Fantastic Things To Do In Cedar Secret (it’s a throwback to Old Florida)

Fantastic Things To Do In Cedar Secret (it’s a throwback to Old Florida)

You’ll more than happy to understand you don’t need to entirely ditch the Florida beaches on your check out to Natural North Florida.

One thing we enjoy about this region in Florida is the variety and outside activities!

Cedar Key Beach, Florida
Cedar Key Beach

You can move from the lavish forest filled with revitalizing crystal-clear natural springs to warm ocean temperature levels in simply a brief drive.

Under 2 hours from Live Oak and 50-miles west of Gainesville, you’ll discover yourself at Cedar Key on the Gulf Coast.

It’s a throwback to Old Florida – the Key West you wanted you experienced back in Hemingway’s Days.

We got here believing we might fill one and be all set to go the next.

After a brief walk around this wacky salt-crusted town and talking with a couple of residents, we felt we’d most likely delight in remaining another day.

Overlooking Cedar Key Marina

We looked into our Sea Pearl Suite at Harbour Masters with its wrap around deck offering 270-degree extensive views over neighboring islands and chose a couple of days would be the sluggish and relaxing household trip all of us require.

A number of hours later on after swimming and paddleboarding we extended that to a week.

Then by the night, after a charming regional couple we satisfied at sundown provided us a couple of seats in their golf cart to take us to the only location we might get a bottle of red wine for night beverages on the deck, and we faced Dave the kayak person, who they attempted to present us, and we stated ” yeah, we currently understand each other”, I believed to myself,

“You understand, this is the sort of location I might reside in for a long time.”

Cedar Key, Florida

Cedar Key gradually anchors you in.

There’s no glamour or cookie-cutter beautiful, produced traveler destinations here. It’s raw, warm and ambling.

You’ll welcome it if you enable locations to expose who they lack expectations or constraints.

Cedar Key went from being included in a wrap-up blog post on our visit to Natural North Florida to having its own dedicated post on things to do in Cedar Key, and on our list of coolest places to visit in Florida!

We loved our little one-night Florida island getaway.

Cedar Key Florida

Upon departure, Savannah exclaimed that we were coming back at least for a week as this was now her favorite place. Our new friends are ready for our return with the door to their Airbnb beach cottage open.

Quick note. We visited Natural North Florida on a paid campaign with Visit Florida, and in partnership with Natural North Florida. All words and images are our own!

About Cedar Key

Looking out towrds Atsena Otie Island

This region was mapped in 1542 and named “Las Islas Sabines” which means The Cedar Islands, named for the bounty of cedar trees that covered the islands.

Native Indians occupied these islands for at least 1,000 years, thriving on the endless bounty surrounding them. It’s one of the largest nesting areas in Florida for varieties of pelicans, egrets, bald eagles, ospreys and more.

While lumbar was once a thriving industry, tourism and fishing is now its claim to fame. Cedar Key is a major producer of clams nationwide, raking in more than $34 million annually.

Clams at Steamers Restaurant
We had really good clams at Steamers Restaurant

The Cedar Islands are now known as the Cedar Key National Refuge and are composed of 13 offshore islands jutting into the Gulf Coast.

The quiet fishing village of Cedar Key Florida is nestled among many of these small islands 4-miles out into the Gulf of Mexico.

A series of bridges and picturesque salt marshes lead into this eclectic community of artisans, nature lovers and those seeking a slower pace.

If you want to be like the locals, you’ll don your flip flops, let go of your wound-up tensions, and hire a golf kart to get around. (although the town is easy to walk around.)

Below are a few of the wonderful things to do in Cedar Key Fl.

Cedar Key Beach – swim, kayak, paddle board

Cedar Key Beach, Florida

Cedar Key Beach is a small area by the marina with a strip of white sand, palm trees, and a sectioned off swimming area.

After delighting in how good my body felt covered in salty water, I realized I hadn’t felt that ocean water feeling in some time. After a talk and a bit of math, we discovered it had been three years since we last swam in the ocean in Hawaii.

How does an Aussie do that?

Never again! We were happy Cedar Key could reintroduce us to the joy of ocean living.

Cedar Key, Fl

We hired some stand up paddle boards and kayaks from Dave at Cedar Key Adventures to paddle around the swimming beach area. The current was moving, and the wind was high, so we didn’t stray too far from shore.

We almost had the entire beach to ourselves and the girls had a blast swimming at this beach.

Kayak to Atsena Otie

Atsena Otie

Every view from Cedar Key leads you to Atsena Otie, the closest and most accessible of the refuge islands.

It was the location of the first Cedar Key until a hurricane’s 10-foot storm surged flattened it in 1896.

One of the best things to do in Cedar Key is to explore this island by kayak. We rented our kayaks from Dave and headed out for a strong paddle against the current and wind for just half a mile (30-mins) to the island.

Kayaking in Cedar Key, Florida

There is an old cemetery in the middle of the island you can reach through the woods under a canopy of oaks. You may not get too far before the mosquitoes, and as advised by Dave, “will carry you out of there.” (Take mosquito repellent).

A further short walk along the beach, near the pier, will take you to the crumbling remains of what used to be the pencil factory.

There is not too much to do on Atsena Otie but it’s worth a couple of hours adventure just for the paddle and scenery.

Those with more time may wish to paddle the 1.5 miles around the island. Unlike most of the other islands, you can explore the unique interior of Atsena Otie via the marshes on the south side.

What to do in Cedar Key, Fl

Ambitious paddlers can go on to other nearby islands of the Cedar Key National Refuge. They are said to have nice beaches. You can also explore these islands by boat.

The paddle back only took us about 15-minutes with the wind at our back and gave us nice views of Dock Street and the marina.

Sunset at Cedar Key

You’re on the Florida Gulf Coast, sunset is the main event!

Locals say you cannot beat the sunset and quirky vibes from the Tiki Bar located just outside the bridge into town.

Sadly, for us it’s an adult only bar, so we traded in the best place for sunset in Cedar Key to the next best, which is just in front of the pink Beach Front Motel.

The sky lights up in pretty oranges and pinks as it sets behind the lands and water of the Cedar Key National Refuge.

 The kids will enjoy playing on the rocks of the small beach area here.

Dock Street

Cedar Key, Fl

Or D street as the locals refer to The Big Dock, is a series of colorful mom-and-pop resorts, restaurants and multi storied buildings stores suspended over the waters on stilts.

It’s known as the heartbeat of this small fishing village and you can walk it in less than five-minutes!

But browse a while through the stores and enjoy the artistic designs of parked golf carts and egrets trying to sneak their way into bars.

Shell Mound

About 7-miles out of Cedar Key is the Shell Mound. This high mound was built up over a 1,000 year period up to 1,800 years ago by Woodland Native cultures discarding their oyster and clam shells.

A short 0.3 mile trail will take you through the jungle and around and on top of the shell mound.

A path off the Shell Mound Trail leads to a boardwalk and fishing pier that looks out over a bayou of Suwanee Sound.

