Drone view of homes along Wrightsville Beach coast.

Attracted to coastal living in southeastern North Carolina?

The next step: deciding between the two largest beach towns in the area — Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach.

The Network Real Estate team has been here a while and has a strong feeling for the lay of the land. To help you decide you feel confident in, we’ve outlined the biggest advantages of living in each location. 

Benefits of Living at Wrightsville Beach

East of central Wilmington and north of Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach comes with a variety of unique qualities that make it a wonderful place to call home: 

  • It’s an upscale environment. To many people, Wrightsville Beach seems a little more “polished” than Carolina Beach. You’ll definitely get a greater “wine-and-cheese” sort of vibe from Wrightsville Beach-goers.
  • It’s closer to the hub of Wilmington. Directly to the west is the city-center of Wilmington, a river town that offers a wide range of activities, from the interactive Battleship NC museum to the restaurants, bars, and shops in the historic downtown river district. 
  • The beach has a gentler slope. The steeper the beach slope, the kinder the waves and the more suited the beach is for leisurely swimming. While Carolina Beach’s slope is steep in many places, Wrightsville offers its visitors a more gradual incline.
  • It provides top-notch surfing. In fact, Wrightsville Beach is one of the best surfing destinations along the east coast. And the watersports don’t end there! You can do it all — from wake boarding and paddle boarding to deep sea fishing and scuba diving. 
  • It’s dog-free much of the year. If you’re not a big fan of man’s best friend, you’ll be happy to learn that during the on-season (April through September) dogs aren’t allowed on the beach.
  • It’s a haven for bird-watchers. If your perfect day sounds like spending time outside, breathing in the fresh salty air and birdwatching, Wrightsville Beach is the perfect place for you. The south end of the beach is a favorite of many beach-nesting birds — like the Least Tern and Black Skimmer.

Benefits of Living at Carolina Beach

At the farthest southeast corner of North Carolina, Carolina Beach (along with its neighbor, Kure Beach) is actually nicknamed Pleasure Island. Here’s why:

  • It’s normally less crowded. Because Wrightsville Beach is smaller and closer to central Wilmington, it’s packed. At Carolina Beach, you can enjoy a simpler, more secluded beach environment, especially during the off-season.
  • It offers more kid-friendly activities. From the NC Aquarium and Fort Fisher to the boardwalk arcade and the stunning Carolina Beach State Park, there's no shortage of activities for extraordinary family weekend excursions.
  • It’s a lot less expensive. While the typical Wrightsville Beach home currently costs over $1 million, the average Carolina Beach home is selling for about half of that price.
  • It has an unmatched “chill” vibe. It’s the perfect beach if you prefer to lounge on the beach with beer in hand. Actually, Freeman Park — on the north end of the beach — is one of the few NC beaches that will allow you to drive onto the beach, camp, and enjoy an open fire. 
  • There are fewer parking & beach patrol restrictions. With the greater numbers of Wrightsville Beach visitors comes the inevitable difficulties of parking and stricter beach restrictions. At Carolina Beach, it’s easier to find a parking spot and avoid running into any unwanted limitations.
  • It’s more dog-friendly. Although both beaches have some dog restrictions, Carolina Beach is a little more lax, allowing you to bring your dog onto the beach even during the on-season before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Plus, the beach at nearby Fort Fisher permits dogs (on-leash) at all hours, all year-round.

But…the beaches share a lot in common. 

Although there are many differences, the towns come with many of the same advantages. From the boating opportunities to the frequent festivals and events, even to the many beloved local restaurants and bars, each town comes with spectacular adventures to fill any interest.

Ready to search for homes in Carolina or Wrightsville Beach? 

Our agents are happy to help you start your home search process. Call us today at 910-395-4100.