The holiday season is right around the corner and there’s nothing like visiting the NC coast in the winter months! Oak Island Christmas festivities bring excitement and fun for the entire family and are perfect for getting into the holiday spirit — from extravagant parades and holiday festivals to brilliant light displays and many other cherished traditions. Plus, the mild temperatures make this an ideal time to soak up the sun from the shore during the afternoon and then gather around a beach bonfire with your loved ones in the evening.

Let’s take a look at some of our favorite holiday traditions on and around Oak Island…

Christmas by the Sea Parade on Oak Island

Christmas by the Sea on Oak Island

The annual Christmas by the Sea Parade will be held on Saturday, December 3rd in 2022! If you haven’t visited the North Carolina coast for Christmas before, this is one event not to miss. Decorated floats and golf carts showcasing our favorite local businesses will go from Town Hall on East Oak Island Drive to McGlamery Street. And, make sure you stick around for the final float to see Santa and Mrs. Claus!

For those who aren’t familiar, the Christmas by the Sea Parade event has been organized for over 35 years by the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Oak Island. There’s something new every year to experience, and it’s one of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit!

Southport Winterfest

Southport Flortilla Winterfest

If you’re visiting Oak Island in December from the 5th to 11th, the Southport WinterFest 2021 is a must! We’re still waiting for the 2022 Winterfest flyer to be released, but this week-long event normally kicks off during the first week of December. Last year, guests decked their bikes (and themselves) for a fun ride around Southport at the first annual Bicycle & Golf Cart Christmas Parade. Even those that didn’t participate in the actual parade had a magical time. So what do we know so far for 2022?

The State Port Pilot Annual Cookie Content will be on December 7th from 3:30pm to 5:30pm and Supper with Santa’s Elves will be held the same evening between 5:00pm and 6:30pm.

On December 9th, you’ll find an outdoor showing of Polar Express at the Garrison Lawn with hot chocolate included. Bringing chairs and blankets to this event is recommended.

And, no holiday season is complete without attending the “Light Up The Night” Christmas Parade! This extravagant annual parade will be on December 9th at 6:30pm this year, and the parade route will be as follows: Waterfront Park, down Howe Street, and then back to the Southport Fire Station. After the parade, children are invited to visit with Santa, and concessions will be available from local vendors!

We’re looking forward to learning the details of Southport’s Annual Winter Craft Festival at Franklin Square! This farmer’s market-style event near Oak Island always has incredible seasonal vegetables, homemade baked goods, jellies, and unique local art.

Last but not least, the must-go-to event of the season is the Southport Christmas Flotilla where you can watch beautifully decorated boats and lights glow from the water! This boat parade typically starts promptly at 7pm, and we recommend getting there a little bit early to snag the best view.

Keep posted as more information is released about the Christmas events in Southport for 2022! You can also view the City of Southport’s event calendar to find the most up-to-date details.

Festival of Trees at the Museum of Coastal Carolina

Festival of Trees near Wilmington

If you don’t mind a short 30-minute drive from Oak Island, The Museum of Coastal Carolina in Ocean Isle Beach is hosting their annual Festival of Trees again this year! You’ll find a selection of beautifully decorated trees by local businesses and organizations displayed through the museum’s galleries from November 10th, 2022, to December 31st, 2022.

Touring the Festival of Trees is included with general admission to the museum, and it is open to the public every week: Thursday through Sunday from 10am to 3pm. Please note that this event will not be open on Christmas day (December 25th).

If you’re visiting for Thanksgiving, the Holiday Night at the Museum is a fun family-friendly event that typically takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This is the Grand Opening for the Festival of Trees and is a celebration you won’t want to miss. There are normally all-day activities for the kids, including photo opportunities with Santa Jaws and a gift bag. You’ll even find wall decor and wreaths available for sale. Keep posted when details are released about this event.

Holiday Shopping on the Coast

Holiday Shopping in Southport and on Oak Island

The first place that instantly comes to mind for holiday shopping on the coast is… The Christmas House! While it’s open year-round, there’s a little bit of extra magic in the air for the holidays. If you’ve been here before, you already know they have everything Christmas-related you can think of, and is a perfect place to find unique coastal-themed gifts. We’re certain you’ll find something here for everyone, from a large assortment of puzzles and home decor to sea turtle ornaments and lavish ribbons for all of your decorating needs.

There are so many other options to choose from in Southport and on Oak Island to find gifts for all of your loved ones! If you’re a foodie, check out Nancy Jo’s Homemade Bakery or the artisan cheeses from around the world at Southport Cheese Shoppe. Wine enthusiast? Uncorked by the Sea is right down the road and offers a great variety of hard-to-find wine and beer. Know someone who is in need of a vacation? We can even help you with planning something and a gift card!

Beach Bonfires

Bonfire on the Oak Island Beach in the Winter

What’s better than a beach bonfire after an afternoon of retail therapy or discovering all the holiday events near Oak Island? Yes, that was a trick question — because we don’t think much is better than doing just that! Bonfires are allowed on Oak Island between November 16th to April 30th, and the permits are free. All you need to do is grab one from the local fire department.

Just keep in mind that you must apply for a permit within 72 hours of your planned beach fire on Oak Island. You can learn more about the permits and take a look at frequently asked questions on the Town of Oak Island’s website.

These are only some of the top Oak Island Christmas events this year to enjoy with your family and friends! Head over to our events page for more details, or sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive events and exclusive specials straight to your inbox.

Cooking a Meal Together at Your OKI Vacation Home

Holiday Vacation to the Beach - Oceanfront Vacation Rentals

Whether it’s your annual tradition or you’re looking to create new ones, there are so many reasons why renting a vacation home on the coast is a great way to spend the holidays! Just imagine overlooking a breathtaking ocean or marsh view while creating memories that will last a lifetime with family and friends.

All of our exclusive Oak Island rentals have everything you need to prepare your meal together with fully equipped kitchens that have full-size appliances, cookware, dishes, glassware, utensils, and more. You’ll even find extra amenities that you might not have at home, like a hot tub for lounging and an elevator for those in your family who have a difficult time walking up stairs. Depending on the property, you may even find board games, books, and movies available.

Visit Oak Island this Winter & Save

Coastal Vacation to Oak Island for the Holidays

When you’re ready to start planning your holiday vacation to OKI… our team would love to help you find the perfect vacation rental to meet all of your needs. We’re available by phone, email, and live chat during regular business hours.