Oak Island, North Carolina is a town located mostly on Oak Island (which also contains the town of Caswell Beach and the North Carolina Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell) in Brunswick County, North Carolina; 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 30-40,000.
The island has been inhabited since the early 1800s; 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.
Oak Island has approximately 28 miles of coastline.
Oak Island is a barrier island on the Atlantic coast of southeastern North Carolina in Brunswick County. The island contains the towns of Oak Island and Caswell Beach as well as the North Carolina Baptist Assembly and a United States Coast Guard station, which is home to the Oak Island Lighthouse. Although the area has been called Oak Island since colonial times, it only became a true island with the construction of the Intracoastal Waterway. It is about 12 miles long and averages about one mile wide; roughly 8000 people live on the island year-round, which can balloon up to 40,000 during the summer.
Graphic sourced with thanks from User.pix.epodunk.com/NC/Albritton_4699.jpg