8:30? If I was you and was dead set on Wrightsville, I would leave at
7am. By 10 am, the cars are starting to come in.
I PERSONALLY..would not go to Wrightsville. Parking is a nightmare, parking lots will charge you around $10 to park all day, good luck trying to find a public restroom
and be prepared to sit in traffic for awhile.
If you dont mind driving an extra 20 miles, I would instead head to Kure Beach
(Fort Fisher). There is one very large parking lot and no matter when you go, there is ALWAYS parking. Plus, its free. They have very clean public
restrooms with changing rooms (you wont find that in Wrightsville), snack bar, picnic areas and grills. This space is right between the Fort Fisher musuem and the Fort Fisher Aquarium so if you get too hot and want to get out of the sun for a few hours, you got a couple of really cool things to do.
Another disadvantage of Wrightsville is most of the shops/restaurants wont allow public
restrooms because of the employees having to constantly clean up the sand.
Just take I-40 East and follow the signs to NC AQUARIUM AT
FORT FISHER. You're going to drive through Kure Beach
, then to Fort Fisher. Turn down Loggerhead drive and the parking lot will be on your left. You can't miss it. They did a great job of putting out signs leading you to the aquarium so its guaranteed, you wont get lost!
For lunch, there are two restaurants across the street from each other (I completely forgot the name, sorry!) when you come out of Fort Fisher. One is a seafood restaurant, the other is a grill place. Both are excellent! There's a DQ station across the street too.
Here's a link for the aquarium:
North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher