The Beginners Guide To A Pet-Friendly Beach Vacation

You’ve been planning your family vacation for months, and then it hits you….

Don't Forget Your Pup On Your Oak Island Vacation






Unfortunately, many accommodations carry strict no-pet policies for guests. Those fortunate enough to find a hotel within a convenient distance from their vacation destination still battle size restrictions, limitations on where the animal may actually roam, as well as additional (high) fees.

While the same may be true for vacation rentals (think: condominiums and private homes), an increasing number of property owners are offering their properties as pet-friendly accommodations. As opposed to a hotel, a private home will offer your fur baby the security of being with his family while having access to enclosed yards and long walks along the beach. Not to mention, the person footing the bill for the trip could potentially save a good amount of money by paying a low, flat rate pet fee rather than an additional nightly amount.

Rather than leaving Fluffy home or boarded with strangers, bring her along for the ride and let her enjoy your Oak Island vacation right along with the rest of the family.

Bring Your Pet to Oak Island







When it comes to traveling to Oak Island with your pets, there are far more items to consider than just packing the necessities (bedding, bowls, food/treats, leash, toys, etc.).

Pet Safety

  • Keep plenty of fresh water available to them and encourage them to drink it often. Many dogs like to drink the salty ocean water but it is not good for them.
  • Protect your pup’s paw pads from the hot sand during the summer. It is best to walk in the early morning or late evening when the sand is cooler.
  • The hottest time of day will be from noon to 4pm. It is a good idea to avoid having your pet in the sun during this time.
  • Dehydration can happen much faster in the summer. When you are away from your vacation rental, be sure to pack water for your pet – about twice as much as they would normally drink.
  • Pets with shorter or lighter-colored fur are prone to sunburn easily, especially their nose and ears. If shade is not available, please consider bringing a sunscreen made for pets.


Leash Laws

Both Caswell Beach and Oak Island vary regarding leash laws. For the most current and accurate information when it comes to town regulations and ordinances regarding pets, be sure to visit the town websites.

Leash Laws On Oak Island and Caswell Beach

  • Caswell Beach Unleased dogs that are under the control of their owners are permitted on the beach between dawn and 9am. During the cooler m
    onths from October 1 to April 30, unleashed dogs under the control of their owners are also permitted on the beach between 3pm and dark. They must be on a leash at all other times.
  • Oak Island Generally speaking, between March 15 and October 15, all dogs must be on a lease at all times. From October 15 to March 15 dogs are permitted on th ebeach without a leash from 6am to 8pm given that they are not left unattended, that they are under visual and voice control at all times, and that they do not visit with other beach-goers or dogs without permission.


Tips & Tricks

  • Be sure that your pet wears an ID collar complete with your cell phone number. If your pet’s collar has your home phone listed and you are on vacation, it will be difficult to contact you in the event he/she runs off.
  • Rinse your pet with a hose or the vacation rental’s outdoor shower at the end of each day – sand and salt are just as uncomfortable for them as they are to you following a hot day.
  • Be mindful of your pet overexerting him-/herself when playing in the sand or surf. Like children, they don’t always stop for a break when they’re having fun.
  • Ensure that your dog’s flea and tick prevention is up-to-date. Check for ticks at least once a day, especially if they go on the beach after dark.
  • Bring (or order) extra towels for drying your dog after rinsing him/her of salt and sand each day.
  • Please pick up and properly dispose of your pet’s waste to ensure the continued enjoyment of the surrounding beaches.


Oak Island Is Dog FriendlyNow with all this knowledge about traveling with your pup, the only thing left to do is to choose your pet-friendly accommodations. Specifically for an Oak Island vacation, this can be as easy as a simple online search or a phone call to Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc.’s Oak Island office at 800.486.5441. Our reservation specialists are happy to assist you in finding the perfect vacation rental to suit your entire family! After all, “The Fun Starts Here” for everyone – including your four-legged fur babies.

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Book Direct & Save On Your Oak Island Vacation

The popularity and prevalence of third-party, online travel agencies (OTAs) like VRBO, Airbnb, Expedia, and has soared in recent years. Short term rentals (including vacation rentals) are a hot topic of debate among municipalities and communities across the country. Another hot topic for debate: whether you should be booking direct or through an OTA?

Offering the benefits of instant booking and a large range of accommodation types, third-party sites lend themselves to everyone from the busy, full-time working mom planning her family reunion vacation to the young, college-aged traveler looking for adventure on a budget.

Are those benefits worth the additional 5 to 20% in hidden fees you’ll pay?!?

oak island vacation rental deals

While the gratification of immediate confirmations and a large inventory may make booking your Oak Island vacation deal with an OTA attractive, securing your stay directly with a local rental agency provides its own special advantages.