The Dennis Creek Trail is another 1-mile loop with a boardwalk that takes you over a salt barren to a coastal island. Dave said it was one of his favorite walking trails.

Kayakers will love the beauty of this shallow ocean area thick with wildlife and paddling often only inches deep over hidden oyster bars.

Sunrise at Cedar Key

Sunrise in Cedar Key, Florida

What a way to start a Cedar Key day!

Sunrise in Cedar Key from the deck of our Sea Pearl Suite at the Harbour Master Suites was spectacular.

We had the perfect view of the sun rising over the horizon in front of us and the color changing from deep orange to pink.

In fact, the soft pre-dawn pinks woke us up from our bed.

Once the sun is up, grab yourself a coffee and sit on your deck watching all the birds flying by in formation.

Steamers Clam Bar and Grill for Seafood and Views

Steamers Clam Bar and Grill, Cedar Key, Florida

Looking for Cedar Key restaurants overlooking the Gulf with fresh seafood?

This Big Dock restaurant offers prime position for Gulf views over Atsena Otie and some of the other islands.

At Steamers Clam Bar and Grill there are large windows that enable for views if you wish to sit inside.

However, to make your meal here a memorable experience, we recommend grabbing one of the nooks on the deck.

Steamers Clam Bar and Grill, Cedar Key, Florida

The outside deck is narrow so there are about four private nook areas where you can sit with front row seat of the view, the balmy breeze on your skin, and dolphins frolicking in front of you.

I told you Cedar Key pulls you in! This is the serene Florida vacation of your dreams.

As you are in clam country, be sure to pick a clam dish on the extensive menu.

Steamers Clam Bar and Grill, Cedar Key, Florida

We can highly recommend the clam bowl steamed in white wine and garlic and the seafood broil, washed down with a glass of wine or craft beer.

They do claim to have the best clam chowder on the island (another popular clam chowder place is Tony’s Restaurant).

Stay at Harbour Master Suites

Harbour Master Suites, Cedar Key, Florida
Harbour Master Suites

Harbor Master Suites has front row stilted position on D Street. We stayed in the Pearl Suite and could not believe we had the entire top deck to ourselves.

We had a spot for morning coffee and sunrise, a spot for afternoon drinks, and then another hidden screened in porch that overlooked the street for later at night when the ocean views were gone and the people watching just started.

Harbour Master Suites, Cedar Key, Florida

The Sea Pearl Suite is a huge two-bedroom suite with a living area and full-kitchen. We only wished we stayed longer to fully enjoy the suite. Its location is easy walking distance to everywhere – the Cedar Key way!

Local Tips: Things to Do in Cedar Key

We received many tips from the friendly locals. While we did our best to do as many as we could on our short trip, we’re adding them to this post on things to do in Cedar Key to help you plan your getaway there.

Main Street of Cedar Key

A few of these tips we couldn’t do as they were closed when we visited. Many of the restaurants close on Tuesday or Wednesdays so be sure to check opening times before planning your trip to visit Cedar Key.

Neptune Lounge in the Island Hotel

A cozy, intimate restaurant experience perfect for couples.

There is a fine dining restaurant in this hotel, but the local’s tip is to head to the informal and cozy lounge bar for outstanding food and a taste of the local gathering culture.

The lounge was painted in 1948 with murals of Cedar Key and King Neptune, for whom the bar is named.

We met a local at Live Oak who told us he and his wife used to fly on a private plane to Cedar Key for mini-vacations and would always stay and eat at the Island Hotel. It’s a Cedar Key icon!

Annie’s Cafe

Every single local we spoke to said Annie’s Cafe does the best breakfast and was a must do not miss Cedar Key place to eat.

We were disappointed it was closed on the Wednesday we were there – the only day we could go. Be sure to tell us what it was like and tag us in a photo!

Cemetery Point Park Boardwalk

The 1,200 foot long boardwalk takes you through marsh land adjacent to one of the back bays and channels of the keys. It’s a 3.5-acre property with a sandy shore for you to swim or kayak.

We hope this post helps you plan your own Cedar Key vacation. If you’re looking for locations to check out in North Florida with kids, consider here!

You can be sure we’ll be back for more family fun and to tick those other activities off our list.

Oh, and if you go to without kids, wear’t forget the Tiki Bar for sunset!

Cedar Key, Florida video

Have you heard of Cedar Key prior to? Have any extra suggestions OR any concerns about travel to this Florida island?

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Important Things to Do in Beaufort SC (on a peaceful time-out)

Important Things to Do in Beaufort SC (on a peaceful time-out)

If you’re a fan of the film Forrest Gump, then you’ve currently taken a trip to Beaufort, South Carolina.

You simply believed you remained in Alabama with Bubba’s and Lieutenant Dan’s shrimp boats, running over the bridge into Mississippi and combating in the rice fields and jungle of Vietnam.

Waterfront at Beaufort, SC
Waterfront at Beaufort, SC

But, you were right here in Beaufort, in this beautiful and peaceful little historic city immersed in a forest of ancient live oaks and surrounded by marshlands, islands, waterways, and the Atlantic Ocean.

That’s right, 70% of the film was shot around Beaufort SC!

Why Visit Beaufort, South Carolina?

Beaufort, South Carolina?
Old Point Neighborhood, Beaufort

Beaufort is abundant in history and Gullah heritage, Southern Charm, natural appeal, and scrumptious regional seafood.

It was called the South’s finest village by Southern Living Magazine and lies about midway in between Charleston and Savannah along the safeguarded Intracoastal Waterway and South Carolina’s Atlantic Coast.

We initially went to with my moms and dads in 2010 when Kalyra was just 2 and a half. We still talk about that road trip between here and the other Beaufort in North Carolina.

Up there in NC they pronounce it Bowfort (as in bow tie.), which is the English pronunciation. Down here, they pronounce it Beaufort as in beautiful.

Back in 1562, the French explorer Jean Ribault claimed the Port Royal Harbor and set up a settlement on Paris Island.

Beaufort, South Carolina?
Shrimp Boats

This makes this area older than Jamestown in Virginia by 45 years and St Augustine in Florida by three years.

During this time period, the Spanish also attempted to colonize this area bordering the second deepest natural harbor on the East Coast, and the British came later.

All failed because of the fierce defense of the Yamasee people, the Native Americans who lived in these lands.

Life was abundant for them here and they did not want to leave.

Unfortunately, as our sad history goes, the English formally chartered Beaufort in 1711, turning it into a ship building hub and pushing the Yamasee out into North Florida with the Seminoles.

We can’t change history, but we can learn about it and acknowledge those who lived as part of this land as its custodians and how they suffered.

How long do you need to visit Beaufort?

Beaufort, South Carolina?
Old Point Neighborhood,

There is no end to a fantastic Beaufort vacation. You could stay here for weeks and soak up its history and the serenity of its natural beauty and slow, sweet Low-Country living!

