Prior to the filming of The Curse of Oak Island, not many people knew that this alleged treasure-filled island even existed. Appropriately nicknamed the 'money pit,' this island is rumored to be home to a buried treasure that was hidden on the island prior to the 18th century. There's a long history to follow Oak Island, and it's one that has since brought many self-proclaimed explorers, and even experts, to the island to see what can be discovered.

Despite there being no treasure (as of yet), this island still holds a level of charm that makes it a popular destination in Nova Scotia. And, luckily, for travelers, there's plenty more to do that doesn't involve digging for a buried fortune.


Related: Here's Everything Visitors Can Explore In One Day On Washington's Bainbridge Island

A Brief History Of Oak Island And Its Legend

The story starts back in 1795 when a teenage boy named Daniel McGinnis stumbled upon a depression in the ground shaped like an oval. From there, the story is really quite simple but intriguing nonetheless; every ten feet or so, he would hit a set of wooden planks the further down he dug. After realizing this unique discovery, McGinnis and friends became convinced that somewhere at the bottom, there would be a treasure awaiting them. With the legend of Blackbeard and Captain Kidd floating around in these mysterious waters, it's not surprising that when a plaque was found that supposedly read, 'forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried,' the secret was out.

From then on, Oak Island became a haven for amateur treasure hunters. To this day, it continues to stump and mystify those who are interested in finding whatever supposedly lies beneath - but that's not all this island has to offer.

What To Do On Oak Island (Besides Treasure Hunting)

When looking down on Oak Island from an aerial view, it's hard to imagine visitors doing anything but treasure hunting. Its lush grove of trees and quiet remoteness doesn't leave much to the imagination, but one might be surprised at the various ways they can explore this landscape.

Oak Island Walking Tour

Since Oak Island is privately owned (a fact that not many people know), visitors are only permitted to visit via a reservation spot with Oak Island Tours Inc. Visitors can book tours directly through their website with two expert guides who will lead them around the island, sharing about the mysterious history of the island and its 'treasure.'

*Note: The island is currently closed to visitors until 2022. 

Boat Tour Of Oak Island

Another unique way to tour the island without taking a hike is through Salty Dog Boat Tours. These can be booked through the Oak Island Marina & Outdoor Adventure Centre. Advance booking is recommended, and four tours leave from the marina daily. On the tour, guests will hear about the history of the island as well as the surrounding Nova Scotia area.

Visit The Oak Island Interpretive Center

The Oak Island Interpretive Center is a collaborative effort between Oak Island Tours Inc. and Friends of Oak Island. The center is free to visit, and visitors have the chance to see exhibits unique to the island, its ecosystem, and the wildlife that live on it. Additionally, the center is home to interesting archeological finds and information regarding the long history of the island.

Related: Fort Gorges: Visiting Maine's Abandoned Island Fort That Was Never Even Used

Where To Stay On Oak Island

The two closest lodging accommodations to Oak Island are the River Ridge Lodge and the Oak Island Resort & Conference Centre. Both are easily accessible and offer great amenities for those staying on the coast.

River Ridge Lodge

The River Ridge Lodge is the perfect, quiet getaway that's within easy access of both Oak Island as well as Mahone Bay. It's also a quick drive to Lunenburg, a town that's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rooms at this B&B feature comfortable en suites with charming rooms, which also have waterfront views. Relaxation and rejuvenation are both parts of a stay at this lodge, and it's the perfect way to soak up the nature surrounding.

  • Price/Night: $129-$159
  • Address: 28 Silver Point Road, Martin’s River B0J 2E0

Oak Island Resort & Conference Centre

When it comes to luxe accommodations, the Oak Island Resort has pulled out all the stops. With 102 rooms in total and a variety of room options, there's something for everyone, complete with an on-site eatery, a bar, and events such as bonfires and recreational water activities. Guests also have the option to rent oceanside chalets and seaside villas, offering privacy and proximity to Oak Island.

  • Price: $175 - $419
  • Address: 36 Treasure Drive, Western Shore B0J 3M0

Next: This Nova Scotia Island Is Free To Explore, But Not For The Faint-Hearted