Whether you’re seeking exciting adventure or epic relaxation on your next getaway, Wrightsville Beach has a variety of things to see and do. From fresh-to-table fare and coastal shopping to watersports and island exploration, read on to discover trip ideas tailored to your unique interests.
The Aquatic Adventurer
Adventure seekers can experience a host of exciting watersports and activities year-round in Wrightsville Beach, the birthplace of surfing in North Carolina. Take advantage of the area’s many surf schools like Indo Jax Surf School or WB Surf Camp, to learn how to hang ten. No matter your skill level, the friendly instructors will help you improve your skills in a fun, no pressure setting. If you’re already experienced on the water, rent a board and start riding the waves.
If you want to get nautical, let an experienced captain sail you around the area with Wrightsville Performance Sailing or go on a sailing adventure to Masonboro Island Reserve with Soundside Adventures – one of the few ASA Certified Sailing Schools in the state – on their newest sailboat, “Zoe.” Or, learn how to man the lines yourself with lessons.
See why so many people have fallen in love with stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) in one of the best SUP hubs in the U.S. by taking a lesson, guided tour or fitness class with Cape Fear Paddleboarding. If you’d rather go out on your own, rent equipment from Wrightsville SUP and explore the calm waters of the sound or the ocean waters solo.
For a more low-key adventure, kick back and relax during a cruise with Soundside Adventures. The Sunset Harbor Cruise offers some of the best views in Wrightsville Beach and the Island Hopper Cruise is ideal for all ages to enjoy. The latest addition to the fleet, “Zoe," offers a Masonboro Adventure Sail or Private Sunset Cruise.
Wrightsville Beach offers unique shopping opportunities, from chic beach boutiques to surfing lifestyle shops. Peruse distinctive bags and accessories from local designer Holly Aiken. The shop’s bags and accessories are made from colorful vinyl accented by stripes and intriguing geometric shapes, and they’re all hand-cut in the brand’s retail workshop right here in North Carolina.
Hallelu Boutique offers trendy clothing, swimwear and accessories with new shipments arriving daily, so there is always something unique to pick up. Redix serves as your one-stop-shop for everything you need for the beach and beyond, including accessories, clothing and more from top brands like Yeti, Liverpool Jeans, Karlie, Southern Tide and more. Sip on a gourmet espresso drink at The Workshop as you peruse the collection of one-of-a-kind jewelry made from fossils found locally by the shop owners on their scuba adventures.
Avid surfers and surf enthusiasts alike will enjoy unique finds at Wrightsville Beach’s local surf shops. Surf City Surf Shop offers clothing from popular brands like Vans, Billabong and Patagonia, and Annex Surf Supply offers locally-sourced goods and brands blending surfing with art and music. Check out South End Surf Shop for contemporary surf apparel and exceptionally crafted surfboards, then head upstairs for a light bite, smoothie bowl or coffee from SUNday’s Café. Discover all of the island’s local and handmade offerings.
Choose from fresh, local seafood, award-winning fare and more. Located in the Blockade Runner Beach Resort featuring a beautiful oceanfront garden setting, EAST Oceanfront Dining is an award-winning, chef-driven restaurant serving vegetarian and seafood-centric dishes. The dishes are made with fresh local seafood, produce from their own garden and other ingredients harvested from local purveyors.
Located on the beach at the beginning of the Crystal Pier, Oceanic Restaurant offers 475 feet of covered al fresco dining space to enjoy coastal-inspired cuisine and specialty cocktails complemented by stunning ocean views. Choose from options like Calabash seafood platters, steaks, Shrimp & White Cheddar Grits and more. Plus, enjoy live music on the pier from April through September on Fridays and Sundays.
Savor the flavors of Panama at Ceviche’s, named for the unique cooking style that “cooks” chopped fish in acidic juices rather than a hot pan. The cozy Latin American restaurant offers an El Quatro ceviche sampler for those who can’t decide what to order, as well as dishes like Tuna Poke, Arroz Con Pollo, Panamanian Paella and more.
Located just steps from Johnnie Mercers Pier, Shark Bar & Kitchen highlights locally and sustainably sourced seafood, meats and produce, with oysters and fresh catches varying daily based on what the boats bring in. Indulge in choices from the raw bar and comforting yet unique dishes like steak frites, gnocchi, seared ahi tuna tacos and more.
South Beach Grill, a staple of the island since 1997, offers Southern-inspired and locally-sourced daily specials like Seafood Napoleon, Crab and Seafood Nachos, Sweet Potato Crusted Flounder and more. Sit inside in the remodeled interior that pays homage to the building’s art deco origins, or enjoy the view from the covered outdoor patio that overlooks the scenic Banks Channel.
The Environmental Enthusiast
Embark on a guided eco-tour with Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours. Kids can join a two-hour Guided Beach Eco-Tour to visit Masonboro Island, southern North Carolina’s longest undisturbed barrier island, and learn about the importance of our coastal marine ecosystems. Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours also offers a Masonboro Birding Tour designed to increase conservation awareness about local wildlife and sensitive coastline habitats in the region.
Hop between boat and island with Soundside Adventures’ Masonboro Island Hopper Cruise. Traverse from marsh to ocean in search of giant seashells, and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, turtles and other marine life.
Visitors can learn more about conservation efforts in and around the coast at the Fred and Alice Stanback Coastal Education Center. The center’s “living classroom” showcases native plants, rain gardens and low-impact landscaping, and its educational programming offers ecological lessons for all ages and signature events like Touch Tank Tuesdays.
Find activities and adventures that appeal to your individual interests in Wrightsville Beach, where your perfectly personalized getaway awaits.