(UPDATED) Ocean Isle Beach Travel Guide

The last time I wrote a travel guide for Ocean Isle… I didn’t have kids! Oh how that changes things ūüėČ Ocean Isle has always been one of my very favorite places in the world… and even more so now that I get to share it with my own children. There are SO many things for families to do in Ocean Isle… even families with small babies! Read on for my updated travel guide for OIB.

On me: LainSnow Women’s Ocean Isle One Piece in Airlie Gardens // Steve Madden Bigmona Raffia Slingback Platform Sandals // On Kenny: LainSnow Mini Lain Bikini in Airlie Gardens // On Collins: LainSnow Mini Lain Rashguard in Airlie Gardens

on both girls: Lila and Hayes Gentry Girls’ Pima Cotton Shorts Set in “Stars and Stripes” // Amazon hair bows // The Beaufort Bonnet Company L’Amour Dottie Mary Janes

Amazon floral set // Steve Madden Bigmona Raffia Slingback Platform Sandals // Show Me You Mumu Seashell Rattan Bag

on Kenny: Sal & Pimenta + Jojo Mommy Red Roses Swimsuit // Rufflebutts x Roshambo Heart Sunglasses // on Collins: Sal & Pimenta + Jojo Mommy Red Roses Swimsuit // Amazon flower sunglasses // Amazon headband hair bow

On me: Altar’d State Brynn Floral Mini Dress // TKEES Foundations Matte Flip Flops // On Kenny: LoveShackFancy Girls Darling Pink Decker Dress // Target Toddler Sunny Jelly Sandals // J.Crew Small Heart Straw Bag // Amazon hair bows // On Collins: LoveShackFancy Girls Coralette Embroidered Cotton Skirt // Amazon headband hair bow // white baby girl tee // The Beaufort Bonnet Company L’Amour Dottie Mary Janes

On both girls: Pink Lily Kid’s Over The Moon in Firecracker Fabulous Set

On me: Abercrombie Eyelet Maxi Dress // TKEES Foundations Matte Flip Flops // On Kenny: The Smocked Sister Co. Seashell Dress // Target Toddler Sunny Jelly Sandals // Amazon hair bows // On Collins: The Smocked Sister Co. Seashell Bubble // Amazon headband hair bow // Native Kid’s Jefferson Water Friendly Slip-On Sneakers

On me: Agolde Parker Long High Waist Cutoff Shorts // Reformation Marella Puff Sleeve Linen Top // TKEES Foundations Matte Flip Flops // On Kenny: similar play dress // Target Toddler Sunny Jelly Sandals // Amazon hair bows // On Collins: similar play dress // Amazon headband hair bow // Crocs Kids’ Classic Clog

Amazon cardigan // LoveShackFancy Ruffle Mini Skirt // Steve Madden Bigmona Raffia Slingback Platform Sandals // Show Me You Mumu Seashell Rattan Bag

On me: Amazon swimsuit // On Collins: similar floral rash guard

Where to Stay

A RENTAL! My family always rented a house for a week every summer. We rented through several different companies throughout the years:¬†Sloane,¬†Cooke¬†and¬†McClure¬†are the best. You should also look at VRBO! There’s a wide range of rentals at OIB, from tiny condos to multiple family houses!

A HOTEL: In a pinch (or if there are no rentals available), then consider booking a room at one of the two oceanfront hotels, The Ocean Isle Inn and the The Islander Inn. They are right beside each other and very similar, and located right next to the pier in an easy and convenient location. The only downside is that, like a typical hotel, the rooms are pretty small. But they do offer a buffet breakfast every morning, and each boast a pool and hot tub!

Where to Eat

59 Causeway: Our¬†favorite breakfast place in OIB! 59 Causeway is located right along the canal with an amazing view and offers a wide variety of bagels, cream cheeses and breakfast offerings like cinnamon buns and donuts.¬†Their coffee is also amazing and the atmosphere is super cheerful and beachy.¬†I’m going to be honest, we go here every single morning when we’re in OIB – it’s¬†THAT good.

Breakers Pizza and Grill: At least once per visit we head over to Breaker‚Äôs for¬†hot dogs and french fries. They’re the BEST.

Drift Coffee and Kitchen: We love Drift for both breakfast and lunch! They have amazing avocado toast (called an ‚ÄúAvocado Smash‚ÄĚ) and a Market Breakfast Bowl that is super healthy and delicious with egg, avocado, sweet potato, greens, quinoa, baby¬†tomatoes.¬†They also serve the best coffee in town!

Inlet View Bar and Grill: This is Chris’s favorite restaurant in OIB! They have amazing seafood and double outdoor decks where you can sit and watch the sunset. I always get the mahi mahi with a baked potato on the side.

Oyster Rock: This is a newer restaurant located right on the water in Calabash and it’s quickly become our favorite. The wait is usually over an hour so definitely¬†make reservations ahead of time! I love this restaurant for its beautiful atmosphere, amazing views of the water,¬†creative cocktails and incredible¬†food.

