When you hear the word"beach," you may think of Southern California or sunny Florida, maybe even a tropical South Pacific Island. While these places have undeniably beautiful beaches, some of the best – and most accessible – in the continental United States can be found in the Carolinas. Wrightsville Beach, located along North Carolina's I-40, is considered one of the best beaches in the world for surfing and water sports, and the seemingly endless stretch of powdery white sand practically begs to be relaxed upon.The pier at Wrightsville Beach — Photo courtesy of Suzie Tremmel
While it's oh-so-easy to laze away your days lying in the warm sun, it would be a shame to pass up on the plethora water sports on offer on this sandy island. Test your balance with some stand-up paddleboarding in Cape Fear, or maybe learn to windsurf, sail or sea kayak in the waters just off the coast. Fishing enthusiasts can catch dinner right off the Wrightsville pier, and even if your luck is off, you'll still have ample opportunities to dine on fresh seafood, caught locally and served right on the waterfront.A day at the beach — Photo courtesy of Brian Leon
If you can pull yourself away from the water, you'll find gorgeous bike paths, jogging paths and verdant fairways, perfect for that afternoon tee time. For a different kind of leisure, head to Mayfaire Town Center in the heart of Wrightsville for shopping, dining and entertainment rain or shine.