15 Fun Facts You Never Knew About Ocean Isle Beach
Posted On Monday, March 5, 2018
*Updated May 2022
Ocean Isle Beach is known as the "Gem" of Brunswick County. This small barrier island in North Carolina is famous for its beautiful beaches, but there is so much more than meets the eye to Ocean Isle Beach. An Ocean Isle Beach vacation is the perfect way to explore one of the Atlantic Coast's best-kept secrets. Here are 15 fun facts you never knew about Ocean Isle Beach.
15 Facts About Ocean Isle Beach
1. An island is born.
Believe it or not, Ocean Isle Beach is not a naturally occurring barrier island. In fact, Ocean Isle Beach was created in 1934 as a result of the dredging deposits left over from the creation of the Intracoastal Waterway.
2. Our original airport was on the island.
When Ocean Isle Beach was first developed, a small airstrip was built on the island. However, due to erosion and powerful storms, it was no longer viable. It was replaced with an airstrip on the mainland. Today the airport is a vibrant small aircraft facility, and the perfect destination for all you private aircraft owners.
3. A visit from Hurricane Hazel.
Hurricane Hazel made direct landfall as a category 4 storm on Ocean Isle Beach in October of 1954. As one of the most massive and most destructive hurricanes in North Carolina history, Hazel destroyed all but two buildings on the fledgling community of Ocean Isle Beach. Thankfully, no hurricane since Hazel has made direct landfall on Ocean Isle Beach.
4. Tubbs Inlet in history.
During the American Civil War, the Confederate forces did not have a large naval force. Harassed continuously by Union gunboats up and down the Atlantic Coast, boats known as "blockade runners" were used by the Confederate troops to keep precious supplies coming into the ports along the coast. Tubbs Inlet, at the southern end of Ocean Isle Beach, was one of the primary places blockade runners hid from the patrolling Union Navy.
5. We border the Intracoastal Waterway.
Ocean Isle Beach is situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the portion of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW). Did you know the AIWW spans 1,100 miles from Norfolk, VA in the north to Key West, FL to the south? This critical waterway allows commercial and pleasure craft to safely navigate the Eastern seaboard.
6. An island is named.
Before 1949 the island now known as Ocean Isle Beach was called Hale Beach. In 1949, one of the original developers, Odell Williamson and his wife Virginia, named the island Ocean Isle Beach.
7. Great things come in small packages.
Did you know Ocean Isle Beach is only 4.5 sq. miles? However, don't let the small size fool you. Our beautiful town and pristine beaches are the perfect settings for your family vacation. We feature dozens of beautiful waterfront homes, so no matter where on Ocean Isle Beach you'd like to stay we have the perfect vacation home for you.
8. Ocean Isle Beach played a part in World War II.
On June 29, 1944, a P-47D Thunderbolt crashed onto an Ocean Isle Beach. At the time of the accident, the pilot was on patrol over the beach. During the flight, the pilot made a mistake and forgot to switch his fuel tanks. Maybe he was distracted by the beauty of the beach. Thankfully the pilot survived with just a bruised ego.
9. A president visited Ocean Isle Beach.
In April of 1791, George Washington visited Ocean Isle Beach. Specifically, the president was on his southern tour and stopped to visit the wealthy tar and turpentine merchant family, the Gauses, at their stately manor close to where Bricklanding is located today.
10. Argghh, pirates are on the horizon.During the 17th century, pirates used the barrier islands and even inlets like Tubbs Inlet to hide from patrolling naval vessels. Rivers, like the Shallotte River, were also known to be favorite pirate hangouts.
11. Horses once patrolled Ocean Isle Beach.
During World War II, there was a constant fear that German U-Boats might attack the Atlantic Coast of the United States. To assist with the defense of the shoreline the United States Coast Guard created mounted troop units that patrolled the beaches. This was the only time the United States Coast Guard used mounted troops.
12. We have an amazing pier.Here on Ocean Isle Beach, we have an amazing pier for fishing and family-friendly activities. The Ocean Isle Fishing Pier has been on Ocean Isle since 1957. It has survived countless storms, and is an iconic feature you won't want to miss visiting during your Ocean Isle Beach vacation.
13. We have sea turtles!
Each year, sea turtles arrive on our beaches to lay their eggs and continue the cycle of life. Who can blame them? Even the sea turtle knows how beautiful our beaches are. Want to learn more about our amazing visitors? Click here.
14. One man's vision came to life.
In 1947-1948, Odell Williamson began seeing the future of Ocean Isle Beach. He began purchasing large parcels of land and dividing it into what would become Ocean Isle Beach. Mr. Williamson's vision and dedication to Ocean Isle Beach can be seen today in our family-friendly atmosphere and small-town charm.
15. Williamson Realty knows you best.
As you can tell from our name, we have been here on Ocean Isle Beach for a long time. Williamson Realty is one of the largest and most experienced Ocean Isle Beach vacation rental agencies on the island. Our dedicated and professional staff are here to help make your Ocean Isle Beach vacation dreams come true.
Learn More on This OIB Video Tour
We hope you enjoyed these fun facts about Ocean Isle Beach. However, there is even more to learn about our beautiful island. Book your Ocean Isle Beach vacation today, and make Ocean Isle Beach part of your family's history. Sea you soon!