It’s summer. Take that day trip to Wrightsville Beach.

The beach strand looking south from the Johnny Mercer pier at Wrightsville Beach, NC.File

Oh, dog days of summer. Where better spent than at one of the United States’ (and our great state’s) best beaches? Here, we spotlight a day at Wrightsville Beach and a handful of things you can do, drink, eat and see. Surfs up!

Wrightsville SUP

“Water born, wind driven,” says you as you kayak, canoe or SUP your way around the Intercostal. Prefer land? Bikes also available.

The Loop

Whether you like being up with the sun (or for an awesome sunrise), watching “Baywatch”-meets-East Coast IRL all around you (we see you, jogging six packs) or getting your fab fit on, the 2.5-mile beach Loop that circles town is the place to be (and be seen). Oh, and Fido loves the Loop too.

Johnnie Mercer’s Pier

Channel your inner fisherman at this prime locale for saltwater fishing conditions, famed in the Cape Fear area. The pier store is always worth a pit stop too.

Red Dogs

Like a rite of passage, you haven’t been to W’ville if you haven’t been to Red Dogs famed Lumina Avenue dive bar. A landmark since 1975, the surf/skate hangout attracts all for cold beer, fishbowls, bands, dancing and more.

Beach Eats

Work up an appetite? Hit up Poe’s Tavern for a cheeseburger or fuel your spirit with some margs and Baja Mex at Tower 7.

Food on the water

If you’re in the hunt for ocean views and seafood with a side of touristy feel, Oceanic and Blue Water are two must-stops on your island culinary adventure.

Lighthouse Beer and Wine

Land here if you’re looking for the best brew selection, either to carry back to your squad or post up in the beer garden with a cold one. Bottoms up.


Looking to cool off in the shade — with a side of sweet (healthy) treat? Paddle over to SurfBerry whose token “We surf, We SUP, We healthy stuff” pretty much says it all. From superfood smoothies to cold-press juices, acai bowls, FroYo and more, SurfBerry is a must-stop sup spot while you’re away on an island day.

The Workshop Coffee

Add a jolt to your beach day with brand-new The Workshop, a coastal concept that integrates the owners’ passion for both Scuba and joe — think shark-teeth jewelry, megalodon teeth and best-of-beach “coffee with a bite” just steps off the sand. Our rec? Coffee with a side of avocado toast, natch.


Giving Duck Donuts a run for its money is Loops (see what they did there?). Roll over a homemade pillow of sweetness with a side of locally roasted fair-trade brew and more. Pref less sugary rounds? We rec a stop at Beach Bagels for a bevy of opps (think breakfast and lunch basics, breakfast bonanzas, surf salads and much, much more) — “made with love.”

Airlie Gardens

For a different water view and 67 acres of walking paths, gardens, blooms, historic structures and so on, head over to this “century of gardens by the sea” for an enchanting vision of placid water and 400YO oaks. Nat Geo fans, Airlie is a member of the NC Birding Trail and offers a variety of colorful wildlife.

Tickled Pink

In the market for a souvenir for bae or a token of your trip? Tickled Pink is a must-stop for myriad island treasures, from handmade gift and decor to clothing and more. (1904 Eastwood Rd #106-107, Wilmington)

Blockade Runner

Decide to stay for more? The classic boutique resort offers unmatched Atlantic views, primo location with an awesome resto to boot.

Insider tips

Get to the public beach access early for day-trip parking (street parking = ticket). It’s well worth the wait for the worry-free parking + blue water and white sand! … Bring baby powder for post beach to help get the sand off.


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