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Vacation 101: Downtown Wilmington & Wrightsville Beach, NC Sara's Five Year Anniversary Vacation


June 11, 2019

wrightsville beach in the background overtop words about a vacation 101 article

Hi, hi friends! It has been some time since we’ve said hello via the blog! While we intentionally took off a week from the blog, last week wasn’t intentional. We’d planned on writing this grandiose article, but as you can see that didn’t happen. However, taking another week off from the blog (or pretty much everything) was well needed. While vacation is SO good, coming back to a FULL schedule can be hard so we gave ourselves grace in the midst of the fullness.

But on Instagram, we asked you and you responded with a resounding yes to this article idea! You truly love the travel tips and secret spots, but so do we!

Vacation 101: Downtown Wilmington & Wrightsville Beach

Where did we stay? This was probably the biggest question that we were asked!! For the last few years of celebrating our anniversary in this area, we’ve always done the conventional hotel. This year we changed it up big time! We stood at the coziest, cutest Air Bnb, ever!! Seriously, we’re going back again in October – it was THAT good! If you want to see more of our little home for the week, click here!

How long did we stay for and what did we do? I’ll break this up into two sections, first – how long did we stay? We stood for seven days, six nights total. That wasn’t the original plan, but my husband, Jake, suggested it and we did extend our time by a day! Secondly, what did we do? Well, that’s going to take up the rest of the article! Let’s go!

First, we split up our week with two full Downtown Wilmington days with three Wrightsville Beach days. Now for some more details cause right now that seems too simple. Also, just to make sure I say this somewhere in the article – our little home was a 10-minute drive either to the beach or downtown, so everything was right at out our fingertips! Which is honestly what you want when you’re in vacay mode.

On our downtown Wilmington days, we split it up with one day shopping at our favorite places outside of the Cotton Exchange then the next day shopping at everything in the Cotton Exchange. There is honestly a lot to explore! Here are some of our favorites you gotta try outside of the Cotton Exchange: Candles Etc, Cape Fear Spice Merchants, Edge of Urge, Island Passage Elixir, The Black Cat Shoppe, Modern Legend, Finkelstein’s, and the Italian Gourmet Market! Now the Cotton Exchange is such a fun shopping place to explore, it also has some great restaurants which includes one of our new favorites, the Basics!

In Downtown Wilmington, our favorite restaurants include the Basic’s (best place for brunch EVER), Front Street Brewery, Port City Java (coffee), and if you’re having a sweet tooth craving then go to Kilwin’s Chocolates! Also, while you’re eating your Kilwin’s treat, take a left out of the door and walk thirty seconds to the Riverfront – it’s so pretty!!

While we didn’t spend the entire day in Downtown Wilmington, we did spend a large part of our time there! If we were feeling any restaurants in downtown, we went to a few of our all-time favorites like Osteria Cicchetti, KBueno, K38 Grill, Genki Sushi (which Jake LOVED), and Sweet N Savory! Honestly, once we find a restaurant we love, we pretty much go back to it as much as we can!

Now – for the beach days! To be on the same page let me first just tell you that I could seriously just sit on the beach ALL day. Beach naps are the best and I love listening to the waves and gazing at God’s grace and goodness. I love the beach so you may have to change this to match your needs or wants! First, what did we do on the beach days? Once we drove and found parking, we secured a spot on the beach! Now a trick with the parking, if you plan on staying more than three to four hours then do all day parking, trust us – it’s cheaper!

We kept our beach set up simple, we brought a travel umbrella, a travel shovel, two beach chairs, towels, a small cooler filled with cold water and snacks, and a book bag filled with any other items (books, sunscreen, phones, wallets, etc). This was the set up we brought every beach day. Our snacks we kept simple – Trader Joe’s granola bars, dried fruit, and fresh fruit! We aimed to have breakfast (more on that soon!) before we went to the beach and stay there until about three to four o’clock! The middle of the trip landed on a Wednesday (a beach day) so we stood there until about 1, packed up, ate lunch, then went back to Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier and fished until about six o’clock. This is seriously one of my favorite photos of myself because of our SHOCKED I was to catch my first pier fish!

Our beach day restaurant options are pretty awesome! If you park at the Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier (the center of the island), then your restaurants are about a ten-minute walk which is really nice! You can hit up Tower Seven, The Trolly Shop, South Beach Grill, Vito’s Pizza, and King Neptune’s Resturant. Honestly, our favorite two we rotate between is the Trolly Shop and Tower Seven Baja Grill – they are the BEST.

The biggest thing about this trip that I loved was how relaxed I became and just how easy going it was. I feel that is the vibe of the beach, it’s calming and inviting. I brought a few good books on this trip and just detoxed from technology, scheduling, and working. It was the BEST and if you have the chance to go to this area at all, just do it. You won’t regret it at all!

Hi, hi! Surprised to see a personal article on our blog? We love sharing our business and life with you, but if you’re looking for a wedding photographer – send us an email and let’s talk! 🙂


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