North Carolina's Best Seaside Town Is Oozing Summer Charm With Lively, Spacious Beaches

When planning summer fun, North Carolina has something for every type of getaway. You could follow Samantha Brown's lead for a visit to The Biltmore house (one of her favorite underrated outdoor activities), or you could head to the hills for a romantic mountain getaway at the Brown Mountain Beach Resort. Then again, taking the family to the beach is always a good idea. In the case of North Carolina, there's a charming seaside town you won't want to miss that oozes summer charm: Wrightsville Beach.


Both the name of the town and the expansive stretch of sand, Wrightsville Beach is a community of less than 3,000 full-time residents. However, it's a welcoming destination for those who cross the country or sea to get there, and it's a popular spot for the locals of nearby Wilmington, North Carolina. While Wrightsville Beach offers traditional water activities and fun in the sand, it's more than simply a place to build sand castles. It's a place to build summer memories.

A quintessential summer experience at Wrightsville Beach

Some coastal towns offer eye-catching geological formations — like the massive Haystack Rock at Oregon's Cannon Beach — as well as jagged coastlines or beaches with spectacularly-colored sand. However, Wrightsville Beach's charm takes a more understated approach. It's one of those places that could be equated to the annual family summers in Martha's Vineyard or Cape Cod. With its quaint boutique stores, oceanfront lodging, and a plethora of water endeavors, you can spend a day, weekend, or even an entire season.


In addition to oceanfront hotels, condos, and vacation rentals, Wrightsville Beach offers an immersive dining opportunity at the only oceanfront restaurant in the city. The Oceanic Restaurant serves fresh sea-to-table dishes with an expansive ocean view. Score a table on the wooden pier for an even more memorable experience. At night, the area comes alive with lively bars, both indoors and out. You'll often find live music for an evening of dancing or for listening pleasure as you take in the lapping ocean waves.

The sand and the sea at Wrightsville Beach

The draw of the sea is ever-present in Wrightsville Beach. During the day, you can explore the 1,200-foot long Johnnie Mercers Pier, and drop a fishing line if you're so inclined. You could take a sailing cruise, charter a fishing trip, or master the art of the SUP board in an area Outside Magazine dubbed as one of the best "SUP hubs" in the U.S. If kayaking's your thing, row over to explore the nearby Masonboro Island Reserve with a tour. Another way to enjoy the clear waters is to try SCUBA diving in the area, where you can see shipwrecks and natural marine habitats. You'll also dive amongst the highest concentration of giant prehistoric Megalodon teeth in the world. Then again, maybe you'd rather take a surf lesson or rip it up with your own board instead.


On land, stretch your legs on "The Loop," formally known as The John T. Nesbitt Loop-5. This 2.45-mile pathway leads around the Wrightsville Beach area, offering scenic views and sea salt air. Take advantage of the region's focus on wellness with a beachside yoga class, spa treatment, or some sand volleyball. Also be sure to check out the local farmer's market every Monday from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., May 13 through December 2, 2024, where you can grab food for a picnic before making your way back to the 5 miles of spacious beach for an afternoon of relaxation and coastal vibes.