Newcomer Information Bookmark this

April 15, 2020

new construction

Congratulations on choosing to move to the Southport-Oak Island Area!  As you embark on this new journey, use this information to make your transition smoother. If you have any questions, please stop in the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center at 4433 Long Beach Road, Southport or call (910) 457-6964 and one of our helpful Information Specialists will gladly assist.  The Welcome Center is open Monday thru Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Download and Print Newcomer Guide to Services.

Licenses and Registrations

Automobile Registration

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles oversees general vehicle services for the State of North Carolina. They have two offices in Brunswick County for vehicle registration:





Southport Office

4831 Port Loop Rd.,  Unit 2, Southport


Monday- Friday

9am-1pm & 2pm-5pm

Bolivia Office

30 Government Center Drive, Bolivia


Monday - Friday

8:00am - 5:00 pm

Shallotte Office

5300 Main Street, Suite A, Shallotte


Monday – Friday

8am-12pm & 1pm-4pm

To change an out-of-state title or register a new vehicle, an owner must have:

  • Valid North Carolina Driver’s License/ID (Temporary Driving Certificate is not acceptable).

  • Current Vehicle Title

    • If there are co-owners to be recorded on a title, all signatures on required documents must be notarized and accompanied by a black and white copy of the alternate owner’s valid Driver License/ID or a Power of Attorney must be provided to sign for the co-owners.
  • Proof of liability insurance includes providing insurance documents that show your name, the effective date of policy, the expiration date of the policy, and the date the policy was issued. There are minimum requirements: $30,000 – bodily injury, one person, $60,000 – bodily injury, two or more people and $25,000 – property damage.

  • Vehicle safety or emissions inspection.Declaration of Eligible Risk.

    • Ocean City Chevrolet – 2366 Ocean Highway, Shallotte
    • Royal Coach – 1320 N. Howe Street, Southport

Title and Registration Fees:  (Limited to Cash, Check or Money Order)

  • Certificate of Title - $40.00

  • Plate Fee - $36.00 private vehicle or private truck under 4,000 pounds

  • Transfer of Plate - $15.00

  • Vehicle Highway Use Tax – 3% (in lieu of sales tax)

  • Vehicle Property Tax- rate set by each county

  • For a new title, proof of insurance coverage, vehicle safety or emissions inspection, and mileage information is required. State annual registration license fee is $28 per private passenger vehicle. Please see website for more specific information on automobile registration.

Drivers License

New drivers must take knowledge, vision, traffic sign and a driver skills test if examiner deems necessary.  Out of state drivers must take written, vision, sign test and possibly road test.  They must also surrender their out of state license.  Proof of liability insurance DL 123 is required for any first time licenses in North Carolina or anyone renewing a license that has had a traffic conviction within the past four years. 

Be prepared and bring:

  • Proof of Age and Identity – 2 of the following documents

Proof of Social Security Number
Valid unexpired license or ID card from another state

Birth Certificate

Original Social Security Card

Tax Forms that reflect your full name and SSN (1099, W-2)

  • Proof of Residency – One of the following:

Utility or Cable bill
Housing lease or contract, mortgage statement, property or income tax
Any document issued by NC, County, City or Federal government
School records
NC Vehicle Insurance Policy
NC Vehicle Registration or Voter Precinct Card
Military Orders or Documents
Letter from homeless shelter

  • Proof of Insurance – One of the following

Insurance card, Form DL-123 (get from insurance provider), insurance binder or policy.

You will also be asked if you want to be an Organ DonorRegister to Vote and register with Selective Service (if you are male and 18-25 years of age).

Helpful Links:  NC Drivers Handbook (Sample Test) the Vision Test and Sign Test are rolled into one – study up on your Regulatory Signs and Warning Signs.





Shallotte Office

5298 Main Street, Suite 3, Shallotte


Monday – Friday


Except: 1st Sat. of month 8am-12pm but closes following Wed at 12pm.

Mobile Office

Once per month

Southport EMS Building

111 E. Nash Street, Southport


First Consecutive Tuesday – Thursday

Tuesday & Thursday- 9:00am-4:00pm

Voter Registration

Voting in Brunswick County begins with registering.  It’s quick and easy.

To register to vote in Brunswick County you must be:

  • Be a citizen of the United States.

  • Be legal resident in Brunswick County and North Carolina for 30 days by the date of the next general election day.

  • Be 18 years of age or older by next general election day.

  • Have had citizenship rights restored, if ever convicted of a felony.

