Attractions in Ocean Isle/Sunset/Holden, NC

Ocean Isle Beach, NC Attractions

When you have had enough of the sun, sand, sea and fishing in Ocean Isle Beach, NC, you will find there is more to the town. There is an ocean museum, for example, where you can learn all about what is beneath those waves you have been enjoying. In fact, at the Museum of Coastal Carolina on E. Second Street, you can walk through The Ocean Reef. This seascape diorama surrounds you with life-sized models of sharks, dolphins, game fish, octopi and crustaceans. There is a number of hands on exhibits including a touch tank where you can get the feel of the ocean’s offerings. You can also watch a film about the loggerhead turtles that lay their eggs on these very beaches. There is also a gift shop where you can purchase mementos of your visit. Don’t miss the special family programs during the summer and on the Saturday before Easter each year you can take part in family day. This event includes activities for the whole family such as: music, food, soft drinks, games, and make-and-take-home crafts.

On the mainland you can discover the award winning Silver Coast Winery at 6680 Barbeque Road. Situated on 40 acres and surrounded by dense, Carolina woods, this winery has its own commercial vineyards. You can participate in wine tastings, take a tour, explore the art gallery and enjoy a picnic in the gardens. The winery also holds special events in which you can participate throughout the year.

Many fishing charter boats sail from Ocean Isle Beach, NC, and the Ocean Isle Fishing Center on Causeway Drive hosts fishing tournaments throughout the year. Tournaments include: The Far Out Shoot Out Fishing Tournament; the Jolly Mon King Classic; the Fall Brawl King Classic; and the Thanksgiving Inshore Classic. If you visit in October you can attend the annual North Carolina Oyster Festival which is the largest single event held in Ocean Isle Beach, NC. This event includes the NC Oyster Shucking Championship as well as live music, arts and crafts vendors, activities for the kid and a 5K, 10K and 1-mile fun run. You can also participate in the yummy oyster stew cook-off.

Holden Beach, NC Attractions

The bridge to Holden Beach, NC is an attraction in itself as it swoops and soars over the Intracoastal Waterway. From this bridge you have a stupendous view of the ocean and the beach where you will be playing.

Two large events that attract crowds to Holden Beach, NC happen in April, before the summer season begins, and in October, after the end of the season. These are Days at the Docks and Festival by the Sea. These are weekend events and it would serve you well to remember that both Spring and Fall are excellent times to visit the beach. Days at the Docks includes all of the festival activities like music, arts and crafts and food as well as huge kites sailing in the wind. A special event called a Bopple Race is unique to Days at the Docks. The NC Festival by the Sea is held beneath the soaring bridge that connects the mainland to the island of Holden Beach. This event includes a parade, and a kids’ area in addition to the usual festival events and, like Days at the Docks, you will witness huge kites flying overhead.

During the season the beach is the primary attraction and year round there is both surf fishing and fishing from the pier as well as the Annual Flounder Tournament at Shallotte Point. One of the attractions you will find inland from Holden Beach, NC, Planet Fun and Starz Grille, is located at 349 Whiteville Road in Shallotte, NC. This 50,000-square-foot entertainment center provides fun for the whole family - from bowling, to miniature golf, to a soft playground, to an arcade. You could actually spend the day here and enjoy your meals in the grille.

Sunset Beach, NC Attractions

The main attractions in Sunset Beach, NC are, of course, the beach and the ocean. A unique feature of Sunset Beach is Bird Island with its 1300 acres of natural marsh, wetlands and protected habitat dedicated as a North Carolina Coastal Reserve. At one time Bird Island was separated from Sunset Beach by an inlet which has since closed. To get to Bird Island, it is necessary to walk there on the beach from Sunset Beach. Bird Island is an undeveloped reserve where you can view the natural flora and fauna of the area going about their living with nature. A unique feature is the Kindred Spirit Mailbox you will find there. No one knows who placed it there years ago, but it is filled with notebooks and writing utensils so that you may read notes left by former visitors and leave some of your own as well.

A rainy day may find you searching for ways to entertain yourself and your children indoors. The Ingram Planetarium in The Village at Sunset Beach is an interesting and exciting place for the family to spend a day or an evening. The planetarium has a 40-foot domed ceiling and a high-definition digital system with surround sound where you can enjoy an astronomy show or a laser music show. You and your family can participate in interactive exhibits including one in which you can experience hurricane force winds. You can also visit the gift shop where you will find fun and educational items to take home with you.

In Calabash, NC, just south of Sunset Beach, you can enjoy a Dolphin Cruise by visiting The Hurricane Fleet Deep Sea Fishing Center and signing aboard for a tour. You can go on a fishing charter or take a cruise that will bump you right up against a shrimping vessel where you can learn how shrimp are caught by watching the fishermen in action.

