Oak Island vacation rentals
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Your guide to Oak Island
Situated at the eastern end of North Carolina’s Brunswick Island beaches, Oak Island has been a family summer vacation destination for decades. The Intracoastal Waterway separates the mainland from this barrier island, a long and skinny sliver where much of the real estate is oceanfront. Bookended by marshland, Oak Island is home to an almost endless network of watery byways to explore by boat, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard. Indeed, water is the star attraction here, whether it’s splashing in the gentle ocean waves, fishing for mackerel, or kite-surfing, but there are also lighthouses to climb, historic military sites to tour (including Fort Caswell, built to protect the coast from marauding pirates in the 1830s), and many holes of oceanfront golf to play. Bonus: Oak Island’s beaches are pet-friendly; in the off-season, your pup is even free to roam off-leash.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Oak Island
Summer days are hot, humid, and breezy, with average highs of 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The water temperature is not far behind, reaching a bathtub-like 83 degrees. Summer is also the region’s wettest time of year: it gets nearly half its annual rainfall in August and September; and it’s always a good idea to be mindful of tropical storms during hurricane season, which runs from June to November. Spring and fall are ideal times to stay in one of the area’s vacation rentals, when temps are mild and it’s not too humid. Winter nights can be downright cold, so pack something cozy.
Top things to do in Oak Island
Oak Island Lighthouse
Located in nearby Caswell Beach, this icon of the region has stood 153 feet over the mouth of the Cape Fear River since 1958. If you’re hoping to climb the 131 steps to reach the observation deck up top, you’ll need to make a reservation in advance.
Oak Island Nature Center
Kids and adults can learn all about the salt marsh ecosystem at this nature center nestled among native oaks and pines, which has a walking trail, fossil exhibits, and butterfly garden. The center is open seasonally, April through September 1.
Bald Head Island
Accessible by ferry from Southport, this car-free island is known for its isolated beaches, the Old Baldy lighthouse, and its 191-acre nature preserve.