to the skies and see the island from a different angle - the hawk-eye angle! High Tide Helicopter tours are the most reputable way to see Oak Island from above. You can even learn to fly a helicopter, if you’re feeling really daring!

The tours last for up to 90 minutes and each aircraft can hold up to three guests, plus the pilot. If you love seeing geography in action then opt for the ‘Beach Lovers’ tour, which offers amazing views of the coast. The ‘Lighthouse Tour’ takes you over North Carolina’s oldest and best lighthouses, on a short but sweet 15-minute adventure.

Helicopter Tours

Address: Cape Fear Regional Jetport - Oak Island, NC

Website: Helicopter Tours

Also See: 29 Best Things to do in Wilmington, NC in 2020

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9. Book a trip with Oak Island Fishing Charters

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Oak Island Fishing Charters on Sunday, May 23, 2021

Oak Island Fishing Charters is another great way to see as much of Oak Island as possible, including its surrounding waters, and understand the importance of fishing in this small port town. Oak Island Fishing Charters runs private and group fishing expeditions, throughout the year. You can opt for an offshore trip, that takes you far from land or a near shore trip, that keeps you close to the coastline.

On an offshore trip, you can expect to catch Wahoo, Mahi-Mahi and Groupers - if you’re lucky, Snappers and Amberjacks too! Oak Island Fishing Charters are proud to offer a custom experience, so, although their trip usually lasts 7-10 hours, you can arrange an hourly rate for shorter trips. If you’re traveling with children, think about booking one of their ‘Kids Catch’ trips, too!

Oak Island Fishing Charters

Address: Oak Island, NC 28465

Website: Oak Island Fishing Charters

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10. Take a photo at Oak Island Pier

Oak Island Morning Walk
Source: Photo by Flickr user Michael Au used under CC BY 2.0

Oak Island Pier is more of a photo opportunity than a real day-long trip. It is nice to visit Oak Island Pier to get a sense of the industrious fishing port that it once was. Although the pier no longer functions at full capacity, the Flying Fish Cafe is still open daily for main meals and snacks. A great spot to breathe in some fresh sea air and just relax!

Oak Island Pier Restaurant

Address: 705 Ocean Dr, Oak Island, NC 28465

Website: Oak Island Pier

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11. Hunt down something whimsical or collectible at The Hoarders

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Christmas is coming!

Posted by The Hoarders, Inc Oak Island, NC on Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Browsing for gifts and collectibles is so much fun and The Hoarders is an ideal venue to satisfy your curiosity. Whether you enjoy metal sculpture, art, or antiques, the large collection should keep you engrossed for hours. Unique items are stacked everywhere and some of them you may not have ever seen before. If you have a good time there, check back again as they often restock items.

The shop is not one of those second-hand places full of old junk and you’re likely to find something to treasure. It’s usefully located next door to an ice cream shop.

The Hoarders

Address: 8600 E Oak Island Dr, Suite 5, Oak Island, NC 28465-8068

Website: The Hoarders

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12. Discover a hidden gem at the Environmental Overlook Trail

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Environmental Overlook Trail may be passed over as it’s hidden away at the end of 31st Steet behind the Recreation Center at the base of the water tower. The trail allows you to cross the Davis Canal from the Oak Island Drive. Walk into nature in a natural swamp area where you will spot birds and wildlife. Take a half hour stroll across boardwalk bridges. Pass through a wooded area and reach the wooden bridge over Davis Canal. Look out for herons, egrets, and loons. From there, it’s just a short walk to the beach.

Environmental Overlook Trail

Address: 100 Caswell Beach Rd, Oak Island, NC 28465-8439

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13. Bask in the Ingram Planetarium's amazing exhibit

Discovering new things about science and seeing local science exhibits is a great way to spend the day with your kids when visiting Sunset Beach. The Ingram Planetarium was built back in 2002 inspired by Stuart Ingram’s fascination for the night sky and its nightly bodies. Today, it’s a center for learning and discovery, with the Paul Dennis Science Hall, Sky Theatre Library, and programs like laser light and music shows are visited by several tourists from various parts of the world. This is a must-see when traveling with kids as it has an incredible array of activities and shows to come to see inside the planetarium itself. Free admission to members of the planetarium itself, where guests can gain more knowledge and fun facts on the earth, sun, and moon, as well as the geological history of the world from the times of Pangea to many other historic evolutions people of science, are fascinated with.

