The port city of Wilmington is one of the best in North Carolina. It is also referred to as the gateway to the beaches on the Cape Fear Coast. It leads to beaches like Carolina, which has a long boardwalk, and Wrightsville, which has strong surf. The town has a downtown Historic District. It is filled with restaurants, shops, and numerous galleries. It is the perfect place to go exploring for souvenirs.
Wilmington’s downtown runs along the Cape Fear River. Here, you will find the Battleship North Carolina moored. There are artifacts on the ship that explain the history of World War II naval combat. Some of the places you can visit and activities you can do while in Wilmington include:
Since it is a coastal town, there are many cruises offered to tourists and locals. Examples are:
Sunset Harbor Cruise
This is probably the most popular cruise. It is an incredible option when you want to relax and have an amazing adventure. The cruise is at Wrightsville Beach and lasts for an hour and a half.
You get to explore the region and enjoy some of the best views available. Taking a cruise in the evenings is best since the golden hour brings marine life with it. You will enjoy sightings of turtles, dolphins, and seabirds.
Island Hopper Cruise
This cruise involves visiting various uninhabited islands. The islands are located all around Wrightsville Beach. It takes about an hour and a half.
You can start the cruise at Money Island and make your way to Masonboro Island. On Money Island, you will learn about Captain Kidd, a notorious pirate who buried treasure on the island. The largest sand dune in the area is also on Money Island.
When visiting Masonboro, you will find southern North Carolina’s longest undisturbed barrier island ecosystem.
You can also look for giant seashells and explore the marsh and oceanside.
If you are in Wilmington and looking to host an event, there are various options. The Blockade Runner Beach Resort will plan everything. You only need to show up with your people and have a good time.
The resort plans your whole trip according to your group. Each event is tailor-made for you. They can even book your cruises and host private parties.
This is an amazing public garden with historical roots. It preserves the cultural and environmental integrity of the region. There are various activities to enjoy in the gardens, including:
Events - There are educational and recreational events that are held in the gardens. These are usually free to attend.
Exhibits: These change over time. They usually have an educational aspect and feature the environment and animals.
Summer concert series: These concerts happen annually. The schedule is on the official Airlie Gardens website.
Bird hike: You can have fun while learning about birding. This event is scheduled for February 9th and starts at 8 am. You will have to reserve tickets in advance if you attend.
Wilmington Railroad Museum
This location is a railroad museum that has a rich educational history. It is family-friendly and features artifacts from regional railroads since the 1840s. It is one of the best interactive model railroad layouts in North Carolina. A full-size steam locomotive, caboose, and boxcar are also in the exhibit.
You can visit the museum to learn more about the impact of railroads on local and national history.
Cape Fear River
This is the largest and main attraction in Wilmington. It is the most industrialized river in North Carolina. The water covers 200 miles and goes through the middle of North Carolina piedmont. The Cape Fear River crosses the coastal plain and empties its waters near Southport in the Atlantic.
There are many water-related activities to do on and around the river. These include sailing and water sports. You can also visit the many restaurants that are lined along the river.
Noni Bacca Winery
If you’re looking for a more grown-up activity, the Noni Bacca Winery is perfect.
It is owned by Toni and Ken Incorvaia. The two relocated to Wilmington from New York. Their families are of European descent, which influences their wine-making skills. The winery was established in 2007. It has quickly become one of Eastern North Carolina’s secret gems.
About 60 different wines are produced. The winery has earned more than 150 international medals, the first in 2009. You will find different kinds of wines to enjoy, including:
Wilmington is a very versatile town. From the Cape Fear River to museums and countless restaurants, you will explore till you drop. The region is rich in history and continues to educate on it. It is a great place to visit with children.