With over 300 miles of coastline, North Carolina is home to many wonderful beaches. If you’re looking for a wonderful beach getaway for yourself, your friends, or your family then check out one of the best beaches on the east coast, Wrightsville Beach!
North Carolina is known for many things: the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Biltmore Estate, and the BBQ capital of the world. North Carolina is also known for its beautiful coastline and pristine beaches that draw people in from all over the country. It’s not uncommon to see many New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania license plates dot the Carolina coast during all seasons because the beaches draw those in those especially crowded areas to the South for relaxation and an escape.
What makes Wrightsville Beach so beloved is its natural, undeveloped feel. The beach is not developed by chain restaurants or shops, everything is locally owned and operated making it a quaint beach town. You’ll be able to walk barefoot on the sandy sidewalks and enjoy the simple summer bliss of an ice cream melting down the cone or a cold cocktail in the white sandy beaches. If this sounds like you’re type of vacation, then you’ll want to check out the rest of our post as to why you should visit Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina.
How to get to Wrightsville Beach
There are a few ways you can get to Wrightsville Beach by air. The closest airport to fly into is Wilmington International Airport (ILM) which serves southeastern North Carolina with commercial flights by American Airlines, Delta, and United. The airport is small, easy to navigate and offers rental cars on site. Check out the best domestic flight deals. Once at the airport and renting a car, you’re only a short drive away from your beach holiday.
Another option is to fly into Raleigh Durham International Airport (RDU) which is approximately 140 miles, or about a 2 hour drive, from Wrightsville Beach. Airlines that fly into RDU include Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, Jet Blue, Spirit, Southwest, and United.
If you’d rather take a road trip and drive to Wrightsville Beach it’s a rather easy shot. If you’re coming from the West, like from Raleigh, then you’ll take I-40 East as far as it’ll go. Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach actually are the end of I-40. If you take it as far west as you can go, you’ll hit California! Kind of neat.
Whether you’re flying or driving, the easiest way to get to the beach is to have a car. Once you’re on island it’s very pedestrian friendly so you can walk or bike to most any of the restaurants, bars, shops and of course the main attraction, the beach!
Where to stay in Wrightsville Beach
One of the reasons people love Wrightsville Beach is for its local vibe. You’ll never find sky-scraping apartment complexes or towering hotels. Wrightsville Beach prides itself on its local, authentic and casual beach vibe. Most of your accommodation options will be private homes or one of the three hotels on island.
Holiday Inn Wrightsville Beach Resort. The only chain hotel on the island offers beach front rooms with balconies, a resort pool, private beach access, a pool bar, and a full restaurant.
The Blockade Runner. This hotel is a historic resort that has been updated and modernized over the years and offers oceanfront accommodation for its guests. Enjoy a funky outdoor pool, a restaurant, and other resort type amenities.
Shell Island Resort. The only oceanfront and all-suite hotel on the island offers privacy from the rest of the beach. You’ll also be able to enjoy an oceanfront balcony, the convenience of your own kitchenette, indoor and outdoor pools and a tiki hut for beach rentals such as kayaks, boogie boards and surfboards.
The other option for accommodation is to book a private home for your beach trip.
What to do in Wrightsville Beach
Wrightsville Beach is one of those beaches that transports you to tranquility, peace and serenity. The beach is not commercialized, you won’t find hundreds of umbrellas to rent, and the only peddler you’ll see on the sand is the kid pushing an ice cream trolley to sell ice cold treats. Honestly some of the best things you can do on Wrightsville Beach is to unwind, unplug and relax. The beach is spacious enough that it’s not too packed but still hopping enough to give a great vibe to your day.
Bring your cooler, some beach chairs, and an umbrella and park it in the sand for the day and breathe in the salty air. Lay out and feel the sun rays on your skin. Build a sand castle. Bring or rent a skim board and try to master the fun, although a bit tricky, pastime. While surfers will always flock to Wrightsville Beach, don’t worry if you’re not up to that level yet. The water is also perfect for boogie boarding too!
The mornings are the perfect time to go for a walk on the beach and you’ll see many people with their dogs on leashes, power walking shoes on, and are ready to walk along the shore. Due to the high tide in the evening, the morning is the best time to go shelling or bring out your metal detector and look for some treasure that has washed up on shore.
Overall, Wrightsville Beach reminds us how important it is to connect with the earth, ourselves and our loved ones and truly be present in the moment. The beach is pure, clean, and simple and beckons you to get in touch with yourself again. With a world that is constant go-go-go, it’s refreshing to have an experience that is calming and realigning and that is what Wrightsville Beach has to offer.
Where to eat
Tower 7 Baja Mexican Grill
The best tacos on the island, hands down. This great corner street staple has been around for years and there’s always a line for the small restaurant. Grab some tacos, guacamole, and a margarita and start your beach trip off right.
Located on the Crystal Pier on the south end of the island, this is the only restaurant directly on (or above) the ocean. Sit out on the pier for lunch or dinner and enjoy great views of the sunset and you may even catch sight of a dolphin!
This no-frills no-thrills restaurant is simple, casual yet delicious. Located on a dock of the Intercostal waterway you’ll find fresh seafood and cold drinks. It’s not the fanciest place in the world, but it’s got epic views and a great casual vibe.
Pack your bags
Wrightsville Beach offers you, your friends and family a retreat from it all. You won’t find an amusement park or a Ripley’s Believe it or Not™ here, but instead you’ll find an island that has stuck to its roots to keep the island a simple, quiet, charming beach town. There are plenty of great places to eat, shop, sip and visit on the island that you won’t even have to venture into the bigger town of Wilmington during your stay. Here you’ll find Southern charm and the beach vibe colliding to create a wonderful destination for your next beach trip that is sure to be a memorable vacation for all.