  • Not registered nor will vote in any other county or state.

  • Complete a registration application and submit it at least 25 days before Election Day to:  Brunswick County Board of Elections, P.O. Box 2, Bolivia, NC 28422.

You may also register to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Office when you obtain or renew your NC Drivers License or ID card, at the N.C. 4th of July Festival Naturalization Ceremony, at a Brunswick County Public Library, Municipal Town Hall, Brunswick County High School, or stop by the Brunswick County Board of Elections Office located in the Brunswick County Government Complex, Building H, 75 Stamp Act Drive, Bolivia.  Questions?  Contact them at 910.253-2620.

Approximately 3-4 weeks after submitting your voter registration application you will receive a voter ID card in the mail. This voter ID card is simply for your personal records. You are not required to present it to vote. This card will show your precinct name, your polling location name and address, your political party affiliation, and the various electoral jurisdictions in which you reside.

For One Stop Early Voting locations and times, election results, candidate filing information or sample ballot visit the Brunswick County Board of Elections website or for statewide information visit the North Carolina Board of Elections website.

Beginning in 2016, North Carolina will require voters to show a photo identification (photo ID) which they would present to vote in person.  Acceptable ID will be a current and valid photo identification; or copy of one of the following documents that show the name and address of the voter: a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document.

dogs running on beach
Pet Rules and Licenses

Rabies North Carolina law requires all dogs and cats be vaccinated against rabies and wear a collar at all times.

Leash Laws

  • North Carolina law prohibits dogs at large between Sunset to Sunrise.

  • Brunswick County defines every non-human species, both domestic and wild as an animal.  As such, any animal found off the property of its owner and not under physical restraint of a competent person shall be deemed at large and subject to fines. 

  • Town of Oak Island –If any dog leaves the premises of the owner it must be on a leash.  Except when signs are installed at public beach accesses giving notice dogs may be on the beach from October 15 to March 15 from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. without a leash under the following conditions:

  • Dog(s) shall not be left unattended;

  • Dog(s) must be under visual and voice control at all times;

  • Do not allow dog(s) to visit with other beach-goers or dogs without permission;

  • If a dog exhibits aggression toward other dogs or beach-goers, the owner must put the dog on a leash and remove the dog from the beach immediately;

  • Owners shall be solely responsible for any injury or damage caused by their dog(s);

  • Owners shall properly and promptly remove and dispose of all feces left by their dog(s).

  • Town of Caswell Beach – If any dog leaves the premises of the owner, it must be on a leash with the exception of summer when they can be off leash on the beach from dawn until 9am but must still be under your control.

  • City of Southport- If any dog leaves the premises of the owner it must be on a leash.

  • City of Boiling Spring Lakes- If any dog leaves the premises of the owner, it must be on a leash. The only City Park dogs are permitted is North Lake Park and they must remain on leash.  

  • Town of St. James- If any dog leaves the premises of the owner, it must be on a leash.

  • Town of Bolivia –If any dog leaves the premises of the owner, it must be on a leash. 

  • Village of Bald Head Island - Dog must be under control of owner at all times. Must also be on a leash on the beach during turtle season.

Dog License

  • North Carolina – Not Required.

  • Brunswick County –Not Required.

  • Town of Oak Island –Registration Required. Free. Show proof of rabies vaccine.

  • Town of Caswell Beach – Not Required.

  • City of Southport – Tags sold at City Hall.  Show proof of rabies vaccine.

  • City of Boiling Spring Lakes – Dogs must have City Tags sold at Police Department.  Show proof of rabies vaccine. 

  • Town of St. James- Not Required.

  • Town of Bolivia- Not Required.

  • Village of Bald Head Island-Not Required.

Please remember that if you take your dog for a walk off your own premises, you must scoop the poop, it’s the law and in most cases is considered littering.  This means the beach as well.

Dog Parks

Town of Oak Island –

  • Salty Dog Park, Fish Factory Road in Bill Smith Park on mainland Oak Island. Largest dog park in the area(300x150) with separate areas for small and large dogs.  Open 8am-Dusk. 

  • Hannon A Templeton Park, 41st and Oak Island Drive. Small. Open 8am-Dusk.


Municipal lines are somewhat confusing in the Southport-Oak Island area.  If you have questions on which town or city your new home, condo or apartment is located contact The Chamber or one of the municipalities. 


