REMINDER- No glass containers of any kind are allowed on the beach or in beach accesses.

Updated 2017: When you are finished for the day, please take all of your beach gear with you – it cannot be left overnight on the beach. Gear and personal items (including chairs and canopy frames) left unattended on the beach between 8:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. will be removed but can be recovered after paying a $50 fine. Please note that beach gear cannot be placed on the beach until 7 a.m. (previously 6 a.m)

When you go to the beach with your beach gear (towels, canopies, chairs, toys, food containers, etc.), please remember that it can’t be put on the dunes. Also, your beach gear must be at least 10 feet away from turtle nests and 15 feet away from marked emergency accesses.

Please use only designated walkways to get to the beach — please stay off the dunes.


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.


Anglers are required to have identification and a Coastal Recreational Fishing license. 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.