Fast Facts

The Beginning

Incorporated in 1899, Wrightsville Beach, NC, was once a summer retreat accessible only by boat and steam train before WWI. Today this small island community thrives with restaurants, shops, marinas and resorts.

Surf’s Up

National Geographic recognized Wrightsville Beach as one of the World's Best Surf Towns and was voted as America’s Favorite Beach in a poll conducted by Barefoot Wines. Frommers.com, the official website for Frommer’s travel guides, also included Wrightsville Beach in one of its BEST BEACH roundups. Outside magazine also listed Wrightsville Beach among the Best North American Beginner Surf Spots. Beginning surfers can learn to surf by taking lessons and camps offered by eco-friendly surfing schools. Advanced surfers also find Wrightsville Beach waves enticing. Stand-up paddleboarding is popular due to the proximity of Wrightsville Beach to the ocean, harbor, canals and Intracoastal Waterway. Sweet waves and an active Surfrider Foundation chapter, Wrightsville Beach Longboard Association (members to age 60+), surf schools/camps, and surfing competitions round out the local surf culture.

Hooked on Fishing

Professional anglers and casual fishermen and women can find everything they need to cast out at Wrightsville Beach. In addition to several world-class fishing tournaments and prime surf fishing near beach jetties, Wrightsville Beach offers scenic tours and fishing charters that make fishing fun for the whole family. Johnnie Mercer’s Pier offers prime fishing, and visitors can either bring their own equipment or rent a rod and reel for the day.

Shopping Institution Since 1969

From the outside, Redix department store looks like a nondescript metal warehouse, but don’t let that fool you. Once inside, it’s a coastal shopper’s paradise for celebrities, visitors and locals with top designer lines exclusive to the area for men’s and women’s clothing. Shirley MacLaine is among the many celeb shoppers and “The Rock” visited while on location for a film being shot here. Since 1969, it has been selling everything from tackle and bait and souvenirs to high-end men’s and women’s designer fashions.

The Dish on Dining

Wrightsville Beach boasts almost 20 restaurants, with menu offerings ranging from steak and seafood to ice cream, hot dogs and more. Popular destinations include the Oceanic Restaurant, East at Blockade Runner Resort, Oceans at Holiday Inn Resort and Shell Island Restaurant and Oceanfront Lounge at Shell Island Resort. These restaurants offer breathtaking ocean views in addition to decadent menu selections. Other restaurants such as Bluewater Grill, the Bridge Tender Restaurant, Fish House and Dockside Restaurant and Bar offer diners a chance to enjoy a meal while looking out over the Intracoastal Waterway.

History Lesson

The Wrightsville Beach Museum of History strives to show visitors why the beach is a part of so many people’s memories. The museum preserves its building and collection of beach-related artifacts, documents and memorabilia for all to see.

Fitness Fiends

Beachgoers who do not want to be beach bums need not leave, either – active visitors can check out several Wrightsville Beach outdoor outfitters, hobby shops and rental locations that offer a variety of paddling, kayak fishing, and paddleboard accessories for the active vacationer. Outdoor enthusiasts can walk, jog or bike on The Loop, a 2.45-mile fitness trail that circles the inner island around the public park and scenic marshes.

Bird’s Eye Views

Audubon North Carolina helps visitors enjoy close-up looks at natural marvels through free guided tours of the Mason Inlet Waterbird Management Area. Vacationers can also catch a glimpse of local wildlife by participating in one of the nature tours or cruises offered by Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours.

Masonboro Island

Masonboro Island is the largest undisturbed barrier island along the southern part of the North Carolina coast and is an estuarine sanctuary with species aplenty. Located just below Wrightsville Beach and accessible for groups by boat, 87 percent of the 8.4 mile long island is covered with marsh and tidal flats. The habitats found within this site include subtidal soft bottoms, tidal flats, hard surfaces, salt marshes, shrub thicket, maritime forest, dredge spoil areas, grasslands, ocean beach, and sand dunes. Loggerhead and green sea turtles nest on the beaches, where seabeach amaranth plants grow on the foredunes. All of these species are listed as threatened by the Federal Government. Species of concern are the black skimmers, Wilson’s plovers, and least terns that nest on the island. Sound sediments are home to two state watch list species – Hartmans Echiurid and a polycheate worm in the genus Notomastus. The nutrient rich waters of Masonboro Sound are an important nursery area for spot, mullet, summer flounder, pompano, menhaden, and bluefish.