But that’s probably not how you travel!

We recommend at least two nights/three days to enjoy all of the best the things to do in Beaufort SC. That means if you left on a Friday afternoon and returned on Sunday afternoon, you could easily make Beaufort a weekend getaway.

Stay at The Beaufort Inn

Beaufort Inn, South Carolina
The Beaufort Inn

Because Beaufort is a charming historical Southern city, your accommodation can become part of the destination highlights.

We wanted our accommodation to be unique to the Beaufort experience, so we stayed at The Beaufort Inn, located a block away from the main street and river, and the old Point neighborhood. And it’s just a short drive to all other Beaufort attractions.

The Beaufort Inn is spread out over several blocks of guesthouses, manicured gardens, and communal sitting spaces.

Beaufort Inn, South Carolina
The beautiful Beaufort Inn

There are multiple options for where you can stay depending upon your traveling group!

There is the main pink inn, the historic Smith Wallace Mansion. It was built in 1897 by William Sidney Smith as a summer retreat for his family. Children under 12 cannot stay in this building!

Beaufort Inn, South Carolina family accommodation
 Smith Wallace Mansion and lobby

The other accommodation options include gorgeous restored cottages and homes and range from Standard hotel/inn style rooms to those with living areas and fully equipped kitchens.

We had a 2-double bedroom in one of the Palmetto Courtyard Queen Rooms.

Our room was on the bottom left

It was beautiful on the outside and we had our own rocking chairs on the porch and sitting area out front with views of the quiet and charming Craven Street – voted most charming street in the South by Southern Living Magazine!

The rooms were a standard hotel room but beautifully decorated and wonderfully comfortable, with a great bathroom and shower.

family friendly accommodation South Carolina
accGreat accommodation for families in Beaufort

The Beaufort Inn is one of our favorite accommodation stays on the East Coast so far. We were impressed by the value of this Beaufort accommodation.

This included:

  • $7 -$10 breakfast coupons each for three different restaurants nearby
  • Complementary entrance passes to Hunting Island State Park – one of the best things to do in Beaufort SC
  • Pool passes to Cat Island Pools
  • Free bike rental

What to do in Beaufort SC

Hunting Island State Park

Hunting Island state park great family place to visit
So tropical

Welcome to an unspoiled forest of palmettos and pines leading you down to the ocean. The drive into the park towards the beach will transport you to another time another place.

This, (and Fripp Island) is the area where many of the Vietnam War scenes were filmed for Forrest Gump. You’ll notice as soon as you enter the jungle on one side and the marsh fields on the other, the sea-grass looking suspiciously like rice paddies.

This 5,000-acre protected park has 8 miles of well-maintained trails.

Hunting Island State Park
Easy boardwalk trail for kids

It was a little hot for hiking when we visited, but we did enjoy a quick stroll on the boardwalk that goes out over the marshlands to a small island and jetty popular for families crabbing.

We chose to relax on the North Beach section just under the famous Hunting Island Lighthouse. We had endless space to sit safely and comfortably and a pod of dolphins chose to swim about 100 meters away from us.

Hunting Island State Park Beach, SC
Hunting Island Beach – quiet and pretty

Hunting Island Beach quickly became one of our favorite beaches on the East Coast and perfect for your family getaway.

swimming at Hunting Island State Park with dolphins
Is that a shark or a dolphin?

Normally, you can climb the lighthouse, which is the only one in South Carolina open for climbing. Check for current conditions.

Hunting Island State Park Lighthouse, South Carolina
Hunting Island Lighthouse

There are also campsites and rental cabins in this area.

Fripp Island

Fripp Island, South Carolina
Fripp Island Beach a bit busier than Hunting Island

Fripp Island is the most westward of South Carolina’s barrier islands and is next door to Hunting Island.

We visited as my Mum currently loves the Fripp Island house hunting show. We were happy to send her photos.  

It has 3-miles of Atlantic beach coastline and many exclusive beach front homes and accommodations, as well as a Golf resort. It was busy here with vacationers and people zipping around on golf carts over the July 4th weekend.

Fripp Island, South Carolina
Loved the beach houses on Fripp Island
  • We much preferred the more isolated Hunting Island Beach.

Cypress Wetland Park

Cypress Wetland Park, Beaufort attraction not to miss
Perfect family attraction in Beaufort

Located on Port Royal island, Cypress Wetlands is a surprisingly stunning Beaufort attractions and the kind of hidden surprise you want on your Low-country vacation.

A short boardwalk will take you through the green swampland framed by cypress trees and Spanish moss where you can find camouflaged alligators and turtles and an abundant and diverse bird life.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many birds in one area. The prolific snowy white egrets stand out the most but you can also spot herons, hawks, eagles, owls, falcons, geese, ducks, and other migratory waterfowl.

  • It’s also one of the free things to do in Beaufort SC!

The Old Point Neighborhood

Old Point Neighborhood, Beaufort, South Carolina
LOVED this house – my favorite

One of the most beautiful Southern neighborhoods I’ve seen is The Point neighborhood, just to the east of downtown Beaufort.

It was the residential summer enclave of the wealthy plantation owners, as their island marshland homes became too hot and buggy.

Their summer homes caught the breezes off the river.

Live Oaks with their dripping Spanish moss drape together forming a canopy of the streets and a cooler place for you to walk and admire the stately antebellum mansion.

Old Point Neighborhood, Beaufort, South Carolina
Live Oak love

Grab a self-guided walking tour map from the visitor center so you can learn more of the history and stories behind them.

Don’t miss the spectacular views over the marshlands at the end of some of the lane-ways.

Fans of the Big Chill will love seeing the house from the movie.

Old Point Neighborhood, Beaufort, South Carolina
The Big Chill house

It was my favorite alongside the one above with the gigantic live oak draping itself over the front garden and resting almost on the roof of the house.

Horse and Buggy Tour of The Point

Horse and Buggy Tour of The Point, Beaufort, SC
Horse and buggy family activity in Beaufort

Even though you may have wandered the streets of The Point on your own, we recommend you also do the horse and buggy tour. It’s one of the most popular Beaufort SC things to do.

It’s probably best to do this initially!

The commentary brings to life this area by sharing Beaufort’s unique history during the Civil War, as it was one of the only towns not burned by Sherman’s advancing army.

After the locals all fled their antebellum mansions in fear, Sherman decided to take them over for this troops and turn them into Union hospitals.

Horse and Buggy Tour of The Point, Beaufort, SC
So much historical insight on this tour

He freed the slaves – of which they far outnumbered the locals – and hired them to work in the hospitals.

Many were able to buy their masters homes as they owed large sums of taxes when they finally returned. They didn’t pay them as they felt they would not have homes to return to.

We learned this inspiring story and many more on this tour.

We also learned more about the people who once lived in the homes, those that do now, those used in movies and TV, and unique features like the stairs to nowhere, that are said by locals to be very haunted.

