As North Carolina’s most accessible beach, Wrightsville Beach attracts many beach-goers traveling by car. However, with more direct flights to Wilmington International Airport (ILM), visitors can easily access the splendor of this coastal destination that is just an easy 15-minute drive from the airport. You will experience world-class watersports, an abundance of outdoor family-friendly activities, rich history, spa outings, boutique shopping, miles of pristine beach, exceptional farm- and sea-to-table dining, and full-service hotels with resort amenities available year-round. With its welcoming social scene and coastal beauty, it’s no wonder Wrightsville Beach is ranked amongst the top beach towns by Southern Living readers. Newcomers will fall in love with this walkable town that’s the perfect place to elevate your island beach experience without a passport and find ultimate relaxation along the North Carolina coast.
Now, it is an equally convenient destination for frequent fliers as Wilmington’s International Airport (ILM) currently offers non-stop flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C. A $60 million airport expansion will see gates added starting in 2020 as more travelers discover this hidden gem.
Read on to explore the following essential activities during your first trip to Wrightsville Beach:
- Discover Megalodon shark teeth by diving with Carolina Diving Adventures. Wrightsville Beach is one of the only destinations in the world considered to be a prehistoric fossil hot spot, so you’ll want to check out the giant teeth for yourself!
- For oceanfront or harbor dining, visit Oceanic Restaurant, South Beach Grill – both of which were recently renovated – or Bluewater Waterfront Grill to enjoy a picture-worthy view of the harbor sunset with an equally picture-worthy meal.
- Rent a kayak through Blockade Runner Surf to Sound Adventures and explore Masonboro Island Reserve, the longest barrier island ecosystem in southern North Carolina.
- Hop aboard a sailboat with Wrightsville Performance Sailing to experience a relaxing tour of Wrightsville Beach’s scenic waterways, or set out for a sunset dinner on a private island with Epic Excursions.
- Take a break from the water with some boutique shopping. Stop by Hallelu Boutique for women’s clothing, jewelry and accessories or the 27-year-old Fisherman’s Wife for home goods, décor and gifts. For a one-of-a-kind experience, head to The Workshop and browse the shark teeth jewelry collection while you sip on an espresso beverage. The teeth, ranging from Great White to Megalodon, are personally collected by the owners, adding a unique twist to a traditional coffee shop.
- Take a day for yourself and experience Southern hospitality and pure relaxation at Alice Lawson Salon + Spa. Treat your feet to the perfect beach-ready pedicure or release tension with a much needed deep tissue massage.
- For a dose of island history, walk your way through history with The Loop Through History tour hosted by the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History or set out for a historic exploration of the isle via the water with Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours.