One of the newest cities on the Eastern Seaboard, Oak Island is part of the Brunswick Islands in southern North Carolina, nestled between Myrtle Beach and Wilmington. It was formed in 1999 when the towns of Long Beach and Yaupon Beach came together to form a new community. While it may be a new, the beaches on Oak Island long have been a favorite place for enjoying the sun and surf. With an array of beach rentals, the Oak Island lighthouse, and other visitor amenities, it's easy to enjoy a beach vacation in this town.
The Oak Island Lighthouse is the tallest landmark around, standing proud at 169 feet tall. Built in 1958, the light that flashes every 10 seconds, reaching nearly 25 nautical miles out into the Atlantic. While it is a working fixture, the Oak Island Lighthouse is open for tours. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the friends of the lighthouse lead tours to the second level of the tower. Year-round, you can make an appointment to visit to the top as long as volunteers are available and you have the stamina to climb the narrow steps.
Even without a tour, the lighthouse is a fantastic backdrop for those photos taken on vacations to Oak Island. Nearby Old Baldy Lighthouse, at the mouth of the Cape Fear River on Bald Head Island, is the oldest lighthouse along the Carolina coast. It's also open for tours and has a small museum on site.
With miles and miles of North Carolina beaches, Oak Island and surrounding communities offer plenty of places to stretch out and enjoy time along the Atlantic Ocean. More than 50 places to access to the beach, it won't be difficult to find parking or your own stretch of sand. Like the stretches of sand on Roanoke Island, Caswell Beach, and Kure Beach, the beaches on Oak Island are known for the gentle surf, wide-open stretches of sand, and fantastic sunsets.
In addition to swimming and lounging in the sun, plenty of amenities have been added along the beaches on Oak Island for visitor enjoyment. With recreation trails, boat ramps, playgrounds, launches for canoes and kayaks, and a skateboard park, all kinds of visitors will find their favorite beach activity no matter what their interest.
If you would like to find out more about the natural side of the island, a visit to the Oak Island Nature Center is in order. With live animal exhibits, a calendar full of interesting events, and changing exhibits, the center is open during the warmer months of the year. Walking trails and pathways to the beaches on Oak Island are another feature to enjoy. The town's Parks & Recreation Department also operates the Ocean Education Center, where exhibits and programs focus on sea turtles and other marine animals.
Just because the sun has dipped below the horizon, it doesn't mean your beach vacation has come to an end. Like any good seaside town, Oak Island restaurants serve up fresh seafood, cold drinks, and tasty desserts.
When it's late, it's quite relaxing to make a short trip to your Oak Island beach rentals without worrying about the traffic or the trip home. North Carolina beach hotels, condos, campgrounds, and motels, located in and around Oak Island, offer up their brand of welcoming hospitality and beautiful views. With easy access to the beach, you could be soaking up the rays again as soon as the sun comes up the next morning.