Travel Destinations

Wilmington, A Historic North Carolina Port City


Due to it's desirable climate, colorful history and beachside location, Wilmington is one of North Carolina's most popular tourist destinations. The charming city set on the Cape Fear River, 15 miles from the Intracoastal Waterway is one of the region's most alluring and historically rich ports and a must-visit destination for boaters.The Wilmington Historic District spans 230 blocks lined with moss-draped oak trees and is full of southern Victorian and Antebellum architecture. It is best seen by horse-drawn carriage or Segway. Visitors can tour many of the area's historic mansions, such as the Bellamy Mansion, which dates to the Civil War era and houses a museum of history and design.

The sights can also be enjoyed aboard the old-fashioned Wilmington Trolley or via a stroll along the two-mile Riverwalk, a scenic board walk which winds around the Cape Fear River. The historic waterfront is a shopping and dining mecca. The Cotton Exchange and the City Market have loads of boutiques and locally owned restaurants, and there are performing-arts theaters scattered throughout the city the intimate Greenfield Park Amphitheater hosts shows ranging from Shakespeare to popular Indie bands.Don't miss a trip to the farmers market, held every Saturday from late March through the middle of December. In addition to local produce, you'll find booths from artisans and crafters. If you can, plan your visit to coincide with Wilmington's Azalea Festival, held this year from April 10 to April 14. Airlie Gardens has more than 100,000 azaleas that will be in full bloom! In addition, the festival features more than 50 events, including concerts, art shows, garden tours, special exhibits, a circus and a parade.

Because of Wilmington's mild climate, a variety of affordable outdoor entertainment is available year-round. Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach all within 25 minutes of Wilmington offer deep-sea and pier fishing, surfing, swimming and diving. Golfers can enjoy Beau Rivage Golf & Resort, an 18-hole par-72 course just 15 minutes from downtown Wilmington.

Where to Dock:

  • Wilmington City Docks (, 910-520-6875) has floating docks within walking distance of top restaurants, shopping and local attractions.
  • Port City Marina (, 910-251-6151), opening this fall, is located on the downtown waterfront along the Cape Fear River. The facility will accommodate boats up to 250 feet, with more than 200 state-of-the-art floating concrete slips.

Where to dine:

  • If you decide to eat on board, visit Cape Fear Coast Seafood (8130 Market St., to pick up local fish, shrimp, scallops and clams.
  • To dine out in style, hit Catch (6623 Market St.,, helmed by Bravo's Top Chef-appearing Keith Rhodes. Chef Rhodes also recently opened a food truck that serves up Mexican street food such as ceviches and crispy fish tacos.
  • A longtime Wilmington favorite, Circa 1922 (8 N. Front St.,, has a vintage atmosphere with live piano or jazz music and a diverse menu of tapas, sushi, meats, seafood and pasta.

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