The Top 10 Things to Do in Wrightsville Beach

Are you planning a trip to Wrightsville Beach, NC? As the weather warms up and spring approaches, it's time to put your parka and snow boots in storage for the season and break out the bathing suits!

Our beach is an idyllic strip of coastline that offers a range of different activities for you to enjoy. Whether your perfect day is spent lounging by the water or soaking up all of the entertainment in the city, there's something for everyone. 

To help you get started, we're sharing the top 10 things to do in Wrightsville Beach. The hardest part will be fitting all of the fun into your short vacation!

1. Visit the Beach

Of course, we have to start out our list with the ultimate way to spend a day in Wrightsville Beach (WB) or Wilmington, NC: Take a trip to the ocean!

Here, you'll find tranquil waters, soft sand, and plenty of room to spread out. You can also take in the gorgeous beachfront homes as you walk along the water's edge. Whether you're propped up in a chair reading a book or down on all fours building an epic sandcastle, there are plenty of ways to soak up the sun.

To keep your skin safe and support a great cause, outfit the whole crew in our Sun Shirts! Featuring UPF 50+ protection and a colorful Palm Tree Island design, these shirts block up to 98% of the sun's harmful rays. Plus, every purchase helps support the Skin Cancer Foundation, so it's a win-win.

2. Walk on the Pier

Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier is a must-see attraction while you're in Wrightsville Beach. Featuring more than 1,200 square feet of sturdy cement, it's the ideal place to watch the sunset or enjoy the surfers!

If you visited the beach prior to the Bertha and Fran hurricanes of 1996, you may recall that this pier was once made out of wood. The owners rebuilt it in concrete and re-opened it in 2001. There's a full-service tackle shop on-site, and the grill inside the pier house is a local favorite. 

Around the pier, you'll find ample parking, as well as a bathhouse and showers. Be sure to stop by the gift shop for souvenirs before you head home!

3. Visit the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History

Wrightsville Beach is more than a popular vacation destination. It's also an area steeped in rich history, and you can learn all about it at the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History.

Check out the list of current exhibits before you go, and check the museum calendar for upcoming events. This facility is a community treasure that regularly hosts annual activities, including the Lumina Daze, Jungle Bell 5K Run and Walk, and more. 

There are also free children's programs each month, as well as art days and pop-up presentations. If the weatherman is calling for showers, duck inside to warm up and learn more about this fascinating place. Throw our Wrightsville Hoodie '22 on to weather the storm, and you can easily salvage a rainy afternoon. 

4. Check Out the Farmer's Market

The Wrightsville Beach Farmer's Market originated in June 2009. This is a great place to find fresh, locally grown produce, as well as crafts and objects from local vendors. 

Open every Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the market runs from May 16 to December 12 this year. It's located on the Wrightsville Beach Municipal Grounds on Seawater Lane, next to the Town Hall. From veggies and seafood to sweets and jewelry, the plethora of goods is unbelievable here. 

Plan to spend at least an hour strolling the wares, and you're sure to leave with something special.

5. Kayak to Palm Tree Island

Palm Tree Island (PTI) is the sandbar island visible to the left as you cross over the Wrightsville Beach Bridge. On a clear day, you may be able to squint as you drive by, barely making out the faux palm tree and flagpole on the site. 

Instead of just imagining what it's like, why not kayak or paddleboard over there? Just off the intercoastal waterway, it's like your own private island paradise once you arrive. Plus, you can wade right up to the sand without fear of oyster shells piercing your feet!

While the island is pretty popular during the weekends, it's usually fairly empty during the week. This makes it the perfect spot to spend a lazy afternoon, especially if you want to spread out and enjoy the sand with just your friends and loved ones. 

Before you trek over there, be sure to shield your eyes with our aptly-named Palm Tree Island Visor!

6. Take a Dinner Cruise

The beach is gorgeous any time of day, but there's nothing like viewing the lights of the city from the water at night. A diner cruise is a great way to see more of this area and enjoy a delicious meal at the same time. 

