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With a perfectly coastal location that borders the Intracoastal Waterway as well as the Atlantic Ocean, Wrightsville Beach is a prime destination for mariners of all varieties. From vacationers who just want to enjoy a day on the water, to boaters who are cruising the Eastern Seaboard and need a spot to dock for a night or two, the region has a lot to offer for travelers who believe everything is better when you’re on board.

Plan a boat tour of the area for an incredible perspective of the local landscape, or bring your vessel along for days of fun in the sun. With ample options for exploring the area, Wrightsville Beach is an ideal destination for adventurous mariners.

Boat Ramps and Launches

While many area marinas that are stationed on the borders of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) and the Wrightsville Beach Causeway boast boat ramps and launching areas for visitors, the Cape Fear region also has an array of ramps that are open (and free) to the public.

Mariners who have brought their own vessel along will want to check out these destinations where getting into the abundant local waters is a breeze.

Wrightsville Beach boat ramp

Wrightsville Beach Boat Ramp
Channel Walk Drive, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480
34° 13'06.41" N    77° 48'40.80" W
This launch site is in the heart of Wrightsville Beach and directly connects with the ICW. Situated on the edge of the Wrightsville Beach Causeway, this popular launch spot features five launching lanes, and 68 parking spaces for vehicles with boat trailers. From here, it’s just a 3 mile cruise to Masonboro Inlet and the Mansonboro Island Coastal Estuarine Reserve.

Carolina Beach State Park boat ramp

Carolina Beach State Park Boat Ramp
B Road, Carolina Beach, NC 28428
34° 02'59.05" N    77° 55'08.71" W
Located south of Wrightsville Beach, this launch site is found within the Carolina Beach State Park, and features roughly 40 parking spaces for vehicles with trailers, as well as two launching lanes. This launch spot is an easy cruise away from Zeke’s Island Reserve and Bald Head Island State Natural Area.

Snow's Cut ramp

Snows Cut Boat Ramp
220 Annie Drive, Carolina Beach, NC 28428
34° 03'25.09" N    77° 53'30.06" W
Located just a quick drive away from Wrightsville Beach, this popular launch site straddles the borders of the ICW and Snow’s Cut, and features five launching lanes, a separate hand launch site for kayaks, and approximately 100 total parking spaces, which includes about 80 parking spaces for vehicles with trailers.

Dram Tree Park ramp

Castle Street Boat Ramp
Dram Tree Park (Castle Street and Surrey Street), Wilmington, NC 28401
34° 13'38.95" N    77° 57'01.12" W
Visitors who want to cruise the Cape Fear can head to this launch site on the edge of nearby Downtown Wilmington, NC, which features two launching lanes, a separate hand launching area for kayaks, and parking for 36 vehicles with trailers.

Trails End boat ramp

Trails End Boat Ramp
621 Trails End Road, Wilmington, NC 28409
34° 09'21.50" N    77° 51'24.97" W
Located just south and slightly inland of Wrightsville Beach, this launch site features a single launching lane, parking for about 40 vehicles with trailers, and a courtesy dock for day trippers. From here, mariners can reach the ICW / Masonboro Sound, and are an easy cruise away from the Mansonboro Island Coastal Estuarine Reserve.

River Road Park ramp

River Road Park boat ramp
River Road Park, Wilmington, NC 28412
34° 06'49.57" N    77° 55'32.22" W
Also bordering the Cape Fear River and located just inland of Wrightsville Beach, this launch site features a single launch lane, as well as an on-site fishing pier and public amenities, (such as restrooms and picnic areas.)

Federal Point ramp

Federal Point / Buzzard Bay
2515 South Fort Fisher Blvd., Kure Beach, NC
33° 57' 34'' N    77° 56' 30'' W
Located on the southern tip of Kure Beach / Fort Fisher, this launch site connects with the Atlantic Ocean, the Cape Fear River, and Zeke’s Island Estuarine Reserve, and features launching lane(s) as well as parking for 36 vehicles with boat trailers.

There are several marinas in the area

Wrightsville Beach Marinas

The Wrightsville Beach area is home to a wide variety of marinas, which are often located directly along the ICW, and which can offer a wealth of amenities for transient and long-term mariners.

Services for visitors can include on-site fuel, repairs and service, and supplies via marina ship’s stores, and several marinas may have even more amenities for visitors staying an evening or two, such as full hook-ups (including cable and / or Wi-Fi), community bathhouses, laundry facilities, game rooms / gathering places, and even on-site restaurants and shops.

