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WATER, HISTORY AND NATURAL BEAUTY ABOUND
See Where the Water Takes You
One destination. And four unique settings offer extraordinary experiences in the historic river district of Wilmington, N.C., and on three colorful island beaches - Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach. Proud of its rich history and beach vacation treasures, each is a place to enjoy the coast’s natural beauty and spend time with family and friends. Known for its down-to-earth attitude and warm energy, Wilmington is an eclectic mix of progressive culture in a historic setting with coastal charm. With original year-round festivals and events, seafood-rich and coastal-inspired menus, family-friendly museums, classic theatre, local storefront shopping and a vibrant nightlife, Wilmington and our island beaches flow with the pulse of coastal life and free you to be spontaneous…and see where the water takes you.
Visit in October for one of Wilmington’s signature events, Riverfest, as the riverfront becomes a hub of entertainment with over 200 craft and food vendors, live music, fireworks and more. Explore the world of hops, grapes and grain at the Lighthouse Beer and Wine Festival or get your foodie fix as 50 area restaurants serve up special dishes for Encore Fall Restaurant Week. Spend Halloween weekend in Wilmington and see why it is known as one of most actively haunted cities in the world with ghost walks, haunted pub crawls, cemetery tours and more.
Fall in our island beaches is an angler’s paradise with a frenzy of fishing tournaments. Grab your lucky pole and visit for the Pleasure Island Surf Fishing Challenge, Flat Bottom Girls Flounder Tournament and more. Bring your appetite to the island for the Taste of Wrightsville Beach event in September as 28 area restaurants showcase their best dishes. In October head to Kure Beach to see two Grammy-winning artists take the stage at the Pleasure Island Seafood Blues and Jazz Festival, also featuring fresh seafood.
Enjoy fall festivals, seafood, blues, brews and more at the coast this season with our Fall Highlights. Want to see visitor views and insiders’ tips on what they love about the area? Check out our Social Moments and book your getaway to Wilmington and our island beaches now!
Start your explorations with the Cape Fear River as your guide on nearly two miles of wooden Riverwalk lined with shops and cafes from Chandler’s Wharf to the Cotton Exchange, to the soon-to-be-opened full-service marina along the northern riverfront. You’ll take an awed breath when you explore the moss-draped, brick-lined streets of the 230-block National Register Historic District, one of the largest in the U.S and featuring a variety of architectural styles.
See the city on a guided tour from haunted or historic walks to Hollywood talks and Segway excursions, or by horse-drawn carriage or trolley ride. Take in the breathtaking view of downtown from the water by riverboat, sailboat or catamaran cruise. From the click of horses’ hooves on the old brick streets to the rhythm of jazz and beach music festivals, Wilmington embraces a combination of influences from both the past and present.
Enrich your artistic spirit through film festivals and science exhibitions or surround yourself by a collection of more than 100,000 azaleas under the enchanting live oak branches at Airlie Gardens. With the favorable mild climate, varied landscapes and spectacular architecture, it’s easy to see why Hollywood filmmakers have logged more than 400 film-related credits in the area, a testament to our independent spirit and quirky charm.
You’ll love our historic destination combined with a relaxed coastal lifestyle for the perfect getaway filled with unlimited vacation choices.