15 BEST Things to Do In Ocean Isle Beach

Ocean Isle Beach is a beautiful NC barrier island in Brunswick County, situated along the state’s southern coastline, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway.

This picturesque barrier island is where coastal bliss and tranquility await, it offers pristine sandy beaches, calm ocean waters, and endless opportunities for relaxation. With seven miles of shoreline, you can stroll along the soft sand, build sandcastles, or catch the perfect wave.

Families will love the friendly atmosphere and range of activities available, from beach picnics to bike rides. Golf enthusiasts can indulge in world-class courses nearby, providing scenic views for a memorable game. Whatever you want to put on the itinerary, don’t worry as there are plenty of things to do in Ocean Isle Beach for all!

Best Things to Do In Ocean Isle Beach

       1. Explore Unique Ecosystems in the Museum of Coastal Carolina

The Museum of Coastal Carolina
Image courtesy of Museum of Coastal Carolina / Things to Do In Ocean Isle Beach
  • Address: 21 E 2nd St, Ocean Isle Beach (GPS)
  • Hours: Mondays – Fridays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Sunday: 12:00 to 4:00 pm
  • Cost of Admission: $10 Adults (13-61),$9 Seniors (62+), $8 Children (3-12),Ages 2 and under are free

The quickest way to familiarize yourself with the rich culture and the unique environment of the North Carolina coast is to plan a visit to the Museum of Coastal Carolina. The exhibits in this natural history museum showcase the diverse flora and fauna, geology, and maritime history of the region.

Families, students, and nature enthusiasts of all ages will love the interactive exhibits, educational programs, and live animal displays featured by the museum. It remains open year-round with an admission price of around $9.00 for adults. There may also be some discounts for children, students, seniors, groups, and members.

       2. Enjoy an Immersive Experience at Ingram Planetarium

Ingram Planetarium
Image courtesy of Ingram Planetarium
  • Address: 7625 High Market St, Sunset Beach (GPS)
  • Hours: For Planetarium programs and events, click here
  • Cost of Admission: $10 Adults (13-61), $9 Seniors (62+), $8 Children (3-12),
    Ages 2 and under are free

Ocean Isle Beach may be a seaside town, but at Ingram Planetarium, you will momentarily find yourself lost amongst the stars. This digital dome theater boasts a state-of-the-art projection and sound system and features live star shows, full-dome films, and laser light shows, to name a few.

It’s a great place for space enthusiasts to stop by and learn all about the history of space exploration, and the latest in the world of astronomy and get a closer view of the constellations and the stars. The locals love the planetarium just as much as the tourists, especially because of the special events and programs that keep the space diverse and interesting. 

We suggest checking up on their current schedule, so you can time your visit and get a chance to enjoy some of their fascinating space programs.  

       3. Ocean Isle Beach Park

The Ocean Isle Beach Park
Image courtesy of Ocean Isle Beach Park
  • Address: 6483 Old Georgetown Rd SW, Ocean Isle Beach (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday: 8:00 am – 9:00 pm

If you want to spend quality time with your family, friends, and pets in this coastal town, head straight to Ocean Isle Beach Park and we guarantee you a memorable day. The park features eight tennis courts, two playgrounds, a picnic shelter, four pickleball courts, and a dog park. 

The large open green space and the beautiful natural view of the ocean make this park one of the most peaceful and serene places to visit in the town. You can play games with your family, enjoy a wholesome picnic, take advantage of the fishing pier, or enjoy the view from one of the many walking and bike trails. 

The park is also a popular spot for family gatherings, events, and weddings. The best part is, this park opens every day and has no admission fee.

       4. Have a Relaxing Day At Town Center Park

Playground at Town Center Park
Playground at Town Center Park / Image courtesy of OIB Town Center Park
  • Address: 11 E 2nd St, Ocean Isle Beach (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:30 am – 10:00 pm

Families with little kids in tow will have a wonderful time at Town Center Park, with its playground, interactive water fountain, promenade, and splash pad. Located in the heart of the town, the park also offers lots of recreational activities for the parents, including a bocce ball court.

If you are visiting in the summer, you might even catch one of the many concerts hosted by the park management. The park has an outdoor performance stage where you can stop by to hear the local artists play. 

It opens early in the morning and doesn’t close until late in the evening. Town Center Park offers one of the more relaxing experiences in Ocean Isle Beach where you can spend a lovely day with the kids and has a little fun of your own.   

       5. Swamp Park – Zip Line And ATV Center

The Swamp Park – Zip Line And ATV Center
Image courtesy of The Swamp Park / Things to Do In Ocean Isle Beach
  • Address: 5550 Watts Rd SW, Ocean Isle Beach (GPS)
  • Hours: Wednesday – Sunday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Cost of Admission: Per adventure ticket prices, check here.

The Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach is an excellent place for all the outdoorsy people in town. The parks offer a variety of exciting experiences including zip lining, ATV riding, and swamp buggy tours.

The zip line course varies in length and level of difficulty. From beginners to experts, everyone can challenge themselves and enjoy the breathtaking view as they soar through the air. The ATV rides along the swampy terrain provide a thrilling and heart-racing experience to the adventure-seeking riders.

And at last, you can learn all about the area’s natural beauty and wildlife by taking one of the swamp buggy tours. The guides provide a detailed explanation of everything you see and you’d step out of the park, knowing a lot more about the ecosystem of your travel destination.   

       6. Walk the Ocean Isle Beach Pier

The Ocean Isle Beach Pier
Image courtesy of the Ocean Isle Beach Pier
  • Address: 1 W First St, Ocean Isle Beach (GPS)
  • Hours: Sunday- Thursday: 7:00 am -9:00 pm, Friday & Saturday: 7:00 pm -10:00 pm

Ocean Isle Beach Pier is just the place for all fishing enthusiasts to gather and lose themselves in their favorite sport. Photographers and nature lovers will also fall in love with the scenic view of the beach from the pier.

It’s the place to go when you want some downtime and let your thoughts wander and settle with just the water and fellow fishing enthusiasts around you. Although it’s a popular tourist attraction, the long wooden pier allows everyone a chance to enjoy the view without getting crowded.

The pier also offers several amenities such as restrooms, concessions, tackle shops, and adequate space for sunbathing.

       7. Enjoy Ocean Isle Beach

ocean isle beach

You cannot go to a seaside town without spending a day at one of the best beaches in the Wilmington area. Even more so if the pristine beaches offer soft white sands and access to the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Spending your day at the beach with friends and family can be a fun and relaxing experience. There’s so much to do at the Ocean Isle Beaches that one day might not be enough. We suggest getting there early to secure a good spot and get your hands on the beach equipment so your day can be comfortable.

Activities at the beach include swimming, picnicking, exploring the shoreline, visiting the iconic Ocean Isle Beach Pier, renting a kayak or a paddleboard, capturing the sunset, and dining at the local restaurants that are only a few minutes walk from the beach. 

       8. Go Paddling in the Marshland Area of Jinks Creek

kayak jinks creek

When you’ve had your share of fun and water activities on the beaches of Ocean Isle Beach, experience something different at the marshland area of Jinks Creek. The wetland ecosystem has an expanse of marshes, swamps, and bogs that you can explore while paddling.

The diverse variety of plants, birds, reptiles, and amphibians in the marshland makes it all the more exciting to explore and photograph such a unique habitat.

Make sure you are well prepared to visit the marshland area and have all the equipment, including a kayak or a canoe, lifejacket, and paddle before embarking on this one-of-a-kind journey.

       9. Oak Island Nature Center

The Oak Island Nature Center
Image courtesy of Oak-IslandNC.com / Things to Do In Ocean Isle Beach
  • Address: 5202 E Yacht Dr, Oak Island (GPS)
  • Hours: Thursday – Saturday 11:00 am-2: 00 pm seasonally

Oak Island Nature Center is just the place for youth to bask in the fascinating world of nature and learn about its magical intricacies. It is a nature preserve offering various educational and recreational programs about the local coastal environment, including hiking trails, interactive exhibits, and wildlife observation platforms.

In addition to numerous programs that give the visitors an insight into the coastal ecosystem and its marshlands and dunes, there are many fun activities. Visiting is one of the best things to do in Oak Island and one can spend a whole day at the nature center watching birds, spotting wildlife, kayaking, and hiking.

     10. Explore the Eerie Side of History At The Ghost Walks

Contrary to popular belief, Ocean Isle Beach isn’t all about the marine life, the marshlands, water sports, and beachside shenanigans. The town also boasts well-preserved edifices and stories to connect you with the history of the town and fascinate you with its timeless melancholy.

Take one of the Ghost Walk tours with OIB Ghost Walks in the town and hear about the spine-chilling stories of Civil War naval battles, lost ships in the sea, uprooted family homes, haunted trains, shipwrecks, whiskey smugglers, haunted plantations, frequently spotted apparitions, ghost planes, and a lot more.

These Ghost Walks tell stories and cover historical sites that span over 500 years of North Carolina’s history. Many claim that the town is left haunted by its past. Whether it’s true or not, it sure makes your day exciting as you travel back in time.  

     11. Unleash The Foodie in You At The North Carolina Oyster Festival

 North Carolina Oyster Festival - best things to in ocean isle beach
  • Address: 8 E 2nd St, Ocean Isle Beach (GPS)

Ocean Isle Beach is the official host of the annual North Carolina Oyster Festival in October. Both, the locals, and tourists get together to celebrate the state’s rich oyster culture and history and its seafood legacy.

