Ocean Isle Beach is nestled on a barrier island in the southern tip of the North Carolina shoreline. Year-round, this family-friendly resort town has a few hundred residents, but when you add in the number of visitors, the population swells. Some of these are daytrippers adding some beach time to their Wilmington or Myrtle Beach vacations. Others plan their entire vacation in Ocean Isle and along its beaches.
The pristine beaches and laid-back vibe are the main draw for this little barrier island. With seven miles of beaches, there are several access points, many with parking lots and handicapped access. There’s plenty of room to find the perfect spot along the beach, whether you’re looking for a relaxing morning or an afternoon packed with adventure. The surf is quieter here than it is other places along the beach—while the surfers are enjoying Wrightsville Beach or the waves in Rodanthe, others are enjoying the quiet waters of Ocean Isle NC.
No matter what sounds like fun, the sloping white sands will provide a fitting setting for your beach adventure. These, like many North Carolina beaches, run east to west, making the conditions ideal for watching the sun rise and set. In between, you can choose an array of adventures to suit your vacation needs. With water temperatures a good ten degrees higher than the Outer Banks, the swimming season is longer here than other beaches.
In the summertime, it’s not uncommon to see loggerhead and other sea turtles. The females come ashore to lay nests, and an army of volunteers help keep them safe. Working with the local protection program, you can even adopt and name one of the nests or keep watch as the hatchlings make their way into the world. Staff members and turtle experts give a weekly lecture at the community center, which is always popular with families. During summer days, the community center hosts kids’ games and other fun events. Other hands-on fun and exhibits can be found at the Museum of Coastal Carolina.
Fishing long has been a popular activity in Ocean Isle Beach, and the island is home to one of the oldest piers around. Ever since 1957, anglers and others have stepped aboard the pier to cast lines and so much more. The pier also is home to a gift shop and a restaurant that serves a great breakfast. It’s also one of the best places to soak in the views and get some great pictures. Other anglers prefer to head away from land, and deep-sea charters are readily available.
Away from the beach, Ocean Isle Beach is home interesting places to experience. Close to the beach, you’ll find an array of restaurants and boutiques where you spend some time sampling the local cuisine and find some gifts to bring back home. Golfers can make the shore trip back to the mainland, where some truly spectacular courses are waiting. You also could make a visit to nearby Bald Head Island for a change in scenery.
No matter you decide to pack into your day or night, it will be nice to have a place to anchor for the nice. Vacation rentals and small inns are scattered around the island, ready to provide hospitality to Ocean Isle’s visitors.