Gladd Family Beach Trip 2014 [Wrightsville Beach, NC]

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Every other year, we travel to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina for a beach trip with Ben’s side of the family.  I wanted to share some of our favorite things to do and places to eat in the Wilmington area, in case you are planning your own trip before the summer is over!

This will be a two-part series, since I have so many ideas for you!  This first post will focus on the immediate Wrightsville Beach area, where we stayed.  The second follow up post next week will venture out from the beach and into the nearby city of Wilmington.

Beach House at Wrightsville Beach, NC with private pool.We are lucky to have free stay at this beach house owned by my brother-in-law’s law firm.  Whether you use VRBO, Airbnb, or another vacation rental website, there are a few things we love about this beach house that you should keep in mind when choosing a place to stay.  With three master bedrooms, and two kids’ rooms with bunk beds and another bonus room with a sleeper sofa, there is plenty of room for all of us.  It’s essential for the kids to have their own room, so the parents can truly have a break.

Wrightsville Beach Pool FunThis beach house also has a private pool.  It’s small, but a perfectly manageable size for us.  Because we have such young kids, we used the pool MUCH more than we went to the beach, and the beach was only a block away!  It was just so easy to not deal with sand all of the time and the kids love swimming in pools.  I totally recommend having a pool with your rental, even though you’re at the beach.

Kids having fun at Wrightsville Beach, NCThat said, we did enjoy our time at the beach, too.  If you find a rental that is walking distance to the beach, then keep your beach gear minimal with light snacks, beach chairs, umbrella, towels and sand toys.  Don’t forget sunscreen and water bottles!  A red wagon is perfect for pulling it all.  Again, I’m speaking from a perspective of having young kids with you.  If you have no kids or older kids, then load up what you want! 🙂  I’m all about keeping things simple during my current stage of life so I can sit and relax with my toes in the sand.

Grab a coffee, muffin and breakfast burrito at Cafe Del Mar in the heart of Wrightsville Beach, NC.Let’s talk about my favorite way to start the day at Wrightsville Beach.  Our beach house is just a few blocks from the heart of Wrightsville Beach.  On the main drag, you can find a few shops and restaurants, along with a little grocery store.  Each morning, I liked to take Simon for a little walk in his stroller so that I could stop into Cafe Del Mar for an iced coffee and muffin or a delicious breakfast burrito.  My iced coffee from this small unassuming coffee shop under the blue awning hit the spot every morning.

Connected to Cafe Del Mar, and under the same umbrella, is Tower 7 Baja Mexican Grill.  We LOVE the chips and cheese dip, and ordered it a couple of times to take back to the house.  But, we also enjoy a late-night snack there.  It’s a nice break to put the kids to bed and leave them with Nana and Papa while the “big kids” go out for a bit and bond with each other over tacos and drinks.

Trolly Stop Hot Dogs in Wrightsville Beach, NCAnother late-night option, but only on the weekends, is Trolly Stop Hot Dogs.  Or, catch it any weekday for a hefty bite, but be ready to wait in line!  Which hot dog would you choose?

Nyes Cream Sandwiches - found at Robert's Market in Wrightsville Beach, NCIn this same area is a small grocery store, Robert’s Market.  We haven’t tried any of their meals you can purchase and take with you, but what we love about this market is the availability of Nye’s Cream Sandwiches!  Have you ever had one of these ice cream cookies?  Oh lordy, find where you can buy them NOW!  They are small and pricey, but worth the indulgence during your vacation.  My brother-in-law is so obsessed with them that he bought a bunch and hid them in the back of our freezer.   Pictured above is the Blueberry Pie flavor with a sugar cookie crust.  But, they have a ton of other amazing varieties and some seasonal.  Wish we had a store that sold them here in Mississippi!

Always Corny Popcorn found at Robert's Market, Wrightsville Beach, NC (I called it "Rainbow" popcorn to the kids)Another great find at Robert’s Market is Always Corny popcorn.  I bought the multi-colored bag of caramel popcorn (I think it’s officially called “Confetti”).  I kept it as a surprise snack for the kids one afternoon, and called it Rainbow Popcorn, then told them how I popped some popcorn and then ran through a rainbow where it turned into all the colors!  They totally ate up the story AND the popcorn! 🙂  I love gullible kids!

I believe Always Corny has an actual store-front in Wilmington, so there’s that option, too.  They are formerly Vic’s Corn Popper of Wilmington.  Let me know if you go!

Jet skiing at Wrightsville Beach, NCOf course, if you can, find a place to rent jet skis while you’re visiting, or any other recreational activity.  The house we stay in includes jet skis at their private dock, so we took them out for a spin in the water of Banks Channel.  Judah had the time of his life!

Run, bike or walk the John Nesbitt Loop at Wrightsville Beach, NCIf you like to run, walk or bike, there is a great loop around Wrightsville with an active community.  It’s called the John Nesbitt Loop.  Follow the map above!

Family name in the sand at Wrightsville Beach, NC

Before you leave the beach, you must write your name in the sand and take a picture!  😉  This was the best we could do at getting the kids in the picture.  All they wanted to do was run around and then mess it up with their feet.  ha!

Stay tuned next week for my second post where you’ll find out about some fun sweet shops and a delicious farm to table restaurant!  Plus, a few other ideas for you …all in the Wilmington, NC area.

Also check out my Pinterest board where you can find our favorite places in and around Wrightsville Beach.

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  1. Donna Nejako says:

    Great blog post 🙂 We have vacationed in Wrightsville for the past 30 years. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. We stay on the south end of the island ocean front and just love it there. This place looks beautiful – where exactly is it? Is it listed on VRBO??

    • Nikki Gladd says:

      Hi Donna,
      I hope to say someday that we’ve vacationed in Wrightsville for 30 years, too! Amazing! The house is owned by my brother-in-law’s law firm and used just by the partners and families. Not listed on VRBO that I know of. 🙂

  2. Did you go to Britt’s Doughnuts on the boardwalk? They’re a family run bakery that has been there since 1940. They come out hot and fresh and it will be the best doughnut you’ve ever had!

    • Nikki Gladd says:

      Hi Laurie! We were at Wrightsville Beach the whole time and I think Britt’s is at Carolina Beach? Will have to try to make it there next time!! 🙂

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