Many families wanting a quiet beach vacation choose Oak Island on the southern North Carolina coast. You won’t find a party atmosphere, but you can find many family oriented activities.
On the Beach
You can do any of the usual beach activities. Relax in the sun. Play in the water. Build a sand castle. Body surf, but Oak Island is not a surfer’s beach. Take a morning or evening walk or run along the beach. Relax some more; it is your vacation.
Caution: the Oak Island beaches are not patrolled by lifeguards. Keep a close watch on your children and others who are not strong swimmers. Watch for signs of rip currents and do not go out into dangerous looking water.
There are two fishing piers on Oak Island. There were three, but a hurricane destroyed one. You can go fishing on the piers, from the shore, or on a deep sea fishing cruise. Walking out on the piers is also enjoyable. If you fish, make sure you have the proper NC fishing license.
Rent an ocean kayak. Ocean Rentals at 4014 East Beach Drive rents ocean kayaks by the day or week. Those not wanting to kayak alone can take a kayaking tour. If the ocean is rough, this is not a good activity for small children. They can be thrown off too easily. For those who can handle the surf, catching the wave just right and riding it in on a kayak is fun. If the surf on the ocean side of the island is too rough, go to the other side of the island. It borders the much calmer Intracoastal Waterway.
While arranging your kayak rental, you can also rent bicycles, surfboards, and a wide range of other beach equipment.
There is one golf course on Oak Island. The Oak Island Country Club is on the left a short distance after crossing the bridge onto Oak Island. There are well over a dozen other golf courses near Oak Island.
Less serious golfers can try the Oak Island Jungle miniature golf course at 6321 East Oak Island Drive.
Attractions Near Oak Island
Southport is a historic small town just north of Oak Island that has a variety of quaint gift, antique, and craft shops.
From Southport, take the Fort Fisher-Southport Ferry across the mouth of the Cape Fear River. Call 910-457-6942 to get the ferry schedule. Fort Fisher, a historic civil war fort, protected the port of Wilmington.
While at Fort Fisher, visit the nearby North Carolina Aquarium. The kids will love both.
After learning about the Civil War at Fort Fisher, learn about World War II by visiting the battleship North Carolina. After decommissioning, the battleship became a floating museum located at Wilmington. Tour the ship and learn what Navy service was like.
What Not To Do
The Carolina coastal barrier islands are geologically very fragile. So the dunes are protected. There is a $50.00 fine for walking on or disturbing vegetation on fenced off dunes. The loggerhead turtles are also protected. The maximum fine for disturbing them is $10,000.
The Carolina coast is often in the path of hurricanes. If a hurricane is coming and there are orders to evacuate the island, do not try to ride the storm out. Those worried about having to evacuate during their vacation might want to consider purchasing vacation trip insurance.
There are many fun family activities on your Oak Island beach vacation.