Ocean Isle Beach, which locals commonly call Ocean Isle, is part of the popular Myrtle Beach metropolitan area. Also known as the “Gem of the Brunswick Islands,” Ocean Isle sits along the coastal corridor between Myrtle Beach and Wilmington, both major tourist destinations. The isle itself is connected to the North Carolina mainland by a single bridge spanning the Intracoastal Waterway.
Prior to 1949, the beach was known as Hale Beach after a nearby swamp, but a man named Odell Williamson purchased the land and called it Ocean Isle Beach. By 1950, he'd built an airplane strip, although it wouldn't last long due to severe wind drafts. A ferry operated on the island until 1959. In 1954, Hurricane Hazel hit, destroying nearly 40 houses. The island was resilient, however, and in 1959 a swing bridge replaced the old ferry, which operated until 1986 when the new high-rise bridge was finished.
Today, Ocean Isle Beach remains an Atlantic Coast gem offering salty air and sandy shores to residents and tourists alike. Unlike nearby Wilmington and Myrtle Beach, it remains a hidden gem that's the perfect getaway for travelers who prefer a more relaxing vacation.
Whatever your reasons for visiting Ocean Isle Beach, it's important to find the right hotel that allows you to enjoy everything this wonderful destination has to offer.
When to Visit Ocean Isle Beach, NC
The best time to visit Ocean Isle Beach is during the summer months from June to August. Although you can expect some afternoon showers, the weather is perfect for enjoying the beach. While Ocean Isle Beach isn't as popular as nearby North Myrtle Beach, you'll still have to contend with other tourists who are vying for the best hotel rates. Booking your vacation a few months in advance can ensure you get your pick of accommodations without having to pay hiked summer rates.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that hurricane season runs from June through November, with North Carolina historically having experienced tropical storms from May to December. It's important to remain flexible when visiting the North Carolina coast in the summer since an unexpected hurricane can throw off your travel plans. Just remain vigilant and check the weather forecast before your trip.
If you don't mind cooler weather, you can save quite a bit on your stay by visiting from March through May. Spring breakers don't really visit Ocean Isle Beach, but if you plan to visit attractions in Myrtle Beach or Wilmington, you might have to deal with the student crowd.
You'll also score room bargains in the fall, although temperatures range from the mid-40s to the mid-70s. While the weather may not be ideal for swimming in the ocean, fall is the perfect time to experience the area's restaurants and indoor attractions.
While you can save quite a bit of money by traveling to the coast in the winter, keep in mind that many attractions and restaurants will be closed for the season or offer shortened hours. Finding a hotel can also be difficult since some are seasonal and won't be open during the winter months.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Ocean Isle Beach, NC:
Ocean Isle Beach by Star Rating
Below are 3 charts demonstrating mean nightly cost trends by star rating class in Ocean Isle Beach, NC. You can use these charts to evaluate the cheapest dates to stay in Ocean Isle Beach for your upcoming travels.
Luxury Hotel Options in Ocean Isle Beach, NC
4 Star Average Prices: $129.00
If you're looking for a more luxurious stay in Ocean Isle Beach, you're in luck!
The Winds Resort Beach Club is a family-owned, boutique resort set on the oceanfront. The accommodation offers a variety of rooms, from single guest rooms to six-bedroom cottages, ensuring you have the space and amenities you need to enjoy your perfect vacation.
The Winds Resort Beach Club boasts two outdoor pools, one indoor pool, free Wi-Fi, bike rentals, a complimentary Southern breakfast buffet, and a poolside tiki bar. Amenities vary by room, but you can expect breezy cottage furnishings, comfortable beds, luxurious linens, and more. You can even book a pet-friendly room to bring along the fur babies.
Another luxurious option is Sea Trail Golf Resort & Convention Center in Sunset Beach. This gorgeous property offers well-designed guest suites and villas with bright, spacious floor plans, kitchenettes or full kitchens, and optional porches or balconies. Amenities include free Wi-Fi throughout the property and access to the Sea Trail Village Activity Center, which includes an indoor and outdoor pool, a whirlpool, a children's pool, a sauna, a fitness room, and weekly themed classes. You can also participate in group activities such as deep-sea fishing, eco-tours, and horseback riding. Just contact the reservations department to schedule your excursion.
Affordable Hotel Options in Ocean Isle Beach, NC
3 Star Average Prices: $120.51
Finding an affordable hotel in and around Ocean Isle Beach is easier than you might think.
The Islander Inn is an oceanfront hotel that provides guests a wealth of opportunities for exploring the pristine beach. The hotel features indoor and outdoor pools, a Jacuzzi, ocean-view balconies, a fitness facility, a tiki bar with poolside service, free Wi-Fi access, and a deluxe complimentary breakfast. Guest rooms are clean and comfortable, boasting high-definition televisions, microwaves, mini-fridges, and coffee makers. The Islander Inn is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway or family adventure.
Rodeway Inn & Suites in nearby Shallotte is conveniently located off Highway 17 near major attractions. Guest amenities include on-site laundry facilities, free Wi-Fi access, a complimentary continental breakfast, a seasonal outdoor pool, and copy, print, and fax services for business travelers. Each room features a work desk, a hair dryer, toiletries, and other amenities to help you feel at home. Upgrade to a guest room with a kitchenette, which includes a refrigerator, microwave, minibar, and coffee maker, to save even more money by dining in.
If you don't mind staying a little farther out, Days Inn Little River places you within an easy driving distance of Ocean Isle Beach. Located along the Grand Strand on Highway 17, this accommodation is just 30 minutes from Myrtle Beach and its family-friendly attractions. Guest amenities include an outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi, and ample parking for oversized vehicles. Some rooms even feature Jacuzzi tubs, refrigerators, and microwaves. Start your day with a free continental breakfast before exploring area golf courses, casino cruises, and fishing excursions.