Figure Eight Island is an island in North Carolina, just north of Wrightsville Beach, with approximately 441 homes. It is surrounded by the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. It is a private island and that can only be reached via a guarded causeway bridge. It has been a popular destination for celebrities and politicians including former Vice President Al Gore, who has rented a house there, and John Edwards, who owns a house on the island.
Initial development of the island was done by Young Smith, an attorney from Hickory, NC who had earlier begun a much smaller development at Litchfield Beach, SC. The Figure Eight development was begun in the very early 1970's by his Figure Eight Island Company, then headquartered in Raleigh. Smith was then the husband of the grand niece of the late Julian Price,a wealthy North Carolina insurance executive. His son, who carried on his business, left only his niece and her brother as heirs. Much of her fortune was invested in this project.
Because of its private nature, Figure Eight Island is an ideal place for wild life conservation. The homeowners' association takes advantage of this and is active in conservation. Sea turtles are monitored on a daily basis and marked off for their protection. In 2001 and 2002, the homeowners' association commissioned a survey of endangered plants and animals on the island, some of the animals of special interest were piping plovers, sea turtles, sea beach amaranth, and marine mammals.