Wrightsville Beach has so much more to offer than meets the eye. While beach activities and watersports are exceptional ways to spend your time on the island during the summer months, go beyond the beach this fall to explore all Wrightsville Beach has to offer, from yoga on the pier to sampling local craft beers and much more.
Read on to discover off-the-beach activities for your autumn itinerary:
Give your mind a chance to relax by retreating to the quiet oasis of Harbor Way Gardens. This 1-acre garden provides the opportunity to sit and reflect while surrounded by beautiful native plants and flowers.
Take a scenic stroll through the park, pause for a few moments of meditation on a shady bench or pack your yoga mat and get in a few sun salutations. Take your practice to the sea with beach yoga on the Crystal Pier from BeUnlimited Yoga. Offered several days a week through October, this one-hour class features breathtaking views of the water and an opportunity to center yourself. Clear your mind and move your body through a perfect flow set to the sounds of the Atlantic Ocean.
Get your steps in with a walk or jog around The Loop, a 2.45-mile paved trail that circles the island and travels through the very heart of town. Keep your eyes out along the way for the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History’s Loop Through History, which features 25 unique signs telling the story of the island posted at various times throughout the year. A self-guided tour map is also available at the museum.
For a longer walk, jog or bike ride, set out along the 10-mile River to Sea Bikeway. Beginning at Johnnie Mercers Pier, the bikeway traverses residential streets and a few more crowded roadways all the way to Historic Downtown Wilmington’s Riverwalk for a scenic way to get your body moving.
Eco-Tours and Cruises
Hop aboard Blockade Runner Surf to Sound Adventure’s Masonboro Island Hopper Cruise to reach Masonboro Island Reserve, the longest undisturbed barrier island ecosystem in southern North Carolina. You may catch a glimpse of birds, fish and sea turtles that call the area home as you explore the 8.4 miles of pristine barrier island, salt marsh and tidal creek ecosystems. Set out on a Masonboro Adventure Sail to experience the thrill of sailing or choose a Sunset Harbor Cruise to relax aboard a Carolina runner.
Embark on a guided tour on the water with Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours. Spend the afternoon exploring Bradley Creek and listen to the tale of the nautical heritage of the Jones family that worked in the wetlands. Take a day-long birding trip to a barrier island to discover coastal wildlife that call the area home. Or, set sail with your furry friends on a dog-friendly cruise.
Charter a skiff from Epic Excursions for a private full- or half-day adventure customized to your preferences or join a guided tour to discover the beauty of the waters surrounding Wrightsville Beach. Escape to the undisturbed Masonboro Island Reserve or Lea Island to search for unique shells and spot wildlife. Or, enjoy the mild fall temperatures with a one-of-a-kind glamping experience on an uninhabited island.
Flavors of the Island
Located at the end of a pier right on the sandy shores of the beach, Oceanic Restaurant is well known for its spectacular food and even better views. Dine indoors or on the 475-feet of covered al fresco space and soak up sweeping views of the ocean while you enjoy the coastal-inspired cuisine. Whether you order something from the land, like the NY Strip Steak, or something from the sea, like the Shrimp & White Cheddar Grits, your mouth will be watering for more.
South Beach Grill, a favorite of locals and visitors alike since 1997, serves Southern-inspired lunch and dinner dishes with ingredients sourced locally from the land and the sea. The restaurant’s interior makes for the perfect backdrop to your meal, paying homage to the building’s art deco origins. Dine outdoors on the covered patio and enjoy Bank’s Channel views and fresh-caught seafood dishes like the Shrimp Po’Boy and Fresh Catch Tacos. Or, try out one of the chalkboard specials for fresh flavors that are certain to delight.
Let your taste buds guide you just over the drawbridge as you explore more island-style cuisine. For a taste of Panama, snag a table in Ceviche’s indoor dining area or on the charming outside courtyard. Known for its signature dish of chopped fish that is “cooked” in acidic juices rather than in a hot pan, this cozy Latin American restaurant will wow you. If you’re not sure where to start, order the El Quatro ceviche sampler to sample four different types of ceviche.
Happy Hour Finds
Spend some time exploring specialty wine and difficult-to-find beer at Lighthouse Beer & Wine, and head to the outdoor Beer Garden to enjoy while playing Jenga with friends. With more than 600 wines from all over the world and more than 800 international and craft beers from across the country, there is something for everyone to sip.
Flying Machine at Wrightsville Beach Taproom + Kitchen offers a full bar and 10 rotating taps of Flying Machine beer, brewed nearby in Wilmington. Depending on what’s on tap when you’re there, you may be able to try Dreamy Eyes, a tangerine cream ale; Spark, a watermelon key lime gose; Trying to Reach You, a sweet stout with maple syrup and cinnamon; or Electronic Fog, a hazy IPA with notes of grapefruit and pineapple. Plus, the kitchen offers creative fare to pair with your beverage to be enjoyed indoors or on their outdoor patio.
Named after famed author Edgar Allan Poe, Poe’s Tavern is known for its excellent craft beer selection and gourmet burgers. Its rotating tap of nearly 20 draft beers highlights local North Carolina brews offering the chance to try something new each time you visit. Sip something surprising while enjoying the photos and scripts of Edgar Allan Poe’s writings that decorate the tavern or sit outside on the covered dog-friendly patio.
Fall in Wrightsville Beach is filled with plenty of fun outdoor activities to relax the mind and body as well as local gems for foodies and craft beer lovers to discover. See for yourself why this coastal destination is the perfect getaway for fall.