Why You Should Visit Wrightsville Beach, one of the Best Beach Towns in North Carolina (and our fave!)

Sponsored by Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau

Thinking about where to travel next? Or a beach vacation anytime of the year and looking for the best beach towns in North Carolina?

Below we share why we love Wrightsville Beach, why it’s one of the best beaches in North Carolina, and why you should visit Wrightsville Beach too!

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
View from Johnny Mercers Fishing Pier

I didn’t realize how much I needed our Wrightsville Beach vacation until I spent an hour watching the sky’s colors change from deep orange to pink as the sun rose over the ocean.

During our visit in early March from our home in Raleigh, just before the spring lock-down, I had the luxury of watching it from under the covers of my bed and sitting in wicker chairs at the windows in our room at The Blockade Runner Beach Resort.

Sunrise at Wrightsville Beach
View of sunrise from our room at Blockade Runner Beach Resort

We watched as birds, large and small, flew by our balcony window in flocks or on their own.

Ducks swam about in the ocean before the surfers and swimmers began enjoying life’s simple, but necessary, pleasures.

Blockade Runner Resort at Wrightsville Beach
View from our room at Blockade Runner
Blockade Runner Beach Resort, Wrightsville Beach
Aerial view of Blockade Runner Beach Resort

Time is life’s greatest luxury, and when you can dedicate an hour to watch the magic of nature’s perfection, you know you are wealthy and in the right place.

Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina demands your attention

It forces you to get out of your head, your phones, your problems and connect back to what matters: spending quality times with those you love with nature and in an unhurried and simple way.

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
Morning stroll on Wrightsville Beach North Carolina

While travel and work go together for us now, I found the town of Wrightsville Beach kept dragging me away from my computer and phone.

“Not right now,” it would say. “You need to just be with me”.

It was a pull more magnetic than Instagram likes and Facebook memes.

This is real living. This is how we all used to do it when we were teens growing up in a community that only needed us to bike around, play in nature, and talk to one another.

Life is far too chaotic now for you to NOT invite this kind of beach vacation into your life.

I’m sure like us, you’ve had a crazy start to the year filled with ups and downs, problems to solve, deadlines to meet, and busy to manage. You endured yet another long and cold winter. You’re ready to celebrate the end of the death period with new life.

Turn off all the crazy and visit Wrightsville Beach

If you’re looking to stay active on vacation, grab a bike, a paddle board, a swimsuit, your favorite book, and a towel and just disconnect.

Go slow. Go outdoors. Swing in a hammock behind the dunes. Hit the waves, paddle the gentle waters of the sound. There are so many things to do in Wrightsville Beach!

Blockade Runner Beach Resort
Relaxing in the sun at Blockade Runner Beach Resort

Mix it up with good local food, a conversation with a stranger, a sunset cocktail and a sunrise coffee – go on then, make that a morning mimosa, you’ve earned it.

There are not too many places in the world where you can watch the sunrise over the ocean and then watch it set once again over water. You can in Wrightsville Beach NC, oh, and also in the Outer Banks.

Sunset in Wrightsville Beach
Sunset at southend of Wrightsville

The separation between those two important daily events is simply a stretch of a flat sandy barrier island called Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

Only 4-miles long and 1,000-5,000 feet wide, it presents the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the calmer waters of the Intracoastal Waterway on the other.

Wrightsville is a year-round destination that offers water sports such as surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing, sailing and diving.

Why is Wrightsville Beach one of the best beach towns in North Carolina?

As soon as you drive over the bridge into town, you’ll see people out and about enjoying the sunshine and endless outdoor beauty.

Surfers gathered for a morning paddle at Crystal Pier
Surfers gather for a morning paddle at Crystal Pier – Photo taken prior to social distancing

You’ll find local establishments with character. From casual cafes to farm-to-sea-to-table restaurants and beach bars that offer unique island nightlife.

There’s no glam, sophistication or soulless cookie cutter buildings. There doesn’t need to be.