Book Your Oak Island Vacation Direct with MRA for Price and Cost Flexibility

Flexible & Transparent Pricing

Many OTAs offer all-inclusive pricing to cover the base rent, charges incurred for cleaning the property, linen rentals and pet-fees. For some homes, there is no option to add trip insurance to cover unforeseen cancellations due to sickness or evacuation.

By booking directly with MRA, travelers have the flexibility to opt out of certain costs to lower the overall price of their vacations. Bringing your own linens and cleaning the property yourself allows you to avoid those additional fees. While our administrative reservation fee exists, it remains a standard amount for every home whereas OTAs will charge a percentage based upon the home’s pricing structure.  Even further, many properties listed on OTA sites are also managed by a property management/rental agency so you end up paying the OTA service fee as well as a management fee.

Guests booking directly may also benefit from seasonal promotions and savings or last-minute booking specials offered by owners – an advantage that may not be readily available with an OTA.

Oak Island Vacation Deals

Local Expertise

When booking directly with a local rental agency like MRA, you receive quality information from those who live, work and play in the area where you’ll be vacationing. The intimate knowledge those representatives have can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your overall vacation experience.

Our staff can not only suggest homes to suit your needs but they will listen to your preferences and match you to a property they feel will make your stay exceptional. You will find yourself better equipped for your getaway when you know exactly what activities and events are available to your family, the best restaurants to meet your dietary needs, the unique shops, and exactly what service providers may work well for your family during your stay. (For example, our reservation specialists can offer first-hand knowledge when it comes to the differences between an East Beach and a Caswell Beach stay.)

Oak Island vacation rentals


In addition to flexible pricing options, booking directly with a rental agency offers the convenience of one-on-one contact even before you make a booking commitment. Our reservation specialists are in the office 7 days per week to assist during every stage of the process, from an initial rental search and securing the perfect property to managing expectations during your vacation and departure. We go even further by offering guests an option to “hold” the same property for the same week during the following year.

Managing expectations during your stay are often overlooked as a meaningful advantage of staying with a vacation rental agency. Owners who rent their privately owned property are often located in another state and rely on local service providers and assistance when it comes to maintenance or housekeeping issues. At Margaret Rudd & Associates, if you arrive to find a maintenance or housekeeping issue (or if you experience any during your stay), our staff is here to manage the resolution of the said issue in the quickest way possible…even after standard business hours.

#BookDirect and save on your Oak Island experience…not just your accommodations.

Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. (MRA) works with our guests to provide the memorable Oak Island vacation they deserve and not just an economical place to lay their heads. While booking with an OTA may seem attractive, the best method in planning your vacation is to do your research beforehand. Create that pros and cons list to determine where the real value lies. Hopefully, you’ll find that booking direct offers your family the most advantageous option for your Oak Island family vacation.

Booking your Oak Island vacation directly with MRA is easy when you visit our website or call us at 800.486.5441.

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Celebrate Love With An Oak Island Vacation

As the years pass, it gets tougher to find that perfect gift for the one you love on Valentine’s Day. Let’s be honest. Even if you’re the type of person who enjoys delicious chocolates, beautiful flowers and a romantic dinner without the kiddos – at some point those items become the same ol’ thing.

Why not avoid the same ol’ gift giving trap and give your loved one an Oak Island vacation instead?

While Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity for a quick getaway, you don’t necessarily have to feel pressured to travel during the actual holiday. Sure, you may find great deals for a last minute vacation but your schedule may not allow for an out-of-town trip at the moment. Why not give your loved one something to look forward to? Besides, the excitement of an upcoming vacation will only build as you get closer to your stay.

With all that the Southport and Oak Island areas have to offer, you’ll have plenty of romantic and fun things to do with your sweetie.

Sights & Sounds

When people say that there is always something going on, it’s no lie when it comes to Brunswick County, North Carolina. Local events like farmers markets and outdoor concerts in the spring and summer to galas and festivals in the fall and winter abound. Stroll the live oak-lined streets of Southport hand-in-hand taking time to stop in each boutique or art gallery along the way before enjoying a quiet moment on the waterfront watching as the ships navigate the inlet. For those pleasantly calm nights, enjoy a romantic sunset boat ride while taking in the beautiful scenery.

Rest & Relaxation

In addition to lounging by the pool or along our sandy beaches, there are plenty of other ways to achieve that “vacation state of mind” while also increasing the love quotient. Start your morning with a centering yoga practice while welcoming the sunrise. Schedule a relaxing couples’ massage or foot soak at one of our area spas before grabbing a quick bite to eat. Enjoy a fun and interactive couples painting session at Pescado Y Amor on Oak Island or savor your favorite wine during a tasting in Southport at Silver Coast Wine Tasting Room.

