Ocean Isle Beach NC Sunrise

30+ Great Things to Do in Ocean Isle Beach NC

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Welcome to Ocean Isle Beach, one of the most quaint, peaceful, and inviting beach towns along the North Carolina coast. In many visitors’ opinions, Ocean Isle Beach is one of the most underrated seaside towns in North Carolina and truly has so many magnificent things to see and explore.

Ocean Isle Beach is a predominantly man-made barrier island, created in the 1930s and 40s, partially from the construction of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Fast forward to 1959, and Ocean Isle Beach officially became an incorporated town, a proud part of Brunswick County’s heritage.

Things to Do in Ocean Isle Beach NC

In the article below, we put together a lovely list of all of the best things to do and see around Ocean Isle Beach. Other things in the article include restaurants, places to stay, beach guides, and more.

1. Enjoy the Beach 

Address: Public Beach Access Spots listed further below

The main attraction of Ocean Isle Beach is the beautiful, relaxing sandy beaches and warm swimming waters. You can’t visit this town without spending as much time as you can hanging out on the coast! There are many public beach accesses with different amenities, free parking, and more. We have more information on all these access points below.

Ocean Isle Beach NC

2. Museum of Coastal Carolina 

Address: 21 E 2nd St, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

The Museum of Coastal Carolina is not just a museum but has fun aquarium features that will keep everyone in the family entertained and excited. As visitors walk through the museum, they will find live touch tanks, saltwater aquariums, pictures, videos, relics, interactive exhibits, and lecture halls. 

Museum of Coastal Carolina entrance

3. The Swamp Park 

Address: 5550 Watts Rd SW, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Ranked as the number one activity to do in Ocean Isle Beach, the Swamp Park is a thrilling outdoor amusement center designed for people of all ages. Activities include zipline tours, the aerial adventure park, guided ATV tours, and swamp boat tours. All activities can be reserved online or by phone. 

Swamp Park

4. Ocean Isle Beach Pier

Address: 1 W First St, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

The hub of Ocean Isle Beach is the famous and historic 968-foot-long pier. Visitors can walk down the length of the pier for free and enjoy the shops and restaurants located at the pier’s start. This is a popular place for fishing, pictures, and panoramic views of the coast. It is a must-see while you are in Ocean Isle Beach! 

Ocean Isle Beach NC Sunrise

5. Carolina School of Surf

Address: 44 E 1st St, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

The Carolina School of Surf is the oldest surf school in Ocean Isle Beach. Their years of experience make them one of the best places to experience surfing and learn everything there is to know. Anyone as young as five years old can take surf or paddle board lessons with highly trained professionals. 

6. River Country Mini Golf

Address: 1 Causeway Dr, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

River Country Mini Golf can be found in the center of Ocean Isle Beach. The course includes two 18-hole mini-golf courses that have fun obstacles, waterfalls, and more. They are open year-round.

River Country Mini Golf

7. Ocean Isle Mini Golf

Address: 6391 Beach Dr SW, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Ocean Isle Mini Golf is another great mini-golf experience that is fun for all ages. This area includes one 18-hole mini golf course with tree coverage, fish ponds, and unique obstacles. Ocean Isle Mini Golf also offers delicious soft-serve ice cream.

8. Golfing

Ocean Ridge Plantation Golf 
Ocean Isle Beach, believe it or not, has some of the best golfing in the state. This golf course is home to Big Cats Golf Courses (listed below) and is ranked #17 among all public and private golf courses in North Carolina. There are over 200 acres, 72 holes of premier golfing, a beautiful setting, and more activities included. 

Panther’s Run Golf Club  
Ranked among the top 50 in Myrtle Beach, Panther’s Run Golf Club features an 18-hole layout that blends modern golfing with the natural landscape.

Leopard’s Chase Golf Links 
Leopard’s Chase Golf Links was ranked as one of the top 10 public golf courses in America and is still one of the most elite courses around. The course stretches over 220 acres and has five sets of tees for the more experienced golfer to enjoy. 

