Sand Bucket List
We all have them – those lists of adventures that we put off for way too long. The mere thought of some might take your breath away. Others require patience or just impeccable timing. We asked our Facebook fans to share their favorite Oak Island Activities, and what’s on their bucket lists when they visit Oak Island.
- Witness baby sea turtles emerge from a nest and crawl into the sea.
- See the sun rise and fall over the Atlantic
- Take a ferry ride to Fort Fisher
- Climb the 131 steps to the top of the Oak Island Lighthouse
- Watch dolphins at play
- Skydive over the Intracoastal Waterway
- Learn to surf (or at least catch a wave)
- Kayak from bridge to bridge
- Break 80 on 18 holes at one of the area;s golf courses
- Eat a Bowl of Brunswick Stew in Brunswick County
Our Favorite Activities
Living on Oak Island, we’ve enjoyed most, if not all of the Oak Island activities this beautiful area offers. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite things to enjoy while you’re visiting.
Everyone loves a cruise! Enjoy the sites of Oak Island and the surrounding area … from Bald Head Island to the Lockwood Folly River. The grand finale is an incredible sunset from the best seat in town.
Take the Southport Ferry to Fort Fisher for a fun-filled day with sea creatures and civil war history. Click here for the Fort Fisher Ferry Schedule.
Fort Fisher State Historic Site and museum are filled with civil war artifacts and interactive maps that help visitors re-live the exciting battles fought to keep the shipping lanes open to Wilmington–the last supply-line for the Confederacy during the Civil War.
North Carolina’s largest aquarium at Fort Fisher is a state-supported public education facility designed to promote awareness, understanding, appreciation and conservation of North Carolina’s aquatic natural resources. Both children and adults will love the Rocky Outcrop Touch Tank. This interactive exhibit features shoreline creatures such as hermit crabs, conchs, clams sea stars, horseshoe crabs and more.
Spend the day exploring Southport! Step back in time with a visit to Southport a quaint seaside town at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, filled with antique shops, historic sites and delectable eateries.
- Start your day at the shops on Howe Street near the Water Tower. This retail establishments offer gourmet food, kitchen accessories, wine, antiques, distinctive gifts; and fine boutique clothing for men, women and children.
- Driving a few blocks further will bring you into the Southport downtown area. Park your car and explore more great places while you enjoy the charm and history of this old river town.
- After lunch, head to the Maritime Museum and read pirate Stede Bonnet’s plea for clemency, delivered just before he was hanged.
- Take a peek at recovered sunken treasure. Learn about hurricanes, shrimping and much more.
- With all there is to see and do, Southport may become a frequent spot for outings during your stay at Oak Island.
A day at the beach is spectacular on Oak Island! With 15 miles of soft sand beaches, it’s easy to pick out your own Atlantic Ocean view for the day. Settle in with all the accessories that help make the day spectacular:
- A cooler full of refreshments, a comfortable beach chair, and an umbrella for a shady retreat.
- Make sure you have plenty of toys to keep the kids entertained.
- There are surfboards, skim boards, body boards, beach games and more available at several local retail outlets on the island.
- Oak Island Linen & Beach Rentals has many items available to rent so that your beach experience has all the comforts of home
Visit nearby Wilmington for a family day of history, food and fun!
- Tour the Battleship North Carolina and experience the power and majesty as you tour one of the United States’ decommissioned warships which took part in World War II battles.
- After the tour, take the Battleship River Taxi (available during the summer) across the river to downtown Wilmington. When you dock at the Historic Riverwalk, you’re welcomed by the sights and sounds of a thriving river community complete with exciting shops, restaurants and even a horse-drawn carriage or trolley for touring the city.
- Walk along Water and Front Streets and select from a wide variety of restaurants including many offering fresh seafood.
Orton Plantation and Old Brunswick Town
These are two fantastic attractions conveniently located near one another. Old Brunswick Town was the first successful permanent European settlement between Charleston and New Bern. Founded in 1726 by Maurice Moore, the site served as a port and political center. Admission is free and visitors will enjoy the new Visitor’s Center complete with a 14-minute slide presentation on the history of Old Brunswick Town.
