At 12.6 miles long and roughly one mile wide, Oak Island is Brunswick County's largest and most populated area. Approximately 7 miles from the historic town of Southport, 30 miles from Wilmington, and 60 miles from Myrtle Beach, Oak Island is an environmentally friendly haven for sea turtles, birds and humans too!
Oak Island boasts several unique distinctions. For example, situated along one of the "scalloped arcs" of the coastline, its beaches face south instead of east. When standing on the shore of Oak Island beaches, you are not facing Europe or Africa, but the Bahamas, Florida and Cuba. Another interesting distinction—for more than 300 years, the name Oak Island was a misnomer. The area was connected to the mainland by mud flats that flooded with the rising tide.
It was not until 1936, when the Elizabeth River was deepened during the construction of the Intracoastal Waterway, that Oak Island truly lived up to its name! Today, cross over the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge, and you are met with majestic live oaks and yaupon trees that lead you to the quiet surf and moderate tides.
Of all the barrier islands, Oak Island may be the most environmentally friendly. It is home to both a bird sanctuary and a sea turtle sanctuary. Oak Island is also the only North Carolina town that operates a greenhouse for growing sea oats and other native beach vegetation. Additionally, the town maintains The Oak Island Nature and Ocean Education centers.
Like any beach town, water activities abound: swimming, fishing, surf fishing, kayaking, canoeing and boating are just a few of the popular pastimes. Oak Island offers two piers, a marina, and two public boat launch facilities in addition to its 52 public beach access points (most with parking). The annual Oak Island King Mackerel fishing tournament (usually in October), is a big draw for residents and visitors alike.
You'll also find an eighteen-hole golf course within walking distance to the beach, an extensive sidewalk system for pedestrians, quiet streets for cycling, recreation trails, numerous parks and playgrounds, and a full service Parks and Recreation Department offering tennis, soccer, basketball, flag football and even skateboarding!
Local events include summer movies in the park, the Oak Island Lighthouse 5K and 10K runs, a triathlon, a kayak race, fishing tournaments, craft shows, Fourth of July fireworks, and more.
The Oak Island Lighthouse on Caswell Beach was completed in 1958 and is the area's most famous landmark. One of the newest lighthouses in the United States, it stands over 169-feet above sea level. At the time of its activation, it featured the second brightest beacon in the world. The light can be seen for 19 miles and is in place to help ships avoid the treacherous Frying Pan Shoals. Oak Island also hosts a U.S. Coast Guard Station.
When it comes to cuisine, fresh seafood is king, at both local markets and restaurants. Oak Island is particularly well known for its fresh Blue Crab and North Carolina Shrimp. Of course, there are options for every palate and local ice cream shops to satisfy one's sweet tooth.
Like most beach communities on the Carolina Coast, the atmosphere in Oak Island is unhurried; the temperatures are moderate (average year-round temperature is 70 degrees); and the range of leisure activities is as plentiful as the island's 240 days of sunshine per year.
Although this history of Oak Island dates back to its role as a military outpost (Fort Caswell) in the 1800s, the city of Oak Island was not founded until 1999, when the towns of Long Beach and Yaupon Beach were consolidated. Leaders from the neighboring towns saw incorporation as a means to reduce the expenses of the two small ocean-side communities. This consolidation gave Oak Island the distinction of the most populated incorporated town in Brunswick County. Although officially "the biggest town", its character is all is "small-town charm".
Tourism is the mainstay of the economy and the majority of Oak Island businesses are geared toward the nearly 40,000 visitors who descend on the island each summer. The Town of Oak Island has extended its boundaries to include the mainland areas along Long Beach Road where national grocery stores, department stores, and restaurant chains are found. These recent additions have been a boost to the local economy.
Oak Island focuses on public access and public services to ensure a family-friendly community. In addition to the 52 public beach accesses, two public boat ramps, public sidewalks and recreation trails, there is also a full-service Parks & Recreation Department that provides numerous facilities like the newly completed skateboard park and teen center. Both the Parks & Recreation Department and the Oak Island Senior Citizens' Center offer a variety of programs geared toward seniors, making Oak Island a town with something to offer residents of all ages.
Oak Island has become a favorite spot for retirees who flock to the Carolina Coast. The quiet small-town charm and pleasant temperatures year-round make it an ideal choice to spend the best years of one's life. Communities like Saint James Plantation have been designed specifically for the lifestyle of active retirees.
Whether you're attracted by moderate temperatures, bountiful sunshine, or a family-friendly beach community–once you experience the sights and sounds of this nature-rich island, you'll agree that it is the perfect place to spend the rest of your life.
Although occupancy of Oak Island dates back to the construction of Fort Caswell during the Civil War, it wasn't until the 1930's that commercial development of the island (which was known as Long Beach) began. The first oceanfront lots sold for the hefty sum of $350.00!
Although real estate on Oak Island today cannot be found at those 1930's prices, homes on Oak Island are still more affordable than those in nearby natural coastal habitat of Bald Head Island. Homes are situated along the Atlantic Ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway, and Davis Canal, a natural canal just a short distance from the beach. Inland, cottages nestle in maritime wooded lots.
Oak Island is comprised of the beach towns of East and West Long Beach, Yaupon Beach and Caswell Beach. Also, within these neighborhoods are several subdivisions such as Pinners Point, Kings Lynn, South Harbor Village, Arbor Creek, Turtlecreek, Tranquil Harbor and Ocean Greens. Browse Oak Island NC homes for sale on the right.
Whether you choose a traditional waterfront property or a home in a newer residential development like St. James Plantation or Sunset Harbor; whether you prefer a lot with oak trees or yaupon trees; you're guaranteed to find relaxed ambiance in a beautiful natural setting on Oak Island. If you would like to own a property in this environmentally rich hideaway, please Contact Us today.