Lion’s Paw Golf Links 
Lion’s Paw features tamed and natural areas with hills and wetlands to give an interesting feel to the golfing experience. There are more than 70 bunkers, 15 water holes, and over 7,000 yards of green. 

Tiger’s Eye Golf Links
This practically five-star golf course has earned the title of one of the most prestigious places to play in America. This is a fast-paced golf course with Lowcountry terrain, boulders, and championship tees. 

9. Summertide Adventure Tours 

Address: 7227 Beach Dr SW, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Summertide Adventure Tours is a great company to visit for all kinds of boat tours and rentals. They offer kayak, canoe, and boat tours. They also have fishing charters, evening tours, and kayak rentals. The employees are knowledgeable and friendly and will give you an adventure you won’t forget.

10. Carolinas Coastal Adventure Tours

Address: 2000 Somerset Rd SW, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Carolinas Coastal Adventure Tours offers unique 2-person catamaran tours of the beautiful coastal waterways. Command your own boat as you explore the waters.

11. Seasonally Sea Turtle Nesting (Mid-May to August) 

If you are visiting Ocean Isle Beach between May and August, you may get the special chance to witness sea turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. Loggerhead sea turtles are the most common. However, green sea turtles, leatherbacks, or Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles will also make appearances. 

During this time, the beaches and sea turtles are closely monitored by Turtle Watch volunteers and participants to ensure the sea turtles can safely lay their eggs and their nests go unbothered.

It is VERY important not to disturb a mother sea turtle or her nest at any time. It is a federal offense to harass a sea turtle in any way. It is also important to never disturb the eggs or hatchlings. Keep the beaches clean, keep dogs on leashes, and don’t make loud noises. 

12. Ferry Landing Park

Address: Shallotte Blvd, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Ferry Landing Park can be found at the very end of Shallotte Blvd. This waterfront park has a nice sandy beach, ocean views, benches, picnic tables, and a fishing pier. 

Ferry Landing Park

13. Town Center Park

Address: 11 E 2nd St, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Town Center Park is one of the best parks in town for younger kids and families. The park features a new outdoor stage, an interactive water play area, a splash pad, a playground, walking paths, picnic areas, and gathering green spaces. 

14. Ocean Isle Beach Park

Address: 6483 Old Georgetown Rd SW, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Ocean Isle Beach Park has a great playground for the kids, tennis courts, an amphitheater, and a multi-use sports field. Dogs are welcome but must stay on a leash. 

Ocean Isle Beach Park Sign

15. Breakers Pizza Grill & Arcade 

Address: 12 E 1st St, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Breakers Pizza Grill & Arcade is a great family restaurant. They make great pizza, with several delicious pasta dishes, burgers, sandwiches, seafood dishes, and more. They also have a nice collection of vintage arcade games to enjoy.

Breakers Grill

16. Ocean Isle Beach Super Track

Address: 6428 Beach Dr SW, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Ocean Isle Beach Super Track is an all-around family entertainment center with something for everyone of all ages. They have scorpion go-kart racing, juniors go-kart racing, and fast go-karts to make for a fun adventure. Ocean Isle Beach Super Track also has batting cages. They are only open seasonally from May to September.

17. TourH2O Ocean Isle Beach 

Address: 61 Causeway Dr, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

TourH2O is one of the top attractions in the area and draws in hundreds of visitors each year. This wonderful tour group offers fishing tours, kayak tours, and pontoon boat tours for the whole family to enjoy. This is a great way to see the wild dolphins that swim around the coast of Ocean Isle Beach. 

Wines & Winery in Ocean Isle Beach NC

✅ Silver Coast Winery
Address: 6680 Barbeque Road NW, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Silver Coast Winery is Brunswick County’s first winery and offers a plethora of award-winning wines. Daily tours of the winery are available, along with wine tastings. 

