Whether your family likes to spend its vacation exploring nature, relaxing at a resort or experiencing adventures on the water, you’ll find Wrightsville Beach offers something for all ages for your next family reunion. Discover what makes this destination a standout destination for family reunions and start planning today.
Sail into family fun at the full-service Blockade Runner Beach Resort, where kids can experience a screen-free getaway via numerous outdoor activities and adults can kick back and relax. Check out Soundside Adventures, located adjacent to the resort, for activities the whole group can enjoy from kayak and stand-up paddleboard rental options to a boat ride on the Carolina Runner catamaran to view the scenic, local waterways. Book a few harborfront or oceanfront rooms on the main property, or reserve The Cottage, a spacious two-story oceanfront house on the north end of the property featuring 13 sleeping rooms, three of which have private bathrooms, and the remaining 10 have Jack and Jill bathrooms. Plus, family dinners are made easy with a newly renovated kitchen and 20-person dining room. Whether you’re interested in surf-to-sound adventures that keep everyone moving or award-winning creative fare served in the beautiful, oceanfront gardens at the resort’s on-site restaurant, EAST Oceanfront Dining, the Blockade Runner Beach Resort is an ideal destination for families looking for a one-stop shop and hassle-free family reunion.
Another full-service resort offering fun for the whole group is the recently renovated Lumina on Wrightsville Beach, a Holiday Inn Resort. Enjoy oceanfront or soundfront connecting rooms, or sprawl out in suites with a balcony and separate living room. There is even a Kid’s Suite that has been redesigned to include bunk beds for the little ones. A stay at this resort promises impeccable service and plenty to do on-site. Make a splash at the indoor and outdoor pools or challenge someone to a game of sand volleyball. If you’re hungry for a bite to eat, the property offers both indoor and outdoor dining options at Solstice Oceanfront Kitchen & Cocktails. While adults spend time relaxing by the pool, kids are invited to enjoy the on-site playground and sports court.
Perhaps your group is in search of a home-away-from-home vibe for your reunion. If so, look no further than the island’s vacation rentals. With everything ranging from spacious beach houses to fit the entire extended family to cozy, dock-front cottages for those wanting more privacy during the reunion, there are endless options for you to find the perfect fit. Many vacation rentals offer amenities including fully equipped kitchens, outdoor grills, private pools and oceanfront vistas. Offering access to both the ocean and the salt marsh, Sea Tranquility is a kayaking and paddleboarding haven with its own private decks. Surf N’ Dolphins is a four-bedroom oceanfront home that can sleep up to 12 guests with private beach access and a covered patio with gas grill. Both of these rentals can be booked through Sea Scape Properties, and more rental options can be found through companies like Intracoastal Rentals and Wrightsville Sands Realty.
Adventure on the Water
Wrightsville Beach is known for its active adventures that cater to everyone in the group, whether a beginner or seasoned pro. Escape into nature with Wrightsville Kayak Company, where you can rent single or tandem kayaks, paddles and life vests. If you have a big group with kayakers of all ages and skill levels, explore alongside a knowledgeable guide with Wrightsville SUP.
For those in your group not afraid to take on a new challenge, ride the waves with a lesson at Sweetwater Surf School. Local instructors share their love of surfing during lessons for anyone looking to improve their skills or learn for the very first time. Their low student-to-teacher ratio – two students to every instructor – means you’ll receive focused and personalized instruction from CPR-certified instructors with a love of surfing.
If your family loves cruising, then make reservations for the Family Beach Party and set sail on the Shamrock with Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours. The 27-foot custom-built catamaran boasts room for up to 20, a sound system to inspire dancing, an extra-large cooler filled with soft drinks and water for the whole crowd and a licensed and knowledgeable captain as your guide.
Adventures on Land
From splashing around in the Children’s Fountain to resting in the cool shade on one of the benches, Harbor Way Gardens offers fun for all ages. If you’re a flower-lover, this 1-acre garden is the only public garden in North Carolina to feature the beautiful Witherspoon Roses, or you can take a walk through The Plant it Pink garden, a retreat filled with pink hued blooms honoring and celebrating breast cancer survivors. For an afternoon stroll, walk along The Loop and take in scenic views of Banks Channel and the Intercoastal Waterway.
Nearby Airlie Gardens offers 67 acres of outdoor beauty to explore. Adults can wander the green-filled trails or take the kids to check out the seasonal butterfly house, open during the summer months. If you visit after July 8, you’ll find the 10th Annual Art in the Garden: Hoppy Time Rabbits exhibit featuring larger-than-life rabbit sculptures throughout the garden grounds. Make sure to purchase tickets for the garden in advance online, and mark your calendar for the Airlie Gardens Summer Concert Series on the first and third Friday of the month through Sept. 2.
Experience the coast hands-on at the Fred and Alice Stanback Coastal Education Center. Check out the Touch Tank Tuesdays program, which offers an interactive experience for fearless explorers featuring hermit crabs, sea squirts, sea stars and a multitude of other intriguing creatures. Pre-registration, available through the website, is required.
Eating Out and In
Discover the ultimate way to eat out with family by eating (way) out on an island! Book the experience with Epic Excursions, and hop on a private cruise to one of the area’s uninhabited islands where a table and seating will be set up for you when you arrive. Enjoy a catered seafood boil, or opt for dinner prepared over an open fire by a chef from Wilmington’s True Blue Butcher & Table.
Several island restaurants offer space for larger groups. Bluewater Waterfront Grill has spectacular panoramic Intracoastal Waterway views from inside and from their waterfront patio, along with casual American brunch, lunch and dinner menus. The restaurant hosts events ranging from 10 up to several hundred (!!). For ocean views and coastal-inspired cuisine, head to Oceanic Restaurant, Wrightsville Beach’s only standalone restaurant on the beach. Renovated interior spaces and a third-floor loft are available for events of all varying sizes.
EAST Oceanfront Dining and Solstice Oceanfront Kitchen & Cocktails both offer group dining options. Enjoy award-winning creative fare with a focus on fresh seafood and local ingredients in dishes like Clam Linguini and Blue Crab Cakes at EAST. Or, relax in the newly renovated, elegant atmosphere at Solstice while sampling a variety of seasonal selections like Shrimp Tacos and a Quinoa-Egg Veggie Bowl.
If your family would rather stay in and cook at your vacation rental, pick up everything you need for a fresh seafood dinner from Motts Channel Seafood, widely regarded as one of the freshest seafood markets around. This market offers local food specialties in addition to its seafood selection, including key lime pie and cheese grits. Pick up a ready-to-go seafood steamer pot from Topsail Steamer and just add water, or build your own steamer pot with your choice of seafood, meats and seasoning.
Whether you’re dreaming of setting sail with your whole crew or taking to the water via board, bring your next family reunion to Wrightsville Beach for family-friendly lodging, island adventures on land and sea, fresh fare and seafood and more.