Romantic Dining

A coastal area like ours comes fully stocked with gorgeous ocean and waterway views. From sunrise to sunset, you’ll find the perfect backdrop for romance. Even further, many local restaurants set the table for love with soothing atmospheres, fresh local seafood and superb customer service. Southport vacationers may enjoy dinner at Oliver’s On The Cape Fear overlooking the waterfront or a private corner in the ever-popular Mr. P’s Bistro along the city’s historic streets. As you make your way toward the island, travelers can enjoy a delicious Italian feast at Joseph’s Italian Bistro & Chop House or a sunset meal overlooking the Atlantic at Island Way Restaurant.

Whether you prefer lounging by the beach during the summer months, exploring a new town during the cooler seasons, or a mixture of both – the area provides something for every couple.

With all of that in mind, we ask again – why not avoid the same ol’ gift giving trap and give your loved one an Oak Island vacation instead?

Let Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. help you plan the vacation your loved one so deserves. You can start your Valentine vacation planning by requesting your complimentary copy of our current Rental Guide. In it you’ll find individual property photographs, tons of local information and vacation planning tid-bits perfectly suited for your stay.

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4 Reasons To Visit Oak Island In The Fall

Oak Island is the perfect destination for your fall family getaway. Not only could the drive down provide you with some of the best fall foliage views, but arriving in an oceanfront town during the off season certainly has its perks.

Fewer Crowds

Fall Sunsets By The BeachWith students heading back to school, the number of vacationers heading to Oak Island decreases as does the hustle and bustle. Property owners who tend to spend their summers by the shore venture back inland to their primary homes. For locals who spend their entire year in the area, autumn is simply their “waiting to exhale” moment where they can relax and get back to the daily routine of enjoying all that the area offers.

What does this mean for you? For an already small area, the exodus of travelers provides a very unique situation. How does having Caswell Beach all to yourself sound? Heavenly. What about taking the kids to a restaurant without having to wait two hours to be seated? A God send.

It’s Not Quite As..Hot, Hot, Hot

In 2017, the average summer temperature for Oak Island fell between 82°F and 91°F whereas October and November’s average temperatures are expected to drop to 78°F and 71°F, respectively. Why should that matter? Oftentimes vacationers become overwhelmed with the pairing of heat and humidity that we experience during the late spring and summer seasons.

If you don’t like to sweat, autumn could prove the better option for your trip. The humidity dissipates leaving mild temperatures. In addition, the water remains fairly warm for those who still want to dip their toes in the waves as they enjoy a walk down the beach.

Save The Almighty Dollar

MRA Vacation Rentals Booking Specials PageAs we mentioned in our “When To Book” edition of our “Planning A Family-Friendly Beach Vacation” blog series, “If your family can travel outside of Prime Season dates, you can often score significantly discounted rates with smaller crowds and lower traffic counts while the weather and water is still warm.”

After Labor Day, vacation rentals offer mid- or low-season rates. Moreover, property owners looking to fill their books drop rates further through seasonal specials and discounts. Dependent upon your situation, you may save enough cash on your fall vacation to allow a slightly longer stay than you would have been able to do in the summer.

Food, Fun & Festivals

Hayrides, apple orchards, oyster roasts and pumpkin…everything…are what the best autumns are made of, and Brunswick County, North Carolina has a bountiful harvest of all of them. Local schools open their campuses to the public for annual fall celebrations complete with carnival foods and bounce houses.

Brunswick County Pumpkin Patches AboundArea farms welcome guests for apple picking and hayrides to the ever-popular pumpkin patches. Halloween parties abound and offer family-friendly costume contests, bonfires, live music and outdoor movie viewings to get you in the spirit.

If arts and crafts are more your speed, you’ll find no shortage of area opportunities to buy, sell and trade. During the month of November, area church groups and local art guilds offer multiple outlets to appreciate and shop local, handmade goods.

An Island For All Seasons

While the timing may not be what you envisioned for your vacation, if you schedule it just right – you could find that the benefits of traveling during your kids’ first school break may be easier on you all the way around. When it comes to Oak Island, life continues once the “season” ends and it’s just as colorful as the autumn leaves.

Are you ready to book your fall stay in Oak Island or Southport? Check out Margaret Rudd & Associates’ wonderful selection of family-friendly beach rentals.

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Weathering The Storm

The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 through November 30. So far, the 2017 season has been an active one for the States. Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc despite multiple preparation efforts made by local governments, communities, and individual citizens.

The best time to prepare for hurricane season is prior to the season’s start. However, if the season is anything like the one we’re having – you and your family will find multiple opportunities to bolster your preparation plans.

