The first thing we did after arriving at the Wilmington, NC KOA was head out to the nearest beach. Wrightsville Beach was about five miles away, but when we got there we were in for a rude shock. There wasn't a free parking place in the whole darn town. It was ten dollars a day to park, the machines only took bills, and gave no change. All Larry had was a $20.00 and we weren't interested in staying for more than an hour or two which was a couple of dollars, but we had no singles for the machine and no change for the street meters.
Ironically, the place was pretty empty. We considered parking in one of the driveways of the empty houses, but if someone showed up we might get towed so we didn't. When you visit the beach in October you don't expect to be gouged for parking, but the $10.00 a day fee extends through October 31st - not even a reduction for the off season. (As cold as it was, it should have been the WAY OFF SEASON.) There wasn't a single free parking place in the entire town. It looked like even going for dinner, unless you were lucky and the restaurant had a lot, you'd pay for parking.
The town is clearly wealthy, but that doesn't keep them from exacting exorbitant fees for parking even in October. Larry said it was the way they keep the riff-raff out of their swanky resort.
A few days later we met a gentleman who said years ago he visited the beach and parked in a legal spot on the street. When he returned he found a police officer writing him a ticket. Why? The gentleman whose house he'd parked in front of had painted a yellow line around his car. Seriously! When he complained to the officer (who could see the obviously fresh paint), the cop just shrugged and said the man was an important person in the community. Talk about small town corruption, eh?
Makes you want to run right out and go to Wrightsville Beach doesn't it? After the first day we never went back and Wrightsville Beach is off our list of vacation spots EVER.
We finally found a meter that took credit cards and paid for two hours. But the entire experience left us with a sour taste. The elitists in Wrightsville can keep their resort to themselves which is obviously what they want to do. We'll head to warmer communities.
So here's Wrightsville Beach. Enjoy the photos because I'll never be back there to take more!