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Things To Do In Oak Island: Outdoor Activities, Attractions, Dining, And More

Explore a wide range of , , , and more in Oak Island. From beachcombing and surfing to visiting the Oak Island Lighthouse and enjoying local seafood restaurants, there’s something for everyone in this charming coastal town.

Outdoor Activities in Oak Island

Beachcombing and Shell Collecting

Are you ready to embark on a treasure hunt along the sandy shores of Oak Island? Beachcombing and shell collecting are popular outdoor activities that allow you to explore the beauty of the coastline while searching for unique seashells and other treasures washed ashore. As you stroll along the beach, keep an eye out for delicate seashells, colorful sea glass, and even the occasional sand dollar. The beach is a natural wonderland waiting to be discovered, offering a variety of shells and marine life that can be found in the shallow waters or hidden amongst the sand dunes.

Surfing and Paddleboarding

If you’re seeking an adrenaline rush and a chance to ride the waves, Oak Island is a paradise for surfers and paddleboarders alike. With its prime location on the Atlantic coast, Oak Island offers ideal conditions for both beginners and experienced wave riders. Grab your surfboard or paddleboard and head out to the designated surf zones, where you can catch the perfect wave or peacefully glide across the water. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or new to the sport, the waves of Oak Island are ready to provide you with an unforgettable experience.

Fishing and Crabbing

Calling all anglers and seafood enthusiasts! Oak Island is a haven for fishing and crabbing enthusiasts, offering an abundance of opportunities to cast your line and reel in a catch. Whether you prefer fishing from the pier, surf fishing along the shore, or embarking on a deep-sea fishing excursion, Oak Island has it all. Cast your line and try your luck at catching flounder, trout, drum, or even the elusive king mackerel. And if you’re up for a hands-on experience, grab a crab net and venture out to the marshes or piers to catch blue crabs. Don’t forget to check the local fishing regulations and licenses before you set out on your adventure.

Kayaking and Canoeing

Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in the tranquility of Oak Island’s waterways. Kayaking and canoeing provide the perfect opportunity to explore the island’s marshes, creeks, and rivers at your own pace. Paddle through the calm waters, surrounded by the beauty of nature and the sounds of chirping birds and gentle waves. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, Oak Island offers a variety of routes and guided tours to suit every skill level. Keep an eye out for native wildlife, such as herons, egrets, and even dolphins, as you navigate through the serene waters.

In Oak Island, abound, offering something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re in search of seashells, ready to conquer the waves, eager to reel in a big catch, or seeking a peaceful paddle through the waterways, Oak Island has it all. So, grab your gear, embrace the outdoors, and let Oak Island be your playground for adventure and relaxation.

Attractions in Oak Island

Oak Island Lighthouse

Have you ever seen a lighthouse up close? The Oak Island Lighthouse is a must-visit attraction in Oak Island. Standing tall at 153 feet, this iconic lighthouse offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Climb up the 131 steps to the top and be rewarded with panoramic vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the mesmerizing beauty of the sunset from this vantage point. The Oak Island Lighthouse is not only a historic landmark but also a symbol of the rich maritime heritage of the area.

North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport

If you are interested in the history and culture of the coastal region, a visit to the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport is a must. This museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the maritime history of the area, showcasing exhibits on shipbuilding, navigation, and the ecology of the coast. Learn about the life of a mariner, explore artifacts from shipwrecks, and discover the unique ecosystem that thrives along the coast of North Carolina. The museum also organizes educational programs and events for both adults and children. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in the maritime heritage of the region.

Bald Head Island

Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and discover the tranquility of Bald Head Island. Located just a short ferry ride away from Oak Island, this secluded island paradise is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. With no cars allowed on the island, you can explore its natural beauty by foot, bike, or golf cart. Take a stroll along the pristine beaches, visit the Old Baldy Lighthouse, or go birdwatching in the protected habitats. Bald Head Island offers a unique experience where you can reconnect with nature and unwind in a serene environment.

Orton Plantation Gardens

Step into a world of enchantment at the Orton Plantation Gardens. Nestled along the banks of the Cape Fear River, these historic gardens are a sight to behold. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the meticulously manicured landscapes, with blooming flowers, towering oak trees, and tranquil ponds. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and discover hidden paths, charming gazebos, and ornate sculptures. The Orton Plantation Gardens also offer guided tours where you can learn about the history and significance of this botanical masterpiece. Whether you are a nature lover or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, a visit to the Orton Plantation Gardens is a must-do when in Oak Island.

Dining and Shopping in Oak Island

Oak Island is not only a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, but also a great destination for those who appreciate good food and unique experiences. Whether you’re craving fresh seafood, looking for a special gift, or want to explore local art galleries, Oak Island has something to satisfy every palate and desire.