Build An Emergency Preparedness Kit

Preparing a well-stocked kit will prove beneficial during any national disaster, an extended period without power, or in times of an emergency. Opinions vary on the timeframe for which you should prepare your kit but a good rule of thumb is to stock your kit with enough supplies to last anywhere from 3 to 5 days. You can find multiple suggestions on what to include in your kit or how to tailor it to your family needs here. Remember the power will likely be out so ATMs will not work and banks will be closed, you’ll want to carry cash with you (or have some on hand in your kit).

Unfortunately, life goes on while you’re being evacuated. You won’t know when you can return to your property. In severe situations, you may have to evacuate your home quickly while grabbing important items on the fly. For this reason, you may want to include a separate “kit” or binder for transporting important documents. In this binder, you can carry everything from extra house keys and bank account information to current bills, important pictures and/or birth certificates and social security information.

Create An Evacuation Strategy

Government agencies and local authorities often have to make the unfortunate decision to evacuate knowing what a “hot mess” it’s going to be with panicked travelers, canceled flights, outrageous gas prices and crowded gas stations, not to mention chaos on the highways. If you add flooded roads, heavy rain, and the possibility of tornadoes or heavy winds into the mix, the result becomes an all-out nightmare to get safely out of town.

Keep in mind that you really only need to get away from the evacuation area. Depending on the size of the storm, you may not need to travel hundreds of miles away. Fill up your cars’ gas tanks (possibly keeping an extra on hand). Research local evacuation instructions to make sure you are in line with ordinances. Many government entities already have evacuation routes, shelters and specific instructions on how to re-enter an evacuated area in place.


Include your pet in your plan. If you do not plan to take him or her with you, you’ll need to find a shelter that will accept pets or find somewhere along the route to board him or her. Build upon your local evacuation instructions to include a route farther away as well as a backup plan in case the main route is compromised. Communicate your plans to someone not in the storm’s path so that he or she will know where your family is headed and what way you are taking to get there.

Preparing Your Home

Maintenance and upkeep of your home and your land can significantly impact your property’s ability to withstand a storm. Keep your trees, bushes, and plants trimmed throughout the year making sure to remove any dead limbs or brush that could end up airborne in heavy winds. Investing in storm shutters or having the proper items on hand so you can board your windows and doors quickly could save time and money for when a hurricane actually hits.

Make an appointment to see your insurance agent a couple of times throughout the year to ensure your policies are up to date and provide you with adequate coverage. (Pro Tip: Regular homeowners insurance does not provide flood coverage. If you do not have a policy in place for flood coverage, get one. ) During your visit, ask for a copy of your insurance policy (which should include information on how to file a claim) and advice on any changes you can implement to prevent damage should a hurricane head your way.

The best advice we can offer: prepare for the unexpected. The NWS created a few handy checklists to give you an overview of what preparations to make. Even if you fare well this time, remember that hurricane season will faithfully return year after year. Treating every season as if the “100-year storm” will hit may seem a little paranoid. However, when it comes to weather events like a hurricane there is no real defense from Mother Nature. And, for those of us who live each summer into fall in the midst of hurricane alley, trust us when we say that you never know when it will come – but it is always worth it to be ready.

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Southport Prepares To Welcome The King…Mackerel

Bring On the Boats

Southport and Oak Island is abuzz in anticipation of the Granddad of all North Carolina King Mackerel fishing competitions, the US Open King Mackerel Tournament. Fishing enthusiasts flock to the marina by the thousands to watch the haul of mackerel coming in from off of our shores.

The flurry of boats along with the captains and adrenaline-fueled crews is enough to excite on-lookers long before the live entertainment begins. People of all ages enjoy fresh seafood plates and refreshments while dancing the night away in the Southport streets. On the final day of the tournament, kids take their turn at reeling in the “big one” from the Southport City Pier during Captain Charlie’s Kids Fishing Tournament.

The most lively moment of the whole weekend comes when the weigh-ins begin. Boat after boat lines up to parade their tournament-worthy catch in the hopes of taking home the guaranteed $25,000 cash prize while others simply regret the one that got away.

Record-Breaking King Mackerel Catches

The tournament record stands strong with the 53.25-pound catch of Kevin Norris on “Reel Blessed” in 2014. Each year since the winning catch has decreased in size. This year’s tourney attendees will be very interested to see if 1-a crew will be able to turn the results around by catching a fish larger than the 2016 winning fish of 40.20-pounds, and 2-a crew will bring in a fish to break the overall tournament record. With cash prizes of over $100,000 awarded to the top 55 largest catches, it’s sure to be a heart-pumping weigh-in.

Record Angler Location Weight Date
US Open King Mackerel Tournament Kevin Norris Sneads Ferry, NC 53.25 lbs 2014
NC State Record Holder James Winch Ocracoke, NC 82 lbs, 4 oz 1999
World Record Holder Steve Graulau San Juan, Puerto Rico 93 lbs 1999


The 2017 US Open King Mackerel Tournament Schedule

Thursday, October 5
– 10am: Registration & Packet Pickup
– 4pm: The Groove Pirates (Entertainment) & Refreshment Sales Begin
– 7pm: Captains’ Meeting

Friday, October 6
– 7am: Competition Begins
– 11am: Scales Open
– 3pm: Refreshment Sales Begin
– 5pm: Competition Ends for Day 1

Saturday, October 7
– 7am: Competition Begins
– 9am: Captain Charlie’s Kids Fishing Tournament
– 11am: Scales Open & Seafood Plate Sales Start
– 3pm: Refreshment Sales Begin
– 4pm: Competition Ends
– 4:30pm: Blindside (Entertainment)
– 7:30pm: Awards Ceremony

Tournament Accommodations

As a Patron Sponsor of the tournament, we would love to have you join us in Oak Island and Southport for the early fall weekend. If your crew still needs accommodations, Margaret Rudd & Associates can assist you in finding a convenient condo for the event.

With slightly cooler temperatures, an early fall getaway could be just what your family needs after settling into the work and school routine. Our reservation specialists are happy to help you in finding the perfect Oak Island vacation rental. Give us a call at 800.486.5441 to book your stay and we’ll be happy to suggest a local charter fishing operation to help scratch your itch to fish.

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Battling The Post-Oak Island Vacation Blues

Battling The Blues

You’ve spent a full week on Oak Island, life was slow and easy-going. No alarm clock wake-ups, no stressful “after-work” routines of homework, dinner, bath- and bedtime. For some, there were exciting adventure activities that involved being in nature and spending time with family and friends.

Today you re-enter the world of the concrete jungle. You woke up at the crack of dawn to sleepily get your kids to school (or fed before they start whining), you have mountains of laundry to wash, just looking at the house makes you cringe knowing that cleaning will come soon. And, now it’s time for you to push through traffic on your way to your 8-hour stint in a cubicle.

Post-Oak Island Vacation BluesFor many, post-vacation anxiety starts mid-vacation. The dread of returning to the daily routine and stress associated is often enough to discourage people from taking a vacation in the first place. According to Project: Time Off’s 2017 State of American Vacation Report, 43% of those surveyed named “returning to a mountain of work” as the main challenge to taking their vacation days.

A Case Of The Blues

The Blues rear their ugly head in a variety of different ways. There are people who say that Post-Vacation Blues or Post-Travel Depression is nothing more than the shock a person feels when they’re snapping out of vacation mode. In that, it’s not true depression or even a case of the Blues.

Others agree that symptoms such as the ones mentioned below are experienced by travelers during or just after their vacation, and are indicative of an issue.

  • Anxiety or excessive worry – The day before leaving Oak Island, you may begin to feel extremely anxious, nervous or worrisome about all of those emails just waiting for you to return.
  • Restlessness – As with the apprehension of going on vacation, the same goes for returning. You may stay up all night long agonizing over having to pack up the car and drive all that way home.
  • Irritability – We all seem to become a little “testy” when we’re stressed. Quick with our words and fast to act on our emotions.
  • Headaches – Some people may exhibit tension headaches that involve “dull pain, tightness, or pressure around your forehead or the back of your neck.”

Battling Post-Oak Island Vacation Blues Blog Header

How To Deal

We came up with a few suggestions on how to battle the Blues during or just after your Oak Island vacation.

  • Take a longer vacation. Oftentimes travelers cannot de-stress until they are truly settled meaning you lose the initial portion of your vacation. Anxiety may start a day or two before you step on the beach for the last day of your stay. Either way, taking a two-week vacation could possibly provide a full week’s time for actual relaxation.
  • Slowly re-enter daily life. Don’t schedule violin lessons or a big grocery shopping trip on your first day back home. If you’ll be back at work, don’t arrange any appointments or check any of your emails that day. Take baby steps back into your normal routine.
  • Practice breathing exercises or mindfulness. Google “breathing exercises to manage stress” or “mindfulness” to find out more on how to adjust your mind’s and body’s reaction to stressful situations.
  • Evaluate and incorporate. Take time to reflect on your Oak Island vacation. What made it so special and relaxing? Was it eating out whereas you normally cook every night? Was it zip lining through the swamp that was so exhilarating? Take inventory of what you truly enjoyed and incorporate the same or similar events into your normal routine. Eat out once a week with your family. Coordinate activities and outings like regular neighborhood walks, movie night, an outdoor concert, or even a trip to the museum.
  • Treat yourself to another Oak Island vacation. This one is a bit self-explanatory. Giving yourself something to plan and look forward to is always a good thing, but when you’re planning and looking forward to something you’ve already experienced and know to be fun and relaxing – it’s a great thing. It keeps your thoughts and anxiety at bay while you anticipate experiencing that all over again.

