This East Coast Beach In Considered One Of The Most Dangerous In America

Fun fact: If you name a town Oak Island, chances are it's going to have a dubious reputation. Case in point, there are two Oak Islands that are grabbing headlines. The first is located in Nova Scotia, Canada, and is the subject of the popular History Channel docuseries "The Curse of Oak Island" where those seeking to find buried treasure run into curses and misfortunes. The second is located in Brunswick County, North Carolina. In 2023, a study found that this Oak Island ranked as one of the Top 10 deadliest beaches in all of America, with a score of 5.54 out of 10, indicating that the higher the score, the more dangerous the beach, per WSOCTV (via Y!News). 

So what is causing this beach which is renowned for its stunning sunset views and fun water-based activities to be so dangerous? It turns out the beach has a history of shark attacks, hurricanes, and dangerous rip tides. So perhaps those in Brunswick County, North Carolina should have thought twice before naming the local beach and seaside town Oak Island because, despite its scenic beauty and unique features, it too appears to be cursed.

Here's everything you need to know if you're heading to this North Carolina beach town for some rest and relaxation because R&R might be in short supply.

Oak Island has suffered 8 fatal drownings since 2010

According to ABC Eye Witness News, the online blog Travel Lens conducted a study of the most dangerous beaches in America, and Oak Island Beach made the list because it has had a whopping eight fatal drownings on its shores since 2010. Travel Lens also fashioned a graph to show how Oak Island ranks, noting that the beach has also experienced two shark attacks and a chillingly high number of hurricanes. Since records began in 1851, Oak Island has been slammed by 58 hurricanes. Sharks have even been known to beach themselves at Oak Island, with one YouTuber capturing the moment swimmers tried to pull the shark back in the surf in November 2022. 

The Town of Oak Island was none too pleased about this study, saying in a statement the findings were "non-scientific" and "an example of click-bait," per Port City Daily. However, the outlet also notes that four people drowned at Oak Island beach in 2022 alone. One of those drownings from July 2022 occurred on a day when over six people had already been pulled from the surf to safety by emergency services, per WNTC 9. So whether you believe the study or not, it's important for visitors to be aware of local conditions, follow safety guidelines, heed weather warnings and alerts, and always exercise caution when in the surf. Port City Daily reports that Oak Island Beach does not employ lifeguards during beach season, which is enough to give any water enthusiast pause.

The Oak Island Lighthouse is a must-visit

Despite precautions, there are lots of activities and sights to enjoy at Oak Island Beach and the eponymous seaside town so don't nix traveling to North Carolina just yet. The town is actually renowned for its stunning sunrise and sunsets due to its location along the Eastern Seaboard; namely, it faces south, allowing beachgoers to see the sun rise and fall without even moving their Adirondack chairs, per Southern Living

The outlet also reports that another prominent and local fave highlight is the Oak Island Lighthouse, whose location near the beach offers excellent views and souvenir photographs. Yes, you can climb up the lighthouse, which was built in 1958, and it's free to the public three days a week between May and September.

Oak Island is also situated along the protected Intracoastal Waterway, which is a highlight for boating enthusiasts and those who want just a lazy day of fishing. Views of Oak Island, and all of the other towns along the 3,000-mile waterway, provide a feast for the eyes. So there is definitely some R&R to be found at Oak Island after all.