Top Things to do in Oak Island and Southport in 2023

Top Things to do in Oak Island and Southport in 2023

  • Jenna Kazmierczak
  • 04/23/23

With their quaint seaside charms, Oak Island and Southport offer plenty of attractions and activities for occasional visitors and longtime residents alike. Both communities boast all the things you might expect from North Carolina coastal towns, such as excellent beaches and fresh-caught seafood, but they also provide a number of hidden treasures for you to explore.

Art galleries, museums, multiple nature preserves, and historic sites dot the landscape, as well as some great Southport and Oak Island shopping destinations. Farmers’ markets are also popular here for those who love fresh produce and crafts. You can start the day by fishing from the pier or a chartered boat and end with picking out a fine bottle of wine, all without traveling outside of the area. Need some more ideas? Here are some of the top things to do in the area. 

Book a charter

Reelin’ Pelican Fishing Charters offers fully-stocked charters with everything you need to catch some local fish. With a small fleet of boats at their disposal, this charter company can accommodate groups of various sizes for trips around Southport and Oak Island. They even let children fish for free.

If you would rather just take in the views, Southport by Seaside can get you and your family or friends out on the water with a variety of cruising options. The company offers intimate cruises for groups as large as six on a boat captained by a 27-year U.S. Coast Guard veteran.

Get outside and explore

One of the most visible landmarks around Oak Island and Southport is the Oak Island Lighthouse, a volunteer-run attraction that has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors do not come just to see a historic site, though, as the lighthouse rises 169 feet above the surrounding coastline, providing fantastic vistas to intrepid explorers willing to brave the climb up a series of ships ladders.

For an experience a bit more down-to-earth, the Southport Pier and Riverwalk is another fantastic way to take in the local scenery. The pier is also another great place to get in some fishing or simply relax and take in the view, and the riverwalk is a popular destination for birdwatchers.

The Oak Island Nature Center offers another great opportunity to explore the area's natural beauty, as well as plenty of activities for children and adults alike. Visitors can enjoy the Talking Trees Walking Trail, take a look at fossil exhibits and animal displays, or even fish from one of the center's docks.

Experience local shops

There are plenty of opportunities for Southport Oak Island shopping as well, with a variety of specialty shops and unique offerings. Perhaps the best place to start is the Olde Southport Village Shoppes. This collection of specialty shops resides in a grouping of small houses moved to their current location from around the community. The village features a wide variety of items, spanning everything from custom jewelry to handcrafted bath products and artwork.

If you are someone who is always in the holiday spirit, The Christmas House has just about everything you would need for the season, selling everything from children's books and old-fashioned candy to festive decor. Color Me Carolina features gifts and gift baskets suited to any time of year and almost every occasion, from birthdays to weddings. For those more into a nautical theme, Southport Trading Company carries clothing, knickknacks such as coffee cups, and decorative items and books.

Of course, no Oak Island shopping trip would be complete without grabbing something for yourself. Southport is home to both the Southport Cheese Shoppe with a wide variety of cheeses, bread, and spreads, as well as the Silver Coast Winery's tasting room, where visitors can sample and purchase internationally award-winning wines and craft beers. Both are ideal for the gourmand or wine aficionado.

Open from May through September, the Oak Island Farmers' and Artisans' Market gives a real local taste every Monday during the season with vendors selling food, jewelry, and crafts. Opening in May, the Southport Summer Market runs every Wednesday through the end of August, carrying crafts, baked goods, and fresh produce.

Grab some good eats

Once you have had some time to take a look around Southport and Oak Island, you are likely to have worked up an appetite. Luckily, the community is ready to meet your needs no matter your tastes. The Lazy Turtle Oceanfront Grille is family-friendly and right on the beach, providing patrons with a good selection that can satisfy a variety of tastes with a view to match.

For fine dining on a waterfront terrace, Oliver's on the Cape Fear presents patrons with signature seafood dishes as well as market-price steaks and cuts of beef. The restaurant even has vegetarian and gluten-free options. Located convenient to area marinas, Joseph's Italian Bistro lives up to its name with pasta, steaks, and fresh seafood, as well as a great selection of wines to pair with any dish.

For those seeking a more laid-back experience, the Fishy Fishy Cafe has both traditional southern entrees and specialty dishes featuring the finest catch while also offering sandwiches and burgers for a quick bite over lunch. Just around the corner, Eric's Grille presents regular American fare from breakfast through lunch in an atmosphere reminiscent of a classic diner.

While Eric's does not try to impress with presentation—the food is served on disposable plates—the food is a favorite of locals and tourists alike.

Endless experiences

There is more to do and see in Southport and Oak Island than could ever be experienced in a single visit. This leads many tourists to start looking at Oak Island condos and houses just to have their own piece of North Carolina seafront living. From the Ingram Planetarium to Oak Island Jungle Golf and the Fort Johnston Southport Museum and Visitor Center, there is more than enough to keep family members of all ages coming back for more.

Whether you are looking for Southport and Oak Island condos or houses, or preparing to sell, there is no better guide than a qualified real estate agent. Local agent Jenna Kazmierczak will be happy to help you navigate the housing market and find the home of your dreams.

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Want an agent who'll really listen to what you want in a home? Need an agent who knows how to effectively market your home so it sells? Give me a call! I'm eager to help and would love to talk to you.

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