Port Royal Boardwalk and Observation Tower

Port Royal Boardwalk and Observation Tower
Another easy walk for kids in Beaufort

An easy Beaufort thing to do is the Point Royal Island boardwalk which leads to an observation tower. I enjoyed the view from up here.

You could easily combine this with a visit to Cypress Wetlands and Fish camp.

Port Royal Boardwalk and Observation Tower
Good views from the Observation Tower

There is a small historical area on Port Royal where you may wish to browse some of the old stores and historical homes. They are quite different to the Point’s mansions!

Look for Sharks Teeth at Sands Beach

Sands Beach shark tooth hunting - fun Beaufort thing to do with kids
Good luck on your mission – fun for kids though

Do you like trying to find a needle in a haystack? Well you will love looking for Shark Teeth on Sands Beach.

We went to as it was next door to the boardwalk. We grew tired of it after five minutes. Your kids may love it. There were several groups of people combing the beach on the riverbank.

My question, “If this is one of popular things to do in Beaufort, and people come here daily, and possibly find sharks teeth, just what does that say about how many sharks are in the area?”

No. Jaws was not filmed here, but in Martha’s Vineyard. Perhaps the next version of it.

I’ll stick to swimming at Hunting Island Beach with the dolphins instead.

Sunset Seafood at Fish Camp on 11th

Fish Camp on 11th, Port Royal, SC
Our favorite restaurant in Beaufort

Sunset dinner at Fish Camp on 11th on Port Royal Island was our best local’s tip.

We get so many of our tips on things to do from the locals. They often know where to find the best sunsets and how you can pair that with a delicious meal!

Fish Camp checked off all the boxes. After a ten-minute wait, we found ourselves at front row tables in the screened in porch overlooking the shrimp boats.

Our seafood was fresh local and delicious – try the stuffed flounder.

Fish Camp on 11th, Port Royal, SC
Delicious local seafood

Our sunset was cancelled after a quick glimpse of its vibrant orange hues and taken over by a dramatic rolling thunderstorm, which surpassed all epic-ness of a sunset.

storm shrimp boats Beaufort, South Carolina
The most amazing storm over shrimp boats views

It was one of my favorite memories and experiences of our time in Beaufort. To see the raw and fierce side of Mother Nature is very humbling.

Sunset Seafood at Dockside

Dockside Restaurant
Another great Beaufort seafood restaurant

Just over the bridge from downtown Beaufort is the Dockside Restaurant on Lady’s Island.

You can sit inside near large windows or in the screened in porch to catch the views over Lady Island Marina and the waterways.

There is also outside seating for drinks and corn-hole under the trees.

Chow down on crab, shrimp, mussels, and locally caught fish. As Aussies we know good seafood and I was so impressed by the quality of the seafood in Beaufort.

Downtown Beaufort

Downtown Beaufort
Downtown Beaufort Bay Street

It’s easy to amble the streets of Downtown Beaufort in in between your daily explorations.

Historic Bay Street is filled with local stores and galleries, upscale and casual restaurants – many with Beaufort river views and al fresco dining.

Downtown Beaufort
Swing time – Waterfont Park

The Henry C Chambers Waterfront Park is a popular gathering spot and place to stroll with views of the marsh islands and intersecting waterways.

Bike the Spanish Moss Trail

the Spanish Moss Trail
Spanish Moss trail – great for cyclists

This 10-mile rail to trail paved path is a favorite for cyclist, joggers, and walkers.

I can see how it would be a fun experience to have in Beaufort if you cycled the trail and enjoyed the changing landscape.

We were a little underwhelmed, mostly because we were expecting a trail covered with Spanish Moss. Apparently, the trail takes you through neighborhoods where you can experience this.

the Spanish Moss Trail
Just a short walk

We also got caught in a rainstorm so didn’t get to see much. We started at the Depot trail head close to downtown and turned right to head north.

We came back later and turned left, which recommend (based on what we saw) would be the better option as it does take you to marshland views which are pretty.

So, talk to more locals and the visitor center peeps and see what you can discover as the best spot for you OR just ride your bikes along the entire way.  

For our next Beaufort getaway

Above are the main highlights of a Beaufort vacation that we discovered. There is so much more that we missed.

Below is what to do in Beaufort SC if we came back again:

  • Explore the Gullah culture and food, which is mostly found on St Helena Island.
  • Dolphin watching boat tours
  • Kayaking the area’s rivers and estuaries. We now have paddle boards so would love to take them out too!
  • Old Sheldon Church -history buffs and photographers would love the ruins of this church sitting a gorgeous forest of draped trees and Revolutionary War graves. It was burnt by British troops during the Revolutionary war, and then plundered by Union troops at the end of the civil War after it was rebuilt in 1826.

More Travel Ideas for the South

Insights on Flying Now and Existing Travel Limitations with Kerwin McKenzie

Insights on Flying Now and Existing Travel Limitations with Kerwin McKenzie

podcast interview kerwin mckenzie

Listen to the Podcast:

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Show Notes: About Kerwin Mckenzie

Fellow travel enthusiast, travel blog writer, ex-airline employee, and airplane lover. He’s taken a trip to 125 nations and flown on 180 airline companies!!

Kerwin understands all there is to learn about flights and existing travel limitations. As I discussed, I can’t even stay up to date with what’s in my cooking area cabinet to understand what to prepare for supper each night.

Kerwin understands an extraordinary quantity about the airline company market – more than anybody I have actually ever satisfied. He has actually years of experience AND has developed a remarkable life around his enthusiasm for airplanes.

So we cause the specialists to assist you.

Mostly, Kerwin is among the hottest, friendliest, most cheerful individuals I’ve had the satisfaction of conference. I enjoy overtaking him a number of times a year at conferences.

We go over:

  • What led Kerwin to be an enthusiastic airline company geek and travel enthusiast
  • His various professions in the market and his degree
  • Kerwin’s uncommon task as competitive intelligence at conferences
  • How Kerwin discovers a lot – really effective pointer and method
  • All about Passrider and how it assists those in the market get standby flights and how Kerwin turned this into a service.
  • Things to think about now when flying and how to finest prepare.
  • How flight prices are being affected
  • Different regulations and restrictions in terms of cancellations and refunds and a handy tip to get a refund even when the airline doesn’t let you know you can get one!
  • Will you lose your mileage points during these current times? Kerwin weighs in with a few tips.
  • The value of chartering private flights right now.
  • What about current travel restrictions? Kerwin shares a few loopholes and discrepancies there.
  • What to think about if you do want to go to another country right now.
  • A few possible changes that could occur in the airline company market
  • Kerwin’s brand-new endeavor: The Black Travel Alliance and its objective and function and how you can assist (Future interview episode devoted to this!)
  • How we can be more mindful and ask much better concerns
  • Why it’s crucial to get uneasy

Other interviews you might enjoy

  1. What is travel like now with Lesli and Dan Peterson
  2. How to stand out and live fully with Cory Lee

See all podcast episodes here

2 Day Itinerary: Things to Do in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

2 Day Itinerary: Things to Do in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Looking for things to do in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina? Look no more. We delighted in a beautiful three-night remain in March, and listed below we share our suggestions on what to do, locations to drink and eat, and where to stay on the beach!

