Trip Ideas

Find cool and off-the-beaten path things to do, plus gardens, famous film and TV locations, girlfriend getaways and more. Everything visitors need for an island escape – without the passport – is right on the island. Here is a just a sampling of things to do where watersports, fitness and beach fun reign supreme!

Solo Travel

Whether you're looking to get out and active on the water, experience a culinary scene or unwind by the shore, Wrightsville Beach is a perfect destination for solo travel. This growing trend allows you to craft your own vacation and have unbeatable experiences. Hit the water on a surfboard, standup paddleboard or find new 'mates' with a sailing lesson. Unwind at beach chic boutiques, beside crystal blue water and enjoy fresh-to-table coastal cuisine and sip local craft beer in open-air bars. Wrightsville Beach offers the perfect solo-escape, start planning yours now.

Go to Top


Epic Island Excursions

Island hopping is made easy with Epic Excursions. Choose from a variety of tours and cruises to explore Wrightsville Beach by sea. Hop aboard the 23 ft. catamaran deck boat with a charter fit for every occasion or book a private group excursion for a special occasion. 

For the adventure seeker, a surf charter lets you experience some of the best waves found only by boat and explore areas such as Masonboro Island, Mason's Inlet, Lea Island and other secluded spots perfect for paddle and regular surfing. Paddleboarding charters offer a family-friendly option for a day of sun, sand and surf as you glide on the waterways surrounding uninhabited islands and salt marshes. 

For a leisure day full of exploration, relax aboard the 23 ft. catamaran deck boat on a half or full day charter. Explore hidden paradises and take in the Island's full beauty by way of boat.

Perfect for those long summer nights, a sunset cruise allows you take in the beauty from the water while sipping complimentary red or white wine or BYOB to keep the party going well after sunset. To up your experience call for information on their 4-course Farm to Sea Island Dinner or Island Seafood Boil. 


Go to Top

Girlfriends' Getaway

With sun, sand, miles of shore and plenty of recreation and relaxation, Wrightsville Beach is ideal for a long weekend getaway with your closest gal pals. Start the weekend with a hand-crafted latte from The Workshop then catch the sunrise from Johnnie Mercers Pier. Complement your beach day with cocktails by the pool or in the gardens at The Blockade Runner then a late lunch over the ocean at Oceanic Restaurant.

When the sun goes down, the fun continues well into the evening. Shark Bar & Kitchen offers plenty of appetizers for splitting and sharing around the table and a 'raw bar,' featuring tuna poke, local shrimp cocktail and oysters on the half-shell. If you're looking for something more low-key, sip margaritas at the bar of Tower 7 Baja Mex and try some of the most delectable fish tacos found on the island. End the night dancing to live music at The Palm Room or partying with an eclectic mix of visitors and locals at Lager Heads Tavern.

The next day, relax and rejuvenate from a night out at Alice Lawson Salon + Spa then re-energize with an acai bowl or smoothie from Surfberry. Put together the perfect outfit for the evening at Hallelu Boutique and take home coastal provisions at The Fisherman's Wife and Wrightsville Beach Art Company.

Get out and active with a morning walk around The Loop and see the sights of the inner island's waterways and marshes. Create lasting memories with a surf of SUP (standup paddleboard) lesson. End the weekend on a high note with a sunset cruise offered by Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours.

Go to Top

Active Lifestyle

Wrightsville Beach-goers are all about maintaining an active lifestyle with jogging The Loop (a 3 mile trail around the island), bike riding, bird watching and much more. Competitors from near and far make the trip to the area to take part in events like the Wrightsville Beach Marathon Madness (March), SUP Surfing Pro-Am (April) and IRONMAN 70.3 North Carolina (October).

Many local outfitters and accommodations offer bike rentals. The River to the Sea Bike Route expands from Johnnie Mercers Pier to Riverfront Park, just off Market Street in Historic Downtown Wilmington. This route, stretching for nearly 10 miles, takes bikers for a trek along the historic trolley line. Most of your journey will be a quiet one, cycling through peaceful residential areas.

Did you know that hundreds of birds, including American Oystercatchers, Least Terns and Black Skimmers, nest on beaches and islands like Wrightsville Beach every spring and summer? The Mason Inlet Waterbird Management Area located on the island is a 300-acre sanctuary for birds, wildlife, and people. Mason Inlet offers a variety of barrier island habitats, including open beach, dunes, and marsh. Birdlife here changes with the seasons: in winter flocks of small shorebirds feed on sandy inlet shoals, while in the summer large groups (colonies) of Least Terns raise their chicks on hot sand. The Cape Fear Audubon Society offers guided tours of Mason Inlet during the nesting season between April and August.

Go to Top


Wrightsville Beach is  known as a premier watersports destination and was named one of the world’s best surf towns by National Geographic and North Carolina’s most naturally gifted watersport hub by Men’s Journal. There’s something for every athlete and outdoor enthusiast including boating, kayaking, kite boarding, stand-up paddling (SUP), surfing, surf camps and scuba diving. Wrightsville Beach hosts internationally recognized watersport events throughout the year including the Carolina Cup (April); WBLA Longboard Pro-Am (April); Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic (August); and the NC Surf to Sound Challenge (November).