✅ Coastal Wine & Tap
Address: 20B E 2nd St, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Coastal Wine & Tap is a lively wine bar and taproom owned and operated by a local Ocean Isle Beach couple. They have six rotating draft beer options, a retail wine shop featuring over 1,000 wines, and serve small plates. Flights are also available for both beer and wine. This fun little spot is great for live entertainment and themed party nights.

Coastal Wine & Tap Building

Craft Beers & Brewery in Ocean Isle Beach NC

✅ Makai Brewing Company
Address: 5850 Ocean Hwy W #1, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Makai Brewing Company is an island-themed brewery and taproom located just minutes away from the beach. The relaxing taproom is a perfect place to try their unique beer flavors and enjoy small food plates.

Makai Brewing Company Building

✅ Tap Time Tap Room
Address: 1564 Market Pl Blvd, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Tap Time Tap Room is a fun taproom specializing in craft beers made locally and from around the country. Their comfortable bar area has bar games, TVs, music, and more. They also offer growlers to go.

Tap Time

Restaurants in Ocean Isle Beach NC

✅ Jinks Creek Waterfront Grill
Address: 14 Causeway Dr, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Jinks Creek is one of Ocean Isle’s top-rated restaurants. They served a multitude of American dishes, seafood, and grill items in their clean, modern-style dining room and patio.  Jinks features excellent water views. Reservations are recommended, and they are only open seasonally from Spring to Fall.

Jinks Creek Waterfront Grille

✅ Ocean Isle Fish Company
Address: 65 Causeway Dr, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

The Ocean Isle Fish Company is an easy-going, open-air dining experience. This is some of the best freshly caught seafood you can find, as you can even see the fish being unloaded from the boats from the patio. The upper deck offers a great view of Ocean Isle Beach below and also has a Tiki bar.

OIB Fish Company

✅ Sharky’s Waterfront Restaurant
Address: 61 Causeway Dr, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Sharky’s is a large, family-friendly restaurant located under Ocean Isle Beach Bridge. Sharky’s has been a staple to Ocean Isle Beach for over 24 years now and is a must-see during your vacation. The restaurant has supreme indoor and outdoor dining areas and a marina. 

Sharky's Restaurant

✅ Sugar Shack
Address: 1609 Hale Beach Rd SW, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Sugar Shack is an authentic Jamaican restaurant serving up Jerk Chicken and Pork, ribs, coconut shrimp, crab fritters, and more Caribbean flavors for you to savor. Wash it back with a Red Stripe beer, wine, or frozen cocktail. Reservations are recommended. 

✅ Drift Coffee Shop & Kitchen
Address: 20 E 2nd St, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Drift is a friendly, beachy coffee shop and cafe just minutes away from the ocean. They have all your favorite caffeinated beverages as well as light foods ranging from smoothies and açaí bowls to avocado toast, burritos, salads, and more. 

Patio area outside of Drift Coffee

✅ Pelican’s Perch Bar & Grill
Address: 8 E 2nd St, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Pelican’s Perch is a fun, relaxed restaurant, bar, and entertainment hub. Visit for fried seafood, burgers, and more. Stick around for live entertainment and karaoke on the outdoor patio.

Pelican's Perch Building

✅ Seabreeze Bar & Restaurant
Address: 1882 Goose Creek Rd SW, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Seabreeze Bar & Restaurant is an all-around excellent place for lunch, dinner, and live entertainment. They also do buffet Fridays, themed dinners, and special events. Seabreeze also offers a fantastic view of the Intracoastal Waterway while you dine!

Seabreeze Restaurant Sign

✅ Causeway Gourmet
Address: 100 Causeway Dr #7, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

A simple, easy-going restaurant with tasty options for everyone. Causeway Gourmet has a great variety of flatbreads, soups, sandwiches, salads, and more. They have a small dining area, but they are a popular place for dine-in, take-out, or delivery.

