Surfing has always been big on Wrightsville Beach, and visitors and surfers from all across the East Coast are starting to take notice. The town was named one of the “World’s 20 Best Surf Towns” by National Geographic Magazine, and was one of only seven town in the US to earn the distinction. The designation was due to the sleepy surf town vibe, the family friendly atmosphere, and even the growing number of things to do for visitors who aren’t necessarily interested in riding waves.
Wrightsville Beach is a family destination without the carnival atmosphere and maintains over 3000 permanent residents. That number swells to over 30,000 in the tourist season.
The town has its own police and fire departments, churches, an elementary school, a museum, a grocery store and excellent accommodations which include hotel and cottage rentals and many fine restaurants.
Incorporated in 1899, the 4.7 mile long island has been a tourist destination for over 100 years. Once connected only by a trolley system to Wilmington 12 miles away, the island is now accessed by drawbridge.
The island was once owned by the Tidewater Power Company, which installed the trolley system, built the Hotel Tarrymore in 1905, later the Oceanic (a grand hotel that burned down in 1934) and the Lumina, a famous gathering place for swimmers, sunbathers and outdoor movie enthusiasts. The Lumina was a landmark until it was demolished in 1975.
Antique Wrightsville Beach Postcards