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Your guide to Wrightsville Beach
Encompassing an island as well as its namesake beach, North Carolina’s Wrightsville Beach is one of the oldest established beach communities in the country, first documented in the 1720s. Its origins as a tourist town go back to 1889, when the area railroad company built tracks from neighboring Wilmington across the Banks Channel to transport visitors to the ocean. Bolstered by its natural beauty and yacht club, which is one of the oldest in the country, Wrightsville Beach began to draw regular vacationers, and an entertainment-driven construction boom followed. In the early 1900s, massive hotels opened with dance halls and entertainment, making the small beach town a tour stop for popular big bands. Though Wilmington’s neighboring beaches, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, are well known for watersports and recreation, Wrightsville Beach maintains its family-friendly allure, picture-perfect beach, and centuries-old history as one of the most appealing oceanfront destinations on the East Coast.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Wrightsville Beach
Wrightsville Beach has a subtropical climate characterized by mild winters, with highs in the mid-50s Fahrenheit, and hot, humid summers with highs in the lower 90s. Summers can be sticky, pushing the area’s heat index toward 100 degrees at its peak, perfect for playing in the water. The push and pull of warm Atlantic Ocean waters in relation to storm system tracks puts Wrightsville Beach at risk of tropical storms. If you’re traveling during hurricane season, which peaks in September, pay extra attention to local weather reports.
Top things to do in Wrightsville Beach
Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier
Constructed in the 1930s and nearly destroyed after a series of hurricanes in the 1990s, Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier was rebuilt in 2002 from reinforced concrete and is open 24/7 year-round. The modern pier is plenty wide for the crowds who walk it, and multiple spots accommodate the scores of anglers casting their lines on any given day — or night, as after-dark fishing is popular here.
Wrightsville Beach Park
Located in the heart of town and bordered by water in all directions, this family-friendly park attracts locals for tennis, basketball, soccer, and volleyball, and kids of all ages to its colorful playground. It’s also host to special events throughout the year, including Wrightsville Beach’s summer concert series.
Circling the interior of the island, this 2.5-mile fitness trail runs through the heart of Wrightsville Beach in the center of town, straddling the mainland and the namesake beach. It’s especially popular with runners, walkers, and dog-walkers. Fantastic views abound.