✅ MAYA Fine Food and Tequilas
Address: 1564 Mkt Pl Blvd #1000, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Specializing in a fusion of traditional and modern Mexican flavors, the restaurant promises an exceptional culinary adventure with a focus on fresh, quality ingredients in an elegant setting. I highly recommend the carne asada entree.

  • MAYA Fine Food carne asada with a margarita
  • Inside MAYA Fine Food
  • MAYA Fine Food margarita
  • MAYA Fine Food chips and salsa

✅ The Dawg House Grill
Address: 6415 Beach Dr SW, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

This cozy grill and diner is open year-round for breakfast and lunch. The Dawg House offers a variety of hot dogs, sandwiches, burgers, and more. Their lobster roll is a big favorite!

✅ Feast OIB
Address: 125 Causeway Dr, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Feast is a local favorite restaurant that has some of the best variety on the island. From fresh fish and seafood to salads, sandwiches, and burgers, Feast is a crowd-pleaser whether you are dining in or taking out. They also offer take-and-bake family-style meals. 

Feast OIB Building

✅ Beaches Burger
Address: 6551 Beach Dr SW, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Beaches Burger is a little restaurant famous for its homemade burgers and hot dogs. The old-timey style diner has been rated in the top 5 in Our State Magazine, so this place is a worthy stop!

✅ 59 Causeway Drive Bagels and Coffee
Address: 59 Causeway Dr, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

59 Causeway Drive makes some of the best breakfasts on the island, including homemade bagels and fresh pastries. They also serve delicious coffee drinks and sandwiches, and they have a full bar with housemade cocktails, beer, and wine.

Everything Bagel with Bacon, Egg and Cheese
Causeway Grill Counter to Order

✅ Spilt Milk
Address: 120 Causeway Dr, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Spilt Milk offers gourmet donuts, gelato, and signature coffee. Everything is made in-house from scratch. Spilt Milk is known for its freshly fried, hot donuts available all day, offering both cake and yeast varieties crafted with care and quality.

  • Split Milk Shop
  • Split Milk Nutella Donuts
  • Split Milk Donuts
  • Split Milk Gelato

Things to Do Near Ocean Isle Beach NC

Let’s check out some of the fantastic things to do within miles of Ocean Isle Beach. The activities and places below make for great day trips.

✅ Ingram Planetarium
Address: 7625 High Market St, Sunset Beach, NC 28468

The Ingram Planetarium is a unique 360-degree, full-dome, and immersive science theater that has been open since 2002. The 84-seat theater shows thrilling laser, sound, ocean, and plant shows that you won’t see anywhere else. 

Ingram Planetarium Building

✅ Bird Island Reserve
Address: 8468 Bay St, Sunset Beach, NC 28468

Bird Island Reserve is 1,300 acres of reserved land right next to Sunset Beach, NC, and can be reached by boat or by walking along the coastline. Visitors will find high sandy dunes, flat lands, wetlands, and lots of beach areas all around Bird Island Reserve.

✅ Sunset Beach Town Park
Address: 206 Sunset Blvd N, Sunset Beach, NC 28468

Sunset Beach Town Park is a five-acre town park located along the Intracoastal Waterway. There are paved walkways lined with trees, a veterans memorial, picnic shelters, and a small fishing pier. 

Sunset Beach Town Park with swing

✅ Vereen Memorial Gardens
Address: 2250 SC-179, Little River, SC 29566

Vereen Memorial Gardens is a quaint, scenic wetland area just 20 minutes from Ocean Isle Beach. The gardens feature lovely boardwalk-style paths through the wetlands. These paths are dog/stroller friendly and offer great coast views.

✅ Day Trip to Myrtle Beach, SC

Myrtle Beach is one of South Carolina’s most popular towns, just an hour from Ocean Isle Beach. The bustling ocean town is full of unique restaurants, fish markets, outlet stores, beach shops, and a beautiful coastline with great beaches and swimming opportunities. 