Local Seafood Restaurants

When it comes to in Oak Island, seafood is king. With its coastal location, the island boasts an abundance of fresh fish and shellfish that are expertly prepared by local chefs. Whether you prefer classic seafood dishes like shrimp and grits or want to try something more adventurous like blackened mahi-mahi, you’ll find a variety of options to tantalize your taste buds. Many of the seafood restaurants in Oak Island offer waterfront , allowing you to enjoy your meal while taking in stunning views of the ocean.

Boutique and Gift Shops

For those in search of unique souvenirs or one-of-a-kind items, Oak Island’s boutique and gift shops are a treasure trove of discovery. From stylish clothing and accessories to handmade jewelry and home decor, these shops offer a curated selection of products that reflect the island’s coastal charm. Whether you’re looking for a special gift for a loved one or want to treat yourself to something special, you’ll find plenty of options to choose from. The friendly and knowledgeable staff at these shops are always ready to assist you in finding the perfect item.

Farmers Market

If you’re a fan of fresh produce, locally sourced products, and supporting small businesses, then a visit to the Oak Island Farmers Market is a must. Held every Monday morning from May to September, this vibrant market brings together local farmers, artisans, and food vendors. Here, you’ll find an array of seasonal fruits and vegetables, homemade baked goods, artisanal cheeses, and much more. It’s a great place to stock up on ingredients for a beachside picnic or to simply enjoy a leisurely stroll while sampling delicious treats.

Art Galleries

Oak Island’s thriving arts scene is showcased in its numerous art galleries. These galleries feature a diverse range of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, photography, and mixed media pieces. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply appreciate beautiful things, visiting these galleries is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and support talented artists. Many of the galleries also offer workshops and classes, allowing you to unleash your own creativity and take home a unique masterpiece.

In Oak Island, dining and are not just activities, but experiences that allow you to connect with the local community and immerse yourself in the island’s culture. So whether you’re indulging in fresh seafood, browsing through charming boutiques, exploring the farmers market, or admiring local artwork, you’ll discover that Oak Island offers a delightful blend of flavors and treasures waiting to be explored.

Family-Friendly Activities in Oak Island

Are you looking for fun-filled family activities in Oak Island? Look no further! Oak Island offers a range of that are sure to keep everyone entertained. Whether you’re a fan of outdoor adventures, nature exploration, or exciting recreational facilities, Oak Island has something for everyone. Let’s dive into some of the best in Oak Island:

Miniature Golf

Get ready for some friendly competition at Oak Island’s miniature golf courses. Perfect for all ages, miniature golf is a classic family activity that combines skill and fun. Putt your way through creative and challenging courses, complete with obstacles, tunnels, and even water features. Miniature golf is a great way to spend quality time with your family while enjoying the beautiful Oak Island weather.

Oak Island Nature Center

Step into the captivating world of nature at the Oak Island Nature Center. This educational and interactive facility offers a variety of family-friendly programs and exhibits that highlight the unique flora and fauna of the area. Explore the nature trails, learn about local wildlife, and even participate in hands-on activities. The Oak Island Nature Center is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and families seeking to connect with the natural wonders of Oak Island.

Oak Island Skate Park

Calling all skateboarders, rollerbladers, and scooter enthusiasts! The Oak Island Skate Park is the perfect spot for some adrenaline-pumping fun. This state-of-the-art skate park features ramps, rails, and bowls of varying difficulty levels, catering to both beginners and experienced riders. Whether you want to practice your tricks or simply enjoy the thrill of skating, the Oak Island Skate Park offers a safe and exciting environment for the whole family.

Oak Island Recreation Center

If you’re looking for a wide range of recreational activities under one roof, the Oak Island Recreation Center is the place to be. This modern facility boasts a variety of amenities, including indoor basketball courts, a fitness center, and even a climbing wall. Engage in friendly games of basketball, work up a sweat in the gym, or challenge yourself on the climbing wall. The Oak Island Recreation Center is a hub of active entertainment that caters to the interests and energy levels of every family member.

With these in Oak Island, you’ll never run out of things to do. From mini-golf to nature exploration to thrilling skateboarding, Oak Island offers a diverse range of options for families seeking memorable experiences. So gather your loved ones, pack your sunscreen, and get ready for a fantastic time in Oak Island!

Events and Festivals in Oak Island

Oak Island is not just a beautiful beach destination; it also offers a vibrant calendar of events and festivals throughout the year. Whether you are a music lover, a fan of fireworks, or someone who enjoys the holiday spirit, Oak Island has something for everyone. Here are some of the exciting events and festivals that you can look forward to during your visit:

Oak Island Beach Concert Series

Imagine the sun setting over the ocean while listening to live music with your toes in the sand. That’s exactly what the Oak Island Beach Concert Series offers. This popular event brings talented musicians to the beachfront stage, creating a magical atmosphere for locals and visitors alike. Grab a beach chair or blanket, sit back, relax, and enjoy the sounds of various genres, from rock and country to jazz and blues. It’s a fantastic way to spend a summer evening with friends and family.

