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Oceanic At The Crystal Pier – Wrightsville Beach, NC

Wilmington, North Carolina, is located on the Cape Fear River, not far from the beach. Although it’s not on the ocean, it is a 15-minute drive to Wrightsville Beach. For those of us who live in North Carolina, it’s a great place to get away to for a day or two, even a week or two. 

Dock on Cape Fear

A Getaway Weekend

With everything that is happening in our world today, my husband and I decided to run away for a few days before everything hit the fan with the Coronavirus. We took a trip to the North Carolina coast to visit Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Southport, and Oak Island. 

First Stop Wrightville Beach – Oceanic, Established 1990

When we arrived in Wilmington, we decided to drive straight over to one of our favorite places to eat on Wrightsville Beach called the Oceanic at the Crystal Pier. We have been dining there for over 15 years. And over time, they have added extended seating to the outside on the Crystal Pier, which was built in 1939, and restored in 2013. It’s almost like you are sitting on the ocean!

Because the Oceanic restaurant sustained some damage from Hurricane Florence that hit the North Carolina coast in 2018, the owners decided to make significant changes with a redesign and also to revamp their menu. Fortunately, they left some of their fan favorites on the menu. The restaurant looks so beautiful inside and out, and we love the menu changes too.

Crystal Pier

Time for Dinner at Oceanic at the Crystal Pier

When we arrived, I noticed the outside of the building looked much newer. Then when we entered, I was wowed! When we entered the Oceanic, we could see the new bar called, ‘The Jetty,’ which faces the beautiful landscape of the dunes on the oceanfront, looking into the sunset.

Time To Be Seated

We were seated upstairs and had a table by the window. One thing I noticed was all the tables and booths face the ocean view. We were greeted by our waiter, Kyle, who was very pleasant and excited to wait on us. I appreciated Kyles’s enthusiasm because that can make or break a dining experience. First impressions do matter!

Second Floor Window to the Ocean Backdrop
Eating with An Ocean View
No Matter Where You Sit You Have Amazing Views

Kyle told us about the specials and asked what we wanted to drink. I decided to get a cocktail, which was wonderfully made. Kyle brought us a basket of their hush puppies with whipped butter. Then we ordered one of our favorite appetizers, their Carolina Crab Dip served with Warm Toasted French Bread. Our waiter Kyle told us the Carolina Crab Dip recipe remains the same because it is one of their best sellers. And no wonder… it’s delicious!

Second Floor Bar with Dining Option

Dinner Is Served

After our appetizer arrived, we placed our order. I chose one of the specials, which was the freshly caught Yellowtail Blackened fish with cheesy grits and freshly steamed vegetables. The fish was perfectly cooked, with the right amount of spice; the veggies were crisp and cooked to perfection. Cheesy grits… do I need to say more? The butter lemon sauce complimented the dish; it was like exploding fireworks in my mouth with all the great flavors and textures! My husband, Jon, ordered the North Carolina Calabash Basket. He chose the pick three: hand-breaded lightly fried flounder, shrimp, and oysters in a basket! It is served with apple slaw and seasoned fries. He loved it!

Yellowtail Blackened with Lemon Butter Sauce, Cheesy Grits, and Fresh Vegetable Medley
Calabash Three – Flounder, Shrimp, and Oysters

We… Will… Be Back

The Oceanic is a must-go-to place when we visit the area, and now it’s even better than it was before. We will be back, no doubt about it, and will bring others with us as we have done often. When looking back I see we have great memories at Oceanic; our family has spent many mothers’ days, reunions, and family gatherings at this great restaurant.

Looking At Oceanic From End of Pier

Where To Stay

We wanted to stay downtown Wilmington near the Riverwalk. We stayed at one of our favorite hotels, the Hampton Inn, that always has comfortable beds, is very clean, has friendly staff, and always includes more than just a continental breakfast. Downtown Wilmington is where there is plenty of shopping and lots of restaurants to eat. After the sun goes down, the city comes to life; we found a great place to have a nightcap and listen to whatever music suited our fancy that night. 

Hampton Inn Hilton Brand Hotels Downtown Wilmington, NC

We had a suite at the Hampton Inn, which has plenty of space and was nicely decorated. We will most likely stay there again on our next visit and go to the waterfront to shop and dine; there is always the next time.

Large Suite at Hampton Inn
Second Floor Seating All Have Ocean Views at Oceanic

I am lucky to live in a state where there is so much beauty and fun things to do! The next day we left right after breakfast to head over to Southport, which I will write about in my future post. Let me know if you have been to Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach and if you visited the Oceanic.


  • Wow! It’s doesn’t look like there is a bad seat in that restaurant! Just stunning views of the beach! Food looks amazing too! Thanks for the hotel recommendation also.

    • Yes, when they redesigned the restaurant after the hurricane they made every seat with a perfect view! The food is delicious!

  • We LOVE Wrightsville Beach. When we lived in NC, we went there often. The Oceanic was always a favorite – especially their crab dip. There was another place in Willmington that we loved at the end of the shopping area – we’d sit outside on the Cape Fear River and enjoy crab dip and drinks. So fun!

    • The crab dip is a must and in this area, the Oceanic is one of the best restaurants with an ocean view.

  • I live in NC and I love to visit Wrightsville Beach. I will have to try Oceanic in our next visit. The food and view looks amazing!

  • Soooo beautiful! My husband and I have been considering NC for retirement (not for a few years yet). Would live to be close to this location.

  • When I was in college my friends and I took a trip to Wilmington to see the Dawson’s Creek sights. That seems like ages ago. My kids would enjoy going to the beach and I would love to eat at a restaurant with a view. It looks like I’ll have to plan a trip back there.

  • What a lovely place to have dinner! The views are gorgeous, and the food looks yummy. I am definitely putting this on my list of places to visit. I haven’t been to North Carolina very much, but I want to. I’ve been just over the state line near Savannah and Clingman’s Dome. I want to explore more.

  • I LOVE North Carolina. We might have to hunt this place down next time we go; it looks amazing! One of my favorite restaurants ever is a similar style place on Virginia!!!

    • Love to know your favorite restaurant in Virginia that is similar. Definitely add it to your list when you visit us.

  • Nice place right on the beach! Hubby would be all over that crab cake. The seafood looks awesome and making me hungry

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