23 Apr Boat Tour to Masonboro Island from Wrightsville Beach
There are so many wonderful outdoor adventure opportunities in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. During our early spring visit, it was a bit too windy to go SUPing or kayaking, or to try surfing for the first time. The perfect compromise? Taking a boat tour to Masonboro Island with Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours. Our agenda for the afternoon was to walk the nature trail and explore the beach. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Our boat was conveniently located directly across the street from our hotel, Blockade Runner Beach Resort, and boarding was set for 12:15 p.m. When we arrived, we jumped in the pontoon boat and settled in for a scenic ride to the island.
We glided past marinas, beautiful homes complete with boats docked out front, marsh grass swaying in the wind, and sprawling white beaches. Throughout the boat ride, our captain told us stories and facts about the area and was able to answer questions from our group. We learned about the wildlife on the island, the island’s ecosystems, and the development of surrounding areas, and he gave us tips for which types of activities to pursue on the island.
Masonboro Island Reserve is an undisturbed barrier island located just south of Wrightsville Beach in southern North Carolina. Reachable only by boat, the island is 8.4 miles long, and 87 percent of the island is covered in marsh and tidal flats.
The island offers a wide variety of activities. Visitors can walk the nature trail, go shelling or fishing, camp overnight, surf, picnic, have a beach day, and more. There is even a chance to spot rare birds and sea turtles, because Masonboro Island is a nesting area for green sea turtles and loggerheads.
We were able to explore the island for about a half-hour. The boat pulls right up onto the shore, but our feet did get a tiny bit wet as we got off the boat. It’s a good idea to wear shoes that you don’t mind getting wet! If you take the shuttle out to the island, you can opt to spend the entire day there. We had a jam-packed schedule for the rest of the day and were short on time, so we were excited that we could squeeze in a short visit.
During our visit, we wandered along a portion of the nature trail and soaked up the beautiful ocean views. The boat drops you off on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway side of the island, and we walked the path through the grass and sand dunes to the ocean side. The soft white sand, bright blue ocean, abundance of shells, and lack of crowds made the island feel like a quiet retreat. Sitting on the sand with the wind blowing the salty ocean air all around us gave us a much-needed break. Though we were on the island for only a short period of time, it was enough to feel reconnected with nature.
We had lots of peace and quiet during our visit, but do note that the island can get busy in the summer and especially during holidays, such as Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day.
Spending an entire day out on the island will require some supplies, because there are no facilities. Bring a cooler stocked with food and drinks, sunscreen, towels, something to shade yourself with, and basically anything else you would want for a day at the beach. Dogs are welcome on the island, so feel free to bring your furry friend along for the ride, too!
If you decide to make the trip to Masonboro Island, be respectful of the natural surroundings and wildlife. Remember to clean up after yourself and take your trash with you to keep the island clean and wildlife safe, so the island can be enjoyed for many years to come.
In addition to island shuttles, Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours offers tours revolving around birding, fishing, sunset cruises, harbor cruises, a variety of guided nature tours, and more. It also hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, so there is sure to be a tour for everyone. Next time we visit Wrightsville Beach, we are definitely going to plan a longer visit to Masonboro Island, and we can’t wait!
We visited Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, as part of a content project. Special thanks to Travel Mindset and Visit Wrightsville Beach for hosting us on our adventures. As always, all opinions are our own.