Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kayaking In and Around Wrightsville Beach, NC

Kayaking enthusiasts of all skill levels will certainly find just what they’re looking for at Wrightsville Beach. For ocean kayakers, the pristine waters of the Atlantic are easily accessible from the island’s 4-mile stretch of beach. Donning a wetsuit is a great way to take advantage of wintertime swells and enjoy the less crowded months. With plenty of sandy beach breaks, Wrightsville is an ideal spot for surf kayakers to hone their skills. Another perk that ocean kayaking provides is the chance to see some amazing wildlife, including dolphins, sea turtles and a huge variety of seabirds.

Nature lovers know that the inland waterways and marshy areas that surround the island are some of the best places to experience true tranquility. There can be plenty of boat traffic during the summer, however, a kayak makes it very easy to explore places that are completely inaccessible to power boats. Kayaks equipped with extra storage space for a picnic, waterproof camera, sunscreen, and perhaps a small fishing rod ensure hours of fun.

Checking out Wrightsville Beach real estate is also a nice kayaking activity. As you paddle by and dream a while, you may stumble upon a new listing! Yet another favorite pastime among local kayakers is silently cruising through the sailboat anchorage at Banks Channel. In the fall, it is full of boats from around the world making their way south.

If you are considering a day or two of paddling, but don’t have a kayak, don’t worry. There are several kayak outfitters in the Wrightsville Beach area who provide rentals, lessons, and guided trips. A simple Internet search is all it takes to find one. For anyone planning a DIY excursion, here are a few things to keep in mind:
  • Unless you have the right to use to a private residence with water access, there are only a few places to put in a kayak. The public boat ramp is the best, and it is to the left of the drawbridge after you drive onto the island. Parking is free and there is no fee to use the ramp. Be aware that the parking lot fills up quickly on busy summer weekends.
  • Another place to put in is the public dock on Waynick Blvd. It is just to the right after you cross the Causeway Bridge.
  • You may also carry your vessel and paddle out from the beach. From March 1st through October 31st, it is $2 per hour to park at Wrightsville Beach.
  • Anyone planning on surf kayaking will need to pay attention to the surf zones that are enforced on the beach from Memorial Day though Labor Day.
  • Whether you sign on with a guide or not, make sure to have a PFD, a hat, sunscreen and a few bottles of water. Watershoes are also a good idea since you could encounter oyster shells.   

Happy Paddling!

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