Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Oak Island, NC

  • Published 2023/03/19

Oak Island is a pristine small town by the sea on North Carolina‘s coast.

The island’s bridge to the north connects it to the mainland.

Though Oak Island is not the most famous beach town in North Carolina, you might want to visit it if you are looking for an excellent beach with scrumptious seafood.

Other than that, there are many things to do on this beautiful island and its surrounding areas.

Interested to know more about this stunning place?

Here are the 20 best things you can do in Oak Island, North Carolina:

Explore the Beaches of Oak Island

Beach in Oak Island

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Oak Island has multiple beaches that are exquisite and perfect for a beautiful trip with friends, family, or romantic partners.

Caswell Beach is the most popular beach, and it is pretty near the Oak Island Light.

Aerial view of the Caswell Beach

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Oak Island Golf Club has a tremendous 18-hole course near this beach.

The community is proud of its environment and has dramatically protected the beach from coastal erosion.

Shoreline of Oak Island

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Visit Ocean Crest Fishing Pier

Ocean Crest Fishing Pier

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If you are looking for a premier fishing pier in Oak Island, then Ocean Crest Fishing Pier is where you should head out.

Both weathered and seasoned fishermen love this pier, and this is a fun spot for children who love to fish during their free time.

The pier takes on an altogether new beauty if you visit it during the midsummer sunset.

View of the Ocean Crest Fishing Pier

Paul Arps, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is the longest fishing pier on the Southern Cape Fear Coast.

King Mackerel and Spaniel Mackerel are among the impressive catches you can expect here.

The pier is also a great place to develop friendships with the locals.

See the Nature at Oak Island Nature Center

Both kids and adults will have great fun at Oak Island Nature Center.

Talking Trees Walking Trail is an excellent medium to get close to nature and enjoy fantastic flora and fauna views.

You can also go for a walk or hike.

This place is also the house of many colorful native birds.

The place also offers an educational experience for children as it holds unique displays of fossils and various animals.

People who love angling can visit the fishing T-dock located in this area.

Have Fun at Oak Island Jungle Golf

Visit Oak Island Jungle Golf if you are looking forward to having fun with your friends and family.

The establishment has a jungle theme; you can play mini-golf with your children.

Apart from mini-golf, the place has an arcade room where you can play classic games like Ms.PacMan.

You can also win prizes through ticket games.

When you are done playing, relish your taste buds with multiple flavors of ice cream available there, like bubblegum, cake, and mint chocolate.

So, you can have a good time and a unique experience of sugary delights.

Head Out to Oak Island Lighthouse

Oak Island Light

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Oak Island Lighthouse is the landmark of Oak Island as it is positioned at a considerable height, towering into the sky, looking over the entire landscape of Oak Island.

It is the latest and most beautiful lighthouse among all the lighthouses of Oak Island.

The lighthouse is also exceptional in the way it is painted.

View of the Oak Island Lighthouse

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It is not painted in regular red and white hues but has a gray tone and looks mysterious on a foggy day.

The lighthouse has a wooden boarded walkway which gives a rustic feel to it.

Standing on the walkway, you can relish the grandeur of the lighthouse.

The Oak Island Light is located on Caswell Beach.

Light beaming out from Oak Island Lighthouse

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Enjoy Jet Skiing at Carolina Watersports

Step out and talk to the waves at Carolina Watersports in Oak Island.

The water sports are an excellent way to refresh the spirit with the fresh breeze touching your face and the sea waves roaring around you.

You can do a number of water sports here, such as paddle boarding, which is also a popular activity there.

Hire a jet ski if you are looking for a water adventure filled with an adrenaline rush.

You can rent a jet ski per your time requirements, whether for one or two hours or half an hour.

Caroline Water Sports provides you with all the necessary safety equipment.

Enjoy your water sports to the fullest at Oak Island without any worries!

Visit Oak Island Pier

Oak Island Pier

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A trip to Oak Island Pier is a perfect opportunity to click Instagram-worthy photos and create beautiful memories.

A trip remains unsuccessful if you cannot capture perfect moments with your loved ones.

The pier was once a great fishing port.

Though it is no longer operational to its utmost capacity, you can enjoy delicious snacks and meals at Flying Fish Cafe.

The café remains open daily, and you can grab a bite anytime.

It is a lovely spot to inhale the fresh ocean breeze and relax your mind and body.

Take a Helicopter Tour with High Tide Helicopter

High Tide Helicopter tours can assist you in getting a hawk-eye view of the island.

You can also opt for a helicopter ride session to advance your adventure.

Three guests can fly in the aircraft at one time, and each tour is of about 90 minutes long.

Go for the Beach Lovers tour for a brilliant view of the coast’s geography.

Browse for Collectibles at The Hoarders

Hunting down for collectibles is a must if you are on holiday.

The Hoarders is your shopping destination to get unique gifts on Oak Island as a remembrance.

The place has a vast collection of antiques, metal sculptures, art, and other artifacts.

All pieces available here are new; you will not find second-hand trash here.

Go for an Expedition with Oak Island Fishing Charters

Booking a trip with Oak Island Fishing Charters is a beautiful way to explore Oak Island to the most significant possible degree.

You can see the waters surrounding the island.

Learn about the small port town and the value of fishing in the area.

You can go for a trip with a group or have a private fishing expedition as per your choice and requirements.

The trips are available yearly, and you can visit any time.

Wahoo, Grouper, and Mahi-Mahi are the catches you can expect on an offshore trip.

Amberjacks and Snappers, too, can be caught if it’s your lucky day!

You can have a custom experience with Oak Island Fishing Charters.

You can have a whole trip of 7-10 hours, or you can pay based on per hourly basis.

Kids Catch trips are a must if you are visiting with children!

Buy Local Produce at Oak Island Farmer’s Market

Visit Oak Island Farmers’ Market to buy local fresh farm produce.

They also sell homemade pieces of furniture and jewelry.

It is also a great way to know about local Oak Island culture and the items that make a part of its tradition.

Buy fresh fruits and vegetables and have a great time interacting with the people.

Relax at The Lazy Turtle Oceanfront Grille

The Lazy Turtle Oceanfront Grille is the place to be if you want to relish the beach view while eating lip-smacking food.

To visit this place, you must wake up early as it opens at the break of dawn.

Enjoy a glass of cold beer in the evening while looking over the sunset in the vast ocean.

You must also head here for their Fish Fry Friday or Taco Tuesday Mexican Fiesta for an out-of-the-box experience.

Calm Your Nerves at Beachin’ Day Spa

Have a relaxing experience through massages at Beachin’ Day Spa.

The spa’s experienced staff is trained in providing various kinds of luxurious massages.

Apart from massage, you can also get other beauty treatments for your face and hair.

If you are looking for organic products, you should explore FarmHouse Fresh.

The spa provides cruelty-free skincare and provides you with a soothing experience.

The spa is also a great way to end your day, have a good night’s sleep, and wake up fresh for your activities the next day!

Spot Flora and Fauna at the Environmental Overlook Trail

The Environmental Overlook Trail is a hidden gem many tourists usually overlook.

It is located behind the Recreation Center at the end of 31st Street, at the foundation of the water tower.

Through this trail, you can cross the Davis Canal from Oak Island Drive.

There is a natural swamp area where you can enjoy the natural scenery and spot unique wildlife and birds.

Then, you can walk for half an hour across broad walk bridges.

Walk through the wooded area to reach the wooden bridge over Davis Canal.

Take the Family to Middleton Park

Middleton Park is without question the best family-oriented park in Oak Island.

Not only does it have a ton of amenities geared to children and teenagers, but the park also is a stone’s throw away from scenic beaches.

Spend a whole day here and you won’t be bored, as the park has a splash pad, playgrounds, tennis courts, and various events from time-to-time.

Middleton Park’s beach access is also a gorgeous spot to just enjoy the beauty of Oak Island.

Access it along Southeast 47th Street.

Experience History at Fort Caswell Rifle Range

Fort Caswell Rifle Range is one of the most historic places in Oak Island, often forgotten because of its obscurity.

A World War I historic site, this is where many soldiers were trained in preparation when the United States was entering the war.

It also served a purpose during World War II, acting as a communications and patrol base.

Today, you can see the remnants of this military facility along Foxfire Trace, near Caswell Beach.

You’ll find lots of interesting concrete sections that have been overtaken by nature, giving it an austere aesthetic.

Grab a Dessert at Lil & John’s Sweetreat Ice Cream Parlor

There’s something charming about getting ice cream after a day on the beach.

Lil & John’s Sweetreat Ice Cream Parlor is arguably the most famous spot in Oak Island, receiving long lines during peak hours.

It’s famous for a wide variety of creamy ice cream flavors that are served in huge scoops, making this a great bargain.

They also have other treats here, such as banana splits, waffles, pies, and pudding.

Find Lil & JOhn’s Sweetreat Ice Cream Parlor along Oak Island Drive.

Have a Scenic Meal at Pepperoni Grill at the Beach

Pepperoni Grill at the Beach is one of the most visited restaurants in Oak Island.

It’s famous for its location near the beach, along with scrumptious Italian food that’s packed with flavor.

Some of their must-try dishes here are the stromboli, chicken wings, and of course, their meaty pizzas.

Pepperoni Grill at the Beach also has underrated appetizers like their garlic knots and fried pickles.

Perfect after a day on the beach, find this restaurant along East Beach Drive.

Take a Breather at Malcolm Register Park

The ocean isn’t the only body of water you can appreciate at Oak Island, as it also has an intercoastal waterway on the northern end.

This gives a new dimension of beauty to Oakland Island, and you can best appreciate it at Malcolm Register Park.

Not often visited by tourists, this is a great place to take a break and enjoy a quiet afternoon.

You can see the beautiful neighborhoods surrounding the waterway, and there are even scenic boardwalks and a butterfly garden here for photo opportunities.

Visit Malcolm Register Park along Northeast 52nd Street.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit Ingram Planetarium Exhibit

The Ingram Planetarium is an excellent place to discover amazing facts about science and have a wonderful time with your kids.

It was built in 2002 and was inspired by the taste of Stuart Ingram for the night sky and planets.

Sky Theatre Library and Paul Dennis Science Hall are among the favorite spots of tourists from all across the globe.

Members of the planetarium can visit for free and gain mind-blowing knowledge on Sun, Earth, and Moon.

You can discover the planet’s geological history since Pangea and the future evolution in science.

Final Thoughts

Oak Island is a quaint town that lets you experience the Atlantic Ocean through its sprawling beaches.

While mostly known for its beachfront, the place has a lot of added value as a tourist attraction thanks to its local economy.

Whether you’re looking for nature trails or quiet spots, Oak Island is a great vacation spot for any tourist.

With this list of the best things to do in Oak Island, North Carolina, you can maximize the town’s potential.

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