Destination Wrightsville | What to do: Watersports

BY Staff


With more than 300 000 boats registered in North Carolina waters boating is one of the state’s most popular pastimes. If you’re spending time on Wrightsville Beach at some point you’ll most likely find yourself on a boat or other watercraft. And if somehow you don’t but want to here are some tips on how to make it happen!

From scenic cruises to tours to rentals Wrightsville Beach offers many exciting ways to enjoy the pristine waters of the Carolina coast. Whether setting sail or starting your engines there’s fun to be had for all ages.

If you brought your boat with you there are specific regulations for Wrightsville Beach. All watercraft in operation must be equipped with each of the following: registration personal flotation devices fire extinguishers sound-producing devices flame arrestors ventilation exhaust mufflers and lights (from sunset to sunrise).

While in the water all watercraft must operate at reasonable speeds depending on the conditions and given situations. All must decrease to no-wake speed while entering passing or leaving state-controlled fishing or boating access areas.

Watercraft passing close to swimming areas moored boats or boats engaged in fishing servicing buoys or markings or similar activities must reduce their speed to prevent their wash or wake from causing damage to swimmers other occupants of the area or other watercraft.

Vessels operated in North Carolina waters must slow to no-wake speed when passing within 100 feet of a law enforcement vessel that is displaying a flashing blue light unless the vessel is in a narrow channel. Vessels in a narrow channel must slow to no-wake speed when passing within 50 feet of a law enforcement vessel that is displaying a flashing blue light.

When approaching another watercraft stay to the right. Sailboats not under power and boats propelled by oars or paddles have the right-of-way over motorboats. Small pleasure craft must yield to large commercial vessels in narrow channels.

If operating a watercraft adhere to all waterway markings or buoys that give the speed limit warn of danger zones or mark areas where boating is prohibited.

Finally be prepared. Know the water conditions before you set out. Be alert for notifications of changing conditions or current restrictions. The most successful trips to sea are those where all members of the crew pay attention work together and take every precaution to stay safe.

If you brought your own boat to Wrightsville Beach and are looking for access you’ll find it at the Wildlife Public Boat Ramp head toward the Heide Trask drawbridge and take the right hand turn just before the drawbridge. For a complete list of all boating accesses in North Carolina visit

Wynn Plaza located across from Wings at the juncture of the Causeway and Waynick Boulevard is Wrightsville Beach’s municipal dock providing access to the beach and the downtown business district for mariners. Dockage is free but boats cannot be left on the dock overnight and there is no water or electricity. This also a launching location for the town Kayak/Canoe Trail. A gazebo overlooking Banks Channel and paid parking are also provided.

No boat — No problem!

Visitors to the area looking for powerboat rentals will find a nice variety to choose from. Services are all pretty standard depending on the type and size craft you want to rent.

NautiTimes’s flat bottom Carolina Skiffs (center console) rentals available in 17- and 19-foot models are shallow draft craft that can be loaded with all the amenities for cruising diving and fishing to have a perfect day on the water. Prices start at $175 for as little as half a day or for multiple days (which includes a 10-percent discount too).

For those wanting more boat Entropy Boat Rentals has center console options from 17-20 feet. Rental boats come with U.S. Coast Guard approved safety equipment as well as marine radios compass and inshore/near-shore maps. Their 10-boat fleet — all Sea Mark boats built in Rocky Point — is available for half-day full-day or weekly rentals. Prices start at $195 for a six-hour (one-half day) excursion.

For those needing more power Reliant Marine offers a wide variety of sizes — from 18-37 feet skiff to luxury with a head (toilet). A half-day starts at $225 and can top out at $799 for the 37-footer. Multiple days bring a 30-percent reduction in price.

Rental pickup or delivery can be at your cottage at the town municipal dock or any place in between. All the rental locations take credit cards and handle the training and checkout needed for a safe day on the water. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Island hopping and tours:

Wrightsville Water Taxi and Scenic Tours
(910) 200-4002

Puddle Shuttle
(910) 367-6020

Gilligan’s Boat Cruises and Tours
(910) 233-3144

Power boat rentals:

Nauti Times Rental Fleet
Wrightsville Beach
(910) 262-4386

Entropy Boat Rentals
Middle Sound
(910) 675-1877

Reliant Marine
Wrightsville Beach
(910) 256-0638


Every year Wrightsville Beach grows more popular as a surfing destination attracting the boards of both lifelong surfers and first-time waveriders. The beach is beautiful the surf is rocking and even if you’ve got no gear all your surfing needs can be purchased or rented on Wrightsville Beach. Whether you’re looking for the right rash guard or a weeklong board rental any of the excellent beach surf shops can outfit you and your family for the perfect surfing experience.

Surfing rules and regulations

As you head out into the waves please note that all surfers are required to have a leash attached to their surfboard and must use the leash while surfing. Be sure to follow the surf regulations set for Wrightsville Beach.

Surfing is prohibited within 100 yards north and south of the 13 lifeguard stands from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Surf Zones: If you are unsure of where the surf zones are lifeguards are more than willing to point you in the right direction. As long as you see a lifeguard in a stand stay within the surf zones. This restriction spans from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day but may extend later on busier beach days. Outside the 100-yard boundaries or the “no-surfing zones ” both surfers and swimmers are welcome to play as they please. Floating offshore buoys mark where the zone changes take place. But regardless of season day or night Wrightsville Beach prohibits surfing within 100 feet of the Masonboro Inlet jetty within 500 feet of Johnnie Mercer’s Pier and within 100 feet of the Crystal Pier (next to the Oceanic Restaurant). Surfing violations can result in as much as a $100 fine and since no one wants to spoil a day in the sun with a ticket pay attention stay safe and all you’ll have to worry about is catching the perfect wave.

Red flag days are days that extreme surfers live for but be warned the surf is dangerous and can even be deadly. Caution and wisdom are always advised.

Need an Island surf shop?

Surf City Surf Shop
530 Causeway Drive
Wrightsville Beach
(910) 256-2265

Sweetwater Surf Shop
10 N. Lumina Avenue
Wrightsville Beach
(910) 256-3821

Wrightsville Beach Supply Co.
1 N. Lumina Avenue
Wrightsville Beach
(910) 256-8821


From surf fishing to pier fishing to inshore fishing to Gulf Stream ocean fishing Wrightsville Beach is the ultimate destination for a fabulous fishing vacation. The area’s creeks rivers and ocean arteries offer a variety of fishing experiences and plenty of fish to catch. Whether or not you’ve packed your rod the Wrightsville Beach fishing community is more than prepared to outfit any fisherman from a seasoned angler to a first-timer. Rentals are available and every imaginable piece of fishing gear can be readily found at one of our area tackle shops.

Fishing license requirements

If you’re going to be fishing in the surf you’ll need a saltwater fishing license. If you’re going to cast your line from the pier a blanket license covers all the pier fishermen. If you’re looking for an inshore guide or a deep-sea charter Wrightsville Beach is the place to be. Find your way to a local tackle shop and inquire from one of the pros as to their favorite holes spots charters and captains.

Guides Charters and Parties

Reel Adventure Charters
(910) 540-0570

Offshore Account Sportfishing Charters
(910) 262-7148

Deep Sea Express Charters
(910) 798-1715

Stuart Caulder
(910) 686-9768

Predator Sport Fishing
(910) 512-0847

Price’s Right Charters
(910) 231-4674

Whipsaw Charter Boat
(910) 791-0555

Rod-Man Fishing Charters
(910) 799-6120

Back Bay Fishing Charters
(910) 262-3474


Tackle Shops

Intracoastal Angler
(910) 256-4545

Tex’s Tackle
(910) 791-1763


Fishing Pier

Johnnie Mercer’s
(910) 256-2743



There’s no better way to experience the serenity of the Azalea Coast than by self-propelled paddle. Glide through the pristine waters of Wrightsville Beach on a 5-mile kayaking trail of the out-island marshes and explore the natural beauty that abounds. Or explore the 8.4-mile-long Masonboro Island the longest undisturbed barrier island in this area. There are several public access points along the backside of Wrightsville Beach. You can launch from the sandy beach at the public docks or from the boat ramp underneath the Heide Trask drawbridge.

Salt Marsh Kayak Company
(lessons tours sales rentals)

(910) 509-2989  

Hook Line and Paddle
(lessons tours sales rentals)
(910) 792-6945


If the thrill of experiencing underwater life is calling you Wrightsville Beach is the perfect spot to take a dive. Explore the North Carolina artificial reef system and wreck sites formally known as “The Graveyard of the Atlantic ” or simply enjoy the view.

Island Time Charters
(910) 617-3474

Aquatic Safaris Emporium

(910) 392-4386


Without a doubt Wrightsville Beach is one of the supreme kiteboarding spots on the East Coast. Kiteboarding the second largest water sport next to surfing is a must-try during your stay. On Wrightsville Beach the south end is one of the more popular kiteboarding sites and riders can launch right from the beach.

Blowing In The Wind
(910) 509-9989