Wrightsville Beach — voted one of the “South’s Best Beaches” by Southern Living magazine readers — is known for its crystal blue waters, spacious beach and active island adventures. In this vibrant community where quality and wellness converge, you can experience world-class watersports, outdoor family-friendly activities, rich history, spa outings, boutique shopping, farm- and sea-to-table dining, and full-service hotels with resort amenities available year-round. This walkable beach town is the perfect place to elevate your beach experience and find ultimate relaxation along the North Carolina coast. Wrightsville Beach is located within an easy 20-minute drive from Wilmington, which was named one of "The South's Best Cities" by Southern Living and previously named one of TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice “Top Destinations on the Rise,” and is home to more than 200 restaurants, shops and attractions in the downtown area alone.
With the abundance of things to do on our island, there is certainly no shortage of stories to be told. Let us know if you need assistance with a story from the list below, or if you'd like help with a unique story idea.
Enjoy a Long Weekend
Known as North Carolina’s most accessible beach, Wrightsville Beach is the ideal destination for a quick road trip to the coast. The island is a convenient drive for travelers in North Carolina and nearby states, making it the perfect home away from home. Check in for the weekend at one of our waterfront lodging options and fuel up for adventure with a healthy breakfast at an area café or juice bar. Get active and spend time on the water with one of our world-class watersports activities or take a remote adventure to Masonboro Island Reserve. Set your watch to island time on your next active staycation or weekend road trip.
Premier Watersport Destination
Wrightsville Beach is known as a premier watersport destination—it was dubbed North Carolina’s most gifted watersport hub by Men’s Journal and recognized as a “Pioneer in East Coast” surfing and the birthplace of surfing in North Carolina.
Wellness Meets Relaxation
Wrightsville Beach, a vibrant island community where quality and wellness converge, is one of the few North Carolina beach destinations that offers convenient access to celebrated dining, upscale shopping opportunities and outdoor activities. Experience world-class watersports like surfing, stand up paddleboarding and kayaking along the sound, Intracoastal Waterway or oceanfront. Take a walk, jog or run around The Loop — a 2.45-mile trail around the island. Or take to two wheels on the nearby 10-mile River to the Sea Bikeway. Then fade into ultimate relaxation before or after the action and embrace “island time.” Reward yourself with boutique shopping or refresh and recharge with a spa day followed by a sunset boat cruise.
Wrightsville Beach offers visitors a welcoming social community and vibrant nightlife scene all year long. The energy of the day’s activities continue into the night with options ranging from live music to local bars, serene lounges and waterfront drinks with a view. There’s something for everyone, no matter your after-dark style.
Travel Without Kids
Autumn is one of the best times of the year for those traveling without kids to plan a Wrightsville Beach getaway, with exciting nightlife, delicious coastal cuisine, and spectacular fall views like coral sunsets and picturesque sea oats in shades of green and brown. Whether traveling solo, as a couple or in a group, plan a fall trip to take advantage of mild temperatures, off-season lodging rates and the less crowded coastline.
Restaurants and Cuisine
Wrightsville Beach is home to some of the best seafood and freshest creations in the area. From waterfront restaurants offering award-winning cuisine, to farm-to-table kitchens with seasonal menus and locally-grown ingredients, to taverns serving up gourmet burgers and craft beer, there is truly something to satisfy every appetite at Wrightsville Beach. Visitors staying in a vacation rental and preparing a homemade meal may want to check out Motts Channel Seafood, which has some of the freshest seafood around.
Multi-Generational Family Travel
Many families return to spend time at Wrightsville Beach year after year, generation after generation. With year-round outdoor activities, special events, coastal cuisine, shopping, and the beach and Intracoastal Waterway, it’s the perfect place to plan a family reunion or vacation. And thanks to the variety of beach homes and cottages for rent, the whole family can stay in one place.
Grab your gal pals and take a trip to this vibrant island community that’s known for its crystal blue waters and spacious beach where quality and wellness converge. When you’ve had enough sunbathing, visit one of the island’s chic boutiques or indulge in a fresh-to-table feast that will fuel you up for a night out on the town listening to live music. To embark on a wellness journey, sign up for an appointment at a spa, surf or SUP the waterways or take a yoga class on the Crystal Pier overlooking the Atlantic Ocean…namaste! Whether you decide to book rooms at one of the island’s full-service hotels or at a charming beach rental or historic cottage, you’ll feel right at home while you soak up the ultimate relaxation that awaits.
