Are you planning a trip to Ocean Isle with kids? If so, you will be thrilled with this travel guide! This guide will help you plan your trip in every capacity. From where to stay, to where to eat, play, and relax. Let’s get you started planning your dream trip to Ocean Isle!
Where is Ocean Isle Beach?
A common question about this little beach town is “Is Ocean Isle in the Outer Banks?” And the answer to that question is, no. Ocean Isle is located on the southern part of the North Carolina coast. It’s a bit of an underrated travel destination, to be honest. The coast of the Carolinas has an incredible beach and adventure experiences. You’ve probably heard of Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, Wilmington, and Charleston, but if you aren’t from the Carolinas, you’ve probably never heard of Ocean Isle.
Is Ocean Isle A Nice Beach?
Ocean Isle is a lovely beach that has a lot of space for everyone. The expansive sandy beaches are great for those looking to lay in the sun, play beach games, or watch the waves roll in.
What Is Ocean Isle Beach Like?
Ocean Isle Beach is a laid-back and relaxing beach. When it comes to getting around the area you will be happy to know that the town has wide sidewalks and in general, it’s bike-friendly as well.
Is Ocean Isle Beach Crowded?
With a population of just 612 in 2017, this tiny town can give you the beauty of a North Carolina beach without the crowds. One of the best things about Ocean Isle Beach is that it is delightfully uncrowded, even in the warm spring months. This makes the beach very family-friendly as parents don’t have to worry about their children getting into neighbors’ belongings or getting lost in a crowd.
When is The Best Time To Visit Ocean Isle?
You will want to visit Ocean Isle in the spring or fall. Any beach you visit on the North Carolina coast is generally more enjoyable in the fall or spring. Of course, the winter is pleasant as well. Then, when it comes to summertime, you have to deal with more crowded beaches and tourists lining the streets trying to get to their next activity of the day. So, the best piece of travel advice is that when it comes to making your North Carolina beach trip more enjoyable, visit in either the spring or the fall.
Ocean Isle Weather
Ocean Isle weather is tolerable year-round.
During the winter months, the highs range between 56 and 66. During the shoulder seasons, you will find pleasant temperatures ranging from 68 to 80. Then, in the summer you can expect the temperature to be around 85 to 90 degrees.
If you want to avoid the rain during your visit, you will want to avoid visiting in August. You should also consider hurricane season when planning your trip. 60% of hurricanes in North Carolina hit during September and October. In general, April and May are really pleasant times to visit Ocean Isle.
Things To Do In Ocean Isle With Kids
Ferry Landing Park
The park is a great place to sit by the water, go fishing, take a walk, or go kayaking.
Museum of Coastal Carolina
This museum is a natural history museum that also has a touch pool and other marine life. This is one of the best things to do in Ocean Isle with kids! The museum has a $9.50 entrance fee. There’s also a planetarium that coasts $9.50 as well. This is one of the best things to do in Ocean Isle when it rains!
Ocean Isle Beach Pier
The pier is open for fishing or just to walk out and enjoy the view. Plus, it only costs $1!
Head to the beach to swim, sunbathe, or read a good book. Whatever floats your boat! (whatever you do, just wear more sunscreen than I did. ouch!)
The Swamp Park
The most exicting of the things to do in Ocean Isle with kids is the swamp park. See gators, zipline, try out the ariel ropes course, or take a swamp boat tour. Activities range from $20-$100 depending on what activity and the age of the participant.
Where To Stay In Ocean Isle
Ocean Isle Beach rentals are seriously dreamy! You can find rentals to fit any size of the traveling party. Here are some of the best Ocean Isle Beach rentals.
Oceanfront Condo w/direct beach access & pool
Oceanfront Condo with direct beach access, pool, and elevator
Shells In Your Pocket – Oceanfront Condo – Private Deck, Pool, Beach
If rentals aren’t your favorite form of accommodation, check out these Ocean Isle hotels!
Ocean Isle Inn
This hotel is right on the beach and is within walking distance of restaurants and the pier. We stayed here because of the affordable pricing and were thrilled by the added bonus of its location. They also had great customer service! The Ocean Isle Inn is one of the best Ocean Isle beach hotels!
This hotel is right beside the Ocean Isle Inn and is equally well located. While on the pier we stopped and talked to a couple who frequently vacation in Ocean Isle; they said they’re pleased with the Islander and that it’s their hotel of choice when in the area. Based on other travelers’ stories and reviews online, it is easy to see that the Islander Inn is definitely on the list of best Ocean Isle hotels!
The Winds Resort Beach Club
A nicer option in Ocean Isle with kids. The hotel and the outdoor pool are right on the beach. They have a gorgeous beach cottage theme in their rooms, free breakfast, and wifi, and they’re also in close proximity to the Museum of Coastal Carolina.
Where To Eat In Ocean Isle Beach NC
Ocean Isle Creamery
When visiting Ocean Isle with kids, you will want to check out the Ocean Isle Creamery! This is a popular ice cream shop and is within walking distance of both the Ocean Isle Inn and the Islander Inn
Also within walking distance of the hotels is, Sharky’s. We LOVE this place and highly recommend stopping by for a bite to eat. You can eat inside or, even better, go outside and eat while enjoying the view of the water. Also, definitely order the homemade chips and salsa. The chips and salsa both are to die for!
The Isles Restaurants and Tiki Bar
This is a more elevated white table cloth option. They have quirky cocktails and delish southern cajun cuisine. I recommend you get a reservation as they get really busy. So, if you don’t want to wait an insane amount of time or if you want specific seating, definitely make reservations.
Jinks Creek Waterfront Grille
Jinks Creek is a great option for spectacular water and sunset views. This isn’t white table cloth dining, but still a more elevated restaurant. A perk of dining at Jinks with kids is that their restaurant has a spacious interior as well as an outside seating area. I know it always helps when your little ones don’t feel trapped and can also go outside and enjoy the views!
Is Ocean Isle Safe?
If you’ve never been to Ocean Isle with kids, you may be wondering… Is it safe?
Absolutely. We’ve traveled the North Carolina coast for the past few years and haven’t had any problems. Ocean Isle wasn’t any different. Of course, you should watch yourself and always make smart travel decisions.
Ocean Isle Cost Breakdown
If you visit in the shoulder season and want a hotel on the beach as well as a room with a view of the ocean, you are looking at around $380 total for three nights.
When it comes to food, let’s say you will be eating breakfast at your hotel for free and eating out for lunch and dinner as well as getting a few treats here and there. For each adult meal at a sit-down restaurant, I would budget around $15, more if you want to add cocktails or dessert. A kid’s meal will be around $7-$9. Let’s say you want to get a snack or an ice cream once each day of your three days trip. I would budget around $10 per person, per day, for snacks or ice cream.
Here’s an example cost breakdown for one traveler.
Day 1: visit the beach for free and the Swamp Park: $30 for a swamp boat tour & $42 for zip line circuit
Day 2: visit the beach for free and pay $1 to walk out on to the pier
Day 3: visit the Museum of Coastal Carolina for $9.50 & the planetarium for $9.50
This cost is going very greatly for each traveler so, I’m going to leave this out of the trip total. Simply add in your gas or airplane ticket costs to the total below.
Total trip costs for three nights in Ocean Isle with kids:
Souvenirs, extras, etc.: $50
TOTAL: $800 + transportation
You will of course need to add
Visiting Ocean Isle with kids is something that you should experience for yourself very soon! If you have any questions or if there is anything I missed, just leave me a comment. Happy traveling!
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