Small Coastal Towns
Wilmington and Area Beach Towns
Wilmington, NC's Historic River District & Island Beaches offers something for everyone. There are, of course, beautiful beaches that attract surfers, but there’s also great shopping, dining, attractions, galleries, historical sites, museums, the WWII memorial Battleship NORTH CAROLINA and the EUE Screen Gems Studios where you can take a tour and go “star” gazing.
This narrow cone-shaped penisula of land was first discovered in 1524 and settled in 1729, so you’ll find a rich history and many antebellum homes in downtown Wilmington on the Cape Fear River. You’ll also find shopping, dining and nightlife at Chandler’s Wharf, along Front Street and at the Cotton Exchange. In April, the city puts on its colorful clothing for the annual Azalea Festival.
On the Cape Fear River in Wilmington is one of the state’s most popular attractions, the World War II battleship, USS NORTH CAROLINA. This imposing memorial is also near the town of Leland, currently one of the fastest growing areas in the country, with new golf courses and shopping constantly springing up.
Directly across the peninsula from Wilmington on the Atlantic side is Wrightsville Beach, a destination for weekend getaways and annual family vacations for generations. Sunning, beachcombing and fishing (both surf and pier) are all popular activities as is surfing, windsurfing, jet skiing, parasailing, kayaking and sailing.
Both Carolina Beach and Kure Beach are located on Pleasure Island, south of Wilmington on Highway 421. Carolina Beach offers an old fashioned boardwalk with ice cream shops and beach gear, a pier and an arcade. Quiet Kure Beach has the oldest continuously operated family owned wooded fishing pier in North Carolina. South of Kure Beach you’ll find Fort Fisher State Recreation Area and the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.
For complete vacation planning, contact the Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau.
By Pam Watson
By Pam Watson
added: December 31, 2008
updated: April 20, 2012