Our 7 Favorite Things on Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville Beach
Wrightsville Beach Sara Kendall

Just east of the port city of Wilmington, is Wrightsville Beach, a 4-mile long ocean playground along the Atlantic Ocean. Wilmington’s residents along with vacationers from around the state have found a perfect haven at Wrightsville Beach. My daughter and I spent a couple of fabulous days there and here’s what we liked best.

1. Blockade Runner Beach Resort

Blockade Runner Beach Resort
Blockade Runner Beach Resort Sara Kendall

This beachfront resort has been family owned for over 50 years old. The building is older, but the interiors have been beautifully renovated with a modern coastal vibe. We loved our updated room with a bold blue and white palette filled with modern beach-themed furnishings. Being on the sixth floor, we had a beautiful ocean view. My daughter loved splashing around the oceanside pool and we both enjoyed the full service breakfast buffet – it’s included in the room rate! I especially like that fact that my car remained parked most of the time, since this beach resort is an easy couple of blocks walk to downtown shops and restaurants.

2. Fun Water Sports

Fun Water Sports
Fun Water Sports Sara Kendall

Blockade Runner Beach Resorts offers several Sound Side activities. One morning, we jumped into a tandem kayak and headed north on the Banks Channel. We made it to the second bridge and then headed back. That afternoon, we went standup paddleboarding in the calm sound, which made it easy for my daughter to get the hang of it. She was a natural and has been asking to go again! They also offer surfing and sailing, and you can sign up right at the resort.

3. Dinner at Bluewater Grill

Bluewater Grill at Wrightsville Beach
Bluewater Grill at Wrightsville Beach Sara Kendall

On a marina along the Intracoastal Waterway, this wonderful restaurant serves up delicious seafood in a casual atmosphere. My daughter and I loved both our dinner and the experience. Luckily, we were there on a Sunday night, so able to enjoy the live music on the patio. If you can, go on a Sunday to enjoy their waterfront music series going on through the fall.

4. Eco-Tourism Cruise

Eco-Tourism Cruise
Eco-Tourism Cruise Sara Kendall

At the Blockade Runner Resort marina, we boarded a boat tour via Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours. Our friendly Captain, John, gave us a guided tour of Masonboro Island, an 8.4-mile marine sanctuary island, renowned for its plant and wildlife diversity. We learned about local wildlife and their coastal habitats especially featuring shore and water birds. There’s free parking on Waynick Boulevard if you aren’t staying at Blockade Runner Resort.

5. Lunch at Trolly Stop

The Trolly Stop
The Trolly Shop Sara Kendall

This counter-service restaurant offers an abundance of awesome twists on the classic hot dog. Unique topping combinations are sure to please everyone’s taste buds. You can add our names to their long list of pleased customers. Just so you know, this establishment only accepts cash and offers only outdoor seating.

6. Walking on Johnnie Mercer Pier

Johnnie Mercer Pier
Johnnie Mercer Pier Sara Kendall

Extending more than 1,200 feet into the Atlantic Ocean, it’s a great place to catch fabulous shoreline views and check out what the fisherman caught! This pier is the only concrete fishing pier in North Carolina. There is a small charge to walk on the pier.

7. Dinner at Oceanic Restaurant

Oceanic Restaurant
Oceanic Restaurant Sara Kendall

Situated on the beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Oceanic Restaurant is the only beachfront, non-hotel restaurant on Wrightsville Beach. Crystal Pier is attached to the restaurant giving diners breathtaking outdoor seating and a great walk over the ocean. We dined on fresh seafood while taking in a beautiful ocean view from our table – we give two thumbs up for our dining experience!

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Sara Kendall has traveled halfway across the globe with her kids and lived to tell about it. Stay tuned to hear about family destinations around Charlotte and beyond. Check out more of Sara’s travel at her website or email her at