Located along Cape Fear, the small beach town of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina is sure to elevate your beach experience with its variety of sightseeing opportunities and quintessential attractions. This spacious beach offers a taste of everything, be it water sports, exquisite restaurants, local museums, or even programs for kids, ensuring tons of fun under the sun.
Wrightsville beach, although famous for its sunny beaches and crystal blue waters, is much more than that. With something for everyone, it is sure to be an all-encompassing vacation venue. If you’re planning a trip to Wrightsville Beach, you better check out these fun attractions to experience the active island lifestyle along Cape Fear.
1. Johnnie Mercer’s Pier
Johnnie Mercer’s Pier is the longest fishing pier in the Cape Fear region and the only concrete pier in North Carolina. Offering a great view of the town, this is one of the best piers for sightseers available free of cost. You can enjoy a great day of fishing complete with a bait and tackle shop while making use of the on-site grill as well.
2. Masonboro Island
Looking for a serene getaway to the heart of nature? Masonboro Island is exactly the place you have in mind! A completely undeveloped and pristine island accessible only via boat, Masonboro Island Coastal Estuarine Reserve consists of salt marshes, tidal flats, and a perfect coastal view, all for yourself.
For the perfect adventure, you can choose a local tour or cruise company and enjoy birdwatching, dolphin watching, shelling expeditions, and other adventurous activities.
3. Wrightsville Beach Boat Ramp and Causeway
The Wrightsville Beach Causeway is one of the most known boat launches in Cape Fear. The perfect spot for kayakers, paddle boarders, fishermen, and mariners, this is directly connected to the Intracoastal Waterway, giving visitors a wide room of opportunities.
The Masonboro Inlet is great for fishing while the marshy channels along the route are great for canoeing and kayaking, all accessible from here. Be sure to check out more about the Wrightsville Beach Boat Ramp and causeway here!
4. Shell Island
Oftentimes, a vacation is aimed at fulfilling the yearning for some peace, which can also be attained at the usually active Wrightsville Beach.
The North End of the shore along the edge of Shell Island offers some of the most peaceful and serene views of the beach, with lesser development and quiet surroundings. Here, you can birdwatch at the Audubon’s Mason Inlet or relax at the Shell Island Resort.
Shell Island Resort is one of the perfect stays for your peaceful vacation, yet not so far away from where all the action occurs. Situated close to downtown Wilmington as well as Wrightsville Beach, this oceanfront hotel offers a stunning view of the white sandy beaches.
You can also enjoy their offering of beach activities and sports, ranging from surfing to paddle boarding and kayaking. They also offer all basic resort amenities such as internet connection, fitness areas, and outdoor swimming pools.
5. The John Nesbitt Loop
Be it active walkers, joggers, or your furry friend, the John Nesbitt Loop will be equally enjoyed by all. The Loop is a 2.45-mile sidewalk course complete with doggy fountains, the salty beach air, and a scenic view.
The Loop moves along the Intracoastal Waterway, and Causeway Drive, and passes by the Wrightsville Beach Park, and Harbor Drive, yet another fun-filled area to explore.
6. Intracoastal Waterway
For the water lovers out there, the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) is a must-visit. Being the second biggest attraction at Wrightsville Beach, the ICW offers opportunities for many activities. You can go on boat tours or cruises at the marina, or even take boats, or jet skis on rent if you wish to explore the waters by yourself.
The calm waters make it perfect for paddleboarding as well. The ICW also hosts four waterfront restaurants, for a picture-perfect way ending for the tiring and adventurous day.
7. Wrightsville Beach Museum of History
Open all year round, the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History has changing exhibits, giving you something new each time you visit. A great learning opportunity, here you can get a deep insight into the 100-year old history of this beach town. The museum is housed in a restored beach house from the early 1900s, giving you an insider view of what beach cottages looked like.
Hosting various memorabilia such as postcards, bathing suits, surfing artifacts, and remnants of the disastrous hurricanes that struck the town, this museum is a great portrayal of the town’s rich history.
8. Water Sports
A haven for water sports, Wrightsville Beach is your one-stop destination for experiencing and even learning various forms of water sports. Surfing, kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding are all activities to better explore the coast and wetlands.
9. Explore the Ocean Bed
Most tropical beach destinations offer scuba diving and snorkeling, but at Wrightsville Beach, you get to explore the vibrant flora and fauna underwater while uncovering dinosaur fossils and remnants of sunken ships on the ocean floor.
10. Fred and Alice Stanback Coastal Education Center
The historic 1946 Palmgren-O’Quinn cottage houses the Education Center that offers one of the most popular education programs, Tuesday Touch Tank. Here, visitors get hands-on experience on the sea life along Wrightsville Beach and its underwater inhabitants.
Witness a marvelous array of plants and animals such as blue crabs, purple sea urchins, and orange horse conchs, all found right in the Wrightsville Beach area. A great program for kids and adults alike, this is another one of the top attractions in the area.
11. Wrightsville Beach Park
For a little sporty fun off the sands, the Wrightsville Beach Park is your destination. With amenities for playing a variety of sports such as beach volleyball, basketball, soccer, tennis, and softball, this is a great location for kids as well as adults to unwind from the beach blues.
The Beach Park also hosts an Arboretum, where you can explore the local flora and fauna. During the summer, they also host weekly movie nights outdoors, another relaxing activity in this coastal destination.
Although Cape Fear has many attractions to offer, including the Riverwalk in Downtown Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach is a charming beach town with a little something for everyone, a must-visit haven for everything you will need from a vacation.
From spa outings to shopping at boutiques, exploring local favorite restaurants, and enjoying a sunset cruise, Wrightsville Beach is surely a catch for any vacationer. Sunny days along the beach, plenty of water sports, island explorations, and a dash of historic rundown, all in one place!
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