Things to do in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
Johnny Mercers Pier Wrightsville Beach

At the first hint of spring, when those beautiful white and pink buds start blooming on the trees, I start dreaming of summer dresses and sand between my toes on a beach vacation!

We didn’t even wait for the weather to warm up this year; we saw those blooms in early March (just prior to the spring travel lockdown) and packed the car for a weekend getaway from Raleigh to the town of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

The temperature was lower than usual for March in Wrightsville Beach NC, but there was still so much we could do outdoors and indoors.

We’re beach people!

Growing up in Australia we’ve seen the vast majority of the 10,000+ beaches that line Australia’s coastline. And we’ve traversed up and down the coastlines of east and west coast USA, and we’ve swam and played on many beaches in Europe, Asia and East Africa.

So we think we know what makes a good beach town!

Wrightsville Beach, located on the coast of North Carolina, is one of three beaches near the coastal city of Wilmington to visit and your optimal beach town.

It’s now at the top of our list of our favorite beaches on the East Coast. Actually, for the completeness of what it offers and its vibe, it’s probably our favorite beach in the USA.

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Wrightsville Beach, NC, has everything we love about a beach and island life.

Beautiful shoreline, endless water activities, laid back vibe, surf culture, breweries, cafes, jaw-dropping sunrises and sunsets, and fresh, delicious seafood.

It’s not overdeveloped or commercialized. There is plenty to do but not too much to overwhelm or overburden the senses.

And it’s just under a two-hour drive from our home in Raleigh, North Carolina – hello Wrightsville Beach in the summer, we plan on seeing a lot of you this year!

This trip was on a paid campaign with Wilmington and Beaches CVB, but the love we feel and our words for this place is all our own!

Why is Wrightsville Beach a Standout?

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
Sunrise on Wrightsville Beach North Carolina

What makes this region stand out and be one of the best beaches in North Carolina is its laid back, slow-paced, community surf culture lifestyle AND its stunning location.

Wrightsville Beach is situated on a barrier island only 4-miles long and a couple of strides wide. Well, maybe a block or two in some sections.

The beachside, of course, meets the Atlantic Ocean and offers you a wild, rugged experience.

On the other side lies the tranquility of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway – miles of open sound water and narrow channels bordered by marshes, swamps, and small islands.

Harbor Island Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
View of Harbor Island

And just a 10-minute drive away, you’ll find the Historical Downtown Wilmington District on the Cape Fear River. You can easily incorporate this into your Wrightsville Beach vacation if you are staying longer than a few days (and we recommend you do!)

For us, this was not the first time visiting the Wilmington and Beaches area, so we did not venture outside of Wrightsville Beach. And it was fantastic.

If we couldn’t bike to it or drive only 5 minutes, we weren’t going to experience it.

As mentioned in our previous post on why Wrightsville Beach is a travel must and why it’s one of the best beach towns in North Carolina, this trip was all about disconnecting to reconnect to simplicity and togetherness.

Things to Do in Wrightsville Beach NC

Let’s go. By now you may be ready for a beach getaway, and I can think of no better place for a beach vacation in North Carolina than here.

Well done. You made it through that long lockdown stretch. Break out your swimsuit, your beach chairs and your cooler full of good times.

We’ve got you covered with a two-day itinerary for Wrightsville Beach that incorporates outdoor activities, delicious food with views, and serene moments.

First: Get around on a bike

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
We biked up to the north end of Wrightsville Beach NC

You will not regret trading in your four wheels for two. The joy of a Wrightsville Beach vacation is the ease and simplicity of pedal power.

It saves you the hassle of parking and traffic.

As one of the most popular beaches in North Carolina, Wrightsville Beach parking can be challenging during peak times. So why not join the crowds of beaming beach goers by cycling around.

We rented bikes from the Aussie Island Surf Shop, the small blue shack on the corner as you come across the bridge into the main beach street, N Lumina Ave.

Day 1

Arrive in Wrightsville Beach

Make the most of your time in Wrightsville and arrive early in the morning. Give yourself time to unwind into beach time.

Leaving Raleigh at 8am, we arrived in Wrightsville Beach by 10am. We stayed at Blockade Runner Beach Resort and although check-in isn’t until 4pm, they allow you to store bags early if you like.

Coffee at SUNdays Surf Café

Head south of the main corner to SUNdays Surf Cafe, located above the surf shop opposite the Oceanic Restaurant at Crystal Pier overlooking the beach.

SUNdays Surf Cafe, Wrightsville Beach
SUNdays Surf Cafe

Sitting at the bar here with my coffee and an acai bowl with views of the ocean out the window, and the servers chatting to their local friends, reminded me so much of my home beach town in Australia, and I felt quite nostalgic for it.

I also felt joyful that we’d found our beach tribe.

We loved the surf vibe of this café with boards leaning against the wall, surf videos on the TV and slogans reminding you to embrace the moment.

Their coffee was also outstanding – the best we found in the Wrightsville Beach area.

Beach Time at Crystal Pier

You’re here. At the beach.

Crystal Pier, Wrighstville Beach
Crystal Pier

Walk over from the SUNdays Surf Café to Crystal Pier at The Oceanic, the old wooden pier stands tall and strong.

You can walk out for beautiful views of the beachfront and horizon. This is a great time for you to unwind on the beach. Go for a swim, collect shells, play in the sand, read a book. Whatever takes your fancy.

Find time during your Wrightsville Beach trip to return here for sundowner drinks on the pier. That’s on our list of things to do in Wrightsville Beach when we return in the summer.

Lunch: Tower 7 Baja Mexican Grill

The most recommended of places to consume in Wrightsville Beach by our community and locals was Tower 7 Baja Mexican Grill.

Tower 7 Baja Mexican Grill
Tower 7 Baja Mexican Grill – a Wrightsville favorite

It’s named after a lifeguard tower, Tower 7, on the Pacific Coast that became a hidden local favorite surf break – much like this legendary place to eat found in Wrightsville.

Grab a frozen margarita, a serving of guacamole (delicious) and some fish tacos! The perfect complement to sunny beach days. My veggie tostada was sensational.

Walk or Bike the Wrightsville Loop

The Loop walk is another of the popular Wrightsville Beach things to do, especially for the locals.

It is a 2.5-mile walk (or ride) on Harbor Island, which is situated between the two bridges in town.

Wrightsville Loop
Biking the Wrightsville Loop

You can start anywhere on the loop.

This scenic path takes you along the Intracoastal Waterway, Banks Channel and beautiful salt marshes – perfect for a nice stroll. My favorite area on this scenic pathway was the section shaded by beautiful oak trees.

The Loop passes by The Wrightsville Beach Historic Square and The Wrightsville Beach Arboretum, a small patch of greenspace to find your Zen.

