Best Wilmington Attractions: Beaches, Shopping and Golf
Popular Wilmington Attractions
Historic Wilmington NC- Step back into time where you can stroll along brick and cobblestone streets, watch sunsets on a riverside deck, and tour historic homes, haunted sites, gardens, and churches. Explore the 230-block National Register Historic District via horse-drawn carriage or trolley tour, on a leisurely riverboat cruise, or on foot.
USS Battleship North Carolina- USS Battleship North Carolina is a proud reminder of America's efforts to protect the free world and its rich naval heritage. Come aboard and experience the patriotic pride that carried her brave crew to victory. Enjoy two-hour, self-guided tours of this restored World War II-era combatant.
Airlie Gardens- Located near Wrightsville Beach, it encompasses 67 acres of quintessential Southern gardens with 10 acres of freshwater lakes. Enchanting gardens feature azaleas, camellias, statuary and the Historic Airlie Oak.
Poplar Grove Plantation- Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Poplar Grove Plantation preserves the homestead of a peanut farming family and the outbuildings and crafts of an 1800's working community. Tour the big and beautiful Greek Revival style house and tenant farmer's cabin, and visit the craft shops and the blacksmith's shop.
Cape Fear Favorites
Cape Fear Riverwalk- Starting at Waterfront Park on Bay Street, the one-mile Riverwalk provides a pleasant stroll along the Cape Fear River to the marina and yacht basin. Complete with wide patio-style areas and pocket parks with benches, the Riverwalk offers spectacular views of the river, especially at night.
Riverboat Cruises- Board at S. Water St. and the foot of Dock St. for narrated sightseeing cruises, Dinner and Dance, Sunset, and Special Events Cruises on the Cape Fear River and Private Charters year round. The HENRIETTA III Cruises go out April - December..
Coastal Kayak Adventures- Discover the beautiful NC coastline on a kayak tour on calm water trails that meander through salt marshes and barrier islands. Wilmington is a paddler's paradise, defined by swamps, black water rivers, sounds, salt marshes, barrier islands and ocean surf.
Southport- Southport is one of the most desirable places in the US to retire. Located on Bay Street at land's end, Southport's waterfront has been a center of activity, from roving pirates and river pilots to fishermen bringing in the day's catch.
Carolina Beach- Carolina Beach is a beautiful beach resort on Pleasure Island, the larger of the barrier islands on the Cape Fear Coast separated by the Intracoastal Waterway. With wide, sandy beaches, coastal marinas, a Boardwalk, pier, Ferris wheel, gazebo, arcade, and specialty shops, Carolina Beach offers nostalgic charm and a wholesome atmosphere.
Kure Beach- Kure Beach is a stunning getaway destination with scenic views of the Cape Fear River, the Atlantic Ocean, and Zeke's Island estuarine complex. It offers a tranquil atmosphere for swimming, fishing, sunbathing and surfing.
Topsail Island & Beach- Topsail Island, a 26-mile-long barrier island north of Wilmington, consists of North Topsail Beach, Surf City and Topsail Beach. On the southern end, Topsail Beach is a peaceful and historic beach community with a charming downtown shopping area. Visitors flock to the beautiful dune-protected beaches and for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, fishing and sea kayaking.
Bald Head Island- Four miles off the coast of Southport, at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, Bald Head Island is one of the most beautiful natural beaches and maritime forests on the North Carolina coast. The island offers 14 miles of protected beaches, pristine dunes, creeks and forests surrounded by 10,000 acres of salt marshes.
Cape Fear Museum of Science and History- Cape Fear Museum features 40,000+ artifacts and changing exhibits of 19th and 20th Century objects, images, photographs, and slides relating to the history, science and culture of Lower Cape Fear.
Children's Museum of Wilmington- One of the best children's museums in the country, the Children's Museum of Wilmington stimulates children's imagination, curiosity and love of learning. The Museum celebrates the joys of childhood by providing magical exhibits and two outdoor gardens.
Cameron Art Museum- The museum boasts 15 galleries, displaying a unique blend of artwork from 18th century paintings to 20th century ceramics, decoys, sculptures and computer generated art. After viewing the renowned permanent collection and traveling exhibitions, visit the Museum Shop or stroll the 10-acre campus including the Civil War Battlefield and Sculpture Park.
Bellamy Mansion Museum and Gardens- Visit one of North Carolina's spectacular treasures of antebellum architecture built on the eve of the Civil War by free and enslaved black artisans. After the fall of Fort Fisher in 1865, Federal troops commandeered the house as their headquarters during the occupation of Wilmington.
Porters Neck Country Club- This 18-hole, Par 72 course - designed by Tom Fazio - features rolling, tree-lined fairways, six water holes and large, undulating greens. The course has four sets of tees to challenge all skill levels.
The Cape Golf & Racquet Club- The natural hazards on this course are complemented by the breathtaking natural beauty of the terrain. The course meanders through scenic woods and marshlands. Golfers enjoy nice views of fairways and greens from the tee boxes, and there are 24 lakes and ponds that challenge throughout the course.
Magnolia Greens- One of the top courses in North Carolina and a focal point for Wilmington, this 7000-yard golf course received a 4.5 star ranking (of 5) by Golf Digest. The facility features 27 holes of fun and challenging golf, Bent grass greens, a driving range, a 12,000 sq. ft. putting green, a pro shop, and a café/bar. Magnolia Greens hosted the 1998 and 1999 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournaments.
Chandler's Wharf- Enjoy historic shops, specialty boutiques, and excellent dining experiences right on the Cape Fear River at 225 S. Water Street.
The Cotton Exchange- Browse the 34 fine shops and dine at several wonderful restaurants at this Wilmington shopping mall.
Riverfront Farmer's Market- Riverfront Farmers' Market in Downtown Wilmington will be held Saturdays on Water Street, April 16 - December 17. Regional produce, plants, herbs, cut flowers, and seafood will be featured weekly, with special events and musical entertainment.
Riverfest- Celebrate Wilmington's heritage at Riverfest, held annually each October, when downtown Wilmington hosts a festival that winds along the Cape Fear River. Enjoy live entertainment and music on two outdoor stages, arts and crafts, exhibits, dance performances, contests, children's activities, food, river events, competitions, and fireworks.
Azalea Festival- A springtime celebration of Wilmington's exceptional artwork, gardens, history and culture, the annually held Azalea Festival is a 3-day riverfront street fair that features headline concerts, arts, craft and food vendors, a spectacular parade, garden and home tours, the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus, and more.
Azalea Festival Triathlon- The Azalea Festival Triathlon is an exciting triple-sport event that tests the strength and endurance of competitors from around the South. The April 1 event, held at the University of North Carolina Wilmington campus, involves a 300-yard swim, a 20K bike and a 5K run.