Oak Island Rules and Regulations

Oak Island Beach Rules and RegulationsSwimming

Because Oak Island is a south facing beach, the water may not be as clear, but the current is not as severe making it better for swimming in general.  But be aware there are still rip tides and currents and there are no lifeguards on the island.

Piers – Keep a safe distance from piers when swimming because rip-tides can be stronger here and the pilings have barnacles that are very sharp.

The Point (Lockwood Inlet) – The far west end of the island can be a beautiful area to spend the day swimming and fishing.  But swimming in the sound at the point is more dangerous due to the fact that currents are worse where the sound meets the ocean.  Also though exploring the sandbars at low tide can be fun, watch the tides or you could quickly find yourself stuck.


There are sidewalks that run down most of the main road (Oak Island Drive) for walking and biking.  But remember these sidewalks do cross over at the top of every side street, so be cautious and look out for cars that may not stop short enough.

Sand Dunes and Turtles

Sand dunes protect the beach from erosion and are very necessary to protect the island.  Use the marked paths and do not walk on the dunes or allow children to play in the dunes.  The vegetation on these dunes is necessary to their integrity, do not pick the Sea Oats. There is a $50.00 fine for walking on or disturbing vegetation on fenced off dunes. Sea turtles (loggerhead, green, leatherback) are protected and nests are marked. Do not disturb them and keep children or dogs away from these areas; the maximum fine is $10,000.


Oak Island allows dogs on the beach but does have a leash law.  Bring a bag to dispose of your dogs waste.  Many accesses have dispensers with plastic bags available if you forget.  Dogs are allowed to run free on the beach, but only Oct. 15 to March 15 between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. in marked areas of the beach.  There is a dog park at 4601 E Oak Island Drive.

Don’t Drink and Drive

The law enforcement in Oak Island takes drinking and driving very seriously and if you drive intoxicated, you will get stopped.  If you do not have a designated driver, Oak Island has at least a couple of cab companies and they are very affordable.  Also most establishments have no problem with your car sitting in their parking lot overnight, just ask. It would put a real damper on your vacation to end up in the Brunswick Jail or worse.


Anglers are required to have identification and a Coastal Recreational Fishing license (except on July 4th). Licenses can be purchased online at the NC Wildlife Resources Commission web site or at tackle shops on the island.


Oak Island has no ordinances against drinking or smoking on the beach, but remember to respect those freedoms and keep the beach clean for everyone.  The island has trash receptacles at every access.  Bring a bag to put all your trash in (and that includes cigarette butts, don’t make the beach your ashtray) .

Holes dug in the beach sand must be filled in before leaving. Don’t let a sea turtle get stuck in a hole.