A beach vacation to Ocean Isle Beach NC, named the South's “Best Tiny Town” by Southern Living, is a great way to avoid crowds while still getting a full dose of sand and sun. The family fun at Ocean Isle Beach has been happening for generations, and whether you're on visit number one or visit number 21, you will find the perfect combination of relaxation, adventure, and amazing food on your island escape.
Things to Do in Ocean Isle Beach
When in Ocean Isle Beach, one thing you’ll never have to worry about is running out of things to do in the area! For a family seeking adventure, make sure to check out The Swamp Park. Experience this nature-oriented eco park in a completely new way by flying high above a cypress swamp on a zipline tour. If you’d prefer to stay on the ground, check out the Swamp Boat Eco Tour, guided ATV tours, or take a walk on the mile long River walk trail next to the swamp. Want some extra outdoor fun? Pay a visit to Ocean Isle Beach Park. The park features two playgrounds, eight tennis courts, four pickleball courts, a dog park, and a picnic shelter. Kids will love the new Town Center Park which features playground equipment and splash pad.
If you prefer spending time on the water, check out the Carolina School of Surf. Whether you're looking to hang ten and catch some waves on a surfboard or take a calming standup paddle tour through the waterway, you can't go wrong booking a session with the Carolina Surf School. The School offers both group and individual surf and SUP lessons.
One unique opportunity Ocean Isle Beach offers is the chance to witness loggerhead sea turtles laying their eggs and the baby hatchlings making their way to sea a couple of months later. These endangered sea creatures and their nesting and hatching processes are watched over by the Ocean Isle Beach Sea Turtle Protection Organization. During sea turtle season, the organization hosts "turtle talks" free to the public.
If you're missing turtle season, the Museum of Coastal Carolina can help fill the need for an up-close encounter with aquatic life. The Museum of Coastal Carolina is a natural history museum that includes the Southeast's largest "dry aquarium", a touch tank with live sea animals, shells and fossils, and wildlife dioramas. For the stargazer, the Museum's sister facility, Ingram Planetarium in Sunset Beach, is just a quick drive away.
In the summer, Friday nights in Ocean Isle Beach are for live music! Starting at the end of May and lasting through early September, families can enjoy the summer concert series at Town Center Park, offering a lot of fun and a variety of regional and local performers.
For those looking to perfect their swing, there is plenty of golfing all over the Brunswick Islands, with numerous golf courses within minutes of Ocean Isle Beach. In fact, Ocean Isle Beach is home to four outstanding courses: Leopard’s Chase Golf Club, Panther’s Run Golf Club, Lion’s Paw Golf Links, and Tiger’s Eye Golf Links.
If fishing is more your style, try your hand at pier fishing on the Ocean Isle Beach Pier. Even if you're not fishing, the pier is a great place to grab a scenic view of the beach. You can also book a fishing charter or if have your own boat, launch right from the Ocean Isle Beach boat ramp.
Where to Eat & Drink
One thing you can be sure of with the Brunswick Islands is that delicious food is a given. For seafood, check out Ocean Isle Fish Company. Located on the Intracoastal Waterway, the Ocean Isle Fish Company serves fish fresh from the boat. The Tiki Bar on the upper deck overlooks all of Ocean Isle Beach, so you can enjoy a cocktail to go with the perfect view. Another local favorite is Sharky’s Waterfront Restaurant, which is Ocean Isle Beach’s oldest restaurant and is open year-round! You can pull up to this popular spot by land or by sea, as the restaurant has 200 feet of boat docking. Another must stop on your seafood tour of the area should be Jinks Creek Waterfront Grill, where diners have a hard time determining whether the fresh fish or the beautiful view is the star of the restaurant. Jinks Creek blends classical preparations with exciting new flavors, and the raw bar features a variety of fresh fish and seafood. If you want to mix it up, check out Sugar Shack, a hot spot that brings the flavors of the Caribbean to Ocean Isle Beach with their delicious Jamaican food, including award-winning ribs, jerk chicken, and pork. To see a list of all restaurants in and around Ocean Isle Beach check out our restaurant page.
Looking for a drink after your delicious meal? Wine lovers would be remiss not to check out Silver Coast Winery, an escape for wine lovers and art lovers alike. Discover and taste their international award-winning wines via a winery tour or wine tasting, or enjoy local art at the winery's art gallery. If you’re craving a cold beer, look no further than Makai Brewing Company, which serves an ever-changing menu of craft beer brewed on-site, such as the popular Carolina Tropical IPA brewed with mango and pineapple and the Nightingale Coffee Porter.
Where to Stay
Finding a spot to fit the family is often a struggle, but it doesn’t have to be in Ocean Isle Beach! With a variety of beachfront rental homes and seaside inns, there are plenty of places to stay in Ocean Isle Beach that can fit as many or as few people as you bring along for the adventure. Many of the island's houses for rent are nestled along canals, offering private docks for fishing and tying up your boat between outings.
Between surf school, seafood, and plenty of sunshine, you can’t go wrong when you plan a trip to Ocean Isle Beach. Make sure to check out ncbrunswick.com to learn more about everything the island has to offer.