Our Local Area
The gently sloping strand offers calm surf by and large without strong currents. The wide span of sugar fine sand is perfect for sandcastles and activities to build memories upon. There is always a place for your beach chair and umbrella. There are no bright lights or heavy traffic, just a peaceful setting for your vacation. Our water temperature is on the average 10 degrees warmer than the Outer Banks. Seasonal changes are mild offering beach enjoyment year round.
Famous for fried and broiled seafood specialties, visit the world-renowned Fishing Village of Calabash with its several seafood restaurants. We are also just minutes away from all the Wilmington and Myrtle Beach Restaurants.
Browse around the boutiques, galleries, gift shops, and surf shops on Ocean Isle and The Fishing Village of Calabash. Take a trip to the Grand Strand for a unique shopping experience at Barefoot Landing, Broadway at the Beach or its many outlet stores. For a rare treat go to nearby Wilmington and visit the Cotton Exchange or Chandlers Wharf just minutes away.
May through October offers nesting and hatching sea turtles along our Islands. sea turtle Experience the wonder of a nesting loggerhead turtle or the "boil" of a hatching nest! What an experience! During nesting lays, you may have an opportunity to name the next baby loggerhead for a small donation to the turtle watch program. "Nest parents" (volunteers) watch nests nightly during their expected hatching times to assist the babies into the surf and to protect them from predators. The "Turtle Lady" of Ocean Isle Beach, Gloria Hillenburg, holds weekly learning lectures at the Museum of Coastal Carolina on Monday nights during the summer. This is a must do activity for kids and families of all ages. For more information e-mail or call the Turtle Lady:
Experience the natural beauty of the Carolinas while playing a round of golf on over 100 area courses. The variety of courses offers a good time for all levels of ability. Ocean Isle Inn will assist you with a golf outing to remember.
Just a mile north of Brunswick Town this lush southern plantation includes magnolias, cypress, live oaks and thousands of azaleas. Once a working rice plantation, the rice fields are now home to alligators and many unusual species of birds. The residence is private and not open to the public. Admission fee.
Conveniently located on Ocean Isle Beach and allied with the famed Discovery Place in Charlotte, the Museum of Coastal Carolina offers coastal history of the Carolinas. A walk through The Reef Room is the next best thing to being underwater. Experience the excellent displays of aquatic life, the tide machine, waterfowl dioramas, and antique fishing equipment, Carolina shells, shark teeth, and artifacts of Native American culture. Educational and entertaining programs are offered throughout the year. Special children's education programs are offered daily during the summer. For program schedules and information call or visit the website.
The state's oldest remaining lighthouse is open for daily tours on Bald Head Island. Some 100 steps and a wooden ladder lead to the top and a spectacular view of the island, Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Fear River. You can explore this island by bike or golf cart (available for rental on the island) but no cars are allowed so you must reach the island by ferry from Southport. Admission to the lighthouse and Smith Island Museum is $3.00 and also a charge for the ferry. Call for ferry information:
Brunswick Town and Fort Anderson were founded in 1726 and burned by the British in 1776. The state historic site has been excavated, revealing much of the life in this colonial town. A museum displays artifacts gathered from the ruins. Ruins include St Philip's Church, the home of two royal governors and the earthen mounds of the Confederate Fort Anderson. Free admission.
The last major stronghold of the Confederacy, Fort Fisher was the largest earthwork fortification in the south during the Civil War. It kept the port of Wilmington and the Cape Fear River open to blockade-runners. The alert visitor may catch a glimpse of the ghost of Confederate General William Whiting who was imprisoned by the Union following his unsuccessful defense of the fort. Free Admission. 919-458-5538. Fort Fisher: An open-air car ferry between Southport and Fort Fisher. Crossing time is about 30 minutes. Reservations recommended.
The newly expanded Aquarium is now nearly three times its original size. The 84,000-sq-ft building contains many new exhibit areas, including a half-acre freshwater Conservatory and a two-story saltwater habitat called Cape Fear Shoals. The Aquarium displays aquatic life of the Cape Fear River and wetlands, creatures of the coastal waters near the river's mouth, and life in the open ocean beyond. Visitors begin near the headwaters, where cascading waterfalls splash into pools filled with sturgeon and striped bass. The journey culminates at the far end of the facility, where several saltwater aquariums showcase sharks, groupers, colorful reef fishes and other offshore creatures.
Just up Highway 17 to Wilmington is the immortal showboat, USS North Carolinathe USS North Carolina. She survived every major Pacific naval offensive of World War II and earned 15 battle stars. It was brought to the Cape Fear River in 1961 by the citizens of NC as a memorial to all the men and women who served in WWIl. The self-guided tour includes an orientation film, crew's quarters, galley, sickbay, engine room, pilothouse, guns, Kingfisher floatplane and more. Admission fee.
This is it for all the bright lights, water parks, music theaters, shopping, amusement park rides you can stand! North Myrtle Beach is a short 30-minute drive and downtown Myrtle Beach can be reached within 45 minutes. Enjoy the lights but hurry back to the quiet of Sand, Sun and Family Fun our islands offer.
A short drive up Highway 17 offers you the historic city of Wilmington. Here resides the USS North Carolina Battleship. The historic downtown is worth a stroll to view the residences, the quaint shops and coffee houses.
Professional Baseball in Myrtle Beach! Advanced 'A' affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. See the starts of tomorrow today on their "Road To The Show"!
Ocean Isle Fishing Center
Play a round of golf at one of over 100 nearby championship courses. Partake in a game of tennis at Ocean Isles' tennis courts. Fish off the pier, in the surf, or charter a boat for a half day or full day trip to the Gulf Stream. If you just want to have fun in our backyard, play a game of beach volleyball, sail, kayak, or ride the waves on your surf or body board.
Enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast in our seaside garden or on your private oceanfront balcony.
Open Tuesday through Saturday, the Ingram Planetarium located in Sunset Beach is a wonderful experience for the entire family.
Imbibe at one of Ocean Isles local clubs and enjoy a variety of live music or your favorite sporting event. Go to close by Myrtle Beach and see one of the spectacular shows at the Alabama Theatre, Dolly Parton's Dixie Land Stampede, Legends, House of Blues and the many others that offer musical shows and top performers. If you just want to relax and see a movie, go to a show at the new Coastal Cinema in Shallotte which feature's stadium seating.
Besides our beautiful beaches, the Ocean Isle area is known for its history and natural grandeur. Visit the plantations, North Carolina Battleship Memorial, Fort Fisher Aquarium or take a walking tour of mansions and churches at Wilmington's historic waterfront.
Welcome to the Shallotte River Swamp Park & Outdoor Center! Take a majestic tour and explore the ecological benefits of this natural environment or indulge in one of our many action activities we have on hand. You can choose from one of our three fun-filled activities or maybe do them all! Experience the area with our guided Zipline tours, climb on the Aerial Adventure Park, or relax and enjoy the Shallotte River on our Swamp Tour. For the more adventurous, climb to the top of the Main Tower and step off the Pelican Dive. It is sensational! Visitors take in a variety of natural sights and sounds that encompass this beautiful region. This is the perfect combination of adventure seeking and ecological education. With something for all ages, these spectacular adventures and breathtaking views are all here waiting for you!