This North Carolina Seaside City Would possibly Simply Be the State’s Finest-kept Secret

Everyone knows concerning the Outer Banks of North Carolina (or a minimum of, we’ve tuned into the fictional Netflix drama about this vacation spot). And people conversant in this southern slice of the U.S. may also be conversant in Wilmington, one other seashore sizzling spot. Nevertheless, a hop, skip, and 40 minutes away is a 12-mile strip of sand generally known as Oak Island. It’s separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway and affords a novel haven for avid fishermen and people looking for hidden gems over well-trodden vacationer sights.

Oak Island is positioned on the southeastern nook of the Tar Heel State, with a southward-facing shoreline, providing dawn and sundown views every day. There are greater than 65 free public seashore entry factors to the Atlantic Ocean. In contrast to different North Carolina seashores, Oak Island — or OKI, as locals affectionately check with it — does not provide chain eating places or lodges. As a substitute, consider it as a hyperlocal, no-frills seashore and fishing city the place you may escape and dig your toes within the sand. 

Right here, your information to visiting the idyllic seashore city of Oak Island, North Carolina.

Newcomers to OKI should not miss the Oak Island Lighthouse. When you can go to this 169-foot concrete construction anytime, you may want a reservation to climb its stairs to the highest to see the spectacular 360-degree ocean view. Working days and availability change seasonally, and it is advisable to ebook six or extra weeks prematurely. Imagine it or not, in 1958, the beacon produced the second-brightest gentle on the earth, and the brightest gentle within the U.S.

Oak Island is likely to be small in miles, however it affords loads of actions for lively vacationers. Golf fans can schedule a go to to Oak Island Golf Membership on Caswell Seaside. The membership affords day passes, household occasions, and the chance to expertise the George Cobb-designed 18-hole, 6,720-yard course. Many rave concerning the scenic views from the garden. As soon as you set up your golf equipment, seize a filet of freshly caught fish and a pint at Duffer’s Pub & Grille. 

No journey to OKI is full with out testing your fishing luck. The primary attraction for professionals and hobbyists is Ocean Crest Fishing Pier — probably the most common and longest on the East Coast. Right here, you could possibly catch sea bass, fluke, tautog, cod, weakfish, bluefish, striped bass, and extra. The pier has greater than 2,000 ft stretching into the ocean, permitting anglers of every kind to attempt totally different methods, like bait casting, trolling, or surf fishing. The pier is open March via December, with numerous hours of operation. In the course of the peak season (April to September), it’s open from 6 a.m. to midnight, seven days every week. 

You don’t must ebook a reservation forward of time, however whether or not or not you fish, a $2 admission charge is required to walk alongside. When you resolve to throw out a line on a whim, don’t fear — there are three bait-and-tackle outlets that supply all of the provides and leases you want — and ice-cold beer, too. For a higher-end expertise, ebook a reservation at Island Approach, the restaurant hooked up to the pier. Guests right here can count on effective eating that includes a closely seafood menu paired with beautiful views.

Not within the fishing scene, however nonetheless need to stroll alongside a pier? Think about visiting Oak Island Pier — the very best pier in North Carolina, at 27 ft. You don’t should pay admission, and it’s open one year a 12 months from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Whereas fishermen nonetheless fish right here, it’s not as crowded as Ocean Crest.

OKI’s shoreline has many public entry factors, and the seashores are open year-round, climate allowing. 5 of the entry factors are wheelchair accessible, and public parking is obtainable on the road (free within the low season; numerous costs the remainder of the 12 months). As a result of it’s a small city, you gained’t discover oceanfront resorts or areas the place you may hire chairs or umbrellas. It’s extra a bring-your-own-supplies spot, so ensure to pack accordingly. Canine are allowed year-round, however they have to be stored on a leash from March 16 to Oct. 15.

Don’t miss out on the top-recommended eating places and eateries in OKI — all of that are regionally owned and operated. When you develop uninterested in seafood, think about grabbing a pie on the Pepperoni Grill on the Seaside. For breakfast sandwiches and a robust cup of espresso, begin your day at Ruby’s Coffeehouse & Eatery. For a various menu choice that features steaks, burgers, tacos, flatbreads, and seafood, take a look at Shagger Jacks or Tranquil Harbour Restaurant and Bar. 

If you wish to keep in Oak Island correct, you may must ebook early since lodging is sparse on this tiny sliver of shoreline. With 22 rooms, The Seaside Home Motel & Suites affords probably the most choices for vacationers. There are 12 one- and two-bedroom suites and 10 double-occupancy rooms, all located inside strolling distance of the seashore. Many of the lodging right here provide sea views, too. Whereas there isn’t an on-property restaurant, there’s a non-public pool space with an outside bathe, lounge chairs, and grills for visitors to make use of. When reserving your keep, take into account the pool is open from Memorial Day weekend till Oct. 1. (On the web site, it says it might open and shut earlier, relying on the 12 months’s climate patterns.)