There’s no need to travel to a remote tropical destination to find an underwater adventure: Wrightsville Beach is home to some of the most unique snorkeling and SCUBA experiences. Less than 40 miles off the coast of Wrightsville Beach, divers can find rare giant prehistoric Megalodon teeth in higher concentrations than most other places around the world. Spend your day swimming alongside rainbow-colored marine life while exploring sunken ships, or dive straight into the past to uncover pre-historic dinosaur fossils. Bring the entire family or friends on a group diving charter. From beginners to the most experienced snorkelers and SCUBA divers, Wrightsville Beach has the perfect marine adventure for every type of diver.
Millennials looking for a customized, unique travel experience with friends can find it at Wrightsville Beach. Learn a new skill like surfing or stand up paddleboarding. Stay active on the water by taking a kayak excursion, or on land by walking or jogging around The Loop. Get a different perspective on the island by taking a scenic cruise with Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours, or head out on a twilight cocktail cruise with Blockade Runner Surf to Sound Adventures. And enjoy a meal and drinks at one of Wrightsville Beach’s trendy, non-chain restaurants.
Wrightsville Beach-goers are all about maintaining an active lifestyle with surfing, paddleboarding, jogging The Loop (a 2.5-mile trail around the island), bike riding, bird watching and much more. National Geographic previously named Wrightsville Beach as one of the top 20 surf towns in the world. Competitors from near and far make the trip to the area to take part in events like IRONMAN 70.3 North Carolina and The Carolina Cup, the biggest stand up paddleboard race on the East Coast.
Wrightsville Beach boasts romantic locales, fantastic restaurants and a variety of activities for couples. The Wrightsville Beach Mailbox is a must for poets. Classic romantics can seek out spectacular sunrise and sunset views. Filming locations from TV shows and movies filmed at Wrightsville Beach, including Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill, are perfect destinations for movie buffs. Outdoorsy couples can bond over activities like kayaking and sailing, while foodies can enjoy a romantic meal at everything from casual beachfront cafes to high-end restaurants. And if wedding bells are in your future, it also makes a romantic and breathtaking backdrop for a destination wedding or vow renewals.
Cruises & Tours
Wrightsville Beach’s crystal blue waters are calling your name. Experience the island’s history, hidden gems such as Harbor, Masonboro and Figure Eight Islands, or embark on an adventure to find pirate treasure or oysters with various tours offered by Epic Excursions and Wrightsville Beach Scenic Cruises. Rent a stand up paddleboard or kayak from Cape Fear Paddleboarding or Blockade Runner Surf to Sound Adventures to paddle your way through the Intracoastal Waterway or Banks Channel. Sail into the sunset with Wrightsville Performance Sailing or learn to sail at ASA Certified Blockade Runner Sailing School. If you’d prefer an on-land exploration, take a stroll through the past with Wrightsville Beach Museum of History’s Loop Through History walking tour.
Restore the Coast
Leave the world a better place with a getaway to Wrightsville Beach where you can volunteer with several local organizations that give back to the coast. Surfer’s Healing, the original camp for children with autism where notions of aptitude are defied, invites volunteers to aid children riding waves during the annual global event that holds a mission to change the world. Protect endangered sea turtles with the Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project. Keep It Clean provides an opportunity to clean up the beach by collecting trash along the coast and encouraging others to dispose of their waste properly. Or assist the thousands of others who have worked to restore coastal habitats through various programs with the North Carolina Coastal Federation.
- US Open Fat Tire Bike Championship (March)
- Novant Health Wilmington NC Marathon (March)
- Carolina Pro-Am (April), The Carolina Cup (April)
- Cape Fear Blue Marlin Tournament (June)
- Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic (August)
- Lumina Daze (August), Bark in the Park (October)
- NC Holiday Flotilla and Festival in the Park (November)
Whether your idea of a dreamy vacation is relaxation or adventure, Wrightsville Beach is one of the most sought-after getaway spots for couples. From long moonlit walks along miles of pristine beach and spectacular sunrises and sunsets over the water, to award-winning dining and a wide variety of outdoor activities, Wrightsville Beach lets you bond over adventure, romance, beautiful scenery and more. And if wedding bells are in your future, it also makes a romantic and breathtaking backdrop for a destination wedding or vow renewals.
Trace the fascinating 100-year history of the island at the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History. Visitors will find a scale model of Wrightsville Beach circa 1910, exhibits featuring the early days of the beach including Lumina Pavilion and much more at the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History. The Ewing-Bordeaux Cottage, circa 1924, serves as the permanent home of the Waterman Hall of Fame, which celebrates the island’s watersports and coastal professions that are so important to our beach community.
For nearly 40 years, more than 50,000 people head to the beach over Thanksgiving weekend for the NC Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach. The highlight of the weekend-long celebration is the Holiday Boat Parade when the Intracoastal Waterway is transformed into a dazzling display of as many as 30 decorated yachts and boats. Plus, there are more than 40 holiday events taking place in nearby Wilmington.