If you’re interested in exploring the local history of Wrightsville Beach and Harbor Island, the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History offers guided tours along the Loop.

Wrightsville Beach Park has outdoor basketball courts, tennis courts, beach volleyball pits and grassy open areas.

Lee’s Nature Park was built on a little peninsula in a marsh. You can hear birds chirping in the park even if you don’t turn in to enjoy the solitude.

I recommend cycling along the beach path to the bridge on W. Salisbury St, that way you can finish at the Lighthouse Beer & Wine and cycle back over the bridge into the beach area.

Wrightsville Beach Museum of History

While on the Loop Walk, veer off to the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History that sits on the side of the path. While it is temporarily closed, the museum will reopen during the summer months when museums reopen

Wrightsville Beach Museum of History
Learning local history

The homes that make up the Historic Square are some of the last survivors of the Great Fire, which roared through the island in 1934.

The Wrightsville Beach Museum of History is free and won’t take a lot of time. It offers an interesting insight into the history and growth of this beach town.

A lovely volunteer greeted us upon arrival and told us more about the museum and shared with us the model of Wrightsville Beach and some of the important buildings that line the shore and how some of them have changed over the years.

It was insightful to wander through the old beach cottage from the 1900s to look at what a beach house back in the day was like.

They have definitely changed in comparison to the huge homes that now line the shore.

Wrightsville Beach Museum of History
Making travel educational

I enjoyed the swimsuit wall, which gave an insight into how bathing suits have changed over the years. I love looking at photos of older generations to see how similar their life was to mine now.

Next door is also the Fred and Alice Stanback Coastal Education Center, which is temporarily closed until later this summer.

During the summer months, it has a range of interactive programs to help you learn more about the diverse ecosystems that make up the Wrightsville Beach area. Every Tuesday, they have a touch tank.

Lighthouse Beer and Wine

Time for another stop on your Wrightsville Loop walk! Isn’t this a fun way to experience the local culture?

Lighthouse Beer and Wine
One of our favorite spots

This cute little blue bottle shop shack sits on the right side of the road as you drive over the very first bridge into the beach town.

What was once a shop for making surfboards has now become a place to purchase your beverages and enjoy a couple while you wait.

As soon as I walked into the Lighthouse Beer and Wine’s cute and natural beer garden with shady trees and wooden seating areas, I knew we had to return here in the peak summer season.

THIS is the local vibe I’m talking about.

Artwork adorns the walls, and strangers and friends stand around the campfires in a keg chatting.

They have rotating draft beers, wine by the glass, a good selection of NC single beers or six packs from the fridge, and live music.

Check-In: The Blockade Runner Beach Resort

Looking for Wrightsville Beach oceanfront hotels? We couldn’t ask for a more perfect beach resort than this.

The Blockade Runner Beach Resort
The Blockade Runner Beach Resort

The Blockade Runner Beach Resort’s location is prime real estate right in the middle of Wrightsville Beach on the narrowest part of the island.

That means you are a few steps to the ocean and a few steps to the sound. You can get a room with a view of either side.

If you are traveling in a group, why not have one group rent the sound side, and the other the ocean side? That way you can have drinks with views for sunset AND sunrise.

The Blockade Runner is a 50-year-old boutique hotel that has survived several hurricanes and is owned by a North Carolinian family.

Its outside retro look belies the beauty that you’ll find on the inside. The Blockade Runner is welcoming guests with a commitment to enhanced safety protocols.

Blockade Runner Beach Resort

A fun, light tropical décor graces the lobby and rooms, all leading to the views that entice you to cross the gardens and expansive lawn with swinging hammocks and fire pits to step onto the pristine beach.

It’s a stunning space that also has an outdoor pool and bar.

It’s perfectly suited to the Wrightsville Beach vibe that says go slow and play – what North Carolina beach vacations are meant to be!

Blockade Runner Beach Resort

If you’re looking for family beaches in North Carolina to trip at, we love that our kids are excited to return and swim in the pool, sit around the fire pits, and laze on the hammocks.

The more expensive rooms have true balconies you can sit on. Others have false balconies, but you can slide the balcony doors open and still have the glorious views but without a sitting area.

Two wicker chairs tastefully sat at the windows for us to sit and savor the view.

The Blockade Runner Beach Resort
View from our room

The award winning East Oceanfront Restaurant – al fresco in warmer months – has fresh local seafood, lobster, wine tastings, comfort food, and the popular Sunday Brunch.

Watch Sunset at the South End

Ride your bikes or drive the short distance down to the very south end of Wrightsville Beach. Be prepared for magic.

Sunset at the South End
South End Sunset

Bring a cooler and snacks if you wish to make it an extra special event. There’s not much else to say, except let the photos inspire you until you arrive for the real thing.

Dinner: Ceviche’s

You will be surprised when you walk in the door to the little yellow bungalow that is Panamanian-inspired local favorite Ceviche’s.

The small bar area opens up to another dining area, which opens up to another small dining area and an outside covered patio. The popularity of this restaurant has seen its slow expansion into its adjacent buildings.

Delicious food and ambiance

If you’re looking for the best restaurants in Wrightsville Beach, go here.

It was the most recommended of things to do in Wrightsville Beach by the locals, and we fell in love with the first sip of my rum cocktail and bite of my calamari.

Hello Panama, I now want to visit.

What transpired over the remainder of the evening was an explosion of fresh, spicy and flavorful dishes.

My pick was the calamari and the brussel sprouts. And as a long-time calamari fan, I was thrilled to see it coated in gluten-free flour, making it available for me to eat.

The restaurant uses taro flour for their meals, a Panamanian favorite that gives battered food an extra crunch


Both Craig and I ordered the fish specials of the evening, which were a celebration! I loved the Latin American décor and vibe of this restaurant, and the service was outstanding.

Oh, of course, the girls want me to mention their Spanish beignets were their favorite, and Craig and I enjoyed our Ancho Chocolate Pot De Crème dessert.


Yep. This is the Wrightsville dining experience you most want to splurge on. You deserve it.

Day 2

Sunrise on Wrightsville Beach

Pick a spot, any spot on an endless white stretch of sand.

You can even watch the sunrise from the balcony, or bed, of your Blockade Runner hotel room, simply like we did, check this out…

Sunrise in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
View from our room at sunrise

Pier and photography lovers may wish to head to either Crystal Pier at the southern end or Johnnie Mercers Pier at the northern for their sunrise pier shots.

Why not enjoy a lingering walk while you watch it rise?

My Tip:

Start at least 30-minutes before the sun pops its head up. You’ll watch the sky slowly change from deep orange to light pink. It’s spectacular.

Breakfast: Adapt Kitchen & Juice Bar

Health lovers rejoice!

Adapt Kitchen & Juice Bar is where you’ll find the prettiest, tastiest and most diversely nutritious smoothie bowls in the country.

