I think it’s safe to say that most people have heard of the term island hopping. And for most people it most likely conjures up dreamy images of far off Cays sprinkled through turquoise waters in places like the Bahamas. Or bouncing from beach to beach through the emerald gems of the Virgin Islands. But did you know that there are beautiful uninhabited islands right off Wrightsville Beach? In fact, the only true way to experience our area is to hop aboard a boat, like all the locals do, and head over to one of the hidden paradises that can only be accessed by boat!
Our favorite islands for island hopping
Masonboro Island, Mason’s Inlet, and Lee Island…just to name a few, are the favorite spots you will definitely want to see! Each island is special in its own way, and will have something unique that differentiates it from the others. There’s no need to travel to the caribbean to island hop, our beautiful islands surrounding Wrightsville Beach are perfect for a day of island hopping!
Masonboro Island is an all-time favorite destination. This uninhabited island filled with beautiful coves and dunes is known for its epic surf, shelling, and island camping. It’s the perfect destination for those looking for a mix of surf on one side and calm waters in the coves on the other side. Pack a lunch or pick up food along the way at Fish House Grille or Dockside, and go enjoy the beautiful island for the day, or camp out for the night. Or, for a sightseeing adventure, book a Masonboro Island Eco and Dolphin Tour with Epic Excursions, and don’t forget your camera!
Mason’s Inlet is the destination that the locals flock to for the turquoise waters that are reminiscence of the Caribbean. The island is located at the northern end of Wrightsville Beach, separating it from Figure Eight Island. Mason’s Inlet is known for its beautiful beaches, sandbars , natural swim pools, and clear water, making it the perfect spot for those looking for a beach day and a great place to swim. Around the inlet there are lots of serene marshes and waterways, which make it the perfect area for paddle boarding. Take a paddle boarding charter with a company like Epic Excursions, and tell your captain to head over to Mason’s Inlet for a paddle boarding adventure followed by a relaxing day on the beach!
Lea Island is a hot spot for those looking for secluded beaches and nice places to swim. This island is to the north of Figure Eight Island. It’s a bit further of a boat ride from Wrighstville Beach (about 20-30 minutes), however the scenery along the way is beautiful! Lea Island is filled with beautiful sandbars, coves, and wide beaches . It’s a great spot for shelling and combing the sand for unique finds like sand dollars and conch shells. If you taking a Lea Island boat tour you will want to make a day out of it. Pack a lunch, or make a stop on the water at Sailfish restaurant in Scott’s Hill for a quick bite and an island beverage! There’s lots to see and explore, so make sure you have your sunscreen ready for a day of fun, sun, and island time.
Get out and explore our waterways
Needless to say, there’s no shortage of seafaring and exploring in the waters surrounding Wrightsville Beach. In fact, locals are setting out by boat to enjoy and explore these waters on a daily basis. If there’s a warm day in January, you can be guaranteed to see the waterways full of boaters, and the waterfront bars and restaurants filling their outside decks. And if it’s a sunny day “in season”, May through October, it can seem like everyone in town is out on the water!
It’s completely possible to come visit Wrightsville Beach and fall in love without even setting foot on a vessel, but locals know that if you really want to see what this area has to offer, you need to cast off the dock lines and set sail. The fact that there are so many nooks and crannies to explore by boat, where the water clarity and emerald green color on most days can rival spots in the Caribbean, are what make this place truly special. Therefore, this is also the reason you need someone who knows the area and can put you in the right spot.
Explore our serene marshes with paddle boards
Luckily these days there are some local businesses offering unique water activity services that do just that. For an adventurous day of island hopping, book a boat charter with paddle boards and surfboards with a company like Epic Excursions. Ask your experienced local captain to take you to the best spots. If you want to be the captain of your own domain, rent a boat from one of the boat rental companies.
Take a boat ride as far in as you can go, drop anchor and hop on a paddleboard to explore as far back into the marsh as the feeding Red Drum fish. It’s not uncommon to see marsh birds like Crane and Heron along the way. In the Intracoastal waterway and the inlets separating the islands, don’t be surprised if you are paddle boarding along the side of bottlenose dolphins coming up for a breath of salt air. If you want to continue your experience overnight, Epic Excursions will set up a tent for your night of glamping in the great outdoors!
To sum it all up, if you haven’t seen Wrightsville Beach by boat, then you haven’t really seen all of Wrightsville Beach! Get off the beaten path and hop aboard for an island hopping adventure of your own. Make sure to bring your camera to capture the beauty and the memories that will be made along your way!