Boundary House: I would drive for hours just to taste Boundary House’s¬†buttery¬†honey croissants – we always order a whole plate of them as an appetizer. The food here is always incredible, from their steak to their seafood and pasta.¬†

Sharky’s: Sharky‚Äôs has been an OIB staple for more than 30 years. Tucked under the¬†Ocean¬†Isle¬†Beach bridge, the restaurant has a large indoor dining area as well as outdoor dining that overlooks OIB‚Äôs beautiful waterfront views. The Tropical Shrimp Salad is my go-to, and I always order it with a margarita¬†followed by a slice of key lime pie.

Maria’s Pizzeria: If you’re in need of a good takeout or delivery restaurant, Maria’s is it!¬†Their real specialty is the ‚ÄúMaria‚Äôs‚ÄĚ pizza ‚Äď I could eat the whole dang thing by myself!!!

What To Do

The beach:¬†The beach at OIB¬†is really nice, there’s a long stretch of soft sand and we bring our own chairs and set up camp for hours at a time¬†under our Shibumi beach shade.¬†Sometimes we pack lunch in a cooler, other times we‚Äôll head back to the house for an hour to eat and take a break from the sun. Make sure to bring cash in case the Sunset Slush cart makes its way along the beach!¬†

Playground: OIB just finished making updates to the playground in Town Center Park and it’s one of the best playgrounds I’ve ever seen. We practically spent the whole week there last week! With tons of different slides, swings and things to climb on, Kennedy begged to go back every single day. There’s even a cool zip line that’s fun for adults!

Bike ride: Bikes are really easy to rent in OIB, and you can ride all over the island looking at the pretty houses! We’ve always loved to ride our bikes to get breakfast in the morning.

Outdoor Movies: OIB shows free movies every Wednesday night throughout summer at Town Center Park (right next to the museum). Movies begin at dusk (between 8:00 and 8:30 pm) and include family favorites such as The Little Mermaid, Tangled and The Parent Trap. you can view the movie schedule here.

Museum of Coastal Carolina: OIB has a wonderful museum located right on the island. It’s the perfect spot to entertain kids on a rainy day! (We know from experience.) You can learn more about the history of OIB and there’s birds and snakes, a massive shell collection, and even a touch tank with live sea animals. 

Concerts: If you’re into music, you are in luck! OIB offers free concerts at Town Center Park every Friday night from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Bring a beach chair and your own drinks and get ready to enjoy the music (and do some dancing!). You can view the concert schedule here.

Putt putt:¬†There‚Äôs a cute little putt putt place right next to the pier in¬†Ocean¬†Isle (you can‚Äôt miss it ‚Äď you will see it on your left when you drive onto the island!).¬†

The Pier: The OIB pier is actually a great place for kids! Inside, you’ll find a grill serving breakfast and lunch, a gift shop, ice cream shop, andddd, my kids’ favorite – an arcade! We spent a couple of hours at the arcade on our last trip to OIB, and the girls had so much fun. Even Collins, who is a little too young to “understand” the games, had a blast pushing buttons and turning wheels. Whenever you play games you win “tickets,” and you can then use those tickets to buy little trinkets and toys. Kennedy LOVED it too!

Yoga: Yoga on the beach is the perfect way to wake up in the morning (along with the sunrise). It’s $10 per class, and you can see the schedule here. You don’t even need a yoga mat, just bring your beach towel and you’re good to go.

What to Pack

Most of the restaurants in OIB are pretty casual –¬†you can wear a sundress or denim shorts¬†paired with a cute top for dinners out at night. The one exception is probably Oyster Rock, it’s a nicer restaurant and people trend to dress up more for it (something like this dress¬†would be perfect!).¬†For the beach, you¬†will definitely want to pack multiple bathing suits and cover-ups… I usually live in my swimsuit!¬†I also highly recommend investing in a Shibumi beach shade, you will see tons of them on the beach (cabanas, tents, and awnings are all banned at OIB, but¬†umbrellas with a single pole and wind-powered sunshades like the Shibumi are permissible). As far as shoes go, I usually only pack one or two pairs… my TKEES sandals¬†are my go-to and somehow pair well with every single thing in my suitcase, from swimsuits to fancy dresses!¬†

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  1. Ocean Isle Beach is one of my favorite places to travel to! It’s such a beautiful area and the beach there is so peaceful.



  2. SALLY

    Wow. This looks like a fun place to visit. Great review. Got a friends 40th birthday party in Myrtle Beach in early August. We might check this place out on the way back from Myrtle Beach. Boyfriend recently bought an Tesla and I am researching charging stations along the drive. We plan on driving but its a 5 hour plus drive from Virginia Beach. EV driving is great for local driving within 50 miles. Road trips we will take it to the test. Celtic Game in Boston on Sunday was electric. It was a happy plane ride home. As for fashion you nailed it. All perfect outfits for summer. I be living in my bikini all day too with beach cover up and flip flops. Night time dinner outfit would be a sundress and high heel sandals or mini skirt with crop top or some other cute top for dress up night. Back in the office today I am wearing a tropical print dress with 5 inch wedge sandals.