CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kelly Edwards family has been vacationing on Oak Island for nearly a decade, her family are no rookies when it comes to being beach bums but on Tuesday, they were in for a first when a three-foot-long alligator caught her friends' son's attention.

"We've seen a lot of things over the years but never expected an alligator," recalled Edwards.

Authorities were alerted, pictures were taken, and Edwards made sure everyone kept their distance... but the gator wouldn't leave.

NBC Charlotte spoke with local herpetologist Chad Griffin with CCSB Reptile Rescue & Rehab Center.

"Alligators have always been on the North Carolina coastline, always," exclaimed Griffin. "They can go into a salt marsh, they can go into the salty banks but they can't stay in it long."

A couple of hours in the salty sea is all the not-so-little-lizard could stand.

"He'd been in the area we'd been in for around four hours," recalled Edwards.

After the alligator refused to take his act back to the marsh, police officers came out to save his life, attempting to relocate it.

They had to work quickly, with time ticking on the gators' life.

"I guess there was between fifty to one-hundred people gathered," said Edwards.

Everyone looked on in anticipation as the officers corralled the alligator and successfully relocated him, saving his life and giving the Edwards' family another memorable moment at Oak Island.

"It was different than most. We had a good time, a story to tell, and the most important thing is the gator is safe," said Edwards.