Fall Trip Ideas in Wrightsville Beach NC

Same Adventures. More Paddle Room.

Wrightsville Beach seasons blend seamlessly as warm sunny days continue well into fall. Mild weather, fewer crowds and warm ocean temperatures make it the perfect time to still hang ten or take a guided kayak or SUP tour. Find dining experiences and takeout meals that extend beyond your average beach fare where sea-to-table meets elevated island eats. Escape to one of the 'South's Best Beaches' as voted by Southern Living readers, on a getaway to explore private islands, sail with personal instructors, cruise at twilight with your loved one and more. Whether it’s catching a wave in the birthplace of NC surfing or digging into the catch of the day, we’re ready for whatever brings you happiness.

What to Expect When Visiting

Thank you for trusting us with your care and safety as you resume travel to the area. We encourage you to travel and enjoy responsibly by practicing social distancing, wearing masks and following other guidelines for your safety. With safety concerns, top of mind for travelers, many lodging properties are following enhanced safety guidelines provided by corporate offices, as well as guidance from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, U.S. Travel Association, and the CDC that are designed to provide consistent cleaning safety standards. A statewide “Count on Me NC” program with the NC Restaurant and Lodging Association, Visit NC, and NC State University provides specific guidance and training to local restaurants, hotels, and other public-facing businesses on best practices. Please find on-going COVID travel updates here.

BOOK THE PERFECT STAY

The perfect stay is on deck and waiting for you. Choose from a variety of lodging options maintaining new cleaning safety standards. Indulge in full-service resorts with special amenities like oceanfront gardens and fresh-to-table dining options. Several island hotels offer both ocean and sound-side views along with walkability to all that Wrightsville Beach has to offer. Or book a comfortable getaway—perfect for working from home away from home or distance learning—featuring all of the amenities of home with a vacation beach home or condo rental. Find the perfect island retreat for whatever type of vacation you're seeking. With many vacation lodging options offering off-season rates directly on their websites, plan your fall getaway now to Wrightsville Beach and look for weekday stays (Sunday – Thursday) for the best savings.

Cool Escape. Same Warm Waves.

Warm crystal blue waters and more room to explore as the busy summer season comes to an end make fall the ideal time to experience the waterways in Wrightsville Beach. Catch the sunrise while dropping a fishing line from Johnnie Mercers Pier or Crystal Pier. Named one of the top surfing towns in the country, learn to ride the waves with private lessons from island surf schools like Crystal South Surf Camp, Indo Jax Surf School, Sean’s Private Surf Instruction, or WB Surf Camp. Explore the many waterways on a standup paddleboard (SUP), kayak, or sailboat with rentals or lessons from a local outfitter. Take a tour to Masonboro Island Reserve, a barrier island with unspoiled beauty and wildlife. Paddle out and see why Wrightsville Beach is considered one of the best "SUP hubs" in the U.S. with board rentals from Wrightsville SUP or Cape Fear Paddleboarding. Set out on a kayak tour with Wrightsville Kayak Company on peaceful waterways, then explore 'Money Island', where legend says a pirate's buried treasure remains hidden beneath the sand. End the day as the sun sets along the Intracoastal Waterway with a twilight cocktail cruise aboard the Carolina Runner with Blockade Runner Surf to Sound Adventures.

FIND YOUR FALL FLOW OUTDOORS 

With wide-open spaces, outdoor adventures and fantastic weather year-round, it’s easy to stay active and engage in wellness activities on a Wrightsville Beach getaway. Rent bicycles from Aussie Island outfitters and traverse the 10-mile River to the Sea Bikeway which journeys over the Heide Trask Drawbridge and ends in Historic Downtown Wilmington. Jog or run the 2.5-mile Loop for scenic views around the island or take an educational walk along the Loop Through History to read the seasonal signs telling the story of Wrightsville Beach throughout the years. On your journey, stop into the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History to experience a beach cottage and island life in the 1930s or take a break amongst the shaded greenery at Harbor Way Gardens.

EXPLORE AUTUMN'S COASTAL WONDERS 

See Wrightsville Beach from a new perspective with a variety of tours and eco-adventures. Set out on a private cruise upon Epic Excursion’s catamaran where you'll dock on an uninhabited island to explore surrounding waterways on a standup paddleboard or dine together on a catered sunset dinner. Bring your binoculars and travel along area waterways in search of rare, migrating bird species with Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours or take the Carolina Runner island shuttle, the newest addition to Blockade Runner's Surf to Sound Adventures, to spend a day shell-searching and dolphin-spotting on Masonboro Island Reserve. Whether you're a nautical novice or pro, let an experienced sailboat captain sail you around the island with Wrightsville Performance Sailing or try it firsthand with a class from Blockade Runner Sailing School. While strolling the beach, venture to the South End and explore the protected North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve, a favorite among beach-nesting birds and sunset seekers. Just over the drawbridge, explore more than 67 acres of formal gardens and walking trails at Airlie Gardens where the current art exhibit, Airlie Squirrels! features larger-than-life squirrel sculptures hidden throughout the grounds.

SAVOR FRESH FLAVORS

Indulge in meals-to-go with curbside pickup or fresh-to-table dining outdoors where waterside ambiance complements unique offerings at chef-driven eateries. At EAST Oceanfront Dining, award-winning chef, Jessica Cabo, curates an inventive menu including local seafood and fresh produce from the restaurant's own garden. With ever-changing blackboard specials featuring the chef's local catch, like fresh local Grouper and jumbo Atlantic sea scallops, South Beach Grill showcases Southern-inspired dining locally sourced from both the land and sea. Outside, patrons can enjoy the dog-friendly patio that overlooks scenic Banks Channel. Motts Channel Seafood offers fresh-caught finds and a packed take-home cooler or order a seafood steam pot to-go from Topsail Steamer to take back to the beach house rental. Indulge in local seafood, like oysters, snapper and scallops, from the Shark Bar & Kitchen with curbside pickup. Dock the boat and pickup marina-side takeout from Bluewater Waterfront Grill and Dockside Restaurant.

DINNER AND DRINKS WITH A VIEW

Wrightsville Beach is the perfect destination for dining and drinks with a view. Head to the Oceanic Restaurant to soak in the sunshine with oceanfront views or enjoy the outdoor deck at The Bridge Tender as you sip and dine harborside. Hop over to The Fish House Grill for dinner and signature drinks like the 'Money Island' Shipwreck. Featuring 20 craft beer selections, a large outdoor patio and gourmet burgers, Poe's Tavern is a sustainable brewpub with unique photos and scripts of Edgar Allan Poe's writing decorating the walls. Pick up to-go refreshments at Lighthouse Beer & Wine bottleshop or enjoy them in the outdoor beer garden, specializing in hand-picked wines and featuring over 700 craft beers.