     795 Ocean Highway West, Supply………...910.754-4391
     4335 Southport-Supply Road, Southport...910.457-9808

     795 Ocean Highway West, Supply……….....910.754-4391
     4335 Southport-Supply Road, Southport...910.457-9808

     795 Ocean Highway West, Supply……….....910.754-4391
     4335 Southport-Supply Road, Southport...910.457-9808

     795 Ocean Highway West, Supply……….....910.754-4391
     4335 Southport-Supply Road, Southport....910.457-9808

     201 E. Moore Street, Southport…...910.457-7900 

     795 Ocean Highway West, Supply……….....910.754-4391
     4335 Southport-Supply Road, Southport...910.457-9808


     County Complex Building I, 75 Courthouse Drive, Bolivia...910.253-2655

     County Complex Building I, 75 Courthouse Drive, Bolivia...910.253-2655

  • City of Boiling Spring Lakes - 95% of the City has county water

     Brunswick County Utilities, County Complex Building I,

     75 Courthouse Drive, Bolivia..................................910.253-2655

     1100 Caswell Beach Road, Caswell Beach….910.278-5471

     4601 E. Oak Island Drive, Oak Island….910.201-8013

     201 E. Moore Street, Southport…...910.457-7900

     County Complex Building I, 75 Courthouse Drive, Bolivia..(910)253-2655

Home Telephone Service

  • Bald Head Island, Caswell Beach, Oak Island, Southport & parts of St. James

      AT&T North Carolina – 800.288-2020

  • Boiling Spring Lakes, Bolivia, most of the County & parts of St. James

     Atlantic Telephone Membership Corporation (ATMC)- 640 Whiteville Road, Shallotte..910.754-4311

  • Mobile and Private Service Providers Also Exist –Listing in the Business Directory


  • Bald Head Island, Caswell Beach, Oak Island, Southport parts of St. James –

     Spectrum Cable, 2321 Scientific Park Drive, Wilmington 910.332-7800

  • Boiling Spring Lakes & Most of County –

     ATMC - 420 Whiteville Road, Shallotte….910.754-4311
     Direct TV and Dish Network are also in the area.


Trash removal is provided by Waste Industries ...910.253-4177

Contact your municipality or the County for pickup schedule.

Brunswick County Dump Convenience Station –8392 River Road, Southport…...910.457-9484

     Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday -8am-6pm  Fees

Recycling is provided as part of your taxes or included in your monthly municipal utility bills.  Throughout the year there are also free dump events.  Watch the newspaper for announcements or visit the County website.


     County Complex Building I, 75 Courthouse Drive, Bolivia...910.253-2655

     Southeast Brunswick Sanitary District –  Parts of Brunswick County off Long Beach Road and Highway 211 not within municipal limits at the time it was constructed. 4240 Committee Dr Southport….910.457-0006

     County Complex Building I, 75 Courthouse Drive, Bolivia...910.253-2655

  • City of Boiling Spring Lakes -only in the commercial district. Residential on individual septic

     Brunswick County Utilities for commercial sewer

     County Complex Building I, 75 Courthouse Drive, Bolivia...910.253-2655

     1100 Caswell Beach Road, Caswell Beach….910.278-5471

     4601 E. Oak Island Drive, Oak Island….910.201-8013

     201 E. Moore Street, Southport…...910.457-7900

     County Complex Building I, 75 Courthouse Drive, Bolivia...910.253-2655

Propane, Oil and Natural Gas

Bolivia Church

Clubs and Organizations

The Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce has an extensive list of clubs and organizations that are very welcoming to newcomers.  Make sure to connect with one or more and soon enough you will not have enough hours in the day.  


The Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce has a variety of religious organizations and churches.  We hope this list will assist you in calling one of them home. 

Libraries and Literacy

The Brunswick County Literacy Council mission is to provide free, confidential tutoring for residents who need to develop or improve their basic reading, writing, math and English-speaking skills as well as job skills, life skills, and GED tutoring.  If you know someone who needs their service please call 910.754-7323.  There are five branches in the Brunswick County Library System and an E-Book Collection. To be eligible for a library card see the requirements.  Visitors are not able eligible for a library card but are always welcome to enjoy the books, magazines, newspapers, computers, reference services and children’s programs at the library. 

There are two branches in our immediate area:

Margaret and James Harper, Jr. Library

109 West Moore Street, Southport


Open:  Monday-Friday 9:00a.m.-6:00p.m.


G.V. Barbee, Sr. Library

8200 E. Oak Island Drive, Oak Island


Open: Monday-Friday 9:00a.m. – 6:00p.m. & Saturday 9:00am-1:00pm