Beaches of Oak Island are Minutes Away from St James

When the Swain’s Cut Bridge [aka the second bridge] opened, it significantly shortened our driving time to the beaches of Oak Island. Now most of the residents are at the beach within a 5-15 minute drive. There is no stop-and-go traffic and plenty of free parking.

There are 11 miles of sandy, 100% walkable beaches, and over 70 access points, all with free parking. The most popular beach destination for many residents is located on NE 72nd Street. Here you will find the oceanfront St James Beach Club; it has parking lots exclusively for St. James Plantation residents, an outdoor pool, bathrooms and shower facilities, and an elevated spacious covered deck with tables and chairs.

Typically, the waves are calm, the water is warm and ankle-deep water extends a fair distance making it perfect for young + old. Oak Island is one of the few dog-friendly beaches on the East Coast.

Helpful Hint: Despite the deceptive cooling breeze, the sun is very strong, and we see severe sunburns come on quickly. Recommend an umbrella, frequent applications of sunscreen, and keep hydrated.

Beach Boy Feeding Sea Gulls- Blog 05.25.2021

Fishing – Fresh Water

The community of St. James Plantation has 14 fresh-water ponds that are currently stocked with fish; it is catch-and-release only. You will enjoy catching large-mouth bass, bluegills, channel catfish, grass carp, and reader sunfish [sun crackers].

The experienced pond fisherman here recommends a wide variety of hard and soft artificial bait, as well as, live worms. Helpful Hints: an NC Fishing License is required [easy to obtain at any local bait + tackle shops]. A publication with locations of all stocked ponds can be obtained from the POA office they can be reached at this number [910-253-4805].

A large mouth bass caught in one of the fresh water ponds in St. James Plantation.

Insider Secret: Thriving Art Community

When Sid Godwin, a former college art professor, moved from Monmouth County NJ, he and his wife, Susan, a former art and child-life therapist, wanted a retirement that had a slower pace of life, great weather and was a short distance to the beach. The great surprise was the wealth of resources and number of active artists here. Sid’s art has been showcased and won numerous awards in most of the galleries here; Susan has rekindled her love of pottery participating in weekly workshops and producing stellar work. Both are thrilled to be part of such an active, dynamic art community.

One of the little known facts outside of our Southport-Oak Island-St James, NC area is that we have an active art community. The multiple galleries: Franklin Gallery, (; The Ricky Evans Gallery, ( and the St James Artisan Gallery ( promote local artists’ work and there is plenty to see and appreciate. You can be a patron of local artists by purchasing any of their works shown at these galleries.

St. James Plantation Has A “Secret” Garden

North Carolina’s Growing Season

For many of our transplanted northerners, the growing season in coastal North Carolina is one of nature’s best gifts.  From novice to master gardener, you will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labors while driving through the many neighborhoods of St. James Plantation. In addition to marveling at the unique, individual home gardens, you will see the common areas that have been beautifully landscaped and maintained. 

The Secret Garden

My favorite spot is tucked away in the Woodlands Park. Maintained by volunteers, it is a living example of native plants that will thrive in our temperate climate. Each plant is identified so that you can discover which flowering plants will work for you. Of course, there is the trial-and-error method too. When we moved here in 2003, I planted a massive garden…and the deer loved me for it.

A beautiful patch of weeds in the dirt.