Ingram Planetarium

Address: Ingram Planetarium, 7625 High Market Street, Sunset Beach, NC 28468

Website: Ingram Planetarium

Opening hours: 11:30 am to 4 pm, Thurs-Fri; 10:30 am to 4pm; Sat

Price: 9.50 USD (adults); 7.50 USD (children 3-12 yearsold)

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14. Explore local Oak Island products at Oak Island Farmer's Market

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Oak Island Recreation Department on Monday, June 1, 2020

Explore Oak Island Farmer’s Market and you will surely discover great finds. You can buy fresh produce from Oak Island locals. There are even delicious homemade jams that will definitely be perfect for breakfast. Other homemade products such as pieces of jewelry and furniture are also showcased and sold here. Parking spaces will not be a problem since there are plenty just across the street. Have fun seeing Oak Island’s culture while supporting its locals.

Oak Island Farmer's Market

Address: SE 49th St, Oak Island, NC 28465, United States

Website: Oak Island Farmer’s Market

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15. Have a relaxing time at Beachin' Day Spa

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Looking for some awesome organic products that rescues animals with their products?? Look no further, we have it!...

Posted by Beachin Day Spa on Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Have a luxurious massage at Beachin’ Day Spa and enjoy a truly relaxing experience. Choose from different massages and their experienced staff will gladly assist you. This spa does not only offer massages though. You can even get your hair cut or colored however you want. They also sell a line of cruelty-free skincare, so if you are looking for organic products, you should definitely check FarmHouse Fresh on your visit. With a variety of services, you will definitely have a great time at this soothing spa.

Beachin' Day Spa

Address: 5200 E Oak Island Dr, Oak Island, NC 28465, United States

Website: Beachin’ Day Spa

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5pm; Sat: 9am - 4:30pm (closed on Sun)

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16. Enjoy live music with a view at Lazy Turtle Bar & Grill

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Happy Taco Tuesday !! Come on down to the beach we have Kate inside and Melissa at the Tiki Hut get yourself a Taco and a $5 Margarita and celebrate Tuesday !!!

Posted by The Lazy Turtle Oceanfront Grille on Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Listening to live music while enjoying delicious food is undeniably fun, especially when done with friends. With a gorgeous view of the ocean, Lazy Turtle Bar & Grill is definitely a must-visit on Oak Island. Since it opens relatively early, spend your morning here and drop by for lunch. Later, enjoy a glass of cold beer while taking in the beauty of the sunset. You can also head here for Taco Tuesday Mexican Fiesta or their Fish Fry Friday.

Lazy Turtle Bar & Grill

Address: 601 Ocean Dr, Oak Island, NC 28465, United States

Website: Lazy Turtle Bar & Grill

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 11am - 11pm; Sun: 11am - 10pm

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All about Oak Island

Visiting Oak Island, North Carolina, is certainly worth your time if you are staying in the bigger and busier Myrtle Beach, just over the state border. It’s safe to say that there are plenty of ways to explore Oak lsland, whether on foot, by boat, or high in the skies above! Of course, to go on these thrilling adventures would mean a longer stay.

No need to worry, because Oak Island has you covered with the best long-term rentals and even pet-friendly Airbnbs.

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Things To Do In Oak Island, North Carolina
Source: Trip101.com

Frequently asked questions about best things to do in Oak Island, NC

  • What are the top attractions to visit in Oak Island?

    There are plenty of beautiful points of interest in Oak Island, but if you have limited time and only want to visit the best, then you should see Oak Island Lighthouse, Ocean Crest Fishing Pier, and the Oak Island beaches.

  • What are the best outdoor activities in Oak Island?

    For Oak Island is boasting of many beautiful beaches, many of its must-try outdoor activities are watersports, including jet skiing and stand-up paddleboarding with the help of Carolina Waters Sports, fishing at Ocean Crest Fishing Pier, and swimming at Caswell Beach. If you’re tired of the waters, you can join a helicopter tour or explore the Environmental Overlook Trail.

  • What are the most popular things to do in Oak Island with kids?

    One of the best things to do with your child that both of you will surely enjoy is joining a fishing trip for kids offered by Oak Island Fishing Charters. Other kid-friendly activities you can try here include exploring the Ingram Planetarium, picnicking at Casswell Beach, and wildlife sightseeing at Environmental Overlook Trail.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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