Adapt Kitchen & Juice Bar
Adapt smoothie bowls are incredible

I thought I knew all smoothie ingredients until we arrived here and discovered the nutritional blue and creamy tacos.

Just like SUNdays, I loved sitting on the rocking chairs as locals came in to order and were greeted by name and caught up on conversations.

Craig and I might not resist sharing a serving of the smashed avo toast with feta and sunflower seeds. We suggest you indulge in the same way.

Kayaking the Salt Marshes

One of our favorite things to do in Wrightsville Beach is kayaking through the salt marshes. Don’t just limit yourself to the ocean activities, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway is a magical place to explore.

Kayaking in Wrightsville Beach, NC

You can kayak or paddle board the many different channels of the waterways. But we recommend taking a guided tour with Wrightsville SUP – a great way to learn more about the delicate and diverse ecosystem.

Owner, and our guide for the day, Jarrod took us on a meandering path through the channels.

We never would have found our way on our own, nor would we have noticed the abundance of oysters, periwinkle snails, osprey and other birds flying overhead that he pointed out.

Kayaking in Wrightsville Beach
With Jarrod from Wrightsville SUP, photo taken prior to social distancing

Out here, you’re far from the busy open sound where boats love to cruise past. The waters of the marsh are too shallow for them to enter.

We had a windy day, so we decided to kayak instead of stand-up paddle board. When we next visit Wrightsville Beach, we will definitely jump on the paddle boards to enjoy one of our favorite family activities.

You can also rent the paddle boards and kayaks from here if you want to go out on your own.

Wrightsville SUP also offers fun things like SUP yoga and nighttime paddles. See more information here.

Best things to do in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

On our kayaking trip through the salt marshes, Jarrod shared with us the importance of the oysters for filtering the water – we could even see this in action as we paddled by and watched them spitting out the water.

We know how much humans love eating oysters. We definitely do not want to see this delicate creature that keeps this ecosystem so healthy disappear.

So, for this Wrightsville Beach campaign, we decided to adopt some local oysters as a way of giving back to the communities we travel through.

This cool local initiative is helping to restore 50 million North Carolina native oysters (Crassostrea virginica) by the end of 2020. You can also sponsor some oysters here.

Lunch: Shark Bar and Kitchen

A converted dive bar, Shark Bar and Kitchen is now a beautifully renovated two-story restaurant and bar that’s ready for your Instagram updates.

Shark Bar

It offers a casual dining experience highlighting locally and sustainably sourced seafood, meats and produce.

You can find plenty of seafood, from raw bar options to fish tacos, a daily fresh catch and fried seafood baskets, as well as burgers, sandwiches and salads.

Our black bean burgers with smashed avo and pico de gallo were simple yet flavorful. And those tater tots – may I have another?

Beach Time at Johnny Mercers Pier

About 10 pedals from the Shark Bar is Johnnie Mercers Pier, a popular place on the beach for individuals to play.

Johnny Mercers Pier, Wrightsville Beach

Johnnie Mercer’s Pier (Wrightsville Beach pier) is the only concrete fishing pier in the state of North Carolina and extends more than 1200 feet into the Atlantic Ocean.

It costs $2 per adult and $1 for kids to walk out onto the pier if you want to experience the views of the long stretch of Wrightsville Beach.

Here you can have more beach time. Relax. Soak it up. This is what you’ve worked hard for.

Wrightsville Beach Pier
Fun family activity

This is among the best beaches in North Carolina for families, so if you have young kids like us don’t forget all your beach toys!

Dinner: South Beach Grill

South Beach Grill is situated in what was once the first and only bank in Wrightsville Beach. The small bar as you walk in was where the drive through ATM and bank vault used to be.

South Beach Grill, Wrightsville Beach
Locally sourced seafood

They recently had extensive renovations after the most recent hurricane blew through here and left its damage mark.

Here you’ll find Southern-inspired, seaside North Carolina dishes that are locally sourced from both land and sea. It’s a local hotspot that is perfect for lunch or dinner and offers sunset views of Banks Channel – soak it up with dinner on the outside covered patio.

Craig enjoyed grilled shrimp tacos, and my meal – the fresh catch of the day over the Bless Your Heart Salad was fresh, light and flavorful.

There are plenty of choices for the kids also.

Wrightsville Beach Bars (or close to the beach)

If you’re looking to extend your night, here are a few local bars recommended to us by locals and other travelers:

We hope this helped you narrow down your list of Wrightsville Beach things to do!

Next time we go to, we might go on one of the boat tours or a fishing charter, or just do nothing at all and enjoy beach life.

One thing we do know, it’s our preferred of North Carolina beach towns, and one of our preferred places to visit in North Carolina period.

Oh, and one last note:

We visited in early March simply prior to the spring lockdown. Dining establishments are resuming now with capability limitations, so you’ll require to book beforehand or call ahead for takeout.

Wrightsville Beach Video

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Why You Should Visit Wrightsville Beach, among the very best Beach Towns in North Carolina (and our favorite!)

Why You Should Visit Wrightsville Beach, among the very best Beach Towns in North Carolina (and our favorite!)

Thinking about where to take a trip next? Or a beach holiday anytime of the year and trying to find the very best beach towns in North Carolina?

Below we share why we enjoy Wrightsville Beach, why it’s one of the very best beaches in North Carolina, and why you must go to Wrightsville Beach too!

I didn’t understand just how much I required our Wrightsville Beach vacation till I invested an hour seeing the sky’s colors alter from deep orange to pink as the sun increased over the ocean.

During our go to in early March, right before the spring lock-down, I had the high-end of seeing it from under the covers of my bed and being in wicker chairs at the windows in our space at The Blockade Runner Beach Resort.

Sunrise at Wrightsville Beach
View of daybreak from our space at Blockade Runner Beach Resort

We enjoyed as birds, big and little, flew by our balcony window in flocks or on their own.

Ducks swam about in the ocean before the surfers and swimmers began enjoying life’s simple, but necessary, pleasures.

Blockade Runner Beach Resort, Wrightsville Beach
Aerial view of Blockade Runner Beach Resort

Time is life’s greatest luxury, and when you can dedicate an hour to watch the magic of nature’s perfection, you know you are wealthy and in the right place.

Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina demands your attention

It forces you to get out of your head, your phones, your problems and connect back to what matters: spending quality times with those you love with nature and in an unhurried and simple way.

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
Morning stroll on Wrightsville Beach North Carolina

While travel and work go together for us now, I found the town of Wrightsville Beach kept dragging me away from my computer and phone.

“Not right now,” it would say. “You need to just be with me”.

It was a pull more magnetic than Instagram likes and Facebook memes.

This is real living. This is how we all used to do it when we were teens growing up in a community that only needed us to bike around, play in nature, and talk to one another.

Life is far too chaotic now for you to NOT invite this kind of beach vacation into your life.

I’m sure like us, you’ve had a crazy start to the year filled with ups and downs, problems to solve, deadlines to meet, and busy to manage. You endured yet another long and cold winter. You’re ready to celebrate the end of the death period with new life.

