Crowds are no fun when you just want to have a quiet, relaxing time at the beach. But that’s not something you’d have to worry about Oak Island. The town is a beach retirement gem that’s yet to be discovered by many. You’ll have 14 miles of pristine beaches to yourself (and perhaps a few others) and it’ll feel like your own little secluded paradise. The town also boasts 60 public access points from tip to tip, so you’ll get to the shore in no time.
Oak Island is one of the warmest places in North Carolina. The hottest month is July with average highs of 90°F. It does get a little cold in the winter sometimes—with coldest temperatures in January averaging 34°F—but not cold enough to get more than 1 inch of snow per year. It’s a great place to retire if you don’t want to shovel snow in your driveway ever again.
Small Town Perks
This quaint little town has remained untouched by urbanization, preserving the small-town charm that’s highly coveted by those who’ve spent a good chunk of their life in the city. By retiring here, you’re guaranteed a peaceful and quiet beach retirement surrounded by friendly locals who are happy to lend a hand when you need it. And you get all this without completely sacrificing convenience as the town also offers many of the great things that city life provides.
Fishing For All Ages
A major activity in Oak Island, fishing is enjoyed by enthusiasts of all levels and ages, even kids with little to no experience. It’s an ideal place to get your grandchildren started—hook them while they’re young. There are two public fishing piers in the area, Oak Island Pier and Ocean Crest Fishing Pier, with the latter being the longest on the southern Cape Fear Coast. You could also fish right off the beach, or charter a boat for maximum adventure.
Golf Courses in and around Town
Not a fan of fishing? No worries! You can spend your retirement days golfing instead. Located in the eastern end of town is Oak Island Golf Club, a 9-hole par-3 course featuring Bermuda grass and trees and 37 bunkers. Since it’s open to the public, you and your entire family can play without a membership. And if you ever need a change of scenery, there are over 30 golf courses that you can check out in the surrounding towns.
Fishing and/or golfing is often enough to keep many retirees’ calendar busy. But what if you’re more adventurous than that? Or what if your reason for wanting to retire at the beach is to finally try all the activities you keep finding reasons not to try? If both cases are true for you, you should definitely consider retiring in Oak Island. From tearing up the water with a jet ski to paddleboarding and kayaking to going on a helicopter ride and skydiving, your options are plenty and varied.
Meeting New People
So there’s a bunch of stuff to do in Oak Island, but what about opportunities to meet new people? Going fishing is actually one of the best ways to expand your social circle here, but if that’s not your idea of socializing, the town hosts a variety of programs and events throughout the year. There’s a marathon in February and another one in April. There’s the Oak Island Summer Concerts if you’re a sucker for live music. The town also holds the Oak Island Farmers and Artisans’ Market every Monday from May to September. They have activities to celebrate the Fourth of July as well, and more activities to celebrate other holidays.
Wholesome Activities for the Family
The Oak Island Nature Center is a good place to take family and friends who are visiting for the first time. Here, kids and adults learn about the animals in the town as well as the kind of environment they live in. And don’t forget to tour the top of Oak Island Lighthouse together—it’s a very unique experience. For a little bit of family competition, you could go bowling or play a round of mini-golf. Oh, and there’s a new splash pad located just behind the town hall.
Parks and Public Spaces
The town of Oak Island really understands the importance of having adequate public spaces. Oak Island Cabana and Commissioner’s Park feature viewing areas that offer stunning views of the beach. Malcolm Register Park has a nature center, a butterfly garden, a floating dock and a nature trail. Middleton Park has basketball and tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields, picnic shelters and a playground. The town also has two skate parks—the Kevin Bell Skate Park and Oak Island Skate Parks. Take your grandkids there to earn extra brownie points.
By retiring in Oak Island, you get easy access to nearby beach towns which, by themselves, are also great places to retire in. To the left of Oak Island is the town of Holden Beach and to the right is the town of Caswell Beach. The towns of Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, Southport and Bald Head Island are also just an hour away or less by car. Oak Island may be a small town, but there’s so much to experience in and around Oak Island you probably won’t even miss the city.