Oak Island is a barrier island tucked neatly away in the SE corner of NC in the first county after you cross the state line on HWY 17 heading north from Myrtle. If you are looking to nightlife, shopping, shows, crowds and traffic fill out your week at the beach go to Myrtle Beach or perhaps Daytona instead. But if you are looking for peace and quiet with ample room for your tent and a couple of beach chairs then this is the place for you. My cousin always calls this island beach, beer and books because she can enjoy all three here on the sandy shores of Oak Island. The Island itself is 14 miles long and perhaps 1 mile wide at its widest and can be accessed by two bridges across the Intercoastal Waterway.
There are no high rises, no jet skis (some I'll admit) para-sailing, amusemnt parks, game arcades (maybe one at the local putt-putt), just sky, sand and surf. Moms and Dads bring their Moms and Dads and children too to this unspoiled, non crowded, nicely maintained beachfront. Oak Island consists of the towns of Yaupon Beach and Long Beach that merged in 1999 and Caswell Beach on the east end that remained a small beach community. You can take a scenic airplane ride, go out on a sailboat, hire a skipper to take you to the gulfstream or another to check the back waters of the Cape Fear River, rent a boat, play a round of golf on the 18 hole course on the island, or you can pitch your tent and build sand castles with your kids. There is two large grocery stores, ABC, a couple local fresh fish retailer plus a dozen or so restaurants not too far away that you can eat and still get back for a sunset stroll on the beach searching for ghost crabs. Leave your fireworks at home because they are illegal in NC and the gendarmes will confiscate. Not flashy but then if you are looking for more bang for the buck and fewer people come to Oak Island and park yourself on the pleasant beaches, oh yeah you can skydive and visit the Oak Island Lighthouse too,