Because Wrightsville Beach is a relatively small island, paddlers can reach a variety of prime paddle routes from that one location. One of the things that make Wrightsville Beach such a natural fit for watersports is its many different waterways and conditions ranging from open ocean to the protected waters of the Intracoastal Waterway, from the channels to the river.

True to its island living vibe, Wrightsville Beach is very welcoming of beginners or anyone interested in trying a new watersport for the first time. With plenty of places to rent top-of-the-line equipment and take lessons with certified instructors, Wrightsville Beach prides itself on making its active lifestyle accessible to everyone, including vacationers. Its laid-back, non-territorial atmosphere allows beginners and experts alike to just show up and surf or paddle, which is rare at many other beaches.

Several outfitters like WB Surf Camp and IndoJax Surf School, offer high-quality kid summer camps, teen summer camps and adult vacation surf camps while others like Sean's Private Surf Instruction, specialize in individual lessons.

For the inquisitive diver, Aquatic Safaris operates two USCG certified custom dive boats that run dive charters to wrecks and ledges off Wrightsville Beach. In the latter part of the Civil War, three ships were sunk off Wrightsville Beach within days of one another. These ships lay within 300 yards of each other near the south end of the island. See beautiful rock ledges with marine life and take a peek into the past with shipwrecks.

Go to Top


Enjoy surf fishing, pier fishing, and inland and offshore fishing excursions at Wrightsville Beach. Drop a line from Johnnie Mercers Pier or the Crystal Pier at the Oceanic, book a deep-sea fishing charter, or hop aboard a fishing cruise complete with a knowledgeable guide. Fishing events throughout the year include the Cape Fear Blue Marlin Tournament (June).

Go to Top


Explore Island History

The Wrightsville Beach Museum of History offers self-guided walking tours highlighting historic beach landmarks including the old Oceanic Hotel, the rich history of Johnnie Mercers Pier and a family-oriented scavenger hunt. Visitors can stop by the museum to pick up self-guided tour pamphlets with details, driving instructions and in-depth historical descriptions of each place highlighted.

Go to Top


Looking to get a little tee-time with your beach time? The Wilmington Municipal Golf Course is one of the local favorites. A municipal course designed by one of the world’s most influential golf course designers is a rare thing. Designed by Donald Ross in 1926 to provide the public with a quality championship golf course at affordable prices, the course is one of the finest in the area. With 18 holes covering 6,564 yards with a par of 71, the Wilmington Municipal Golf Course is perfect for amateurs and experts. The third hole has been named "One of North Carolina’s Ten Best Holes" by Golf Digest because of its demanding uphill slope. It was also named 50th best Municipal golf Course by Golf Week Magazine. The course is open year-round to the public. 

The Wilmington area has more than 50 public courses within a 60 mile radius.

Go to Top

Mailbox on the Beach

On Wrightsville Beach, there is a special mailbox where people pour their hearts out to complete strangers in the sand dunes on the north end of the beach. There is no name on it and the Post Office doesn’t pick up or deliver to the box. People can write letters to clear their conscious, place them in a mailbox, but never have them sent. The mysterious mailbox somehow stays stocked with paper, pens, and stories from visitors sharing their fondest beach memories year after year. The current mailbox is the second mailbox located on Wrightsville Beach. The first mailbox was a landmark on the north end of the island for 11 years and the hundreds of notes left in it can now be found on display at the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History

Go to Top

Explore Star-Studded Locales

While visiting Wrightsville Beach, there are many locations where TV shows and movies have been filmed, and star sightings have taken place to check out. Celebrities like Will Ferrell, John Travolta, William Baldwin, Jennifer Aniston and Julianne Hough have all been spotted at several popular dining spots at the beach including South Beach Grill, Bluewater Waterfront Grill, Oceanic, Dockside Restaurant and Bar, and the Bridge Tender Restaurant. Popular TV shows have filmed scenes on the island including Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill and Sleepy Hollow, as well as movies like “A Cinderella Story: Once upon a Song” starring Lucy Hale and “28 Days” starring Sandra Bullock.

Nicholas Sparks fans can also visit some of the breathtaking spots featured in the film “The Choice” and explore places like the Dockside Restaurant and Bar or Brasserie de Soleil, where the story of the main characters blossomed.

Go to Top

Full Moon Rising Celebration

A morning sunrise or sunset is the best known view in Wrightsville Beach but now the best new tradition involves another heavenly body that gives rise to nighttime revelry. Enjoy the uninhibited view of the moon rising over the Atlantic Ocean as you dine at the Oceanic Restaurant with beautiful views from inside and outside on the pier. Look for special entertainment and dinner specials at the Oceanic when available or enjoy a romantic getaway at one of the area hotels and resorts as the perfect backdrop for a full moon rising stay.

Go to Top