Destination Wrightsville | What to do: The active life
If youíre a golfer and worried about withdrawals at the beach, take a deep breath and relax. The Azalea Coast has you covered. Here are some of the great and gorgeous golf courses, private, semi-private and public, which can be played when a break from the surf, sand and sun is needed.
The Cape Fear course at the Cape Fear Country Club in Wilmington is one of the oldest in New Hanover County. This historic local course is 112 years old and is one of only two Donald Ross-designed courses in Wilmington. With 18 holes spanning more than 6,856 yards with a par of 72, the Cape Fear Course, off Oleander Drive, is open year-round but restricted to Cape Fear Country Club members.
If a picturesque stroll from hole to hole is more your style, The Country Club of Landfall, just across the Intracoastal Waterway from Wrightsville Beach, contains two courses: the Jack Nicklaus course and the Pete Dye course. The 18-hole Pete Dye course spans 6,997 yards with a par of 72, while the Jack Nicklaus course has 27 holes covering more than 10,583 yards. The Country Club of Landfall is a private golf course.
In 2007, Eagle Point Golf Club was 83rd on the list of the top 100 American Golf Courses by Golf Digest. The appeal may have something to do with its scenic location on the Intracoastal Waterway, overlooking New Hanover Countyís amazing marshlands and wildlife. Lying opposite Figure Eight Island on the mainland, Eagle Point has 18 holes covering 7,170 yards with a par of 72. The course is also noted by Wilmington golfers as being especially challenging, with 10-15 mile-per-hour winds sweeping in from the waterway. Eagle Point Golf Club is restricted to members.
The Wilmington Municipal Golf Course in the Long Leaf Hills community is the only public golf course in town, but fortunately, one of the local favorites. Over the years, the Donald Ross-designed course has been extensively renovated and is now one of the finest courses in the area. With 18 holes covering 6,564 yards with a par of 71, the Wilmington Municipal Golf Course is perfect for amateurs and experts. The third hole has been named "One of North Carolinaís Ten Best Holes" by Golf Digest because of its demanding uphill slope. It was also named 50th best Municipal golf Course by Golf Week Magazine. The course is open year-round to the public.
The Porters Neck Country Club is a Tom Fazio-designed golf course that has been named "Number One Coastal Course" by Golf Digest. Measuring 7,122 yards with a par of 72, Porters Neck offers rolling terrain and a striking view. The 18-hole course, located at the northernmost point of New Hanover County, has hosted the North Carolina Open, the North Carolina Amateur and the first stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying School. The club is member-owned but also open to the public.
Since 1955, Pine Valley Country Club, nestled in the heart of Wilmington, has offered its members beautiful greens. With 18 holes spanning 6,472 yards with a par of 72, Pine Valley has something to offer golfers of all skill levels. There is also a kidsí course for the little ones to test their skills. Pine Valley is a year-round private golf course that prides itself on family fun. Not only does Pine Valley offer a stimulating golfing experience, but tennis and swimming, as well.
Echo Farms Golf and Country Club opened in 1974 and has an 18-hole championship golf course over 6,724 yards with a par of 72. The course is considered one of the widest in the area, as well as one of the most difficult, with frequent bunkers and forced lay-ups. The course is surrounded by beautiful North Carolina pines and lies bordering the Cape Fear River, making it an aesthetically gratifying day on the greens. In addition to the course, Echo Farms offers members and guests a driving range with both synthetic and grass tees. Echo Farms is a semi-private golfing facility with membership and public availability.
Built in 1983, Beau Rivage Resort & Golf Club offers golfers 18 challenging holes covering 6,565 yards with a par of 72. Golfers are invited to "stay and play" at their delightful Southern plantation-style golf villas. The resort also offers a golf school, with classes and lessons taught by J. Banks Guyton and Norwood Ezzel, two of the most experienced instructors on the coast. Beau Rivage Resort and Golf Club is a semi-private club, accepting new members and public play.
Magnolia Greens is a 27-hole, Tom Jackson signature golf course. Located in Leland, N.C., only a few miles from the North Carolina beaches, Magnolia Greens is a public course that was the host of the 1998 and 1999 PGA Qualifying Tours. The course offers an on-site golf school, taught by professionals, and outstanding practice facilities. Other accommodations include a full-service deli and pro shop.
Summer is here, and while that definitely means beach time, it also means bike time. From families of four with tots on training wheels to speed racers pedaling toward the pier, the beauty of biking at Wrightsville Beach lies in the pleasantry of kicking up sand behind your wheels.
According to bikers at the beach, itís best to ride in the morning. Thereís plenty of ground to cover, of course ó thereís more than 10 miles of smooth riding from the drawbridge, up and down the beach and back again.