Annual Events in Ocean Isle Beach NC

Here are some excellent annual events around Ocean Isle Beach that you don’t want to miss.

✅ 2024 Weekly Concert Series | May 24 – September 20

From the end of May to the end of September every year, free concerts are held every Friday night at the Museum of Coastal Carolina. Local artists visit to play their songs for anyone who wants to come listen and dance. Bring your own chairs or blankets.  

✅ Blue Crab Festival (nearby in Little River, SC) | May 18, 19, 2024

The Blue Crab Festival takes place in Little River, SC, just 25 minutes from Ocean Isle Beach. The fun event is a fantastic community-building event that celebrates friends, the coast, and seafood. As always, the event includes TONS of fresh, locally caught seafood, live music, vendors, and games.

✅ Sunset at Sunset | October 5, 2024

The Sunset at Sunset festival is a local favorite event, held the first Saturday of October every year. More than 100 vendors join together at Sunset Beach Park to share their crafts and art. In addition to vendors, there is live music, food trucks, and a kids’ area with a craft tent, face painting, games, and more. Admission is free. 

✅ NC Oyster Festival | October 21-23, 2023

The NC Oyster Festival is a highly anticipated event that brings people in from all over the state and around the country. The event takes place at the town center park and is filled with family-friendly activities, games, live music, vendors, contests, and, of course, some of the best, freshest oysters around. 

​​Where To Stay in Ocean Isle Beach NC

📍Ocean Isle Inn – The Ocean Isle Inn is one of the oldest and most loved inns in town. All of the rooms at this hotel have either panoramic beach views or island views and are only steps away from the ocean. With easy access and great amenities, it is the perfect hotel for families. Other accommodations at the Ocean Isle Inn include two swimming pools, breakfast, an outdoor patio/terrace with fire pits and grills, beachfront access, and gardens. 

📍The Islander Inn – The Islander Inn is a friendly hotel that has been serving Ocean Isle Beach for nearly 25 years. The stunning location of the hotel allows guests to be just minutes away from the beach and gives everyone beautiful ocean views from their rooms. The Islander Inn also has two swimming pools, a continental breakfast, a fitness center, and a bar.

📍Sunny Condo – Private Ocean Isle Beach Access! – This beautiful sunny condo is just minutes away from the beach and has plenty of space for a whole family. It sleeps up to eight guests, and everyone can be comfortable inside the home. The condo is located in a friendly beach community, and guests have access to the community’s three outdoor pools, private beach access, charcoal grills, and tennis courts.

📍Beachfront 3 Bedroom Condo – This spacious condo home offers great views of the beach and the famous Ocean Isle Beach pier. Sleeping up to six guests, it is the perfect home for a family or a small gathering. The condo is also located in a lovely community where all guests have access to the grounds and outdoor pools. 

📍2-level Ocean Front, 3 Bedrooms / 2.5 Bathrooms / Private Balconies – This nautical-themed oceanfront home has so much space and so much beauty! The double-level house can easily accommodate a large family and has the beds and kitchen space to back that up. The home also has not one but three gorgeous balconies overlooking the ocean. 

📍Cozy Oceanfront Condo Right in the Action – The cozy oceanfront condo is located centrally in Ocean Isle Beach, giving it a prime location. The home is just minutes away from Ocean Isle Beach attractions and the beaches themselves. If you are looking for a long-term rental, this is a great option.

📍Ocean View Home – This adorable, private oceanfront home may just be the perfect relaxing escape for you and your loved ones. It comes fully furnished with a rustic, beachy vibe and has plenty of space for everyone. It also has a lovely outdoor patio, so you can sit out and watch the ocean any time you please.

📍Oceanfront Beach House – This oceanfront beach house is about as close as you can get to staying right on the beach. The house has its own private walkway leading right to the sandy shores; it doesn’t get any better than that and can sleep up to ten guests. This house doesn’t just have a great location, but it is warm and spacious as well. 

Public Beach Access & Parking for Ocean Isle Beach NC

No overnight parking in the public parking areas.

⛱️ Shallotte Blvd | 12 Parking Spots & 5 Golf Cart Spots
⛱️ East Third St |  46 Parking Spots & 2 Golf Cart Spots
⛱️ Charlotte St | 16 Parking Spots
⛱️ Lumberton St | 12 Golf Cart Spots

⛱️ Winnabow St | 22 Parking Spots & 9 Golf Cart Spots
⛱️ Chadbourn St | 20 Parking Spots & 7 Golf Cart Spots
⛱️ Goldsboro St | 19 Parking Spots & 7 Golf Cart Spots
⛱️ Leland St | 21 Parking Spots & 9 Golf Cart Spots

⛱️ Raeford St | 17 Parking Spots & 12 Golf Cart Spots
⛱️ Newport St | 21 Parking Spots & 11 Golf Cart Spots
⛱️ Concord St | 22 Parking Spots & 10 Golf Cart Spots
⛱️ Monroe St | 22 Parking Spots & 10 Golf Cart Spots

⛱️ Pier #1 | 100 Paid Parking Spots
⛱️ Pier #2 | 100 Paid Parking Spots
⛱️ Shelby St | 12 Golf Cart Spots
⛱️ Summerplace | 14 Parking Spots
⛱️ Beaufort St | 29 Parking Spots

Things to do in Ocean Isle Beach NC include the beach, here is one of the beach access points

Distance to Ocean Isle Beach NC

Charlotte: 3 hrs 30 mins | 193 miles
Raleigh: 2 hrs 40 mins | 175 miles
Asheville: 5 hrs 20 mins | 327 miles
Greensboro: 3 hrs 20 mins | 210 miles
Winston-Salem: 3 hrs 35 mins | 227 miles
Wilmington: 1 hr | 47 miles
Fayetteville: 1 hr 55 mins | 100 miles

Ocean Isle Beach NC: FAQs

📌 Is Ocean Isle Beach worth visiting?
Ocean Isle is absolutely worth visiting if you are looking for beautiful, clean waters, stunning wildlife, and a quiet, relaxing look at North Carolina’s coast. 

📌 What is Ocean Isle known for?
Ocean Isle is known for having some of the best swimming along the North Carolina coast. This is because of the Ocean Isles barrier island location, which allows the water to be around 10 degrees warmer than other beaches, and it has very few strong currents. 

📌 Does Ocean Isle have a boardwalk?
Ocean Isle has a beautiful 968-foot-long pier, great for sightseeing, fishing, and more.

📌 Does Ocean Isle have a downtown?
Yes, Ocean Isle’s downtown area is located centrally on the island and has a multitude of shops and restaurants. 

📌 Can you drink alcohol on the beach at Ocean Isle?
No, drinking alcohol in any public place in Ocean Isle is prohibited. 

📌 Is parking free at Ocean Isle Beach?
Yes! There is free parking in just about all locations around Ocean Isle. 

📌 Is Ocean Isle Beach crowded?
No. Most locals and visitors say that Ocean Isle is relatively quiet, even during the peak of the summer.

📌 Can you swim at Ocean Isle Beach, NC?
Yes. Ocean Isle has some of the best swimming in North Carolina. 

📌 Is Ocean Isle Beach water clear?
Yes. In fact, Ocean Isle has some of the clearest beach water in the country.

📌 Are there dolphins in Ocean Isle Beach, NC?
Ocean Isle has a thriving dolphin population.

📌 Can you use umbrellas at Ocean Isle Beach?
Umbrellas with a single pole are permitted. Tents, cabanas, pop-ups, and awnings are not allowed on the beaches.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a quiet yet fascinating and fun place to be for your next summer trip, you should definitely check out Ocean Isle Beach. This beautiful little town has more than meets the eye, and you won’t experience ocean views anywhere else in the world like it; it’s totally worth the trip.

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