Oak Island, North Carolina 2024

oak-island,North%20CarolinaOak Island is a charming coastal town located in Brunswick County, North Carolina, United States. This seaside community is a popular destination for tourists and retirees, attracted by its laid-back atmosphere, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities. In this detailed description, we will cover various topics, including population, culture, special events, local attractions, food, people, history, and more.

**Population & Demographics**

As of the 2020 Census, Oak Island has a year-round population of approximately 8,600 residents. However, during peak tourist seasons, this number can swell to over 35,000 people. The median age of residents is 61 years old, making Oak Island a popular retirement destination. The town's population is predominantly White (94.4%), followed by African Americans (2.2%), Hispanics or Latinos (2%), and Asian (1%).


Oak Island is a community that prides itself on its small-town charm and friendly atmosphere. Neighbors know each other, and there is a strong sense of community spirit. The town has numerous community events and gatherings throughout the year, such as parades, festivals, and farmers' markets. Local arts and crafts are also an essential part of the culture, with several galleries and shops showcasing the works of local artists.

**Special Events**

Throughout the year, Oak Island hosts various special events, including:

1. Oak Island Lighthouse Run: A popular race event in March, featuring a half-marathon, 5K, and 1-mile fun run.

2. Fourth of July Celebration: Includes a parade, live music, and fireworks display.

3. Oak Island Art Show: An annual event held in November, featuring the works of local and regional artists.

4. Christmas by the Sea: A holiday event with a lighted boat parade, tree lighting, and Santa's arrival.

**Local Attractions**

Popular attractions in Oak Island include:

1. Oak Island Lighthouse: A 153-foot tall lighthouse with a distinctive black and white pattern, offering panoramic views of the area.

2. Caswell Beach: A quiet, family-friendly beach with lifeguards, picnic areas, and volleyball nets.

3. Coastal Waterbird Protection Area: A protected area for various birds, including the piping plover, Wilson's plover, and American oystercatcher.

4. Oak Island Nature Preserve: A 90-acre nature preserve with hiking trails, wildlife viewing, and a fishing pier.

5. Ingram Planetarium: Located in nearby Sunset Beach, this planetarium offers star shows, laser light shows, and educational programs.


Dining options in Oak Island range from casual seafood shacks to upscale restaurants. Some popular choices include:

1. Fishy Fishy Cafe: Known for its fresh seafood, this casual eatery serves dishes like shrimp and grits, crab cakes, and fried flounder.

2. The Dock Street Restaurant: Offers waterfront dining, fresh seafood, steaks, and a raw bar.

3. Island Way Restaurant & Bar: A fine dining establishment serving a variety of dishes, including steaks, seafood, and pasta.


Residents of Oak Island are known for their friendly and welcoming nature. Many residents are retirees or second-homeowners, creating a diverse and active community. Neighbors often look out for one another, and there is a strong focus on community involvement and volunteering.


Oak Island boasts a rich history dating back to Native American tribes and early European settlers. The town was officially incorporated in 1999 and has since grown into a popular tourist destination. Notable historical events and landmarks in the area include:

1. Civil War-era Fort Caswell: A historic fort built in 1827, used during the Civil War and both World Wars.

2. The Davis Island Coast Guard Station: Built in 1937 and operated until 1962, the station played a vital role in World War II.

3. Pirate legends: Oak Island's history is intertwined with tales of pirates, including Blackbeard and rumors of buried treasure.

In summary, Oak Island, North Carolina, offers a unique blend of natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and small-town charm, making it an attractive destination for tourists and retirees alike.