Because many of the area’s marinas are a shell’s throw away from area attractions and beaches, it’s often easy to dock and explore the shore with an overnight visit. Some marinas may also offer extras to make it easier for visitors to get about and about – such as community bikes, golf carts, and other modes of transportation – which makes a day at the beach even more accessible.

Not sure where to start? Then check out these area marinas that are close to everything, and which are conveniently located in the heart of the Cape Fear area action.

Wrightsville Beach Marina
6 Marina St, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480
Phone: (910) 256-6666

Seapath Yacht Club
330 Causeway Dr, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480
Phone: (910) 256-3747

Bridge Tender Marina
1418 Airlie Rd, Wilmington, NC 28403
Phone: (910) 256-6550

Dockside Marina
1306 Airlie Rd, Wilmington, NC 28403
Phone: (910) 256-3579

Airlie Marina
1402 Airlie Rd, Wilmington, NC 28403
Phone: (910) 231-6099

Sea Gate Boating
2 Marina St, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480
Phone: (910) 256-0638

Cape Fear Marina
1701 Jel Wade Dr, Wilmington, NC 28401
Phone: (910) 762-1256

Port City Marina
10 Harnett St, Wilmington, NC 28401
Phone: (910) 251-6151

Wilmington Marine Center
3410 River Rd # 201, Wilmington, NC 28412
Phone: (910) 395-5055

Masonboro Yacht Club & Marina
609 Trails End Rd, Wilmington, NC 28409
Phone: (910) 791-1893

Watermark Marina
4114 River Rd, Wilmington, NC 28412
Phone: (910) 794-5259

Bradley Creek Marina
6338 Oleander Dr, Wilmington, NC 28403
Phone: (910) 392-2584

Middle Sound Marina
2107 Middle Sound Loop Rd, Wilmington, NC 28411
Phone: (910) 262-5566

Creekside Yacht Club
6334 Oleander Dr, Wilmington, NC 28403
Phone: (910) 350-0023

Scotts Hill Marina
2570 Scotts Hill Loop Rd, Wilmington, NC 28411
Phone: (910) 686-0896

Carolina Marina & Yacht Club
1512 Burnett Rd, Wilmington, NC 28409
Phone: (910) 790-0172

A sunset boat cruise in Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville Beach Boat Tours and Rentals

Visitors who want to cruise the local Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) and ocean waters, and who don’t happen to have a boat handy, will find ample options for booking a tour or commandeering their own vessel when they visit Wrightsville Beach.

Due to its heavy visitor population and proximity to the ICW, Wrightsville Beach has a number of tour providers who can take visitors on a myriad of different open water adventures. There are a number of both inshore fishing charters and offshore fishing charters available for anglers, as well as eco-tours that shuttle visitors to unique island destinations like Mansonboro Island Coastal Estuarine Reserve and Zeke’s Island reserve. These tours can encompass a world of activities in a single 1-4 hour expedition, or can concentrate on a popular activity like dolphin watching, shelling, birdwatching, or just enjoying a sunset on the open water. For options, visitors can contact individual tour companies, like Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours, or marinas which feature lots of options, like the Sea Gate Boating Center – both of which are based in Wrightsville Beach.

In addition, the Wrightsville Beach area is home to roughly a half dozen rental boat providers that offer a wealth of vessels – including skiffs, pontoons, and even yachts – on an hourly, daily, or even weekly basis. Local marinas and companies like Sea Gate Boating, Nauti Time Boat Rentals, and Wrightsville Boat Rentals provide visitors with everything they need – from gas to life jackets – and then let them explore on their own through the generally calm waters. (Note that a little boating experience may be required, especially for larger vessels.)

In either case, with lots of options for boat tours and rentals, enjoying a day on the water is a breeze in this enthusiastic maritime community.

Any of these would be fine, Dad

Wrightsville Beach Boat Sales and Services

Wrightsville Beach is also a popular destination for visitors who are in need of repairs or service, or who are shopping for a new (or uses) vessel to chart their own explorations. Roughly a dozen boat sale businesses call Wrightsville Beach home, and the majority of these establishments are nicely easy to find, thanks to a cluster of options that are located along the Wrightsville Beach Causeway.

For repairs, visitors can also head to one of the area’s many marinas, which often feature on-site service centers for vessels, as well as other amenities such as long-term wet slips or dry dockage.

While mariners can certainly find everything they need without leaving the Wrightsville Beach borders, visitors who want to explore all their options can also head inland to Wilmington, where another dozen or so boat dealers can also be found. Considering that many locals and frequent visitors have docks, waterfront homes, or just an inherent love of the water, it should come as no surprise that Wrightsville Beach and the surrounding areas are a prime destination for mariners in the market for a new ride.