There are many different boat tour agencies that offer this service, so read the reviews and find one that meets your criteria. Check the time slots offered and make sure the one you choose aligns with your schedule. 

Rather spend your time on land when the sun goes down? You can also find Wrightsville boat tours that cater to a variety of interests, such as historical tours, sunset tours, eco tours, and more!

7. Pick Up a Meal at Motts Channel Seafood

There are lots of great seafood markets in Wrightsville Beach, with dishes that are sure to appeal to any palate. However, one of the most iconic and well-known institutions is Motts Channel Seafood. 

This family-owned market has been in the same location for more than 30 years, and you can't get much fresher than the food here. Fishermen bring their catches straight to the docks daily, arriving with different varieties of fish, as well as shrimp, mussels, clams, and oysters. 

Stay and chat with the owners to discover some of their favorite recipes. Then, take your pick home and prepare it just the way you like it. Don't leave without adding a key lime pie to round out your meal!

8. Visit the Stanback Coastal Education Center

If it seems like there's always something going on at the Stanback Coastal Education Center, that's because there is. Open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m to 5 p.m., the center hosts a variety of different events, classes, and activities throughout the week.

If you're around at the beginning of the week, make sure to attend "Touch Tank Tuesdays". Held throughout the summer, this program allows visitors to reach out and touch the sea creatures held inside its tanks, from hermit crabs and sea squirts to sea stars. 

9. Enjoy Live Music at Jimmy's

Looking for a little live music during your getaway? Anyone around here would point you straight in the direction of Jimmy's. 

At this sports bar and music venue, the drinks are flowing and the jams are wafting through the speakers. Local, regional, and touring musicians alike will stop through here to delight and entertain audiences. Located in what used to be an old pharmacy, Jimmy's has been a Wrightsville institution for years, offering live performances 365 days a year. 

Located on the bottom level of the historic Red Dogs bar, Jimmy's is operated by its namesake, veteran bartender Jimmy Gilleece.  

10. Visit Wrightsville Beach Park

Located on the border of the Wrightsville Beach Causeway, the Wrightsville Beach Park is a great spot to indulge your athletic side while enjoying some fun in the sun. This recreational center features lots of different sporting areas, including:

  • Basketball courts
  • Sand volleyball pits
  • Softball field
  • Tennis courts

There's also a versatile open area that's ideal for pick-up games of soccer, flag football, or kickball. The park also includes a newly-opened, all-inclusive playground for children of all abilities, as well as an arboretum that highlights some of the region's most beautiful and prominent plant species. You'll even find outdoor movie nights here when the weather warms up!

Looking for the perfect lightweight pullover to keep you comfy during a ballgame? Our Palm Tree Pull Over is just warm enough to keep the breeze away, but the breathable fabric lets you run, jump, and shoot hoops with ease. 

Bonus: Walk "The Loop"

Want to take in our coastal city while staying active and enjoying the great outdoors? There's no better spot to do so than the John Nesbitt Loop, affectionately shortened to "The Loop".

This 2.45-mile circuit is a great place to jog, run, or walk. You can even bring your furry friends! As you stroll along, you'll pass many recognizable local landmarks, including:

  • The Intercoastal Waterway
  • Banks Channel
  • Wrightsville Beach Park
  • Harbor Island

On any given day, you can find the Loop filled with people who are eager to enjoy the sights in a unique way. Go at your own pace, enjoy the natural beauty around you, and feel the salt spray on your face. 

The Best Things to Do in Wrightsville Beach

As soon as you get home from your first visit, you'll start planning your next trip back!

While these are 10 of the best things to do in Wrightsville Beach, this list is far from exhaustive. As you explore, check out all the local shops, restaurants, museums, and cultural centers to discover what makes this spot so special. 

Along the way, we'll keep you outfitted in your favorite go-to beach gear. As the only online apparel company representing PTI, we're also the only brand located in and representing WB. Shop our full collection today and contact us with any questions!