A Weekend in Wrightsville Beach, NC

Wrightsville Beach is a vibrant, quaint little beach town located 20 minutes from historic Wilmington in North Carolina. It’s well known for its clean, active lifestyle, spacious beach and home to the NC Azalea Festival. Enjoy scenic walks, watersports, wellness activities, scenic water tours, or simply relax in the coastal gardens and parks. 

This past weekend Melissa and I took a trip to Wrightsville Beach for the last of her birthday month celebration. Luckily, we ended up having beautiful warm weather so our planning for the end of the month worked out perfectly.

Our stay

We stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites Wrightsville Beach which I booked through Booking.com and it made for a perfect stay. It was close to everything and well centralized with only 2 minutes to the beach!

The staff is personable, helpful and welcoming and the rooms are comfortable, spacious and clean with extra cleaning and disinfecting precautions. 

I was a little hesitant in the beginning because of such great pricing which doesn’t always turn out to be the best but in this case, it actually turned out to be more than what we expected – From the cute, cozy lobby to luscious floral landscaping to the vibrant courtyard and pool to the comfy and spacious rooms – It was one of the best stays I’ve had in Wilmington. 

We left Charlotte around 6:15 am with the intention of an early arrival so we could take advantage of the day and maximize our stay since we would be heading back on Sunday. It was a short one day trip but we made every moment count so it was well worth it. 

We tried checking in around 10ish but since they sold out the night before, that wasn’t going to be possible. Instead, we headed to the beach for some vitamin Sea and sunshine-D to wait it out! 🙂 

Wrightsville beach

There is so much to do in Wrightsville Beach – from kayaking to paddle-boarding to surfing to yoga on the Oceanic Crystal Pier to biking – You are sure to find something everyone can enjoy. 

The water was still too cold so any kind of water activity was a no-go for me. Brrr…  But, if you don’t mind the cold water, there are plenty of water activities you can have fun with!

We chose to rent bikes from Aussie Island Surf Shop to ride around the beach streets and get on the Gary Shell Cross City Trail which is one of the coolest bike rides to take advantage of. It takes you down some of the cutest residential streets which is so therapeutic, refreshing and relaxing. 

Bicycle riders have full access to the road on this trail which is more of a slower paced route to begin with so it works out nicely. 

Where to eat

There is quite a variety of food spots here with something for everyone. Most restaurants have vegan/vegetarian options and will customize a meal if you ask them to. Although, we did find it challenging to find a seafood restaurant that offers alternate selections. Except for Bluewater Grill. They have a couple of items on the menu such as avo-toast or a portobello burger. Still, not much. 

We looked into it because we wanted to sit by the water but since that wasn’t an option, we opted for Zeeks to refuel after our bike ride. It was close to where we were and could walk to it before finally heading to the hotel for check-in. 

I will say that we weren’t too impressed with Zeek’s acai bowls though. The toppings didn’t appear to be from fresh fruit but more so from a can. Other than that, they look like they have a good variety of options on their menu and not a bad pit stop for a quick bite to eat leaving the beach. 

For dinner, we made a reservation at Little Dipper Fondue in downtown Wilmington which is one of Melissa’s favorite places to eat. It’s a cute little restaurant and the service is 100%. In the past, we’d be able to share a cheese bowl but this time, Melissa was on her own and devoured the Havarti Dill classic cheese fondue by herself. Lol… 

I had the garden salad and ate some of the veggie dippers she didn’t want. Not 100% filling for me but it did leave room for the chocolate fondue which was DELISH! We opted for the dark chocolate fondue with the fruit dippers. Sooo good!

Airlie gardens

The next morning, we packed it up and headed to Airlie Gardens to enjoy an enchanted walk through the beautiful colorful, flower filled gardens which made for a perfect Spring day. It’s peak season so the blooms were bursting with color! 

My favorite part of the walk through is seeing the beautiful Spanish moss hanging from the oak trees and the leafy greens growing throughout the gardens. It was sooo cool to see! 😍 

There is so much history at Airlie Gardens. I encourage you to explore. They have a yoga series coming up in April-May so if you’re in the area, I highly recommend it. It takes place on the oak lawn – A beautiful and perfect setting. 

Wrightsville beach mailbox

Did you know that Wrightsville Beach has its own mailbox? It’s not a functional one but one that allows you to journal your thoughts, prayers and emotions while visiting at any given time. 

It all started in 2003, by Bernie and Sydney Nykanen. They have maintained the mailbox for years and kept it stocked with pencils and paper for sharing your thoughts with. Although, in 2014, the original mailbox was vandalized and the bench Bernie made for people to sit on was torn apart. At that point, he was fed up with the nonsense after repeatedly dealing with kids vandalizing the mailbox. From there, the mailbox was moved to its new home – the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History. 

It was so sad to learn this because we had been touched when we first learned about the mailbox and blessed to have had the chance to visit the original mailbox years ago when Melissa was in college at UNCW

In visiting this last time though, it appeared that the mailbox was replaced. 

Sure enough, it was the work of the UNCW student ambassador organization which you can read more about here. I’m happy to hear that the students will continue to keep the mailbox memory alive as it truly did and continues to touch so many lives. 

Pit stop on our way home

Before heading home, we stopped in at Kale Me Crazy (Wrightsville Beach location). There weren’t many smoothie bowl options on the menu versus smoothies but despite the lack of variety, their deluxe Acai bowl was the BOMB!! Melissa had the avo-toast and pear apple salad for a vegetarian option since it is made with eggs and goat cheese.

After lunch, we were fueled and ready to head home. 

There was so much more we wanted to do and see but not enough time to cram it all in. Wilmington is best to see in laid back style. Otherwise, you miss out on all its beauty if you’re rushing. So we’ll just have to save it for next time!

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