About This Place
Oak Island, North Carolina is a seaside town located mostly on the barrier island of Oak Island (which also contains the town of Caswell Beach), in Brunswick County, North Carolina, United States. A small part of the town extends onto the mainland north of the island's bridge. The population was 6,571 at the 2000 census. It was founded in 1999 by the consolidation of the towns of Long Beach and Yaupon Beach. Its main industry is tourism; the town has an average summer population of 30-50,000.
Oak Island is part of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The island has been inhabited since the early 19th century; Fort Caswell was built on its eastern end in 1838. The remainder of the island was developed beginning in the late 1930s; a pavilion attracted people from nearby Southport and people hunted foxes in the northern area near the Intracoastal Waterway. The island was nearly wiped out by Hurricane Hazel in 1954; only five buildings were left standing on Long Beach in the hurricane's wake. The island quickly recovered and towns of Long Beach and Yaupon Beach were incorporated in 1955. Other hurricanes, such as Diana in 1984, Bertha and Fran in 1996 and Floyd in 1999, have caused damage to the island, though nowhere near as catastrophic as that of Hazel.Construction began on a $64 million 980 foot (300 m) bridge project in November 2007, with a December 2009 completion date. Two lanes of traffic opened in November 2010, and a formal dedication took place January 27, 2011. Four lanes of traffic began using the bridge that same month. The new bridge will likely result in increased development of the town.