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5 Unique Ways to Experience Nature on Your Next Beach Vacation

*Updated January 2022

No Ocean Isle Beach vacation would be complete without a little adventure, and this week we have some great ways to explore the natural environment in and around Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. Of course, this means exploring our beautiful waters, salt marshes and majestic swamps. So grab your camera, fill up some water bottles, and get ready to see all the beauty of coastal Carolina with these 5 unique ways to experience nature that are not far from your Ocean Isle Beach NC rental. Explore more!

Tubbs Inlet Kayak Tours | Williamson Realty Ocean Isle Beach NC rentals

Tubbs Inlet Kayak Tour

Located between Ocean Isle Beach and Sunset Beach, Tubbs Inlet is one of those spots you might miss without a little local guidance. Luckily we have the folks at Summertide Adventure Tours to take you there. Picture paddling through pristine saltwater marshes. You’ll find amazing shelling opportunities along the way and with no motorboat traffic to get in the way, this will be a gentle and relaxing paddle through placid waters. During the tour, you’ll stop at a secluded beach and be able to take a dip in the cool waters. Bring along a fishing pole and you’ll treat yourself to some of the best fishing on Ocean Isle Beach. Tours are offered bySummertide Adventure Toursand with their experienced staff you’ll fall in love with Tubbs Inlet. Don’t worry about equipment, they have everything you’ll need for this adventure. Plan on being out on the water for two to three hours, weather permitting.

Sharkys Waterfront Dining | Williamson Realty Ocean Isle Beach NC rentals

ICW- Ocean Isle Boat Ramp

Many folks are unaware of the unique water system called the Intracoastal Waterway. Traversing the Atlantic Coast this protected waterway allows vessels to safely travel the north-south route along the east coast without being exposed to the dangers of the Atlantic Ocean’s open waters. The benefit to the rest of us is miles of beautiful calm waters to explore. With much of the ICW being a no-wake zone, you’ll find the waters are easy to explore on a variety of watercraft. The boat ramp can accommodate almost any towable sailboat, power boat, or of course, canoes, kayaks and SUPs. No matter how you take to the waters you’re in for a treat, seeing Ocean Isle Beach from a totally different perspective. One of the best times to explore the ICW is early in the morning when the waters are calm, the temps are low and the island is just coming to life. It is the perfect way to begin any OIB vacation morning. Make sure to stop in atSharky’sfor a quick bite to eat. The boat ramp is easy to find and is located at 67 Causeway Drive right here on Ocean Isle Beach. Hint: Look for the large bridge.

Shallotte River Swamp Eco Tours | Williamson Realty Ocean Isle Beach NC rentals

Swamp Boat Tour

The good folks at theThe Swamp Park at Ocean Isle Beachoffer visitors a great experience exploring the beautiful Shallotte River Swamp with their Swamp Boat Eco Tours. The great thing about this tour is you don’t have to be able to paddle a kayak to enjoy the tour. Open to all ages this is a guided tour on flat bottom boats through the Shallotte River swamps. The great staff has years of experience navigating the local rivers and swamps. Enjoy this slow-paced interesting tour all from, as they say, a “frog’s view”. As you slowly make your way through the historic cypress swamps your guide, an experienced naturalist will teach you all about the local ecology and the important role our swamps play in keeping the local waters clean and beautiful. You’ll leave this tour having a better understanding of the area’s swamps and rivers. Make sure to bring your camera because you just never know what you’ll see on this tour. You might even get to see a landmark used by George Washington in 1791 or traverse waters famous for Coastal North Carolina Pirates.

Ocean Isle Beach Museum of Coastal Carolina | Williamson Realty Ocean Isle Beach NC rentals

Museum of Coastal Carolina and Ingram Planetarium

Several times a year the staff at theMuseum of Coastal Carolina take visitors for a guided Coastal Ecology tour. This tour is great because you don’t have to get on the water. For those interested in learning all about the local ecology this is a great opportunity to get your feet wet as you wander the coastal marshes and trails of Ocean Isle Beach. The Museum of Coastal Carolina is a wonderful resource for visitors with a staff of local volunteers who have dedicated their time and resources to the preservation and community education of the local ecology. Tours take place throughout the year, so make sure to check out their website for specific dates and special events. Now I know I sound like an infomercial, but wait there’s morefor you to learn—only this time we’ll head over to the Museum of Coastal Carolina’s sister organization and take a look up at the sky.
The Ingram Planetariumis located in nearby Sunset Beach (literally 4 miles from the museum). You’ll find the planetarium to be a wonderful way to explore the night sky over Ocean Isle Beach. With several programs taking place daily, this is truly one of the hidden gems and a favorite for the kids. Think of this as a bonus activity. After all, one of the most spectacular things you’ll experience on the beach is that beautiful Carolina sky. Now you can find out exactly what you are looking at when you stare up at those twinkling Carolina stars.

Cypress Swamp Kayak Eco Tour | Williamson Realty Ocean Isle Beach NC rentals

Cypress Swamp Kayak Tour

Navigate the awesome Cypress Swamp on a Myrtle Beach Kayak Tour with Black River Outdoors. This kayak tour generally has the easiest currents, so if you are concerned about being able to paddle, this is usually the best tour from a physical perspective and accessible for all skill levels. It is also much more shaded thanks to beautiful cypress trees draped in Spanish moss, so it’s a little cooler in the summer. On this two-hour Myrtle Beach kayak tour, your knowledgeable (and funny, according to our TripAdvisor reviews) guide shares interesting information about the swamp, its plants, and its wildlife inhabitants. The swamp is home to several pairs of nesting osprey, as well as numerous other birds. As you paddle the calm waters on this peaceful kayak tour, you may see snakes, turtles, and sometimes alligators! The snakes are almost all non-venomous, and all are harmless. We don’t bother them and they don’t bother us, but you may get to take a peek at these animals in their natural habitat.

We encourage you to take advantage of these unique ways to explore Ocean Isle Beach. Experiencing something up close and understanding the impact these ecosystems have on our beaches hopefully will help you appreciate the unique nature of Ocean Isle Beach. Being good stewards of our local environment is not just a responsible thing to do, it is also the best way to ensure we continue to have pristine beaches and waters for generations to come. We would love to hear about your experience enjoying nature during your OIB vacation. Leave us a comment below with your experience. Make sure to book your tours and Ocean Isle Beach vacation early so you don’t miss out on the action!

What unique ways have you experienced the coastal beauty of OIB?

We want to know!

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