New visitors to Wrightsville Beach may hear the phrase “The Loop” tossed around by locals and long-time visitors in-the-know. This initially unfamiliar term actually refers to one of the town’s literally largest attractions – a roughly 2.5 mile long path that circles through the very heart of town. Popular with walkers, runners, bikers, and even four-legged visitors, this unique little trail offers a great opportunity to explore the center of this popular beach vacation destination.
About the Loop at Wrightsville Beach
The Loop is primarily located along the “town center,” or the small parcel of island that’s situated in between the two bridges along Causeway Drive that lead to the shore. This triangular piece of land is home to a number of governmental offices and facilities, including the Wrightsville Beach Municipal Complex and the Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation Dept., as well as several unique attractions.
The loop effectively follows the roads that lead to the beach, as well as the waterfront borders of this small island. The trail starts at the Causeway Drive/U.S. Hwy. 76 entrance to Wrightsville Beach, wraps around North Lumina Drive, takes another turn along Salisbury Street/U.S. Hwy. 74 over the Banks Channel, and then continues back to the original Causeway Drive/U.S. Hwy. 76 starting point.
The “trail” is essentially a nice wide sidewalk that can accommodate walkers, runners, bikes, and visitors walking their pets. Though many sections of The Loop can bypass busy roads that are regularly flooded with traffic – especially in the summer months – other sections are a little bit quieter, and bypass some scenic attractions and destinations.
Visitors can always diverge from the Loop, for a quick detour to the beach or a for little fun at the Wrightsville Beach Park, and with several stretches that cross over water and offer picturesque vistas, the trek is certainly more scenic than stressful.
Parking is available at several locales that cross paths with the Loop, (particularly the Lanier Parking center next to the Wrightsville Beach Park), and a walking tour of the entire route takes just an hour or so, depending on the speed.
Attractions Along the Loop at Wrightsville Beach
Once of the great aspects of the Loop is that it bypasses a wide array of scenic spots and attractions. Visitors who want to take a lingering trip while enjoying everything that Wrightsville Beach has to offer can pause by the following stops along the Loop that are always worth a stop.
Wrightsville Beach Park – The Wrightsville Beach Park is a great destination for active visitors and locals alike, and features two outdoor basketball courts, four tennis courts, three sand volleyball pits, a softball field, a grassy and wide open area for pick-up games, and a new playground. The park is located directly along The Loop next to the main Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation offices.
Wrightsville Beach Museum of History – Housed within a historic beach cottage, the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History celebrates more than a century of beach life in this coastal town, with a series of exhibits dedicated to beach vacationers of decades ago. The Wrightsville Beach Museum of History is located along Salisbury Road, adjacent to the Loop
Wrightsville Beach Arboretum – This small patch of greenspace is an ideal spot to relax and take a rest from a long stroll or jog. The Wrightsville Beach Arboretum features benches, sitting areas, and plenty of pretty landscaping, and is found at the intersection of Causeway Drive and Salisbury Street, close to the Loop’s primary entrance.
Wrightsville Beach Farmers’ Market – In the summertime, visitors strolling along the Loop can enjoy a quick shopping trip for plenty of fresh goodies, crafts, and produce with a stop at the Wrightsville Beach Farmers’ Market. The market is open from mid-May until the end of October, and is traditionally held on Mondays from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Wrightsville Beach Shoreline – Several beach access points can be found on the easternmost section of the Loop along Lumina Drive, which may include parking, walkways to the shoreline, and / or public restrooms. Swing by Beach Access #29 for beach access with parking, or the Johnnie Mercer Pier, for a fun and sandy detour that’s just a couple blocks away from the Loop.
Tips and Tricks for Visiting the Loop at Wrightsville Beach
- If you’re bringing a pet, be sure and bring along bags for waste! Not cleaning up after your pet can result in a $250 fine in the Town of Wrightsville Beach.
- The Wrightsville Beach Park also holds a number of events throughout the year, such as outdoor movie nights or summer concerts. Check out the local events calendar at the Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation Dept. for info on upcoming happenings at this scenic park and venue.
- Restrooms are located at the Wrightsville Beach Park as well, for visitors who need a quick break while en route on the Loop. Seasonal concessions and / or drinking fountains may also be available along the trail as well.
- For ample parking, (especially close to the beach), be sure and arrive early. Local spots can fill up quickly in the summertime, even in less-populated areas like the parking lot close to Wrightsville Beach Park.
The Loop at Wrightsville Beach is a unique little component of this coastal town that’s virtually hidden in plain sight. Bypassing a number of popular landmarks and attractions, and featuring plenty of views that highlight the heart of the town, a walk, run, or stroll along the Loop presents an opportunity to explore Wrightsville Beach from the inside out.