WATCH: Vacationing Charlotte family finds gator in Oak Island surf

OAK ISLAND, N.C. — A Charlotte family vacationing in Oak Island won’t soon forget their latest summer trip after spotting an alligator in the surf while playing on the beach.

“The kids were so excited. They were like ‘mom, mom this is crazy,'” said Kelly Edwards.

Edwards’ family comes to Oak Island every summer from Charlotte but said this vacation was one for the books.

While soaking up the sun, they were joined by an unusual guest -- a 4-foot alligator.

Family friend, Avery Worst, said her father saw the reptile first.

“He was just wanting to take a jog around the beach. And then he thought that it was a bag or like a wheel that was in it. But then he got closer and closer. Then he saw it was a tail and something and like it was an alligator,” Worst said.

It was a sight to see, but one that scared Edwards’ daughter, Mallie-Kate.

“My sister and friends had been playing out in the water that day and it could have been there at any time,” Mallie-Kate said.

It was a rare moment for the Edwards family, but one the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission said is very common. The commission said it usually get reports of eight to 10 alligators on the coast each year and that the animals come from the canals along the beach, usually looking for food or trying to avoid their primary predators like larger alligators.

Oak Island Police were called and moved the gator to a safe place. Officers said this was the fourth call about alligators near the ocean this year.