While in Calabash, NC, why not treat yourself to some homemade ice cream. At the Calabash Creamery you will find yummy flavors you never heard of before. You can ‘set a spell’ and enjoy your treats while rocking on the chairs that line the wrap-around porch. Don’t miss a photo op with Scoop and Dip the resident cows.

Featured Local Businesses

Sunset Beach

40th Street Walkway
Sunset Beach, NC
(843) 446-3694

With more than 1,200 acres of beautiful salt marsh and tidal creeks, the Bird Island is the last undeveloped barrier island in Brunswick County, NC and is one of 10 sites that make up the North Carolina Coastal Reserve & National Estuarine Research Reserve. Preservation allows this coastal ecosystem to be...more about Bird Island Nature Walks

The Village at Sunset Beach
7625 High Market St.
Sunset Beach, NC 28468
(910) 575-0033

Visit Ingram Planetarium in beautiful Sunset Beach, NC and see the universe up close. Ingram Planetarium is a state-of-the-art facility with a 40-foot domed ceiling and a high-definition digital system with surround sound. View a Sky Theater astronomy show or rock to a laser light and music show. Enjoy the interactive...more about Ingram Planetarium

Cape Fear Riverboats
North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts

Ocean Isle Beach

21 E. Second St.
Ocean Isle Beach, NC 29469
(910) 579-1016

Visit the Museum of Coastal Carolina, a natural history museum located in beautiful Ocean Isle Beach, NC. View collections of fossils, sea shells, shark jaws, and Native American artifacts. Walk through the Ocean Reef, a seascape diorama with life-size models of sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, fish, and crustaceans. Touch...more about Museum of Coastal Carolina

Shallotte Point
Ocean Isle Beach, NC
(910) 612-7799, 2793

November 2020 Event has been Cancelled  The Ocean Isle Beach Flotilla boat parade is always held the Saturday after Thanksgiving and begins at dusk (about 5:30 PM) in front of Inlet View Bar & Grill. You will find excellent viewing spots between there and the ending point in the commercial canal...more about Ocean Isle Beach Flotilla

5550 Watts Rd.
Ocean isle Beach, NC 28467
(910) 687-6100
(844) 778-941

The Shallotte River Swamp Park is designed around the ecological environment located between Ocean Isle Beach and Rt. 17. Park rangers will guide you through this natural environment by zipline, through climbing the Aerial Adventure Park, or by boat on the Swamp Tour. You can even take the Pelican Dive from...more about Shallotte River Swamp Park

6680 Barbeque Rd.
Ocean Isle Beach, NC
(910) 287-2800

Who would expect to find a winery just 15 minutes inland from the beach? Not just any winery, mind you, but an upscale, vineyard and production facility situated on 40 acres, surrounded by dense, Carolina woods; a winery that has been winning gold, silver and bronze medals for their wines since...more about Silver Coast Winery


349 Whiteville Rd.
Shallotte, NC 28459
(910) 755-2386

Planet Fun is a non-smoking 50,000-square-foot entertainment center that offers an array of fun attractions. Inside Planet fun you will find Constellation Alley with 32 bowling lanes, Highway 66 Bowling (mini bowling lanes), 9 hole Ocean Quest Cosmic black light miniature golf, an indoor soft playground, Asteroids Redemption Arcade with over...more about Planet Fun and Starz Grille

Mulberry Park
123 Mulberry St.
Shallotte, NC 28470
(910) 754-4032

EVERY SATURDAY 2021  This Farmers' Market will be held every Saturday from May through August, from 9 AM until 1 PM, and Wednesdays from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM. The Fall Market will be held in September, a Holiday Market will be held in November and the Christmas Village will be...more about Shallotte Farmers Market


Hurricane Fleet Marina
9975 Nance St.
Calabash, NC 28467
(910) 579-3660
(800) 373-2004

The Hurricane Fleet Deep Sea Fishing Center is located in the middle of the “seafood capital of the world,” where shrimp are a very large part of the catch. Have you ever wondered just how and where the shrimp are caught? Why not take a cruise which engages working shrimp boats...more about The Hurricane Fleet Deep Sea Fishing Center


40th Street Walkway
Sunset Beach, NC
(843) 446-3694

With more than 1,200 acres of beautiful salt marsh and tidal creeks, the Bird Island is the last undeveloped barrier island in Brunswick County, NC and is one of 10 sites that make up the North Carolina Coastal Reserve & National Estuarine Research Reserve. Preservation allows this coastal ecosystem to be...more about Bird Island Nature Walks

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