So to make things more cohesive, I'm going to break them down by category.
BEST BURGER, FRIES, & GRILLED CHICKEN SANDWICH
Without a doubt or hesitaton -- PT's Grille. Amazinggg. I sometimes dream about those fries. And if you are a fan of an amazingly juicy cheeseburger -- that is it!! When you walk in they have a pad of papers with all the toppings and each item on there and you circle what you want with a pencil, hand it to them, and they call out your order by name. Located across from UNCW and on Military Cutoff Rd on the way to Wrightsville Beach.
Mellow Mushroom. I know this is a chain, but it is amazingggg. Best crust ever. Located on Oleander by the mall.
Britt's Doughnuts. Hands down the BEST ever! It's a super tiny store at Carolina Beach on the boardwalk, they only serve doughnuts, coffee, and soda, have no phone or website, and an old cash register. Lined all along the walls are articles from all kinds of magazines and newspapers everything from GQ to Vogue, and its voted #2 best doughnut in the US! It's a total hole in the wall, but the doughnuts cannot be beaten. This CANNOT be missed! The parking lot is always jammed pack, and it's NOT about the carnival rides!
such AMAZING cupcakes! so much that one of my bffs (and fellow blogger) used this instead of a wedding cake for her wedding. a group of us would go there before or after nursing class each week. so so good! One located downtown on the waterfront, and another right before the bridge to Wrightsville Beach.
Brewster's Icecream. SOOO GOOD! I always get one of their flavors of the day ...aaand then devour it before I even get home haha. So so amazinggg!
Rita's. Icecream, custard, and shaved ice! All year long!! So so good.
WATER FRONT DINING
Dockside. An uber-popular spot. Every college student owns a tshirt of theirs (just like they own Berts Surf Shop, Sanitary Restaurant, AB Surf Shop, and Salty Dog Cafe)! I have two haha. A really great seafood/steak/chicken place, with great sandwiches and a good lunch menu. Make sure you eat outside and see where the 'dockside' -- people pull up their boats and order and eat on them. Beautiful views. Located right before the bridge on Airlie Rd overlooking Wrightsville.
Oceanic. The other two were docking boats views, but this is OCEAN view. So so beautiful, you eat on the pier with umbrellas. You MUST get the crabcakes, I dream about them!! Everything they have is good, but definitely split your meal! The portions are huge! Located on the right far end of Wrightsville.
Redix. There are plenty of good chain stores, but I just love this place! They have bait and tackle, beach decor, etc. but also name brands like Vineyard Vines, Lilly Pulitzer, Southern comfort, Guy Harvey, etc. I always end up buying Matt's gifts here -- golf embroidered belts, shorts, shirts, Tervis tumbler glasses, etc. Located on the right as you go over the bridge to Wrightsville. Blue Ocean is nextdoor.
MOM & POP RESTAURANTS
Sweet and Savory. SOOO AMAZINGGG! It's a restaurant and a bakery (hence Sweet and Savory haha) and I haven't ever had a THING that was bad, EVER! Their breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all great and you should ALWAYS get their special of the day, a soup on their soup of the day list, and a sweet treat on your way out! They even bring out their home fresh bread assortments before the meal,a nd people always swing in to get some to take home. I get their beef stew, cheesy chicken, and bacon/egg/cheese crossaint for breakfast. Their mashed potatoes are to die for!! Located right before Wrightsville Beach right before the bridge. We all went here with our clinical instructor on our last day of clincals for breakfast.
Causeway Cafe. Loveeee their breakfast! Located next door to Redix, its a place all the locals go! really good! Great waffles and egg platters, but I love their shrimp and grits!
THINGS TO DO
Besides visiting all the beaches, you can ride the trolley or horse and buggy downtown, run the loop around Wrightsville Beach, and shop outdoor at Mayfaire or the mall.