Suffering From Post-Oak Island Vacation Blues?No matter the severity of your Post-Oak Island vacation blues, Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. can surely help you with at least two of the suggestions mentioned above. Our reservation specialists are available to help plan an extended vacation so you will have more than enough time to relax and unwind before re-entry. So, before you go worrying yourself about the next time you’ll be able to get away – give us a call to place your favorite vacation rental on hold for next year.

“The State of American Vacation 2017.” Project: Time Off, 2017.
“Tension Headaches.” Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD, WebMD, 13 May 2016,

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5 Reasons You Should Stay In An Oak Island Vacation Rental

Where Would You Rather Spend Your Oak Island Vacation

Vacation rentals are in high demand with the current popularity of sites like Airbnb. Visitors realize that staying in a vacation rental property provides benefits that they simply cannot get from booking a hotel.

I Need My Space

Space is an often sacrificed commodity when it comes to saving the almighty dollar. Unless you fork out the big bucks – your family is usually packed into a guest room. You eat, sleep and tiptoe around one another. You may spread yourselves over two guest rooms, doing the same cramped dance while coordinating meals and sleeping arrangements between the two rooms.

When it comes to renting a vacation rental property, you get free run of the entire property (aside from the occasional off-limits storage area). Imagine the space your family can enjoy staying in a 4-bedroom, 2-bath home complete with ample parking and a covered oceanfront porch!

Home Away From Home

Vacation rentals are often secondary homes for property owners. They include all of the comforts of home (i.e., kitchen utensils and dishes, washers and dryers, full-sized dining areas and tables, etc.). They also offer much of the same amenities (i.e., WiFi, cable television, books, DVD libraries, etc.). Hotels with even the largest cable offerings and wireless internet cannot compete when you can have all of that plus a large game room.

“Family” Includes Fido

Golden Retriever At The Beach - Bring Your Dog to Oak IslandSimply put, pets are family members and they enjoy a getaway like the rest of us. Unfortunately, many hotels carry strict no-pet policies. Those fortunate enough to find a hotel within a convenient distance from their vacation destination still battle size restrictions and limitations on where the animal can actually roam. Oftentimes, vacationers are forced to pay to have them boarded.


While the same can be true for vacation rentals, an increasing number of property owners offer their properties as pet-friendly homes. Rather than leaving Fido at home, choosing a pet-friendly Oak Island vacation rental is as easy as a simple search. In these homes, Fido has full run of the home including enclosed yards and porches. He/she can enjoy the vacation right along with the family. Who says your four-legged family member can’t enjoy the beach, too?

Eat In Comfort

Staying in a hotel usually offers two options for dining. Guests spend additional money to dine at nearby eateries or in an on-site restaurant. Or, they order room service or outside food and eat it at a cramped “dining” table while struggling not to knock drinks off of the table.

Booking a vacation rental property offers guests full-size everything, from appliances to dining room tables and/or breakfast bars. Guests can still choose to dine or buy food from elsewhere but there is additional comfort in knowing they can come “home” and prepare a family meal. For our vacationers here on the coast – there’s nothing like grabbing a few pounds of fresh shrimp for the grill to really get the Oak Island vacation experience.

Share The Wealth

Share The Cost of Your Oak Island VacationVacation rentals catch a bad rap when it comes to price. People balk at the cost of a $2,000 per week rental home but rarely look at it in comparison to a hotel stay. Take the same 4-bedroom home mentioned above where 4 couples could comfortably stay for a 7-night vacation. If they split the rental cost equally among the 4 couples, it would essentially come to $500 per couple for an entire week or approximately $71.43 per person per night.

At Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc., we keep our guests in mind by offering a selection of properties where the fee-incurring “extras” like linens and departure cleaning are an option. Giving vacationers the flexibility of whether to include or exclude these items also allows us to keep our rental rates lower. (As an example, we currently give our guests the option of choosing a $35 non-refundable vacation damage plan in lieu of the traditional $400 refundable security deposit.)

Considering the benefits – even those not mentioned in our Top 5 – a vacation rental may be a more valuable option for your Oak Island vacation. Take time to enjoy the island, relaxing in your home away from home while hopefully saving a bit of money in the process.

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I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream

Sweet Summertime Memories

Be honest, there was NOTHING in this world like hearing the sound of the ice cream truck coming down your neighborhood road. It was a marker for summertime and a bowl of excitement served right at the end of your driveway. To this day, seeing a group of kids crowded around that tiny window, waiting patiently for their turn to order brings a smile to my face.