Tips and Tricks for Wrightsville Beach Boating

  • Sailing is also a popular activity in this region of North Carolina, and visitors can acquire lessons, charters, and vessels through local establishments like Wrightsville Performance Sailing or Sail Ava Grace Charters.
  • For an easier and more leisurely trek, visitors can get their toes wet with a kayaking or canoe expedition. A number of beach gear companies and watersports stores offer kayak or canoe rentals on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis.
  • Transient mariners who want the best access to area attractions should check out marinas along the Wrightsville Beach Causeway and in the heart of neighboring Downtown Wilmington, NC. These marinas are often walking-distance close to local attractions, shops, and restaurants.
  • Book a boat slip, cruise, or adventure well in advance – especially if your visit coincides with one of the region’s big annual festivals, like the Azalea Festival or Riverfest. During these busy times, transient boat slips and / or boating trips can fill up quickly.
  • Visitors who want to bring along a boat will want to consider booking a “soundfront” or waterfront vacation rental. These properties can have mariner-friendly extras, such as on-site and /or community docks and boat ramps.

Wrightsville Beach is a veritable hot spot for mariners, and it’s easy to see why. Located on the edge of the ICW and ocean, and close to the Cape Fear River, area inlets, and other major bodies of water, this region is arguably best explored – and enjoyed – from a seaworthy vessel.

Book a tour of the region via a local boating company, or bring your boat along for miles of on-the-water fun. In Wrightsville Beach, enjoying the endless waterfront terrain is simply a breeze.

Museum of Coastal Carolina
Victory Beach Vacations

Victory Beach Vacations

Visitors who are on the hunt for the postcard-perfect vacation rental in the heart of the Carolina Beach or Kure Beach area will find an enticing selection and plenty of friendly customer service when they rent through Victory Beach Vacations. Based in Carolina Beach in the coastal Cape Fear region, Victory Beach Vacations has more than 100 vacation rentals in all shapes and sizes to ensure that every vacationing family can find their dream home away from home on the beach.   When you book your Cape Fear getaway with Victory Beach Vacations, the fun doesn’t end when you leave the beach, it continues with an array of privately-owned properties outfitted with all of the amenities needed for a fabulous beach vacation.   Jenna Lanier, General Manager, explains that her family first opened the rental and property management business in 2002. At the forefront of Victory Beach operations is Lanier’s mother, Caroline Meeks. Meeks is both the Broker in Charge and co-owner with husband, Buck Meeks, who manages the Field Services team with Lanier’s husband, Scott.   For nearly 20 years, the Victory Beach team has worked tirelessly to establish a network of top-of-the-line rental properties for Cape Fear visitors to enjoy. “As far as our properties go,” explains Lanier, “they are all updated, well-furnished and appointed. “We have always performed post-cleaning inspections and since the pandemic, have put freshly laundered duvets over all of the comforters between rentals.”   Lanier emphasizes how important the guests experience is “we strive to give our guests a relaxing, stress free, memorable vacation.” This emphasis on customer service has led to Victory Beach Vacations having a 4.8 Google rating with over 300 reviews by happy owners and guests.In addition to Victory Beach’s superior sanitation practices, the company offers properties for every type of visitor. Choose from luxury oceanfront houses and condos to more reasonbly priced 2nd row properties with oceanviews. Many properties include pools and hot tubs as well, perfect for outdoor entertaining, and many are dog friendly.   Lanier also notes that all properties are within walking or driving distance to Pleasure Island’s main attractions – Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. The former, as described by Lanier, is the more commercialized of the two destinations and features a boardwalk, outdoor dining options and a plethora of weekly activities including fireworks, live music, amusement park pop-ups, and movies under the stars. Kure Beach offers a more residential feel with its fishing pier, intimate restaurants and family favorite, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.More water fun awaits, too. “There is a harbor and a canal that feed into the intercoastal. We have several properties on the harbor so guests can bring their boat, kayak, [or jet ski] and travel between islands,” says Lanier.   A stay with Victory Beach Vacations is an annual pilgrimage for most. “A large percentage of guests are previous guests. Some even reserve the same property for the next year as they’re checking out,” Lanier says. “It’s almost like it’s their personal vacation home.”   Even before guests arrive at their vacation destination, the Victory Beach Vacations’ website greets them with a live beach cam and exquisite aerial footage of both Carolina and Kure Beaches. See for yourself by scanning the QR code and call Victory Beach Vacations at 910.458.0868 to book your Cape Fear getaway. Start making your memories today! —Grace Silipigni

Masonboro Island Coastal Estuarine Reserve