How to Make the Most of Your Vacation During Beach Nourishment

Heavy equipment and a slurry pipe, similar to what is shown in this photo, will be part of the nourishment process in summer 2018 on portions of Oak Island and Caswell Beach.

Beach Nourishment

Beach nourishment is coming to Caswell Beach, Yaupon Beach and portions of East Beach during summer 2018 as a result of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredging project. The island will see long-term benefits as these sections of the beach are widened, offering guests, to borrow the tagline from the Brunswick County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA), “more beach for your blanket.” Nourishment work will close portions of the beach, approximately a 1,000-foot section at a time, while work is immediately going on in that area. A large pipe will lie along the beach with sand ramps spaced approximately every 400 feet so that visitors may cross the pipe to reach portions of the beach not under immediate construction. Work will go on around the clock during the nourishment process, which will include noise from large machinery and the sound of the sand slurry being pumped through and out of the pipe.

For our guests arriving this summer, we want to help you make the most of your beach vacation – even if work happens to be going on in front of your vacation rental upon arrival. Here are our tips for making the most of your beach vacation during the dredging project:

  • Explore a New Section of the Beach

    If you arrive to your vacation rental and find that your closest beach access is currently under construction, be open to exploring other sections of the beach. The entire project will only affect roughly a third of the beach on Oak Island (this figure includes the Town of Caswell Beach). That means you will still have over nine and a half miles of beach that will be untouched by the dredging project. On top of that, only 1,000 feet of the beach will be closed for construction at any point during the summer. With over 60 public beach access points and free public parking, it’s a quick drive to leave the dredging work behind. Consider visiting these public accesses:

    • SE 46th Street (OKI Cabana) – If you’re looking for easy parking, access to public restrooms and all the features of the island’s largest park this is the access for you. There are public parking spaces along SE 46th Street and additional parking in the large public gravel parking lot accessible from E Beach Drive between SE 46th and SE 49th Streets. South of the parking lot you’ll find the beach access and handicap-accessible public restrooms at the Cabana. North of the parking lot is Middleton Park, which offers a soccer field, baseball field, basketball and tennis courts and more!
    • SE 43rd Street through 57th Place West – Prefer to get away from it all? Try one of the public accesses between these streets. The vast majority of numbered streets have free public parking at the beach accesses and along the numbered streets. The number of parking spaces varies at each access.
    • S Middleton Avenue – Have a street-legal golf cart you’ll be using during your stay? This beach access offers parking exclusively to golf carts and bicycles.
    • The Point – Looking to explore both the beach and the channel sides of the island? You can do both at Oak Island’s far west end where there are three public parking lots. The south side parking lot is accessed via West Beach Drive. The two on the north side are accessed via Kings Lynn Drive and offer multiple trails that climb over the dunes or lead to the Eastern Channel. It’s a favorite local spot for fishing and clamming, as well as trying your hand at stand-up paddleboarding in the calmer waters of the channel.
Sea Glass, Oak Island NC

    The dredging project will not only widen the beach, but it will move treasures previously located at the bottom of the channel to our beaches. Both casual and serious shell collectors can fill their buckets with sea shells and sea glass rarely found in such quantities during a typical summer season. And with over 1,000 documented shipwrecks off the North Carolina coast, there’s a chance other treasures could end up on our beaches.


    The sounds of large machinery working along the beach and sand pumping through slurry pipes can be canceled out if you pack the right headphones. Consider bringing along noise-canceling headphones this summer. If beach nourishment is happening just down the beach from your vacation rental, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite tunes while still catching rays. Regular headphones can help as well, but keep the volume at a level that is good to your ears. Extra bonus: your headphones can even shade your ears from the sun’s rays:)


    Our beaches are just one reason to visit Oak Island, Caswell Beach and Southport. Make this the year that you go beyond the beach to uncover all the fun our area has to offer. Walk one of the three trails that cross over Davis Canal. Climb the Oak Island Lighthouse. Take a kayak tour of a blackwater creek where you’ll paddle through remote old growth maritime forest. Raise a glass at a local winery or brewery. Tee it up at one of our area golf courses with exclusive golf discounts for OIA guests. Spend a day shopping the boutiques, art galleries and gift shops of downtown Southport. Soar high above everything with an airplane or helicopter tour. Take a day trip to the Ingram Planetarium, Fort Fisher Aquarium (via the ferry out of Southport) or the Battleship North Carolina. Our area has so much to offer you won’t be able to fit it all in one trip!

Oak Island NC Lighthouse