Wrightsville Beach is a small beach town in southern North Carolina. Thanks to its convenient location near Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach has become quite the tourist hotspot in recent years. Tourists from around the world have fallen head over heels in love with Wrightsville’s picture-perfect coastline, succulent seafood, and wide variety of water sport opportunities. In this article, we’ll go over some of the best things to do in Wrightsville Beach and explain how to get here.
Main Things To Do In Wrightsville Beach
1. Relax, Play, and Sail On Wrightsville Beach
The most obvious place to visit in Wrightsville Beach is the town’s four-mile beach. That’s a no-brainer, right? Water sports enthusiasts should have no issues finding things to do on Wrightsville Beach. Whether you’re into surfing, volleyball, or fishing, you won’t have any issues finding the supplies you need here.
Travelers to Wrightsville Beach should also consider booking one of the many specialized tours offered in the town. For adrenaline-junkies, there are plenty of wakeboard and surfing tours. People who just want to take it easy on their vacation might want to book a romantic sunset cruise or go on a whale watching expedition. Whether you’re seeking thrills or want to chill, you’ll find plenty of ways to have an exceptional experience on Wrightsville Beach.
2. Enjoy The Natural Splendors Of Airlie Gardens
Are there any garden lovers out there? If so, then you must add a stop at the Airlie Gardens to your list of things to do in Wrightsville Beach. This 67-acre property is considered one of the finest (and oldest) in the Southern USA. Not only will you find thousands of flowers here, you’ll also get to see some impressive statues, ten acres of lakes, colorful birds, and a extremely old oak trees. As you tour the gardens, you’ll soon understand why so many couples plan their weddings here.
The Airlie Gardens is technically located in Wilmington at 300 Airlie Road, which is only a 5-minute drive from Wrightsville Beach. Airlie Gardens is open between 9AM and 5PM and tickets can be ordered online.
3. Fish On Johnnie Mercer’s Pier
The best spot for fishermen in Wrightsville Beach is on Johnnie Mercer’s Pier. Locals say Johnnie Mercer’s Pier offers the best opportunities for salt water fishing on the entire beach. This pier was initially built out of wood in the early 1930s, but it soon was devastated by decades of hurricanes. The pier you’ll see today was completed in 2002 and is one of the few in the South made of solid concrete.
Even if you have no intention on casting a fishing line, it’s still worth your while to take a stroll along this 1,200-foot long pier. Visitors say they get the best views of the Atlantic Coast on Johnnie Mercer’s Pier, especially as the sun sets in the distance. Note, there is a small fee to walk along this pier.
Other Things To Do In Wrightsville Beach
4. Take A Day Trip To Wilmington
While there are plenty of things to do in Wrightsville Beach proper, it’d be kind-of silly to neglect all the amazing attractions in nearby Wilmington. Officially the county seat of New Hanover County, Wilmington is probably best known for housing the University of North Carolina.
History buffs will find many interesting places to explore in Wilmington including the Bellamy Mansion, the Burgwin-Wright House, the Poplar Grove Plantation, and the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial.
Any shop-a-holics reading this article should visit the historic buildings in The Cotton Exchange for great local souvenirs and food.
5. Learn About The Region At The Wrightsville Beach Museum of History
Wrightsville Beach has its very own Museum of History at 303 W Salisbury Street. Believe it or not, the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History once served as a beach house and amazingly survived heavy rainstorms and a local fire. The highlight of this museum is a scale model of what Wrightsville Beach looked like in the early 1900s. Although this museum isn’t huge, it’s a nice way to beat the summer heat and it’s totally free to enter. Plus, if you’re lucky, you might get a free cup of lemonade!
6. Enjoy Exceptional Seafood And Farm-To-Table Fare
Fear not, foodies! You’ll have no issues finding finger-licking good food throughout Wrightsville Beach. Whether you want cheap beach grub or elegant fine dining, you’re sure to find a perfect eatery in Wrightsville Beach.
A few local favorites include South Beach Grill, Sunday’s Café, and the Trolly Stop. For more upscale dining, check out names like the Bridge Tender Restaurant, the Port City Chop House, and Jerry’s Food Wine Spirits.
Be sure to check out Wilmington’s more diverse restaurant scene too while you’re in the area. Some of the hot names in Wilmington’s culinary scene include Caprice Bistro, Cape Fear Seafood Company, and Catch.
How To Get To Wrightsville Beach
The closest airport to Wrightsville Beach is the Wilmington International Airport (IATA: ILM) at 1740 Airport Blvd near Downtown Wilmington. ILM offers non-stop flights to many major American airport hubs such as Atlanta, New York, and Washington, D.C. The major airlines that fly in an out of ILM every day include Delta and American Airlines.
ILM is incredibly close to Wrightsville Beach – 15-minute drive to be exact. Simply drive onto Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and follow for about eight miles. You should soon see Eastwood Road to Causeway Drive, which will take you straight to Wrightsville Beach.
Wrightsville Beach is a great vacation destination for anyone interested in sun, surf, and seafood…and who doesn’t love that? Thanks to the overflow of tourism from Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach has a well-developed travel infrastructure with plenty of professional tours and restaurants to enjoy. Hopefully this list of things to do in Wrightsville Beach has inspired you to book a vacation to this sublime Southern coastline next summer.