In addition, the River to the Sea Bike Route expands from Riverfront Park ó just off Market Street in Historic Downtown Wilmington ó to Johnnie Mercerís Pier in Wrightsville Beach. This route, stretching for nearly 10 miles, takes bikers for a trek along the historic trolley line. Most of your journey will be a quiet one, cycling through peaceful residential areas. A new 1.2-mile multi-use pathway along Eastwood Road has been constructed near Military Cutoff Road, and a 1.6-mile extension of the pathway to Cardinal Drive is currently under construction. Another 3.2-mile pathway is nearing completion along Military Cutoff Road.
Between Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington, there are approximately 40 miles of trails for you and your family to explore, including established bike trails, as well as picturesque side streets. There are also plenty of parks for picnics along the way and salty seashores for sunbathing. Visit www.wmpo.org to download a bike path map of New Hanover County. Fasten your helmet before you hit the trails.
If mountain biking is more your speed, try Blue Clay Trails, 6 miles of off-road trails located on the right side of Juvenile Center Drive off Blue Clay Road under the power lines. Park by the power lines and follow the signs.
Need a bike while youíre here?
Wrightsville Beach Supply Co.
1 N. Lumina Avenue
Bike Cycles (sales, repairs, rentals)
Mayfaire Community Center
Two Wheeler Dealer (sales, repairs, parts only)
4408 Wrightsville Avenue
If youíre wanting to take a stroll, the best place on Wrightsville Beach is, well, on the beach. Two spots that canít be missed are the north and south ends of Wrightsville Beach. The north end is better suited for a tranquil stroll along the beach strand. Itís also home to the bird sanctuary, so itís a fantastic place to enjoy a nature walk, but respect the signs and stay away from nesting birds. The south end is a bit more crowded than the north, but still the perfect place to take a walk with the family.
A favorite among locals, the John Nesbitt Loop (at Wrightsville Beach, the Loop) gives walkers a total view of our beautiful beach town. The 2.4-mile path offers water and salt marsh views and is frequented by walkers, runners and families with strollers. The Loop is partially lighted at night but always walk with a buddy.
Just a few miles from the beach, Airlie Gardens offers hikers 10 acres of publicly owned trails. Encircling the legendary 462-year-old Airlie Oak, the magnificent trails at Airlie also allow visitors to pass by the Bottle House, the Butterfly Garden, the Bradley Creek Overlook, the Spring Garden and the Mystery Grave. Admission to the park is $5; annual membership is $25.
For years, Hugh MacRae Park has been a hot spot for many local events, such as weddings, picnics and Wilmingtonís annual chili cook-off. The 98-acre park boasts a winding, 1-mile, paved scenic trail through tall pines, with picnic areas, playgrounds and baseball fields. Bring your dog out for the day; thereís a roped-off, designated dog area for pups to play. Hugh MacRae Park is located only minutes from Wrightsville Beach.
And donít forget the nearly 1-mile-long Riverwalk in Historic Downtown Wilmington. Strolling beside the Cape Fear River, the sun shining, the breeze blowing, the USS North Carolina in the near distance, has been known to cheer even the bluest mood.
Youíre here, so youíre probably surfing, sunbathing, boating or all that and more. Whatever it is youíre into, your vacation is invariably underscored by one sacred theme: relaxation. So if your skin needs a break from the sun, your hair needs some personal attention, or your arms are exhausted from holding a book on the beach all day, look no further than the array of day spas located just a short trek from the dunes.
Blue Ginger Day Spa
At Blue Ginger, they believe in therapies designed to restore harmony and balance, to heal and relax your mind, body and soul. Therapeutic experiences include massages, body rituals, facials, waxing, advanced skin care and more.
5329 Oleander Drive #206
Harbour Club Day Spa and Salon
With a variety of facials, nail services, massages and hair styling options available, Harbour Club provides a complete pampering experience. Specials range from the quick "Express Escape" to the six-hour "V.I.P. Package."
1904 Eastwood Road Suite 101, Wilmington
Head to Toe Day Spa
Head to Toe offers a complete range of spa services from extensive skin and body treatments to deep tissue, Swedish and stone massages. You can also get micro-current rejuvenation therapy, which is a non-surgical facelift.
1970 Eastwood Road, Wilmington
Ki Spa and Salon
"Ki" is an ancient Japanese word for energy, and this spa seeks to incorporate the idea into every service it offers. Ki uses natural products, aromatherapy and healing techniques combined with a holistic approach to rejuvenate both body and spirit. Packages entitled "Joy," "Happiness," and "Tranquility" provide themed experiences.
1125 Military Cutoff Road, Wilmington
The Crest ó A Fitness Club & Spa
For the health conscious, The Crest offers an ideal hybrid: a fitness center with strength and cardio equipment, group fitness classes, nutrition and other services; and a complete day spa with facials, waxing, reflexology and even post-workout recovery massages.
6766 Wrightsville Avenue, Wilmington
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