Turn off all the crazy and visit Wrightsville Beach

If you’re looking to stay active on vacation, grab a bike, a paddle board, a swimsuit, your favorite book, and a towel and just disconnect.

Go slow. Go outdoors. Swing in a hammock behind the dunes. Hit the waves, paddle the gentle waters of the sound. There are so many things to do in Wrightsville Beach!

Blockade Runner Beach Resort
Relaxing in the sun at Blockade Runner Beach Resort

Mix it up with good local food, a conversation with a stranger, a sunset cocktail and a sunrise coffee – go on then, make that a morning mimosa, you’ve earned it.

There are not too many places in the world where you can watch the sunrise over the ocean and then watch it set once again over water. You can in Wrightsville Beach NC.

Sunset in Wrightsville Beach
Sunset at southend of Wrightsville

The separation between those two important daily events is simply a stretch of a flat sandy barrier island called Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

Only 4-miles long and 1,000-5,000 feet wide, it presents the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the calmer waters of the Intracoastal Waterway on the other.

Wrightsville is a year-round destination that offers water sports such as surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing, sailing and diving.

Why is Wrightsville Beach one of the best beach towns in North Carolina?

As soon as you drive over the bridge into town, you’ll see people out and about enjoying the sunshine and endless outdoor beauty.

Surfers gathered for a morning paddle at Crystal Pier
Surfers gather for a morning paddle at Crystal Pier – Photo taken prior to social distancing

You’ll find local establishments with character. From casual cafes to farm-to-sea-to-table restaurants and beach bars that offer unique island nightlife.

There’s no glam, sophistication or soulless cookie cutter buildings. There doesn’t need to be.

It has a community-based surf culture vibe backed by pristine beauty.

Fun Fact:

Wrightsville Beach is recognized as the birthplace of surfing in North Carolina! This town has a rich history of surf culture and is deemed one of the best surfing beaches in the USA.

A bike ride down a side beach road will take you to an old brick corner store that has surf gear on the lower floor and a coffee and beer cafe with a surfie vibe on top.

SUNdays Cafe
We loved the local vibe and coffee at SUNdays Cafe

Or an old surfboard-making, blue shack that now sells some of North Carolina’s best beer with a cozy beer garden encouraging community interaction. We loved biking to Lighthouse Beer & Wine on our trip!

High-rises won’t block your view or your sunshine. In fact, the majority of the beach and the sound is faced by charming beach homes.

One of our favorite things to do in Wrightsville Beach NC was cycle past these homes dreaming about future summers where we own and live in one!

The fun part was deciding which of the homes for sale in Wrightsville Beach we’d buy.

Wrightsville Beach homes
Front of beach house

I’m stunned, that after all our years of living in Raleigh, we didn’t make more of an effort to drive less than two hours and visit Wrightsville Beach regularly.

Now that we have two young kids, it ticks off all our boxes as one of the best beaches in North Carolina for families (of all ages), and I assure you there’ll be plenty of North Carolina beach vacations taken here for us!

Once here you don’t necessarily need to see and do a lot

Hide your car away, grab your bike or use your feet and move from one pier to the other, from surfing to paddle boarding, from one acai bowl by the beach to another just over the bridge.

Relaxing on Wrightsville Beach at Johnny Mercers Pier
Relaxing on Wrightsville Beach at Johnny Mercers Pier

As we biked around the beach area at a slow lingering pace, cars slowly and carefully used their space to go around us and I was taken back to my childhood in Australia and felt gratitude that I was raised in a little surfer beach town like this.

When there was a car to honk a hello to you, and a friend to talk to as you cycled up to the beach. Mostly chatting about the weather, surf conditions, weekend plans and music.

Freedom and fun

After a morning of beach play, you’d cycle to the corner store to grab a hamburger, again getting to chat to someone you knew. The community ran deep. You all knew you were a part of something special guided by nature.

That’s how Wrightsville is. The surf shapes emit the same kind of home-grown, connected vibe.

biking around Wrightsville Beach
We loved biking around Wrightsville

This is why we recommend you visit Wrightsville Beach. This is why we rate it as one of the best beach towns in North Carolina.

This year, as we focus more on sustainable living and travel, we are happy for our first partnership to be with the Wilmington and Beaches area.

A North Carolina beach vacation here is about slow and minimal living with activities designed to connect you to mother nature, tread lightly and enjoy experiences that keep it LOCAL.

You’ll be giving back to the community that embraces you.

Where is Wrightsville Beach NC?

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
View from Johnny Mercers Pier

It’s one of the beaches near Wilmington NC (just drive 12-miles from downtown) and it’s also the closest beach to Raleigh (2 hours drive) and the closest beach to Asheville NC – a straight shot down I-40.

And if you’re looking for beaches near Charlotte NC, you can be here in 3.5 hours.

We love this part of the North Carolina coast, as you have the laid-back beach vibe we found in Wrightsville, however within a 10-minute drive you have the Downtown Historic District in Wilmington, N.C.

If you’re looking for even more nature and relaxation, drive a short distance along the shore to nearby Carolina Beach and Kure Beach.

Not sure what to do in Wrightsville Beach and planning your trip?

If you’re looking for family-friendly beaches in North Carolina, look no further!

In our next blog post about Wrightsville, we’ll share with you a two-day itinerary of things to do in Wrightsville Beach.

And if you stay longer (and we think you should), just lengthen out the moments in between to sit and enjoy and play in the ocean. #Serenity

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EP 18: Household Trip to Lovely Beaufort, SC

EP 18: Household Trip to Lovely Beaufort, SC

Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort South Carolina
Searching Island State Park – pods of dolphins rather of crowds of individuals

Listen to the Podcast:

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Show Notes

In this episode, we share our fast household vacation to Beaufort, a captivating historic town in South Carolina.

We’re back taking a trip – primarily checking out the East Coast – and checking out those lessor recognized locations. We desire you to still have those travel experiences you are thirsting for – specifically throughout these difficult times when you require a break!

Beaufort, South Carolina will give you that relaxing break you require, away from the hordes of people, and out with fresh, salty breezes.

We discuss:

  • The unique history of Beaufort and how you can learn about it on a self-guided walking tour and horse and carriage ride.
  • Hunting Island State Park, and its beautiful beach filled with dolphins
  • The historical Port Royal Island and the Cypress Wetlands – don’t miss!
  • Searching for shark teeth on Sand Beach – would you do it?
  • The best place to eat in Beaufort – amazing food and sunset views
  • Another amazing seafood restaurant overlooking the bay for sunset
  • Where Forrest Gump got his chocolates from for the Life is like a box of chocolate scene.
  • The bridge and island where parts of Forrest Gump were filmed
  • The Spanish Moss trail and how to make it enjoyable (important tip)
  • The charming boutique Beaufort Inn – make the accommodation part of the experience

Recommended Tours of Beaufort

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