We treated ourselves to a fall getaway weekend with @wrightsvillenc — and what a treat! The 6-hour drive to Wrightsville Beach from D.C. went smoothly, and the soon-to-arrive autumn colors promise to provide a spectacle of hues over the next few weeks.
The town of Wrightsville Beach was named one of the “The Last Best American Beach Towns” and “World’s 20 Best Surf Towns” by National Geographic Magazine. I can see why, as it is picturesque and not too crowded. There’s a variety of different looks to the waterways in Wrightsville Beach. Along with the sweeping stretches of ocean, the picturesque harbors, waterways and grassy marshes make for an ever-changing landscape.
I found Wrightsville Beach to be a pleasing, non-commercialized stretch of nature where one can tune into its natural awesomeness. This open, mostly residential beach town has a casual vibe and lots to keep you busy. If you need groceries or a favorite coffee shop, the modern world is conveniently close by, just a short drive over the bridge and only a few minutes away you have the coastal city of Wilmington, NC.
There are so many activities in this seaside town. I need to make a return visit. My advice to you is make the most of your time (are getaways ever long enough?) with the info available via the Visitor’s Bureau. The handy Events Tab is a definite advantage to planning. There are so many activities, concerts and tournaments, just to name a few. I collaborated with this great organization and can’t recommend their services enough.
Table of Contents
Fall for Southern Beach Cuisine
A fantastic ocean dining setting can be had at the Oceanic. The Oceanic may be one the best beach pier restaurants I’ve ever seen with seating right above the breaking waves. It’s quite spacious, too, and the cool sea breeze keeps everyone comfortable. Need more convincing? There’s great live music seasonally.
Early each morning you will find a yoga class in session. The day I visited, I watched the restaurant staff set up for a sunset wedding. One of many perfect venues to celebrate your special day in Wrightsville Beach. There are so many romantic spots in this beach town so it’s perfect for a couples’ getaway.
Check out the restaurant row along the Intercoastal Waterway next to the Eastwood Road bridge. (Did you know the Intracoastal Waterway snakes 3,000 miles from Boston around the tip of Florida ending in Brownsville, Texas?) Wrightsville Beach is uncrowded, but if you are planning to dine on a weekend, make sure to book your reservations. Some restaurants will not take reservations, so be sure to arrive early and get on the waiting list. I visited the Fish House Grill and the wait was 30 minutes, not too bad because waits here and other places can be as long as two hours. Well, you know a view of the water is always premium.
My favorite eats were at Shark Bar & Kitchen. I ate there twice and loved their fish and shrimp tacos and delicious margaritas. There is not a view of the water, but you can always get your scenery fix with a scoop of ice cream at Access 16 Beach Shoppe at Johnnie Mercer’s Fishing Pier.
After dining, catch the sunset, enjoy the nature show or watch the surfers dance with the waves. The ocean is always a good idea because you can get your steps in with Mother Nature, and the sand gives the legs an extra challenge.
The ocean water is warm and clean here, and the Wrightsville Beach municipality keeps the sand and surroundings super clean. I like that the beach was not overly commercialized with shops. I hope it stays that way. There are beautiful homes both along the beach and harbor.
Water is the Main Activity
I dream of gliding on the water as I watch the surfers perform their magic. Surf lessons are available, though I think I’ll keep this just a dream for now.
If surfing doesn’t call your name, there are so many other water activities to partake in, whether solo or in a group. For starters, there’s paddleboarding, kayaking, learning to sail, motor boating, harbor cruises, water skiing and boogie boarding.
A sunset cruise is always a good idea, and we booked a cruise with the Blockade Runner’s Surf to Sound Adventure. There is a small beach and dock across from the Blockade Runner — you can’t miss it. The property has a beautiful large green space and a serene, uncrowded beachfront.
Wait, There’s More!
Wrightsville Beach’s activities aren’t all wet. Check out the Wrightsville Beach Museum. Housed in an early 1900s cottage, the museum offers a look into coastal living during the time of the Great Depression. There’s also an impressive seashell collection and a model of the town circa 1910. Entry to and parking at the museum are free. Always a good idea to check days and hours of operation during these mask-wearing times.
If total relaxation is more your style, visit one of the salons or day spas for a massage or a facial. What the heck, go for a total makeover with a new hair color and cut. Of course, there’s nothing more relaxing than sitting on the sand and being hypnotized by the rhythm of the endless waves.
Fall is the New Summer, but with Less Crowds
Any season is a good season to spend time in Wrightsville Beach. Autumn, however, can’t be beat. Maybe the serenity feels doubled after the partying summer crowds depart. Maybe it’s the introspection the change in calendar brings. Maybe it’s the gracious southern hospitality.
Whatever the reasons, you’ll want to visit Wrightsville Beach sooner rather than later. Find even more reasons to go here. Get planning and get packing. Wrightsville Beach is your 2021 fall destination.