Last year, my family and I started a new tradition of spending Thanksgiving on the beach. What a great way for some time together and relaxation! The beach party included my mom, stepdad, and two nieces. While it was a short trip, we all had so much fun and came back with sand in our shoes and memories in our hearts.
Ocean Isle Beach, a small barrier island in North Carolina, was the setting for our weekend away. The island is about an hour or so north of Myrtle Beach, very near the NC/SC border. Development started there in the late 1950s but the island has maintained a low-key family atmosphere, which brings us back over and over. I first visited Ocean Isle (OIB for short) when I was just a wee one and have visited many times over the years. Most visitors rent a beach house for the week (in the summer) but shorter rental periods are available at certain properties in the off-season. Our favorite spot to stay is on one of the man-made canal streets where you have your own dock that you can relax on, crab from, or swim — if you’re feeling brave. Swimming in the canal is not my cup of tea because we’ve pulled many a sea creature from the canals over the years and ‘swimming with the fishes’ isn’t my thing.
We enjoyed a Thanksgiving buffet at Causeway Gourmet, right over the bridge to the island. I don’t know how we never stopped in this delightful little cafe before but we will most definitely be back next summer. We actually ate lunch again there yesterday too. Buffet food that actually tasted like the good, home-cooked food you want on Thanksgiving, was aplenty. The staff was super friendly and attentive. You can definitely tell that they put a lot of effort into the quality of their food. Delicious!
With the island being a relatively short hop down to Myrtle, you’re not too far away from the hustle and bustle when you want it. We typically pop down to have dinner and shop a bit before returning to the tranquility of OIB. I couldn’t even begin to estimate the hours we’ve spent trolling the beaches for that perfect shell and we’ve never come away disappointed. Starfish, sand dollars, whelks, limpets, lettered olives, small sharks, crabs, jellyfish, and even a puffer fish have been scooped up while beach combing. As good beach stewards, if it was alive, it was returned to the ocean again after a quick photo was snapped. We easily spent five hours or more on the beach this time around, even in the 50 degree weather. I will say that it is a wonder that I didn’t have hypothermia after getting the bright idea to go barefoot and walk in the ocean yesterday. It wasn’t a short stroll either and was followed by walking through sand spurs for a good twenty minutes. Needless to say, I’m due for a nice pedicure after that adventure!
We’ll be back at the beach in the summer and none of us can wait. This little town grabbed my heart many years back and I don’t think it is letting go anytime soon.