Known for its elevated beach experience and active island lifestyle, Wrightsville Beach is anything but your typical beach destination. From a mysterious seaside mailbox to transformative sunrises and sunsets on both sides of the island, make sure to add these local favorites to your vacation bucket list:
Island Sunrises and Sunsets – One of the many distinguishing features of Wrightsville Beach compared to other East Coast destinations is the opportunity to experience both sunrise and sunset views over the water. Before sunup, head to one of the public beach access points on the northern end of the island to witness the day break over the Atlantic. At sundown, look towards the island's inland-side shore to witness the sun descending into the water. Accesses #43 and #44 are situated at the southernmost point of the island, a prime location for stunning sunsets. Take a stroll along the beach in the evening to savor the breathtaking views from the pavilion before reaching the jetty at the south end.
Motts Channel Seafood – A Wrightsville Beach staple since 1990, Motts Channel Seafood is locally owned and known for its fresh fish, shrimp, oysters and more. The building is designed as a seafood dock and shop, and the knowledgeable staff can provide recommendations for how to prepare the daily fresh catch. In addition to seafood, browse local specialties like cheese grits and key lime pie, as well as signature spices and sauces. Motts Channel Seafood can even pack your carefully selected items in a cooler to take back to your vacation rental.
The Loop – Get active with a walk or jog along The Loop, a 2.5-mile paved fitness trail around the island. Join the friendly locals in admiring views of the Intracoastal Waterway, Banks Channel and salt marshes. Although bikes are not allowed on the pedestrian path, you can rent your wheels from local outfitters, such as South End Surf Shop and bike alongside the scenic pathway. View a map of the trail. Loop through History and explore the island's rich past through 25 unique signs, which are placed along the path from sunrise to sunset on select days each month. Pause to take in the signs’ interesting facts and vintage photos as you stroll.
Robert’s Grocery – Established in 1919 as the island’s first grocery store, Robert's Grocery has been a must-visit for generations of beachgoers. This longtime favorite has earned a statewide reputation for its delicious homemade chicken salad and pimento cheese. Adapt Kitchen & Juice Bar, located within the store, serves smoothies and other nutritious, plant-based items.
Palm Tree Island – As you cross the bridge into Wrightsville Beach, keep an eye out for a small sandbar known as “Palm Tree Island.” Originally placed as a prank, its faux palm tree, parking meter and flagpole appear to float in the water at high tide. During low tide, the sandbar turns into a local gathering place. Paddle out to the island with Wrightsville Kayak Company on the Palm Tree Island adventure tour, or set sail with Soundside Adventures on the Palm Tree Island cruise.
Wrightsville Beach Mailbox – On the northern end of the island sits a mysterious mailbox where locals and visitors leave behind letters that are never delivered. Follow our guide to discover this hidden gem and even share an anonymous note about your vacation memories. Afterward, head to the Wrightsville Beach History Museum to see more than 200 preserved journals full of notes of love, confessions and secrets.
Wrightsville Beach Farmers’ Market – Located near The Loop and Wrightsville Beach Parks & Recreation, the weekly Wrightsville Beach Farmers’ Market offers a warm community atmosphere and a variety of fresh produce, homemade baked goods and other delicious items. Visit the craft vendors to pick out a unique gift or keepsake to commemorate your getaway.
Lighthouse Beer + Wine – Explore this one-stop shop for specialty and hard-to-find beverages on your way into Wrightsville Beach. Choose from Lighthouse Beer + Wine’s hundreds of wine bottles and dozen rotating draft beer taps. Pick up chilled selections to-go or sample them in the bottle shop’s dog-friendly beer garden.
The Palm Room – Located next to Johnnie Mercer's Fishing Pier, The Palm Room has brought live entertainment to Wrightsville Beach since 1955. This year-round nightlife venue draws both visitors and residents, as well as touring bands and local musicians covering a wide variety of genres. Enjoy this historic bar’s lively social atmosphere and cold beverages as you soak up the sounds.