Located on a barrier island along the Atlantic Ocean, Ocean Isle Beach offers visitors a low-key beach vacation where rest and relaxation take top priority. In southeastern North Carolina, this coastal community is actually part of the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area although you won’t find the crowds. Ocean Isle Beach vacation rentals vary from homes along the beach or more modest offerings a little further away from the central area of town. You and the kids will enjoy playing on the beach, splashing in the water, and walking around the downtown area. However, there is more to see and do in the area. Here’s a quick look at the top 10 things to do with kids in the Ocean Isle Beach area.

1. Ocean Isle Beach Pier

Pack a picnic lunch at your vacation rental and take the family to the Ocean Isle Beach Pier for an alfresco meal as you sit above the ocean. This picnic offers amazing views and the smell of salt in the air. After lunch, pull out the fishing rods and bait to teach your kids how to fish. You might even catch enough for dinner that night.

2. Ingram Planetarium

If you have a kid that dreams of becoming an astronaut or loves science, then a trip to the Ingram Planetarium on a rainy afternoon is a must. Try to hold on to your hat when you step into the simulator that shows you what it feels like to be at the center of a hurricane. There’s an exhibit about nanotechnology with interactive displays to explore the topic. The main attraction is the Sky Theater movies, where you get to see a live star show after the movie ends.

3. Paddle Boarding

Have you ever wanted to learn to paddle board? No worries! Carolina School of Surf has you covered. This small group will take you and your family out to a calm section of water and teach you the art of paddle boarding while sharing the history of the Intercoastal Waterway and the canals in the area. After you have your sea legs, you can rent paddle boards and head out on the Intercoastal Waterway or the ocean for something more challenging. Make sure to wear a life vest!

4. River Country Mini Golf

If your kids are competitive, then an afternoon of mini golf at the River County Putt-Putt Course might get them hyped up. Within easy walking distance of your vacation rental and the city’s pier, this putt-putt golf course can provide your family with a few hours of fun and friendly competition. You can even purchase an all-day pass for as many rematches as you need.

5. Museum of the Coastal Carolinas

Your kids are going to have so much fun at the Museum of the Coastal Carolinas that they’re not going to realize how much they’re learning more about the sea animals and the coastal area they’re visiting. In the Sea Shore Gallery, the kids can put their hands in the touch tank and feel some cool sea creatures, and check out the museum‘s extensive collection of seashells. Check the schedule before visiting to arrive for one of the frequent kids’ programs led by the museum’s staff of experts.

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6. Take a Ghost Tour

In the area, there are a lot of local legends, folklore, and ghosts, and a ghost tour will teach you some history while teasing you with some scares. Don’t worry though; this ghost tour is more legend and old stories than actual ghosts, so young kids won’t get scared. The OIB Ghost Walk happens during the summer months and meets at the Ocean Isle Beach Pier for a mile long walk and some campfire stories.

7. Planet Fun

Hop in the car for the short drive to Planet Fun. Here, you and your family can enjoy an evening of family fun. See how many strikes you can bowl in the bowling alley area. See who has the best strategy in the laser tag center, or let the tweens and teens enjoy the video arcade. If the weather is good, take advantage of the mini golf outside.

8. Eco-tour

Visit the Shallotte River Swamp Park for its eco-tour of this swamp area. You and your family will board a boat for a tour of the swamp that lasts right around an hour. Learn more about the ecosystem of the swamp, see some cool animals, and discover how conservationists work to protect this area. Afterward, the bravest in your family can take to the sky on a zip line or climb out on the ropes course.

9. Go Fishing

While staying in town, you need to spend at least one-day fishing. There are many options for this sport. You can find a solid bank along one of the waterways and toss your line in, or try fishing on the beach. The pier offers comfy spots to spend the day fishing. On the ocean, you and your family can do some deep-sea fishing for larger catches.

10. Ocean Isle Beach Park

Take the family over to Ocean Isle Beach Park for some play time. This park features two playgrounds so that your little ones can climb, swing, and jump to their heart’s content. You and your husband or older children can enjoy a couple of games of tennis on the fenced in courts. The park offers bathroom facilities so you can spend most of the day here.

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