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Everything You Need to Know About local Marine Life

*Updated November 2021

There are a lot of great things to enjoy on Ocean Isle Beach. Our beaches are pristine, the local community is warm and welcoming, we have world-class fishing—and of course, incredible accommodations. However, there is so much more to our local area including an abundance of unique and interesting marine life. Whether you want to discover more about our local ecosystem or want to use it as a homeschooling lesson, this week we have everything you need to know about the marine life of the North Carolina coast.

Sand Dollars

The common sand dollar that we are all familiar with is just another name for a particular type of “flattened” sea urchin. The Sand Dollar is most often found in the temperate and tropical waters of the Northern Hemisphere. On a good day of beach combing on Ocean Isle Beachyou may find a dozen or more Sand Dollars. The typical Sand Dollar ranges in size from one to four inches in diameter.


If there is one thing we can agree on, it’s that we all love dolphins. There is just something magical about seeing a pod of dolphins gently playing in the waters. It seems no matter who you are or where you are from, spotting a dolphin is a joyous experience. Dolphins are friendly, playful and very inquisitive, making them one of our favorite creatures of the sea.

Fish Galore

It is fair to say that a good many visitors to Ocean Isle Beach come for the world-class fishing. Whether you want to surf-cast, fish from the pier, kayak fish or head out on an off-shore charter, there are plenty of fish in the sea! The waters in and around the area are teeming with fish. We have game fish like Yellow Fin Tuna and Marlin off shore, as well as Mackerel, Mullet, Red Snapper and so much more. Remember that if you are going to go fishing anywhere other than a pier, you will need a North Carolina Fishing License.

Looking for more information about the local fishing scene? Check out our previous blog: Your Guide to Spring Fishing on Ocean Isle Beach.

Sea Turtles

Did you know that every year, sea turtles return to Ocean Isle Beach to lay their eggs, hatch their babies and continue an ancient circle of life? It’s true—we love our sea turtle population and strive to protect them. There are several types of sea turtles that make their nests on these shores. If you would like to learn more about them, check out our previous post: Discover the Sea Turtles of Ocean Isle Beach.

Watch out for these guys!

Not all marine creatures are harmless. In fact, there are a few things you will want to avoid.


While it is rare, we do see jellyfish from time to time. Often they will blow in with different storms and weather patterns. It is important to make sure that kids are aware that these fun looking balls of jelly are packing quite a sting.


There are several types of “Stingray” that live in the local waters off Ocean Isle Beach. Like most animals they want nothing to do with humans, but interactions can happen (mainly with fisherman who catch them by accident). However, many rays have stingers that can give a painful and severe sting. This is very rare, but something to be aware of. To learn more check out thisarticle in the Wilmington, NC newspaperthat has some great information.

Kids (especially little ones) need to be aware that if they see something and they don’t know what it is, they should call a parent or adult immediately before touching their discovery.

Are you ready to discover the joy of anOcean Isle Beach vacation?Whether you want to explore our beaches, local attractions or just sit on the deck watching the waves roll in, there is something for everyone on Ocean Isle Beach. Give us a call today to book your next Ocean Isle Beach vacation.

Call Today 800-727-9222

Everything You Need to Know About local Marine Life

Book your next OIB vacation today.

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