Oak Island NC has over 12 miles of pristine beach to enjoy! And, while Oak Island’s beach is one solid stretch of sand, you’ll commonly find the different areas are referred to in three sections: Caswell Beach, East Beach, and West Beach.
What are the differences between the beaches?
Caswell Beach is home to the Oak Island Lighthouse and is located at the eastern end of the island. Its four-mile stretch of coastline is right at the mouth of the Cape Fear River and is the least populated area. Traveling west, you’ll find East Beach, the island’s main hub with many restaurants, a grocery store, plenty of shopping opportunities, family-friendly entertainment and the two popular fishing piers (the Oak Island Pier and Ocean Crest Pier). Once known as Yaupon Beach and parts of Long Beach, this area stretches from Caswell Beach to Middleton Road. Last but not least, West Beach stretches from Middleton Road to the most western edge of the island. Here you will find some of the best sunset views and a quiet escape with a scenic backdrop, making it the perfect place for weddings. As a fun note, if you haven’t visited since 2009, you will notice the new Swain’s Cut Bridge that makes accessibility to the island much easier than before!
Popular Beach Activities
During the summer months, you’ll find a vibrant atmosphere on the beach with families making sand castles, flying kites, boogie boarding, and soaking up the sun. There’s a sense of nostalgia in the ocean air and time seems to standstill here — beautiful views, restaurants nearby, and two piers to explore. For those who want a beach adventure, strolling down the beach by foot or bicycling is highly recommended. And, one of our favorites is having a beach bonfire between November 16th and April 30th!
Oak Island Beach Access Points
Oak Island has 65 public beach access points, with 20 of those being handicap accessible and 8 of them having extra amenities. Please note, due to Hurricane Isaias some of the access points and parking lots may be temporarily closed.
HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE ACCESSES INCLUDE
- SE 74th Street
- SE 55th Street
- SE 46th Street
- SE 40th Street
- 25th Place East
- 7th Place West
- 10th Place West
- 23rd Place West
- 33rd Place West
- 57th Place West
- The Point: Westend of Beach Drive
- Commissioner’s Park: McGlamery Street
- Beach Viewing Area: Mercer Street
- May Moore Park: Barbee Boulevard
BEACH ACCESSES WITH AMENITIES
- Commissioner’s Park (McGlamery Street): Rinse station
- Oak Island Pier: Unisex restroom
- May Moore Park (Barbee Boulevard): Rinse station and restroom
- SE 46th Street: Restroom, water fountain, rinse stations, picnic tables
- 29th Place East: Rinse station
- 14th Place East: Portable restroom
- S. Middleton Avenue: Rinse station
- The Point & Kings Lynn: 2 portable restrooms and rinse stations
The majority of all the beach accesses have either free or metered parking nearby! As a convenience for island residents, there are parking spaces designated for their use only, and a decal must be present on the vehicle to use these spaces.
Oak Island Beach Dog Rules
Oak Island beaches and the community as a whole is very dog friendly! Dogs are allowed on the beaches year-round, as long as they are leashed. Dogs are also allowed off-leash in certain designated areas from October 15 to March 15 between 6am to 8pm. You’ll find there are clearly marked locations on the beach access signs. Want to bring your furry family member with you on vacation? Browse through all of our pet friendly vacation rentals on Oak Island!
What else is there to do?
You might be asking, “what is there to do in Oak Island other than enjoying the ocean breezes from the beach?”. The entire area is extremely unique and should be explored! You’ll find many outdoor activities to experience and attractions to visit! Have questions or need help finding Oak Island accommodations? Give us a call or send us an email! We’d be happy to help answer any questions and share our local knowledge of this special place.