Fourth of July Celebration

There’s no better place to celebrate America’s independence than Oak Island. The Fourth of July Celebration on the island is a spectacle not to be missed. The day kicks off with a parade through the streets, showcasing colorful floats and patriotic displays. Afterward, head to the beach for a day of fun in the sun, with activities like sandcastle building contests and beach games. As the evening approaches, find a spot on the sand and prepare to be amazed by a breathtaking fireworks display that lights up the night sky. It’s an unforgettable experience that will make your Fourth of July one to remember.

Christmas by the Sea Festival

Experience the magic of the holiday season at Oak Island’s Christmas by the Sea Festival. This festive event takes place in December and offers a wide range of activities for all ages. From a holiday market where you can shop for unique gifts and crafts to a gingerbread house contest that showcases the creativity of locals, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss the chance to meet Santa Claus himself and take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the charming streets of Oak Island. The festival culminates with a spectacular parade, complete with beautifully decorated floats and cheerful holiday music. It’s a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit and create lasting memories with your loved ones.

Oak Island Art Guild Show

For art enthusiasts, the Oak Island Art Guild Show is a must-visit event. This exhibition showcases the talent and creativity of local artists, allowing visitors to admire and purchase unique pieces of art. From paintings and sculptures to photography and ceramics, there’s a wide variety of artwork on display. Stroll through the gallery, chat with the artists, and learn more about their inspiration and techniques. Whether you’re a seasoned art collector or simply appreciate beautiful creations, the Oak Island Art Guild Show is a delightful experience that will leave you inspired and amazed.

With such a diverse range of events and festivals, Oak Island offers entertainment and excitement for everyone. Whether you’re a music lover, a holiday enthusiast, or an art aficionado, you’ll find something to captivate your interests. Plan your visit accordingly and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and community of Oak Island.

Water Sports in Oak Island

Oak Island offers a variety of exciting activities for those seeking an adrenaline rush and a splash of fun. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or simply looking to enjoy the water, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of the thrilling you can experience in Oak Island:

Jet Skiing

What better way to explore the pristine waters of Oak Island than on a jet ski? Hop on one of these powerful machines and feel the wind in your hair as you zip across the waves. Jet skiing is a fantastic way to explore the coastline, feel the thrill of speed, and enjoy breathtaking views of the ocean. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, jet skiing offers an exhilarating adventure for all.


Imagine being suspended in the air, soaring high above the sparkling waters of Oak Island. That’s exactly what parasailing offers. Strap into a harness, attach yourself to a colorful parachute, and get ready for a breathtaking experience. As the boat pulls you up into the sky, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the coastline and the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a truly unique and exhilarating way to see Oak Island from a different perspective.


For those who love the combination of wind and water, windsurfing is the perfect water sport. Glide across the waves on a specially designed board, harnessing the power of the wind to propel yourself forward. It’s a thrilling and challenging sport that requires a good sense of balance and coordination. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced windsurfer, Oak Island’s windswept beaches provide the ideal conditions for this exciting activity.

Tubing and Wakeboarding

If you’re looking for a fun-filled day on the water, tubing and wakeboarding are not to be missed. Grab a tube or a wakeboard and hold on tight as you’re pulled behind a boat. Feel the adrenaline rush as you bounce over the waves and experience the thrill of gliding across the water. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, tubing and wakeboarding offer endless hours of fun for individuals, families, and groups of friends.

With its stunning coastline and favorable weather conditions, Oak Island is a paradise for enthusiasts. Whether you’re seeking high-speed adventure or a leisurely ride, there’s a water sport activity for everyone to enjoy. So, grab your gear, put on your sunscreen, and get ready for an unforgettable experience on the waters of Oak Island.

Day Trips from Oak Island

Wilmington, NC

If you’re looking for a day trip from Oak Island that offers a mix of history, culture, and , Wilmington is the perfect destination. This vibrant city is located just a short drive away and has something for everyone.

Explore Historic Downtown Wilmington

Start your day trip by exploring the historic downtown area of Wilmington. Take a leisurely stroll along the Riverwalk, where you can enjoy picturesque views of the Cape Fear River. Marvel at the beautifully preserved historic buildings and immerse yourself in the city’s rich history.

Visit the USS North Carolina Battleship

For history buffs, a visit to the USS North Carolina Battleship is a must. This World War II battleship is now a floating museum and offers a fascinating glimpse into the past. Walk the decks, explore the various exhibits, and learn about the brave men and women who served aboard this iconic ship.

