Oak Island : North carolina


What It Is Like to Retire in Oak Island

Oak Island, North Carolina, is located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in Brunswick County, about 30 miles south of Wilmington. The seaside town is situated mostly on the barrier island, which also is home to the town of Caswell Beach, and extends onto the mainland. The town has a population of close to 7,000, but with its miles of beaches, fishing docks, and boating, the population grows to about 40,000 during the summer months.

Oak Island is very popular with retirees and has an average age of 54, but is also a family-friendly beach community and summer vacation destination. A new four lane bridge was opened in 2011, which makes getting to Oak Island easier, and will promote more development. Photo of Ocean Crest Fishing Pier courtesy of Wikipedia and Paul Arps, Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0/


Where to Retire in Oak Island and Home Prices

Oak Island is part on a barrier island and part on the mainland across the bridge, so housing prices of course vary according to location, with homes on the water more expensive. The town is made up of many cottages, condos and single-family homes.  There is a large golf and marina community on the mainland.  Zillow reports the median home value on Oak Island to be $400,598. in late 2021.


What Is Special about Oak Island

Oak Island is a small, quiet beach community that is popular with retirees who live there year-round or as a second home.  It has boat docks, fishing piers, restaurants and shops, and outdoor activities.


What Is Not Special about Oak Island

If you are not a boater or a beach person, you may not find much to do here. Oak Island has had hurricanes; Summers bring lots of tourists


Who Will Like Retirement in Oak Island

Retirees who are boaters or fishermen, or enjoy the beach life, would like retiring here.  There is a medical clinic in town and a hospital just a few miles away in Southport.  The town has several parks, tennis, a golf course and a library.  The Senior Center is very active and offers classes, trips, activities and many events.


Local Economy Is Driven by

Tourism and construction drive the economy.


Climate and Physical Environment

January's average temperature is 45 degrees, with July's average at 82. Oak Island has experienced hurricanes, with the most recent in 1999.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The small town boasts beautiful beaches, fishing, boating, and access to the Intracoastal Waterway. It has many restaurants, ice cream shoppes, galleries and stores, and also offers parks, and golf courses, and a library. The Ocean Education Center displays exhibits about local marine life and provides programs for children, and the Oak Island Lighthouse offers tours.  Southport is nearby with more shops and dining, but Wilmington, about  30 miles away, is a college town and offers more of a cultural scene, with performing arts and many events.



Crime is higher than the national average, and almost all incidents involve theft.


Medical Facilities

Dosher Memorial Hospital is in Southport about 11 miles away, and operates a medical clinic on Oak Island.



Wilmington International Airport is about 35 miles away; Oak Island Airport is run by Brunswick County for general aviation; The community is very popular with boaters, has many marinas and offers access to the intracoastal Waterway.


Valuable Links

The Town of Oak Island

Oak Island Senior Center


What people are saying about Oak Island

Retiring to this area?
My husband and I are visiting Oak Island for a week in September and are going to look at St James Plantation as a retirement option. Would love any feedback anyone has on this area or on St James. Thanks.
Posted by rfesta on June 18, 2016

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