Whether your travel vibe is adrenaline junkie, couch potato or somewhere in between, destinations rich in “soft adventures” will be right up your alley. Soft adventure, unlike its cousin hard adventure, involves little physical risk, requires little to no experience, and offers the perfect activities for a socially distanced vacation.
Read on for a list of seven soft outdoor adventures in the Wilmington area to help inspire your next coastal getaway:
With more than nine locations along the North Carolina Birding Trail located in Wilmington and its island beaches, set your sights on the unique coastal bird species that call the region home. In fact, Zeke’s Island Reserve is one of the most important shorebird habitats on the East Coast. Birds, fish, invertebrates and sea turtles also inhabit Masonboro Island Reserve, the longest undisturbed barrier island ecosystem in southern North Carolina.
The recently completed Gary Shell Cross-City Trail is a 15-mile primarily off-road, multi-use trail connecting Wade Park, Halyburton Park and Empie Park to the Heide-Trask Drawbridge at the Intracoastal Waterway. Spin your wheels along the River to Sea Bikeway, an 11-mile route that follows the Historic Beach Car Line from Historic Downtown Wilmington to Wrightsville Beach. Mountain bikers will want to check out the courses at Blue Clay Bike Park. Fat biking on the beach has recently become popular – Bike Cycles Shop will even deliver fat bike rentals to most areas in Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach.
Pitch your tent and enjoy the wilderness while camping at Carolina Beach State Park. The family campground has 79 campsites (including two wheelchair-accessible sites). For those wishing for an air-conditioned cabin experience, reserve one of the Camper Cabins which can sleep families of up to six people comfortably. Sign up for a one-of-a-kind glamping (glamorous camping) experience with Epic Excursions to enjoy the great outdoors without any of the hassle of traditional camping.
Three nearby beaches mean watersports galore. Wrightsville Beach was named as one of the top surfing towns in the world and is home to top-rated WB Surf Camp. Carolina Beach offers a surf school run by professional surfer and Olympic Gold Medalist Tony Silvagni. Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP, for those in the know), kayaking, sailing, kiteboarding, scuba diving, fishing and boating are among the other popular watersports available in the area. At Kure Beach, dive in to discover North Carolina’s first Heritage Dive Site, the Condor. Visit a local outfitter to gear up for a day on the water, sign up for a lesson or set out on a guided tour.
The area features five courses including the Donald Ross-designed Wilmington Municipal Golf Course and Beau Rivage Golf and Resort, which features an 18-hole championship course, on-site accommodations, an outdoor pool and more. Enjoy a different type of golf at Joe Eakes Park’s disc golf course in Kure Beach. The terrain makes the course a challenge for pros and novices alike – just be sure to bring your own discs (i.e., Frisbees). Good Hops Brewing in Carolina Beach also features a nine-hole disc golf course in its backyard for visitors to enjoy alongside their craft brews.
Beau Rivage Golf Course
There are hiking and fitness trails at Carolina Beach State Park, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, Fort Fisher State Historic Site and the Wrightsville Beach Loop. Wilmington’s Greenfield Lake Park and award-winning nearly two-mile Riverwalk are also great spots for a stroll or run, as are all three beaches.
Carolina Beach State Park
In addition to surf and paddleboard lessons, Tony Silvagni Surf School offers paddleboard yoga. Practitioners in the know claim this calming type of yoga offers a number of benefits, including helping refine your technique and advance core strength. Or, in Wrightsville Beach, enjoy yoga while overlooking the Atlantic Ocean from the Crystal Pier, courtesy of Be Unlimited Yoga.
Yoga on Crystal Pier
Find more outdoor trip ideas, discover 6 Ways to Have an Eco-Adventure in Wilmington.