Beyond the Beach: Wrightsville Recreation

Author: Isabella Peadon

March 3rd, 2023

Wrightsville Beach is home to incredible beach and sound views, making it a very popular tourist destination. But what you may not know is, Wrightsville Beach has plentiful options for outdoor recreation that aren’t your average beach walk or sun tanning experience. Tourists make their way to the east coast for a variety of reasons. Many folks are escaping a cold weathered place for a toasty summer on the water. Some are seeking opportunities for water sports. Others come to visit family and friends. No matter the appeal, the town of Wrightsville Beach offers public recreation fun for all ages and private recreation options are also available all around the Island. 

The Harbor Ways Garden, located at 321 Causeway Drive and maintained by the Harbor Island Garden Club, is a delightful outdoor garden open to the public. In the spring and summer, the garden is home to Gaillardia flowers, seaside goldenrod’s, Spotted Beebalm, and even sea Lavendar. Daylilies, roses, and azaleas are also crowd favorites that show up in the gardens from time to time. In fact, Harbor Ways Garden is the only public garden in North Carolina to have witherspoon roses! You visit Harbor Way Garden or book the garden for events and weddings through their website linked here.  

If you’re interested in a child and adult friendly experience, be sure to stop by Wrightsville Beach Park. The park features an all-inclusive playground funded by a Trillium Health Resources grant, basketball courts, tennis courts (reserved for tennis use only on Wednesdays, Fridays, and two courts on Saturdays, from 7:00 – 11:00 a.m.), outdoor fitness equipment, and four pickleball courts (reserved on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, from 7:00 – 11:00 a.m. for pickleball play only). Other facilities that are available for reservation include the Fran Russ recreation center, a softball field, event stage, covered picnic shelters, and a soccer field. An overflow parking field is also available for park use! If you are on the barrier island, Greensboro Street mini park is also a great choice for kids. The mini park is equipped with swings, a rock wall, a covered picnic shelter, and benches.  

“The Loop” is one of the most popular attractions on Wrightsville Beach. “The Loop” is a 2.45-mile-long walking trail that begins at 321 Causeway Drive, stretches across the bridge onto the barrier island and runs down North Lumina. “The loop” turns on West Salisbury Street and continues until it has looped all the way back around to 321 Causeway Drive. On a sunny day in Wrightsville, you are sure to see people utilizing the loop to walk, run, jog, or catch up with friends. Click here for a map of the loop provided by the town of Wrightsville Beach. 

Wrightsville also provides plenty of public spots with great views of the sound and the channel. Island Drive Park, located on 30 Island Drive, provides benches and a gorgeous view of the Motts Channel. Doggy bags and a trash bin are available in this location as well. Lees Nature Park, located on 453 Causeway Drive, is a perfect spot for plant and bird identification. At Lees Nature Park you’ll find a bench and a terrific view of the salt marsh on Harbor Island. South Channel Park, located on 101 South Channel Drive, also provides benches and a view of the alluring Banks Channel. 

All these amenities are open to the public and free to use, however, Wrightsville beach is also home to an extensive amount of affordable, privately owned recreation opportunities! Soundside, a recreational watersports destination located outside of the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, provides rentals for kayaking and paddleboarding as well as options to reserve sunset sailboat cruises and pontoon boat experiences. While Soundside works closely with the Blockade Runner, it’s rentals aren’t exclusive to guests staying at the resort. Anyone looking for a fun experience on the water is welcome!  

Servicing the Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach are since 1990, Aussie Island Surf Shop, positioned across from Tower 7 Baja Mexican grill on North Lumina Avenue, provides bike rentals for beach goers interested in exploring the island on wheels! The charming 3000 square foot shop carries surfboards, skateboards, swim wear, men and women’s clothing, and even snowboarding gear.  

For those seeking a thrill on the waves of Wrightsville Beach, surfboard rentals are available through Aussie Island Surf Shop, Sweetwater Surf Shop, and South End Surf Shop. Sweetwater Surf shop, located just a few paces away from Aussie Island beside Vito’s Pizza, offers a variety of surfboards to rent from beginner foam boards to hard top boards for the more experienced surfer. Rentals are available at the shop or can be made on the Sweetwater Surf Shop website. South End Surf Shop also offers rentals for surf boards, as well as paddle boards, kayaks, and body boards through their website.  

No matter the experience you are looking for on your trip to Wrightsville Beach, the area is sure to provide you with affordable entertainment for everyone. 


Wrightsville Beach, NC: Official Website. Wrightsville Beach, NC | Official Website. (n.d.). Retrieved March 3, 2023, from


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