On Oak Island, even getting to the beach can be a scenic and relaxed adventure, thanks to the collection of Environmental Overlook Trails that lead visitors from the Intracoastal Waterway-bordering sections of town to the beachfront neighborhoods. Slicing across tidal creeks, saltwater marshes, and a wealth of native foliage, these unique walkways are the perfect destination for hikers, birdwatchers, and anyone on the hunt for a leisurely exploration off the beach.

Technically there are Environmental Crossovers located on 31stStreet SE, 29thStreet SE, 20thStreet SE, and 9thStreet SE, but the 31stStreet Environmental Overlook Trail garners, and deserves, the most attention. Found just behind the Oak Island Recreation Center, this route features a nice collection of well-tended paths and wooden boardwalks and walkways that extend over tidal-influenced creeks and which lead vacationers through a very scenic patch of relatively undeveloped Oak Island. Along the way, trailblazers can expect to spot a range of species, including fiddler crabs and local fish, egrets, ibises, salamanders and small reptiles, and even great blue herons. The end result is a beautiful walking route that leads directly to the beach, but which crosses a number of scenic vantage points and incredible wildlife on the journey.