As a child, I remember walking to the nearest ice cream shop, sitting at a picnic table, and enjoying a waffle cone – all while chocolate ice cream dripped down my hand over my wrist. It was just too hot to keep up with all of the melting. Even now, I chuckle standing behind fellow parents busily wiping away what they can, only to give up entirely. What’s a little cookies-and-cream on your tie-dye tee anyway?

With temperatures reaching 90-degrees (and heat indexes of over 100-degrees), people are searching high and low for ways to cool down. While Oak Island and Southport has a lot of great ways to stay cool, the area comes well-populated with ice cream and frozen yogurt shops sure to quench your craving.


Flava’s Ice Cream Shop | 310 W Bay Street | 910-457-5150
Flava’s is located right off of the waterfront in downtown Southport and offers flavors outside of the ordinary. Stop by this spot after dining on peel-and-eat shrimp at the ever popular Provision Company.

Spike’s Dairy Bar | 201 N Howe Street | 910-457-7611
With premium ingredients and homemade ice cream, Spike’s is the perfect location for local shakes, floats as well as hot dogs and more. Grab a quick milkshake while strolling down the streets of Southport and in between boutiques.

The Fuzzy Peach | 5130 Southport-Supply Road | 910-363-4180
If you’re someone who doesn’t like to wait in line for your fro-yo, look no further than The Fuzzy Peach. This self-serve shop offers the usual suspects as well as unique seasonal flavors along with a buffet of toppings. Enjoy your cup while sitting outside on the deck while the kids play corn hole. (Pro Tip: Try the vanilla with fresh strawberries, cheesecake bites, and granola crumbles! Yum!)

Oak Island

Frosty’s Ice Cream | 8600 E Oak Island Drive | 910-278-7787
Frosty’s Ice Cream Shop is a favorite for many guests each year. This local hang out offers traditional scoops as well as a variety of other items sure to touch your tourist-heart!

Sunset Slush Classic Italian Ice | 8316 E Oak Island Drive | 910-619-7724
If the cream is not your thing, how about some Italian ice to cool you down? Sunset Slush began as a pushcart operation serving folks in Brunswick County and has grown to a business of 16 locations across the country. You may be able to catch a pushcart going up and down the sand while you take in the heat, but can always stop by their retail store if you’ve come in from the shore.

Lil & John’s Sweetreat | 6324 E Oak Island Drive | 910-250-1836
This family-owned and operated shop handcrafts their ice cream on-site each day with help of local organic dairy farmers and the freshest fruits and ingredients available! If you’re into sharing or possess a stomach the size of a ship, try out their Titanic for Two and eat until your heart’s content!

Dairy Queen | 5701 E Oak Island Drive | 910-278-5371
As if we even need to describe this queen of cool… Dairy Queen has been in business for more than 70 years serving up delicious soft serve and craving-satisfying goodies. Locals claim it’s hard to pass up a chocolate-dipped cone even in the dead of winter!

Tropical Treats | 5811 E Oak Island Drive | 910-278-9311
Eat-in or have a seat at this colorful, tropical-inspired spot! Offering the normal options, Tropical Treats take their guest service a bit further by offering sugar-free ice cream, fudge and free “pup cups” for your four-legged family members.

OKI Scoop Shop | 4922 E Oak Island Drive
Stop by this cute ice cream shop for delectable flavors and homemade waffle cones. Reviews describe their ice cream as rich and flavorful with a silky smooth texture. Located right next to the BBQ House, it’s the perfect spot for a sweet treat after getting your fill of pulled pork and corn nuggets.

The next time you find yourself on the hunt for some frigid-goodness, stop by one of our local favorites. Share photos of you and your family enjoying your frosty treats during your Oak Island getaway with Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. over on our Facebook page!

Here’s to sweet summertime memories!

Posted in Oak Island Information, Restaurants, Things To Do, Uncategorized, Vacation Rental Tips | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things To Do When It Rains On Your Oak Island Vacation







Summer in coastal North Carolina ushers in more than just warm weather and vacationers. A bit of unsavory weather has been known to grace us complete with thunderstorms, heavy winds, and rain. Oak Island offers visitors much more than just sandy shorelines and gorgeous beaches, many activities of which could save an Oak Island vacation or two when the weather proves less than agreeable. Keep this list handy for those times when your crew has had enough of the sun and sand, or for when the rains fall and put a strain on your well-laid beach plans.

Retail Therapy

Oak Island and Southport offers everything from extravagant coastal décor and jewelry to repurposed antiques and the customary “Southport” or “Oak Island” novelty item. Spend a few hours (or an entire day) exploring all of the locally owned and operated shops while finding the perfect souvenir to remind you of your Oak Island getaway.

