As the weather heats up and the days get longer, there is no better time for an outdoor, scenic adventure! Wilmington, voted America’s Best Riverfront by USA TODAY’S 10Best, is the perfect place to explore the great outdoors and find scenic serenity with friends, family, a special someone or even solo. Whether biking from river to sea, kayaking or cruising along the river, taking in an exhibit to learn about life along the river or enjoying Wilmington’s Riverwalk, there’s so much to explore.
In honor of Great Outdoors Month in June, read on to see how to experience the river in Wilmington.
Settle into a kayak or canoe with Cape Fear River Adventures and let Captain Charles Robbins take you on a journey to see Eagles Island, the Black River and the Three Sisters Swamp, which is home to the oldest known Cypress tree. If you want to discover the open waters but don’t want to do all of the paddling yourself, hop aboard a cruise with Cape Fear Riverboats and be lulled into tranquility by the breathtaking scenery. Cruise leader Andy Wood shares facts about the beauty and natural history of the Cape Fear Region. Wilmington Water Tours offers daily history, eco-adventure and sunset cruises.
Feel the river breeze as you pedal your way along the River to Sea Bikeway. The 11-mile, on-and off-road bicycle route follows the Historic Beach Car Line, which carried vacationers from downtown Wilmington to nearby Wrightsville Beach by trolley. Daily bike rentals are available at The Spoke and Wheel in Chandler’s Wharf.
Step back in time and discover how life along the Cape Fear River has changed since Native American times with the Cape Fear Stories Exhibit at the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science. The interactive exhibit presents artifacts, images, models and three-dimensional settings to explore the history, science and cultures of the Lower Cape Fear River region. To learn the facts outdoors, download the Wilmington.Tours app and take in the history of Wilmington at your own pace.
Wilmington’s Riverwalk skirts the scenic Cape Fear River for nearly two miles. Enjoy live music while perusing the shops, restaurants and sites along the Riverwalk during the Downtown Sundown Outdoor Concert Series. Take in a different river view while you walk the recently dedicated SECU Memorial Walkway for a tour of the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA. Moored across the river from downtown Wilmington, the ship serves as a memorial to the 11,000 soldiers who lost their lives during WWII. End your day with a feast along Wilmington’s Riverwalk at Pilot House, Elijah’s or The George on the Riverwalk, or for a different view of the river, go to Smoke on the Water. After dinner, take in the sunset with a cocktail in hand at Cloud 9 or Reel Café for a rooftop view, or along the water at one of Wilmington’s riverfront restaurants like Le Catalan French Café Wine Bar and Anne Bonny’s Bar and Grill. If you’re looking for something different, make reservations to host a riverfront dock party with family and friends on board Wilmington Yacht Charters.