Enjoy Waterfront Dining

After a morning of exploring, treat yourself to a delicious meal at one of Wilmington’s waterfront restaurants. Indulge in fresh seafood while taking in the scenic views of the river. From casual eateries to upscale dining options, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

Discover the Beauty of Airlie Gardens

If you’re in the mood for some tranquility and natural beauty, make sure to visit Airlie Gardens. This stunning garden oasis spans over 67 acres and features a variety of themed gardens, walking trails, and a picturesque lake. Take a leisurely stroll and immerse yourself in the serenity of nature.

Southport, NC

Another fantastic day trip option from Oak Island is the charming coastal town of Southport. Known for its picturesque waterfront, historic charm, and friendly atmosphere, Southport is a delightful destination to explore.

Explore the Quaint Downtown Area

Start your day in Southport by exploring the quaint downtown area. Wander through the tree-lined streets and admire the beautifully preserved Victorian homes. Visit the local shops and boutiques, where you can find unique gifts and souvenirs.

Take a Ferry to Bald Head Island

For a truly unique experience, take a ferry from Southport to Bald Head Island. This car-free island is known for its pristine beaches, scenic marshes, and untouched natural beauty. Spend the day exploring the island on foot, bike, or golf cart, and enjoy the tranquility of this hidden gem.

Visit the North Carolina Maritime Museum

History enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Southport. Learn about the rich maritime heritage of the area through interactive exhibits and displays. Discover the stories of shipwrecks, pirates, and the importance of the maritime industry to the region.

Relax at Waterfront Park

End your day trip to Southport with a leisurely visit to Waterfront Park. This beautiful park offers stunning views of the Cape Fear River and is the perfect spot to relax and unwind. Pack a picnic, watch the boats go by, or simply soak in the peaceful atmosphere.

Carolina Beach, NC

For a day of sun, sand, and surf, head to Carolina Beach. This lively beach town is located just a short drive from Oak Island and offers a wide range of activities for beach lovers.

Soak Up the Sun on the Beach

Carolina Beach is known for its beautiful sandy shores and crystal-clear waters. Spend the day lounging on the beach, building sandcastles, or taking a refreshing dip in the ocean. With lifeguards on duty and designated swimming areas, it’s the perfect place for a family-friendly beach day.

Explore Carolina Beach Boardwalk

Take a stroll along the Carolina Beach Boardwalk and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere. Enjoy classic beach fare at one of the many restaurants and snack stands, play games at the arcade, or hop on a ride at the amusement park. The boardwalk is also home to live music and entertainment during the summer months.

Try Your Luck at Carolina Beach Fishing Pier

If you’re a fishing enthusiast, make sure to visit the Carolina Beach Fishing Pier. Cast a line and try your luck at catching a variety of fish species. Even if you’re not an avid angler, the pier offers stunning views of the ocean and is a great spot for a leisurely stroll.

Explore Carolina Beach State Park

Nature lovers will appreciate a visit to Carolina Beach State Park. This 761-acre park offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking trails, picnic areas, and a marina. Explore the diverse ecosystems, spot wildlife, and enjoy the serenity of nature.

Myrtle Beach, SC

For a day trip that offers a bit of everything, head south to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. Known for its bustling boardwalk, thrilling , and beautiful beaches, Myrtle Beach is a popular destination for visitors from all over.

Enjoy Fun and Thrills at Myrtle Beach Boardwalk

Start your day in Myrtle Beach by exploring the famous boardwalk. With its lively atmosphere, numerous shops, restaurants, and , there’s never a dull moment. Take a ride on the SkyWheel for panoramic views of the coastline, try your hand at mini-golf, or indulge in some delicious beachside treats.

Relax on the Beautiful Beaches

Myrtle Beach is famous for its wide, sandy beaches and warm ocean waters. Spend the day soaking up the sun, building sandcastles, or taking a refreshing swim. With miles of coastline to explore, you’re sure to find your perfect spot in the sun.

Visit Ripley’s Aquarium

For a unique and educational experience, visit Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach. Get up close and personal with a variety of marine life, including sharks, stingrays, and colorful tropical fish. Explore the different exhibits, watch live feeding shows, and even have the opportunity to touch some of the creatures.

Explore Broadway at the Beach

End your day trip to Myrtle Beach with a visit to Broadway at the Beach. This sprawling entertainment complex offers a wide range of activities, including , , and live entertainment. Take a ride on the zip line, catch a show at the theater, or simply enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

Whether you’re interested in history, , or simply relaxing on the beach, there are plenty of day trip options from Oak Island. Wilmington, Southport, Carolina Beach, and Myrtle Beach offer a diverse range of experiences, ensuring that there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and embark on an unforgettable adventure just a short drive away from Oak Island.

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