Eat Local

Nothing ruins a good time like a hangry (hungry + angry) person in your party; believe me, I should know because I’m one of those people who suffers from this debilitating funk when my stomach starts to growl and there’s not a morsel in sight. Save yourselves and your Oak Island vacation by visiting one of our fresh seafood markets for a locally caught meal you can prepare in the comfort of your rental home. (Try this simple recipe for Calabash Shrimp with Tartar Sauce for a quick and easy dinner.)

For those who really take a vacation from it all – including cooking – a rainy day provides the perfect opportunity to try out all the local eateries that Southport and Oak Island have to offer. No matter your tastes, this area brims with everything from mom-and-pop hamburger joints and southern-style barbecue smokehouses to elegant restaurants with intimate settings. From brunch to happy hour, we have your taste buds covered.

Explore Your Creative Side

With stunning sunrises and sunsets, charming waterfront scenery and sea life galore, the local beaches have surely inspired many an artist over the years. Why not become one of them and create a piece that memorializes the time you spent on Oak Island? Flex your creative muscles with a private paint party at Pescado Y Amor, a local studio and art gallery which also hosts art classes and summer camps.

If you’re a vacationer who prefers to window shop rather than mixing it up in your smock, numerous art galleries line the streets of downtown Southport for your shopping pleasure. Join others for the First Friday Gallery Walk to enjoy wine and appetizers before a stroll to view the works of featured artists.

Discover Your Destination

A rainy day presents an opportunity to learn more about your vacation destination. The Southport and Oak Island area offers a myriad of museums and sites rich with history. Visit the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport for a lesson in the maritime history of the lower Cape Fear River. Venture toward Wilmington to visit Brunswick Town and Fort Anderson, a pre-Revolutionary town that includes a Civil War-era fort and display of archaeological finds.

Not a history buff? No problem. Familiarize yourself with coastal Carolina aquatic life with a day trip to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher . Access the Aquarium by either a drive from Oak Island to Kure Beach or simply hop on the Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry. With fun and educational programs, families enjoy learning about marine environments while experiencing animals in an up-close-and-personal format with animal feedings and encounters. Adventurers may also head south along Highway 17 for an experience at the Museum of Coastal Carolina and Ingram Planetarium . The Museum and Planetarium offer hands-on exhibits as well as theater shows in an effort to broaden the public understanding of our planet and its natural resources, specifically as they pertain to the Carolinas.

Unwind & Unravel

Relaxation from the day-to-day doesn’t happen solely along the shores of Oak Island and Caswell Beach. While the sounds of the ocean and sunshine soothe the soul, one can certainly get a taste of that through other means. Spend a full day pampering yourself and those you love at one of the many Oak Island, Southport or Bald Head Island salons and spas. We guarantee that a facial combined with a manicure and pedicure and coastal-inspired massage will do wonders to refresh and rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit.

Hang Like A Local

One of the best ways to familiarize with Oak Island is to act like a local. Do what the locals do when it’s pouring cats and dogs. Catch an afternoon movie at Surf Cinema Movie Theater . This local gem offers various show times for the latest releases as well as special showings for kids and their families. (Not to mention, MRA includes a complete list of kids’ showings in our vacation rental guest bags that are given to each of our Oak Island visitors during prime season.)

With kids in tow, head over to one of Brunswick County’s local public libraries for an afternoon perfect for your avid readers. With two locations to serve our area, you can find everything from books, magazines, and DVDs and attend a reading or local author events for all ages. Be sure to call ahead as some branches have limited hours during weekends.

Ride Out The Storm

Locals know the art of “riding out a storm” all too well. Luckily, there are plenty of fun-filled activities that you and your fellow family members may enjoy in the comfort of your Oak Island vacation rental home . Check out this list of entertaining ideas for keeping everyone occupied while the rain falls:

  • Go the traditional route and build an old-fashioned fort with cushions, pillows, suitcases, etc.
  • Whip things up in the kitchen. Recruit little hands to make homemade pizza or a delicious, after-dinner dessert.
  • Play board games, cards or have fun with puzzles.
  • Read a book or reflect in a “travel journal”.
  • Practice yoga or mindful meditation from the comfort of your home overlooking the Atlantic.

Let’s be honest, the best vacations derive from memories made while just spending time..together. Many of Margaret Rudd & Associates’ Oak Island vacation homes offer the perfect setting for such a purpose. Some feature large game rooms others come stocked with games, puzzles, books and DVD libraries. Contact us for more information on Oak Island vacation rentals, or for suggestions on fun things to do in Oak Island rain or shine!

Posted in Adventure Activities, Area Events, Art and Galleries, Oak Island Information, Recipes, Things To Do, Vacation Rental Tips | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment