Summertime calls for relaxing, rejuvenating and spending time together on a family vacation. Elevate your summer escape this year by choosing Wrightsville Beach, a must-visit coastal destination Southern Living named as one of the South’s best beach towns. Plan a family getaway filled with experiences like cruising to a private island, unwinding in a resort’s seaside garden, dining al fresco on a pier and paddleboarding as the sun sets over the water.
Family Fun on the Water
Known as the birthplace of surfing in North Carolina, Wrightsville Beach offers endless active adventures on crystal blue waters. The whole family can learn to ride the waves during a private group surf lesson from the trained instructors at Indo Jax Surf School or WB Surf Camp. Named one of the top stateside SUP hubs by Outside magazine, Wrightsville Beach is the ideal location for a stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) adventure. Head to Wrightsville SUP or Cape Fear Paddleboarding to rent gear or reserve a private lesson. Soundside Adventures offers excursions and equipment rentals for SUP, surfing, sailing, kayaking and more.
Set sail on a Wrightsville Performance Sailing private cruise and revel in a transformative soundside sunset as an experienced captain steers you through local waterways. Or, master the basics of sailing with instruction from the Blockade Runner Sailing Center, one of only five ASA-certified sailing schools in North Carolina.
Wrightsville Beach’s Masonboro Island Reserve is the longest undisturbed barrier island ecosystem in southern North Carolina. Access the uninhabited island by boat, kayak or canoe to observe pristine salt marsh and tidal creek ecosystems brimming with protected wildlife. Join the pros at Wrightsville Kayak Company for a guided Masonboro Island excursion, which provides kayaks, paddleboards, dry bags, a map and all of the necessities for your eco-adventure. Or, embark on a pirate-themed cruise to Masonboro Island with Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours. The whole family will be entertained as a costumed guide leads you on a lore-filled adventure to find Captain Kidd’s lost treasure.
Discover Local Parks
Take a break from the beach to explore Harbor Way Gardens, located at the west end of Wrightsville Beach Park. Wander the paved paths and the Plant it Pink Garden, honoring breast cancer survivors, to see seasonal Witherspoon Roses and native flowers in bloom. Cool off in the shade of the park’s tall trees as kids of all ages splash in the Children’s Fountain.
Get active together with a family walk or jog along the island’s 2.5-mile Loop, providing scenic views of the Intracoastal Waterway, Banks Channel and salt marshes. Add some education to your exercise with the Loop Through History self-guided tour. Informational signs showcasing vintage photographs, history tidbits and trivia about your favorite coastal destination are displayed from sunrise to sunset during select weekends from June to December.
After a day of adventure, wind down al fresco or pick up family-friendly dinner fare to-go. At Trolly Stop Wrightsville Beach, choose from a menu of five types of delicious hot dogs and more than 1,000 different topping combinations. This casual spot serves something for everyone, including kids with picky palates.
Dine on the pier at Oceanic Restaurant, Wrightsville Beach’s only standalone restaurant on the beach. Indulge in coastal favorites from land and sea like the crab-stuffed salmon or the shrimp and white cheddar grits. Savor local dishes at Dockside Restaurant, a Wrightsville Beach staple for more than 30 years, or take in marina views and seafood specialties at Bluewater Waterfront Grill.
Put the cherry on top of your family vacation with a tasty treat sure to satisfy the little ones. Cool down with gourmet frozen custard or a banana split on the outdoor patio at Kohl’s Frozen Custard. Or, grab a scoop of your favorite flavor at The Original Ice Cream Stand, conveniently located just steps from the ocean along the Loop.
Elevate your family getaway with a stay at one of Wrightsville Beach’s full-service oceanfront resorts with amenities for parents and kids alike. At Blockade Runner Beach Resort, every room overlooks the ocean or the sound. Unwind together in the resort’s oceanfront garden and play cornhole on the spacious lawn. The recently renovated Lumina on Wrightsville Beach, a Holiday Inn Resort features suites with ocean-or sound-front views, as well as kid-friendly rooms with bunk beds and storage cubbies for stashing sandy gear. At Shell Island Resort, every suite boasts an ocean-facing balcony, allowing early birds to watch a beautiful sunrise before the family heads to the private beach access.
Larger families can also choose from a variety of spacious vacation rentals suited to meet everyone’s needs. There are countless options, from oceanfront homes with private gated beach access to salt marsh-adjacent houses with private docks perfect for paddleboarding and kayaking.
Whether your family is adventuring on the water, dining al fresco at a locally owned seafood restaurant or enjoying the pristine surroundings at a seaside resort or rental, you’ll come to expect more from your vacation at Wrightsville Beach.