Story By Billy Jason Frye
Photography By Keith Ketchum
With the August 21 opening of Ocean Isle Beach Park, Brunswick County gained a fantastic new place to relax, picnic, see a concert, play some games and enjoy the great outdoors.
Melinda Johnson, Marketing and Community Events Coordinator for Brunswick County Parks and Recreation, calls the new park “a great addition” and says her office already has many requests to reserve the facilities.
The 58-acre park at 6483 Olde Georgetown Road, Ocean Isle, features eight tennis courts, two playgrounds, a picnic area, a restroom facility and a 5-acre multipurpose field that can be used for football, soccer and more. The crown jewel of the park, a 300-seat amphitheater with a generous lawn for chairs and blankets, provides the opportunity to further expand programming offerings from Brunswick County Parks and Recreation.
According to Johnson, the plan is to host concerts and other cultural offerings at the amphitheater. She says the Oyster Fest planning committee has expressed some interest in holding all or part of future Oyster Fests in the park. This year, the eight tennis courts will play host to the Oyster Fest Tennis Tournament.
The total cost of the park was nearly $3 million, an expense offset by the generous land donation from Ocean Isle Beach and a grant from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Authority (PARTF). PARTF’s grant of $500,000 (the largest grant amount awarded) matched $500,000 set aside by the county for use in park development and, along with the land donation, went a long way toward making this park a reality. The Town of Leland also recently received a PARTF grant for $500,000 to develop Westgate Nature Park. The awarding of two grants of this size speaks volumes of the investment the state is making to improve the quality of life in the fast-growing Brunswick County area.
Of the 58 acres that comprise the park, only 19 acres were developed during the initial phase. According to Johnson, future plans for the park include the construction of several softball/baseball fields, a Bocce ball court, a shuffleboard area and paved walking trails. Johnson says there has been interest in a disc golf course and dog park at Ocean Isle Beach Park and that those ideas were possibilities for the future.
Ocean Isle Beach Park is Brunswick County’s thirteenth park and offers more room for countywide programming such as youth and adult sports leagues and a summer concert series.
For more information on the programs offered by Brunswick County Parks and Recreation, visit their website at www. brunswickcountync.gov (click on Departments then scroll down to Parks and Recreation) or call (910) 253-2670.
Southern Brunswick County Parks
Ocean Isle Beach Park is the newest park on the block and definitely worth a visit, but did you know about the other parks and nature preserves in Brunswick County? Below we’ve listed parks and preserves in southern Brunswick County. For a list of parks and preserves in the northern part of the county, check out the latest issue of North Brunswick Magazine, available on newsstands or online at www.northbrunswickmagazine.com.
Cedar Grove Park
750 Grove Trail SW, Supply
One of the newest additions to Brunswick County Parks, this one is located directly behind Cedar Grove Middle School. The park features two tennis courts, basketball courts, softball fields and a multipurpose fiel perfect for football, soccer or almost anything else. For more information, call (910) 253-2670.
Dutchman Creek Park
4750 Fish Factory Road, Southport
This 30-acre park offers opportunities for fishing and picnicking and a playground for the kids. There is a restroom facility on site. For more information, call (910) 253-2670.
Lockwood Folly District Park
430 Green Swamp Road, Supply
Located off U.S. 17 on Green Swamp Road, this park’s amenities include three baseball/softball fields, a football/soccer field, a concession stand with restrooms, an office/storage building, a playground with a restroom nearby, one basketball court, two tennis courts and three picnic shelters. All of these amenities don’t even begin to crowd this 20-acre park. For more information, call (910) 253-2670.
Shallotte District Park
5550 Main Street, Shallotte
This 64-acre park offers plenty of opportunity to spread out, relax, play and explore. Amenities include four baseball/softball fields, a soccer field, two concession stands with restrooms, one office/storage building, one basketball court, two tennis courts, three picnic shelters and a playground. For more information, call (910) 253-2670.
Smithville District Park
8340 River Road SE, Southport
This 23-acre park has two baseball/ softball fields, one football/soccer field, one soccer field, a concession stand with restrooms, a storage building, one basketball court, two tennis courts, two picnic shelters and a playground. For more information, call (910) 253-2670.
In addition to the parks overseen by the county, there are a variety of town parks in southern Brunswick County.
Boiling Spring Lakes
In addition to the following parks, Boiling Spring Lakes has a Community Center at 1 Leeds Road. The Community Center features a variety of organized activities for kids, adults and seniors and has meeting space capable of hosting up to 200 people. For questions regarding parks and the community center in Boiling Spring Lakes, call (910) 845-3693.
Alton Lennon Park
Alton Lennon Road just before the railroad tracks off east Boiling Spring Road
This park offers the only public boat access to The Big Lake, a roped swimming area, two bench swings, a picnic shelter with tables and a seasonal restroom facility.
Charles Schneiders Park
Mirror Lake Drive just off Fifty Lakes Road
A playground area with swings, a half-court basketball court and a picnic shelter with tables are amenities here.
Mirror Lake Park
Off N.C. 133 on Fifty Lakes Drive
This park offers a beautiful swimming area with a picnic table, bench swing and seasonal restroom facility.
Off N.C. 87 behind Boiling Spring Lakes City Hall
Facilities here include a picnic shelter with two tables, a playground with swings, tennis courts, a basketball court and seasonal restroom facilities.
North Lake Park
Off East Boiling Spring Road on Lake Shore Drive
This park is Boiling Spring Lakes’ on dog-friendly park (leashes only) and features a fishing dock and two bench swings.
Seminole Lake Park
Seminole Road, beside the railroad tracks, off Fifty Lakes Road
Enjoy a beautiful swimming area, picnic table and a bench swing. Seasonal restroom facilities are available.
Spring Lake Park
Pine Road just off East Boiling Spring Road
This park features two picnic shelters with tables, two swimming areas and bench swings. Seasonal restroom facilities are available. Spring Lake Park plays host to the Celebrate the Lakes Concert Series each summer.
Oak Island has a multitude of parks around the island (the full list is available on the town’s website), but the highlights of their recreational offerings lie in the five parks and recreation centers listed below. For information on Oak Island’s parks, visit www.oakislandnc.com (click on Recreation) or call (910) 278-5518.
Community Resources and Community Recreation Center
3003 E. Oak Island Drive, Oak Island
A fitness facility available to residents and non-residents for a fee (daily use and memberships available) features weights and cardio equipment as well as group fitness classes. The Community Resources Center offers programming for children, families, adults and seniors. A monthly calendar of events is available on the website under the monthly newsletter.
The Oak Island Nature Center
End of NE 52nd Street and Yacht Drive
Offerings include live animal exhibits, programs and walking trails on the grounds of the center. Hours vary seasonally; see the website and click “Nature Center” under the “Facilities” tab for more information.
Oak Island Ocean Education Center
SE 49th Street
Exhibits, programs and information on sea turtles and other marine life are the highlights here. Hours vary seasonally; call (910) 278-4747 or visit the website and select “Ocean Education Center” under the “Facilities” tab for more information.
Oak Island Skate Park
SE 49th Street
This outdoor skateboard and inline skate park features ramps, rails and pipes where skaters can hone their tricks. Call (910) 278•4747 or visit the website and select “Skate Park” under the “Facilities” tab for more information.
Ocean Isle Beach
Ocean Isle Beach Community Center
44 E. First Street
This center offers recreational programming and a banquet hall perfect for private functions. Call (910) 579-2166 for more information.