It has a community-based surf culture vibe backed by pristine beauty.

Fun Fact:

Wrightsville Beach is recognized as the birthplace of surfing in North Carolina! This town has a rich history of surf culture and is deemed one of the best surfing beaches in the USA.

A bike ride down a side beach road will take you to an old brick corner store that has surf gear on the lower floor and a coffee and beer cafe with a surfie vibe on top.

people sitting at a coffee bar
We loved the local vibe and coffee at SUNdays Cafe

Or an old surfboard-making, blue shack that now sells some of North Carolina’s best beer with a cozy beer garden encouraging community interaction. We loved biking to Lighthouse Beer & Wine on our trip!

High-rises won’t block your view or your sunshine. In fact, the majority of the beach and the sound is faced by charming beach homes.

One of our favorite things to do in Wrightsville Beach NC was cycle past these homes dreaming about future summers where we own and live in one!

The fun part was deciding which of the homes for sale in Wrightsville Beach we’d buy.

Wrightsville Beach homes
Front of beach house

I’m stunned, that after all our years of living in Raleigh, we didn’t make more of an effort to drive less than two hours and visit Wrightsville Beach regularly.

Now that we have two young kids, it ticks off all our boxes as one of the best beaches in North Carolina for families (of all ages), and I assure you there’ll be plenty of North Carolina beach vacations taken here for us!

Once here you don’t necessarily need to see and do a lot

Hide your car away, grab your bike or use your feet and move from one pier to the other, from surfing to paddle boarding, from one acai bowl by the beach to another just over the bridge.

Relaxing on Wrightsville Beach at Johnny Mercers Pier
Relaxing on Wrightsville Beach at Johnny Mercers Pier

As we biked around the beach area at a slow lingering pace, cars slowly and carefully used their space to go around us and I was taken back to my childhood in Australia and felt gratitude that I was raised in a small surfer beach town like this.

When there was a car to honk a hello to you, and a friend to talk to as you cycled up to the beach. Mostly chatting about the weather, surf conditions, weekend plans and music.

Freedom and fun

After a morning of beach play, you’d cycle to the corner store to grab a hamburger, again getting to chat to someone you knew. The community ran deep. You all knew you were a part of something special guided by nature.

That’s how Wrightsville is. The surf shapes emit the same kind of home-grown, connected vibe.

biking around Wrightsville Beach
We loved biking around Wrightsville

This is why we recommend you visit Wrightsville Beach. This is why we rate it as one of the best beach towns in North Carolina.

This year, as we focus more on sustainable living and travel, we are happy for our first partnership to be with the Wilmington and Beaches area.

A North Carolina beach vacation here is about slow and minimal living with activities designed to connect you to mother nature, tread lightly and enjoy experiences that keep it LOCAL.

You’ll be giving back to the community that embraces you.

Where is Wrightsville Beach NC?

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
View from Johnny Mercers Pier

It’s one of the beaches near Wilmington NC (just drive 12-miles from downtown) and it’s also the closest beach to Raleigh (2 hours drive) and the closest beach to Asheville NC – a straight shot down I-40.

And if you’re looking for beaches near Charlotte NC, you can be here in 3.5 hours.

We love this part of the North Carolina coast, as you have the laid-back beach vibe we found in Wrightsville, but within a 10-minute drive you have the Downtown Historic District in Wilmington, N.C.

If you’re looking for even more nature and relaxation, drive a short distance along the shore to nearby Carolina Beach and Kure Beach.

Not sure what to do in Wrightsville Beach and planning your trip?

Kayaking in Wrightsville Beach
Kayaking with Wrightsville SUP

If you’re looking for family-friendly beaches in North Carolina, look no further!

In our next blog post about Wrightsville, we’ll share with you a two-day itinerary of things to do in Wrightsville Beach.

And if you stay longer (and we think you should), just lengthen out the moments in between to sit and watch and play in the ocean. #Serenity

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