Situated between Myrtle Beach and Wilmington, Oak Island is a beautiful piece of paradise — no matter the time of year you visit! This paradisiacal place boasts stunning sandy beaches, mesmerizing blue-green waters, and tall dunes adorned with beach grass that sways gracefully in the breeze. It’s hard to imagine a better way to spend a family vacation than a trip to the beach, a stop for ice cream after a round of mini-golf, or throwing a line from the end of a long seaside pier!
Granted, each season lends itself to unique happenings, so there are benefits of traveling here at different times. Let’s look at some of the annual highlights so you can better figure out when the best time to visit Oak Island is for you.
Fall: Food, Festivals, and Fishing
What’s not to love about Oak Island in the fall? Warm afternoons and slightly cooler evenings with beautiful scenery and more activities than you can dream of — especially for those that love food, festivals, and fishing! Top annual events include the U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament, Southport’s Wooden Boat Show, NC Oyster Festival at Ocean Isle, Wilmington’s Riverfest, and the Azalea Festival.
As for extra bonuses and wildlife, here are even more reasons why you should consider visiting Oak Island in the autumn months:
More Leisurely Pace and Reduced Rates
As the summer comes to an end, it’s school time for the kiddos… which means fewer families visiting and feeling as though you have the entire beach all to yourself! Plus, rental rates tend to drop after Labor Day weekend, so you’ll be able to enjoy the slower pace with lower rates.
Experience Sea Turtle Hatching Season
Oak Island is a fantastic place to witness baby turtles hatching and making their trek to sea! The nesting and hatching season starts around the beginning of May and goes through the end of October. It’s towards the end of the season when the babies begin hatching and making their way to the ocean for their great adventure. The Caswell Beach Turtle Watch and the Oak Island Sea Turtle Protection Program keep an eye out for new turtle nests and have dedicated volunteers that monitor them during the season.
Winter: Coastal Sunshine, Holidays, and Bonfires
What could be more fun than a winter getaway to Oak Island? You can leave behind the snow and icy temperatures to escape to one of the most stunning, pure, tranquil beaches on the North Carolina coast! Just imagine swimming in your own private (heated) pool, taking long walks on the beach, savoring mesmerizing coastal delicacies, and completing the day with a sunset and beach bonfire. Bonfires are allowed between November and April (just remember to get a free permit from the local fire department).
If we do say so, OKI also happens to be a magical family holiday destination! Learn all about what to expect when you visit during the winter months:
Holiday Events & Activities
Ready to get into the holiday spirit? Look no further than a trip to Oak Island for Christmas! Annual events and activities include the infamous Christmas by the Sea Parade, Southport’s Winterfest, and so much more. If you need last-minute gifts or something extra special and unique, the shopping opportunities are almost endless too.
Have the Island to Yourself & Get More Bang for Your Buck
If you’ve ever dreamed of practically having the entire island to yourself… then consider visiting during the winter months! Lower rates for vacation rentals continue into the winter months, and many of the area attractions will often offer special promotions during the off-season. This makes it the ideal time to experience this coastal oasis with an extended stay for a month or longer! We offer “Snowbird Rentals on Oak Island” for those looking for a tranquil island getaway to rest, relax, and take advantage of a wintertime beach trip with loved ones and friends.
Spring: First Blossoms with Beautiful Weather
There’s nothing like this time of year on the island — the weather starts to warm up, and the flowers begin to bloom! Daily high temperatures float anywhere from the mid-60s to the upper 70s with cooler nights. If you don’t mind those cooler temperatures, you’ll feel like you have the beach all to yourselves for most of March, April, and May when children are still in school.
With that being said, Easter and spring break weeks are an extremely popular time to visit, and you’ll find more people here than at any other time in the spring! This is when the island starts to come alive with family-friendly events like egg hunts, parades, and more.
Some of the best things to do in Oak Island during your spring vacation include:
Golfing and Fishing
Looking for a golfing destination that also offers fishing? Look no further than Oak Island! With its lush golf courses and proximity to the ocean, a visit here is perfect for those who love both recreations. There are over 20 golf courses within driving distance, and you can fish from one of the piers, book a deep-sea charter trip, or surf fish from the beach.
Birding and Nature Preserves
Oak Island is a nature lover’s paradise, most especially for those who love bird watching and exploring the great outdoors! If this sounds like fun, the best time to visit is when birds are migrating and breeding (which happens to be in the spring). A trip to the Oak Island Nature Center is always recommended for a relaxing afternoon of fishing, walking, and enjoying the scenery.
Summer: The Most Popular Time to Visit Oak Island
Summertime kicks off with Memorial Day and is undoubtedly the favorite season of the year for guests and island residents! No matter if you love incredible seafood, live music, getting out on the water, or arts and crafts, you’ll have a wide range of options. With temperatures averaging in the lower 70s to the high 80s, it’s also the perfect time to enjoy all the outdoor activities and weekly events on OKI.
Popular activities during the summer include lazy beach days (of course), leisurely bike rides, water sports, deep-sea fishing, going to the Oak Island Splash Pad at Middleton Park, history tours, and ending the day with a cone of your favorite ice cream! Granted, that’s only the beginning — and we haven’t even mentioned the NC Fourth of July Festival.
Can you guess what two of our favorite things to do in the summer months are? Keep reading…
Oak Island Summer Concert Series
Summer is a season for celebrations, and Oak Island is the perfect place to do it! The yearly Oak Island Summer Concert Series only gets better and better, with a lineup of outstanding performers that never fails to entertain. Oak Island is a top tourist destination with beautiful scenery, great weather, and many entertainment activities.
Relaxing on the Beach
Of course, summer cannot be complete without unwinding and rebooting in a tropical haven. You don’t need much more than a beach blanket, an umbrella, and a great book to enjoy the magnificent blue sky, the tranquil ocean waters, and the most refreshing air.
To top this off, you can go for a stroll or a bike ride on the beach, look for sea treasures, or watch the seabirds dive and plunge into the ocean for their next meal to round out the experience. For those looking for a true beach adventure, you can hear tales of real pirates while the sun sets over the ocean at The Point every Thursday to Sunday at 7:15! Learn more about Pirates at the Point by Black Sails Adventure Co.
Ready to Experience Oak Island?
We hope this helps answer when is the best time to visit Oak Island for you, your family, and your friends! No matter when you choose to travel here, we’re positive there’s something everyone in your group will love.
When you’re ready to start planning your trip, you can start by browsing through our exclusive vacation rentals on our website, and feel free to reach out to our team with any questions you may have! We’re available by phone, email, and live chat.