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Wrightsville Beach Travel Guide

This Wrightsville Beach guide is a long time coming!  When I say a long time, I mean this was the first beach I ever went to with my family when I was a baby  and continued to vacation for 30 years :).  Being born and raised in North Carolina you come to love Wrightsville beach and Wilmington NC area because it is the closest beach right off highway 40 when you head to the coast.  Not only is it super convenient, it also has always been the most developed North Carolina Beach town with some of the best restaurants and shops to me. This post is also going to be hard for me to write because there are SO MANY good places to go, visit, and eat.  For that simple reason, I am going to do two blog posts.  This first one I am going to highlight options to stay and things to do with the kids.  The next one will showcase where to eat around town, so stay tuned for that too!!  So without further ado, below is some info on WB!

How to get there:

You can fly into ILM airport and easily be at the beach in 20 minutes depending if summer/traffic etc.  If you are driving, you head straight down 40 East till you arrive in Wilmington.  North Carolina is not complicated to figure out ๐Ÿ™‚  The best weather in NC typically runs from April-October.  The hottest time of the year is typically July-August, with highs touching the 90s.


(pictured here is the Holiday Inn Resort at Wrightsville Beach)

Where to stay:

  • We always book all our rentals through this Wilmington and Beaches site! From hotels, B&B’s to vacation rentals, they have several options!
  • If you want to stay on the beach, any area over the bridges is an easy walk to the ocean.
  • If you want to stay near restaurants/bars, choose the streets right off of Lumina, or anywhere behind the beach bars (located by Jerry Allens, or Tower 7)
  • The Southend of Wrightsville is more quiet and secluded in my opinion.
  • The North end (shell island) has more larger house rentals/full time residents and two hotels on that end.
  • If you have a boat, look at renting docks by the north end/”lollipop area”
  • We recently stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort at Wrightsville Beach.  I loved this hotel because they have so many amenities on site for kids:  Playground, indoor/outdoor pool, hot tub, onsite kids camp/playroom, and an arcade room open 24/7.  The rooms also have a balcony over looking the pool & ocean!
  • We have also stayed at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, which is on the south-end of the island.  They recently renovated the hotel & the entire outside area is gorgeous.

What to do:

  • Rent a Boat/Car from Bluewater Transport Charters:  One of my favorite things to do in the summer is go out on a boat to some of the neighborhood islands.  The closest one is Mason’s inlet, which has small tide pools for kids to play in.  On the islands you can bring your own coolers, dogs, and tents year round & spend an entire day out there!  You can rent a boat for the day, do a sunrise tour, and even arrange luxury car transfers if a special occasion.
  • Visit the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History:  Located at 303 W. Salisbury, find this museum in the middle of the Historic Square of houses all built in the early 1900s.  The homes that make up the Historic Square are some of the last survivors of the Great Fire, which roared through
    the island in 1934 including the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History.  The Wrightsville Beach Park is right behind the Museum, so take the kids right after the blow off some energy! Wrightsville Beach Park has a new all-inclusive playground geared towards children with disabilities as well as two outdoor basketball courts, four tennis courts, three sand volleyball pits, one softball field and anopen area for soccer/flag football.
  • Explore the Shops on Wrightsville beach: My favorite local beach shops are Sweetwater Surf Shop & Hallelu!
  • Explore Airlie Gardens: “Encompasses 67 acres of beautiful Gilded Age gardens and lakes. Admire the azaleas,gaze at the camellias, stand in the shade of the 450-year-old Airlie Oak, experience nature’s most delicate and ephemeral creatures – butterflies – in the region’s first
    permanent butterfly house.”  Airlie Gardens has special events year round, including the famous “Garden Party” which is hosted Azalea festival weekend on that Friday.  They also do “Enchanted Airlie” during the holidays where you can pay for a car full to drive and see all the lights!
  • Book a Cave room with Native Salt Caves & Wellness: This was a really cool experience to take the kids to detoxify your body!  From the site, since they can explain their process better:  “Providing Himalayan salt caves for halotherapy, Native Salt Cave and Wellness offers the choice of two caves: one for a massage treatment room or childrenโ€™s cave, and the other for adults to sit and relax enjoying the benefits of breathing the salt-infused air surrounded by Himalayan Salt. The salt used in the halogenerators, found in both caves, is pharmaceutical-grade 99.99% sodium chloride, the same that is used in medical saline solutions. The main Salt Cave holds tweleve. Inhaling dry salt air for a period of time has been a traditional wellness practice. Signature events: Classes, or group sessions, held in the main cave combining massage, light and sound techniques to enhance the salt cave experience.”
  • Visit the Famous Wrightsville Beach Mailbox:  Before you leave, head to the North end on the beach, known as on shell island, Beach Access 1, and walk to the beach to put a note in the mailbox!

We loved working with Wilmington and Beaches to showcase an area that means so much to us!  Stay tuned for my next guide on “Where to eat in Wrightsville Beach” coming soon!

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