The family festival is all about freshly prepared seafood dishes, fresh oysters, arts and crafts, and live music. To keep things lively and a little interesting, there’s also an Oyster Shucking contest where the locals compete to shuck as many oysters as they can in a limited time.

Food enthusiasts will also love the live seafood cooking demonstrations and the oyster dishes in many forms including raw oysters, fried oysters, and more. The special feature of the festival is the beer and wine gardens, where the visitors can sample local beers and wines as they enjoy the festivities.

     12. Capture Sunset At Jinks Creek Waterfront Grill

Jinks Creek Waterfront Grille
Image courtesy of Jinks Creek Waterfront Grille / Things to Do In Ocean Isle Beach
  • Address: 14 Causeway Dr, Ocean Isle Beach (GPS)
  • Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 5: 00 am -9:00 pm, Sunday & Monday: Closed

One of the most unforgettable experiences in Ocean Isle Beach is provided by Jinks Creek Waterfront Grill. The iconic seafood restaurant is one of the best places to eat in Ocean Isle, and offers panoramic views of Jinks Creek and its unique marshes where patrons can relax and enjoy delicious food. Its unique location and scenic views make it one of the most popular spots in the town to capture an epic sunset. 

The restaurant offers an outdoor seating area where meals can be enjoyed while gazing upon the stunning landscape around you. The restaurant also serves drinks and cocktails and the staff is known for their friendly and welcoming disposition.  

     13. River Country Mini Golf

The River Country Mini Golf
Image courtesy of River Country Mini Golf
  • Address: 1 Causeway Dr, Ocean Isle Beach (GPS)

River Country Mini Golf is one of the most popular mini-golfing experiences for families in Ocean Isle Beach. The golf course is suitable for all ages and therefore, both parents and the kids can hone their golfing skills and have some family-friendly fun.

The course features two 18-hole courses, each with a different theme. From beginners to expert golfers, everyone will find a course that is more suitable to their skill level.

Those who aren’t there to golf will still have a great time enjoying the scenic view of the water, the surrounding marshes, and the random spotting of the wildlife in the distance. Watching friendly competitions all around is great entertainment in itself too.

Despite all its amazing charms, River Country Mini Golf is accessible to everyone at very affordable prices. The mini-golf course is perfect for locals and tourists looking for budget-friendly options for a fun day out with families.

     14. Silver Coast Winery

Silver Coast Winery - best things to in ocean isle beach
Image courtesy of Silver Coast Winery / Things to Do In Ocean Isle Beach
  • Address: 6680 Barbeque Rd NW, Ocean Isle Beach (GPS)
  • Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Monday: Closed

Wine lovers in Ocean Isle Beach can have a taste of the best wines in the region at the Silver Coast Winery. With its extensive selection of high-quality wine, friendly staff, and scenic views, the winery provides a truly unforgettable experience to its visitors.

You can start your day at the winery with a visit to the spacious tasting room. Here, you can taste various wines and learn all about the winemaking process. You can have your pick of red, white, sparkling, as well as specialty wines and enjoy tastes that you have never experienced before. 

Wine lovers can ask as many questions as they want and the knowledgeable staff will gladly answer them. They’d also help you find your favorite wine from their vast collection. 

After you have had your fill of wine tasting, feast your eyes with the scenic views of the rural setting, rolling hills, and the expansive vineyards before your eyes.

     15. Push Your Limits at the Alligator Adventure 

The Alligator Adventure - best things to in ocean isle beach
Image courtesy of Alligator Adventure
  • Address: 4604 Hwy 17 S, North Myrtle Beach (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:00 am -5:00 pm

If you seek a little adrenaline rush in Ocean Isle Beach, we suggest you get up close and personal with some reptiles and alligators. Alligator Adventure in Ocean Isle Beach houses an extensive collection of reptiles such as snakes, lizards, turtles, and alligators.

That’s not all. You can also observe some other animals such as birds and primates. Unlike other animal sanctuaries, this one allows visitors a close-up view of the reptilians through the viewing platforms, shows, and demonstrations.

The animal encounters and educational activities at Alligator Adventure make it suitable for animal enthusiasts of all ages.


Hope this helped you decide all the best things to do in Ocean Isle Beach on your vacation! For more travel in the area, see below:

Plan For Your Trip to the South!

  • Get Around: We suggest renting a car for traveling the Carolinas. Check Prices on RentalCars.com
  • Our Favorite Travel Shoes: Our answer to this question is always Allbirds.
About Natasha

Natasha moved to North Carolina for college years ago (but she's not trying to age herself here). Her days were spent reading a book on the beach and enjoying a cold glass of sweet tea in between classes at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Upon graduation, she met her partner, Cameron, and they traveled the world together crossing 85 countries and seven continents. After, many years of international travel they settled down a bit and launched Lost in the Carolinas to share their experiences about and travel tips on South Carolina and North Carolina.

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