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Where to Surf in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Take one look at Wrightsville Beach and you would never guess this beautiful place is in North Carolina.

I say this because the water is aqua blue and clear with soft, white sand, which makes Wrightsville beach one-of-a-kind.

Currently writing this from Wrightsville Beach (where I come to visit family and friends), I have a special place in my heart for this pretty beach town and you would too if you visited.

Best Places to Surf in Wrightsville Beach

What makes surfing here unique is the close-knit community including families, friends, surf shops, and more people who are all very supportive of each other and friendly out in the water, even when spots start to get crowded.

Something else that makes Wrightsville Beach stand out is the island a little boat ride off the coast where the waves get very good, Masonboro Island.

There’s a lot of special gems around this town that make Wrightsville Beach stand out from other surf towns in the Carolinas.

Waves in Wrightsville Beach

The waves here are very consistent. Yes, summer has its flat spells, but overall there’s always a wave somewhere at one of the spots. The fall and winter get very, very good due to NE swells during the winter and hurricane swells during the fall. Although summer is the “flat” season, and even if the forecast is calling 1-2 ft or 2-3 ft, the waves are actually pretty consistent. Some surf spots are similar in the ideal conditions they favor for good surf, but others require something a little different. Because of that, later on in this article, I will discuss the ideal conditions for each individual surf spot in Wrightsville Beach.

Surf Culture in in Wrightsville Beach

The surf culture here runs very deep.

The entire town is super friendly and welcoming to outside visitors which creates an overall good vibe throughout the beach and land.

The surf shops have been around a very long time and support the community through thick and thin and also help sponsor local events to raise morale throughout the town.

The best local, real, surf shops are South End Surf Shop, Sweetwater Surf Shop, and Surf City Surf Shop.

The vibe out in the lineup during the early mornings is just the best.

Everyone is smiling and greeting each other by name because it’s a routine thing most of them do, surfing before work, even if it’s small.

The sunrises here are also a major factor in bringing surfers together in the early mornings.

Gear Needed to Surf in in Wrightsville Beach

You will definitely need some cold water gear here during the winters and transitions from season to season.

During the summer, you will be just fine in a bikini or board shorts, but don’t forget to either wear sunscreen or a rash guard because those UV rays are strong.

You will be fine in your summer gear until the colder weather and waters start to roll around in the fall.

You may need a spring suit in that transition from fall to winter. In the winter, you will need a 3/2mm or 4/3mm full suit because the winters here can get extremely cold!

You will also need booties, gloves, and maybe a hood at the peak of winter if the cold gets too unbearable (the waves are good though, so it’s worth it).

Transitioning from winter to spring you will slowly start shedding the winter gear and get into a spring suit until it’s warm enough between spring and summer to wear your bikinis and board shorts again.

The Top 5 Surf Spots in Wrightsville Beach

Crystal Pier

Crystal Pier is the one that’s located south of Wrightsville Beach (the other pier is Johnny Mercer’s pier to the north).

This spot is a sand bottom beach break that works best at an incoming tide. People surf on both the south side of the pier and the north side.

Both sides are equally crowded in the mornings, but once the lifeguards show up and move people further away from the pier for the day, the crowd gets lighter although the beach goers start showing up.

This spot can get really fun with the right swell!

The ideal conditions for Crystal pier would be a N or S swell paired with W or NW winds. All types of boards are welcomed and you will see all different types of people out there surfing, that’s for sure.


On Columbia street, this spot is located in the middle of the Wrightsville Beach strip.

C-Street is probably tied with Crystal Pier as the most popular spots to surf here.

A younger surf crowd takes over and boy does it get crowded with really good surfers.

Overall the vibe is welcoming but when it’s crowded, you may find trouble paddling through and catching waves around the predominantly shortboard shredders.

Honestly though, anyone is welcomed along with any type of board.

This is a sand bottom beach break that is best at middle tide.

The ideal conditions for C-Street would be S or SE swell paired with wind from the W or NW.

Johnnie Mercers’ Pier

Johnny Mercer’s is the pier located to the north of Wrightsville Beach — it's another one of the best places to surf.

It’s the oldest pier on the beach and was recently redone as a concrete pier which may, over time, become extremely good for surfing because it collects more sand.

It’s a good sand bottom beach break and tends to break better on the north side of the pier.

The ideal conditions for Johnny Mercer’s would be a N or S swell paired with W or NW winds.

The Jetty

The Jetty is located a little bit more south than Crystal Pier.

You can see Masonboro Island from here and of course it is located near the inlet, so be aware you might see a few sea dogs out there.

This spot can produce some really fun rights with the perfect swell.

It’s usually not too crowded unless it starts going off and then all of the locals have spread the word.

It works best with a big S swell paired with very light offshore winds.

This spot doesn’t break all of the time, but when it’s good, oh man it’s good.

Masonboro Island

My favorite for last. Technically, Masonboro Island isn’t on Wrightsville Beach, but you can see the island from the beach, so I’m counting it.

Bad news first, you need a boat to get there.

Some of the older locals will tell you stories of how they used to paddle across the entire inlet to get to the spot, but that’s not advised!

You park your boat at the sand bar and walk across some sand dune trails (bring sandals!) to get to the spot, but it’s pretty epic once you finish the journey.

A nearly empty beach greets you (aside from some people who like to camp out there) and you will find some really good surf if the conditions are just right.

When it’s going off, every surfer with a boat or surfer who knows someone with a boat is there.

The ideal conditions for Masonboro Island would be a really big N swell paired with light offshore winds from the W or NW.

Things To Do In Wrightsville Beach When Waves Are Flat

If you find yourself in town on a flat spell, good thing you’re in one of the most beautiful beach towns on the east coast.

Spend a day at the beach or walk it, the water is honestly the most beautiful color ever and some days it’s so clear you can see the bottom even if you’re far out.

So, grab your snorkel gear and go swimming for shells and see some fish and maybe you’ll get lucky enough to see turtles or other beautiful sea animals like eagle rays and hammerheads- locals to the area.

There’s actually a “downtown” or “town” area right on the beach with really good food and ice cream. If bar life is what you’re looking for, Jimmy's Red Dogs (21+), usually always has live music, and The Palm Room are great beach bar options.

Tower 7 is my favorite place to eat on the beach! Looking to knock out some work and get a coffee or smoothie? Sundays is a great place for that.

Go parasailing, rent a jet ski, rent a boat, do a boat tour, go on a fishing charter, and so much more here! Definitely check out and support those local surf shops I mentioned earlier in the article for some good quality gear and vibes.

Best Places to Surf in Wrightsville Beach

Hopefully, now that we have reached the end of this article, you understand why Wrightsville Beach is one of the best beach towns on the east coast.

The town is beautiful and has a lot to offer to surfers and visitors. Wrightsville Beach is a must-visit surf trip destination on the east coast.


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