A short drive from Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach is a good day-trip destination. This is a small (5-mile-long), partly upscale, and quiet island community. Many beach houses have been in the same families for generations, although some striking contemporary homes have been constructed in recent years.
The beaches are serious havens for sunning, swimming, surfing, and surf fishing, and the beach patrol is vigilant about keeping ATVs, glass containers, alcohol, pets, and bonfires off the sands. In summer, when the population skyrockets, parking can be a problem if you don't arrive early; towing is enforced.