Nearby Orton Plantation gives visitors a peek into Southern elegance at the former residence of the powerfully wealthy, Roger Moore (brother to Maurice). “King” Roger Moore owned hundreds of slaves and with them fought a great battle against the Indians in the area. The Indians were either killed or driven from the region. The current residents of the grand estate do not allow public tours inside, however, the gardens, which are open to the public, are among the most beautiful in the east consisting of ponds, fountains, statuary, footbridges and stands of cypress. Bring along a picnic and settle in for a glorious day in the south.
Sail the High Seas
Charter a sailboat to explore the waterways surrounding Oak Island. From the Cape Fear River to the Atlantic Ocean, experience the thrill of the high seas aboard a 52′ cutter. For active families, sailing lessons are also available.
If you want fresh seafood while you’re here, just hop aboard and throw in a line. You just may wind up with mahi mahi for dinner! Take one of several head boats out to sea for a full or half day adventure complete with bait and tackle included.
One of the most natural and exhilarating ways to explore the area’s waterways is by kayak. For the beginner: don’t be alarmed, it’s not the kayaks you see on television that are narrow and flip over constantly. These are wide-bodied, smooth-riding vessels that handle similar to a canoe but with less weight so they glide easily in the water. You’ll explore the wonders of nature in Davis Creek or the Intracoastal Waterway. You’ll see Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Heron, and maybe even a White Ibis, if you’re patient and quiet.
Send in your favorite family activity and we may post it on our site! If you’ve visited Oak Island before and have a great activity, we want to hear all about it. Please email us at Info@rentalsatthebeach.com.
I have lots of memories to recreate in my sand bucket list. … I loved to wake up and meander down to the beach and hunt for sea shells on the fresh sand, spending all day swimming in the warm, relaxing surf. I love the freedom the kids feel running from the beach to the pool and back to the beach again. Riding bicycles everywhere and watching the kids hunt for baby lizards along the way; searching for baby turtles in the dark of night and alligators on the golf course; putting a few balls on the green between foursomes and relaxing on the deck at sunset. Renting scooters and racing all over the island in the hot sun with my kids and my nieces and nephews was one of my favorite days ever. I love it there and I can’t wait to experience that excitement again as you drive over the bridge and know you’re going to have a great vacation and make unforgettable memories!!!
Waking up early to see the sunrise with a cup of coffee, spending a wonderful day on the beach and at the end of the day, watching the beautiful sunsets Oak Island offers… In the evening, watching the light on the lighthouse while taking a long walk and hunting for crabs in the surf… I love Oak Island!!
Number one on my bucket list is to make a lifestyle change and relocate to Southport/Oak Island, NC. … The Southport area is so beautiful and serene and I look forward to each time I am able to visit. Each time I leave, I long to return. …The combination of the natural beauty, the quaint downtown area, and the historic homes is perfect in my book! You cannot possibly stand on the Oak Island beach or sit on the Waterfront Park swings at sunrise or sunset and not be awed by the beauty of the area. It puts your life into perspective and reminds one of what really matters in life. Material belongings cannot compete with the sense of peace, beauty, and inner calm that it brings to the soul. For me that is what Southport/Oak Island provides.
The first time our family visited Oak Island we started a sand bucket list of things we wanted to do. On our list we included watching the sea turtles hatch. We were so very fortunate to experience it a few years ago. It was an amazing experience! We also had on the list that we wanted to rent a surrey bike. The year we finally rented one we ALL had so much fun! We rode that bike all around your beautiful island with a DeWalt radio in the front basket. We sang and pedaled every night. Our last visit to your island allowed us to check off one more item on our list … to rent scooters. A good time was had by all with the scooter rentals! Still on our sand bucket list are the following adventures: My husband and I hope to be able to visit Oak Island for at least two months out of the year once we’re able to retire. We hope our children will be able to join us for several of those weeks. That may be several years from now so in the short term we hope to be able to extend our weekly vacation to Oak Island to two weeks sometime soon. We also want to climb to the top of the lighthouse, maybe this coming summer. My husband’s wish is to go on a charter fishing trip with our boys. I’ve always wanted to take the ferry to Bald Head Island and spend the day touring the sites there. …We can’t wait to visit again this summer! Thanks for all the wonderful memories. We love your island and the homes that you allow us to enjoy.