Last Updated on January 28, 2021 by Greg
Wrightsville Beach, NC is best known for its scenic ocean views, quirky boutiques and restaurants and of course, stretches of sandy shores and cool Atlantic waters. This makes it a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike.
As such, parking can be a challenge, especially during the summer months. We are here to help by telling you which parking lots and spots are ideal (depending on your plans for the day), rules, costs and of course, the best hacks to avoid beach traffic jams.
Where should I park?
There are more than 1,000 parking spaces available for beachgoers. Choosing the right one depends on the area of beach you plan to frequent and what other activities you have planned.Are there parking lots near the beach?
There are actually eight parking lots that can be used for beach parking. Some of them are also located nearby other attractions.
- South Lumina
- East & West Salisbury Street (nearby Johnny Mercer’s Pier)
- North Lumina
- North Wrightsville Beach (ideal for planned excursions to Shell Island)
- Jack Parker Boulevard
- Wynn Plaza (corner of Waynick Blvd and Causeway Dr.)
- Ocean View
- Moore’s Inlet
Most of the parking spaces are metered and enforcement is conducted by Pivot Parking, a private company. Paid parking is enforced between March and October from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. In a few of the lots, enforcement runs until 8 p.m.
Portions of official beach parking can be paid for via phone for added convenience, while 26 areas have fee stations. Downloading the app will save time and make it more convenient to pay as soon as you park. During the warmer months, when the lots are crowded, the fee station lines can get lengthy.
Public parking is $5 per hour or $25 for each day. Refunds are not provided for weather or early departure. There is also no way to store up credit for unused parking hours, so if you plan to park for the day, make it count.
There is plenty of parking for vehicles with handicap decals. Parking in these spots is fee-based, just as it is for traditional spots.
Each vehicle parked in a handicapped parking space must have a placard in the front window or on the license plate.
What should I do about a broken parking meter?
If you’ve managed to score a great spot, but the meter is broken, don’t just ignore it.
You can still be cited for parking without paying. Instead, call the number on the meter immediately, especially if you still plan to use the spot. This ensures that you are not cited and the city is aware of the issue.
Wrightsville Beach parking hacks
Knowing where to park when heading to Wrightsville beach for a day of fun in the sun is essential. Here are some tried and true tips for making finding a spot a bit easier, especially during the busy summer season:
- Arrive early: Any popular beach is bound to be crowded with tourists and locals alike, and Wrightsville Beach is no exception. If you want a great spot, arrive early. By noon, most of the lots are full in the warmer months and parking lots become vehicle battlegrounds.
- Or arrive late: The other option to enjoy some beach time without worrying about the parking issue is to arrive later in the day. Around 4 p.m., the beach lots start to empty as those who have spent the day on the sand are preparing to return to their hotels or home in time for dinner. If you are planning to watch the sunset at Wrightsville Beach, showing up in the early evening hours will likely net you a good spot in one of the public lots.
- Be wary of side street parking: While it may be tempting to park your along one of the side streets to get on the beach quicker, this is more likely to get you towed. Those that park on the street in this area have decals designating them as residents, so avoid following suit if you are a visitor if you are trying to avoid parking tickets.
- Pay for the day: If you plan to stay for a few hours, don’t be tempted to pay by the hour because you may be more likely to stay longer. Then, you’ll be dealing with parking tickets for overstaying your meter. Go ahead and pay for the day, so you can hang out on the beach for as long as you want without worrying about feeding the meter.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a spot: There’s nothing worse than circling the lot to see someone leaving – only they’re not. The best thing to do is just ask if someone is leaving when searching for a spot. This saves you the headache of waiting for someone to pull out, only to discover they simply came to get something from their vehicle.
- Prepare to walk: If you don’t want to spend hours circling for the best spot, then consider parking in one of the lots further from the beach and just walking to your spot. This saves you time and the headache of trying to find a spot in one of the more crowded lots closer to the action. The walk from the further lots is a pleasant one and with a beach cart, is well worth the time you’ll save.
- Don’t try to drive/park on the beach: This is a Wrightsville Beach law and is certainly not a way to circumvent the parking issue. It will earn you a fine and plenty of dirty looks for those that enjoy this slice of unspoiled North Carolina paradise.
Parking is operated by a private company known as Pivot Parking. Parking rates are paid from March 1st to October 31st, excluding holidays, unless otherwise posted. Parking in public spots is $5 per hour or $25 per day. There will be no refunds or credits for inclement weather. Please check the local weather before purchasing.
Parking is enforced from 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (7 days a week), unless otherwise announced, with the following exceptions:
Paid Parking will be enforced from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in these parking lots:
South Lumina Parking Lot (near the Oceanic Restaurant)
East & West Salisbury Street Parking Lots (adjacent to Johnny Mercer’s Pier)
North Lumina Parking Lot (“L” shaped lot)
North Wrightsville Beach Parking Lot (NEXT to Shell Island)
Wynn Plaza – Paid parking will be enforced from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m
The parking of trucks and trailers is not allowed on Old Causeway Drive, Marina Street, and Keel Street year-round. They are not allowed on Pelican Drive and Causeway Drive between March 1st to October 31st.
On March 1 of 2020, the Town of Wrightsville Beach announced they would open four parking lots and open short-term rentals with restrictions, all while continuing beach access for non-stationary exercise activities, starting from May 8 at 5 p.m. to include all of the following restrictions:
- ·Temporary Suspension of Certain Short Term Rentals / Honoring of Stay-At-Home Orders Issued in Other States and Countries
These new paid parking public lots at Beach Access #2 at 2698 North Lumina Avenue, Beach Access #3 at 2498 North Lumina Avenue, Beach Access #29 at Stone Street, and Beach Access #36 at 650 South Lumina Avenue will open to the public.
N. Channel Drive
South Channel Drive
Live Oak Drive
You can use a phone, fee station, or meters throughout the Wrightsville Beach town.
Paid Parking – $5.00 per hour or $25 per day
On-street spots where single parking meters are found and in the public parking lots:
- Ocean View Parking Lot
- Moore’s Inlet Parking Lot – near the Holiday Inn
- N.Lumina Parking Lot -“L” Shaped Lot
- N. Wrightsville Beach Parking Lot – along the Shell Island Resort
- Jack Parker Boulevard Parking Lot – south end of the island adjacent to the gazebo
- South Lumina Parking Lot – near the Oceanic Restaurant
- Wynn Plaza Parking Lot – at the corner of Waynick Blvd and Causeway Dr
- East & West Salisbury Street Parking Lots – at the end of Salisbury Street (US74)
On-street fee stations, on residential streets off of North Lumina Avenue and South Lumina Avenue:
- East Mallard Street
- East Oxford Street
- East Augusta Street
- East Charlotte Street
- Stone Street
You can use Pay-by-phone on the following streets:
- Sandpiper Street
- West Oxford Street
- Nathan Street
- Seagull Street
- East Atlanta Street
- Shearwater Street
- East & West Columbia Street
- Lagoon Street
- East & West Henderson Street
- East & West Greensboro Street
- East & West Fayetteville Street
- West Asheville Street
- West Atlanta Street
- Old Causeway
- Keel Street
- Circle Drive
- Heron Street
Wrightsville Beach offers spacious beaches and myriad activities for families during the warmer seasons, which is part of why it is such a popular area attraction. While parking can be tricky, using this guide and planning ahead can make it a much less stressful endeavor. And once you’re on the beach, frolicking in the sand and surf, your effort will feel well worth it.