Memorial Day Holiday Roundup

Memorial Day is the perfect time for a road trip or vacation to Wilmington and our Island Beaches. Kick off your summer with a calendar full of family-friendly events, Memorial Day activities and time spent at the beach. Experience an observance like no other on the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA and visit area historic sites to pay respect to those who served our country.

See our Calendar of Events for a complete list of activities, which also includes the highlights below. Check back often as more events are added, and we hope you will visit us to kick off the summer season at the coast.

Military History

Honor the men and women who have died in service with a visit to one of the many historic sites in Wilmington and our Island Beaches. View the celebrated WWII Battleship NORTH CAROLINA, experience the Fort Fisher State Historic Site and step onto the Moores Creek National Battlefield.

Fireworks by the Sea

Carolina Beach Boardwalk
Friday, May 24; Music at 6:30 p.m.; Fireworks at 9:00 p.m.

Kick off the Memorial Day holiday and celebrate the start of summer with the free Fireworks By The Sea & Boardwalk Blast. Enjoy music at the gazebo and stay for the fireworks there or enjoy from your favorite spot on the beach.

Downtown Sundown Concert Series

Second Street, Historic Downtown
Friday, May 24; 6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Enjoy the first Downtown Sundown Outdoor Concert of the summer in the heart of Historic Downtown. Enjoy this free outdoor music event complete with beer, wine, food and gorgeous sunset views. Come early and stay late for the exciting dining and nightlife of downtown Wilmington. 

Fourth Friday Gallery Night

Various Locations in Historic Downtown Wilmington
Friday, May 24; 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Downtown Wilmington is a popular destination for art lovers. Browse area art galleries and work of many talented local artists during the ever-popular Fourth Friday Gallery Night. Find the full list of participating galleries here.

Orange Street ArtsFest

Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center
Saturday, May 25; 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 26; 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Have an artistic twist to your vacation at Orange Street Artsfest, Wilmington's largest downtown arts festival featuring over 80 artists. See works in pottery, jewelry, wood, glass and more on exhibit. Grab a beverage from the wine and beer tent and nosh on old-fashioned fair food.  

Loop Through History Walking Tour

Wrightsville Beach Museum of History
Saturday, May 25 & Sunday, May 26; 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Trek back through time while soaking up the sun on a walk around The Loop on Wrightsville Beach. The Loop Through History walking tour consists of 25 signs placed at key points along the popular fitness trail around the interior of the island. Explore the rich culture and history of Wrightsville Beach and Harbor Island through vintage photos and interesting tidbits about the past.

Free Movies at the Lake

Carolina Beach Lake Park
Sunday, May 26; Movie starts at dusk (approximately 8:45 p.m.)

What better way to enjoy a holiday vacation than with an outdoor movie near the ocean? Grab the family, blankets and beach chairs and head to Carolina Beach Lake Park to enjoy Rat Pack. This showing is part of the Free Summer Movies at the Lake series. Moviegoers can purchase candy, popcorn and soft drinks at the park, or you can bring your own food and beverages. 

Memorial Day Observance

Battleship NORTH CAROLINA
Monday, May 27; 5:00 p.m.

Pay tribute to those who gave their lives for our country aboard the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA. The ever-special Memorial Day Observance is an emotional ceremony with military musical arrangements provided by an Armed Forces Band, all-service color guard, a 21-gun salute and a memorial wreath cast into the waters of the Cape Fear River.

Bluewater Summer Music Series

Bluewater Waterfront Grill
Sunday, May 26; 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Step right off the docks and dance to the sounds of live music next to the Intracoastal Waterway on Bluewater Waterfront Grill's outside patio. Enjoy drinks and an assortment of food during the Bluewater Summer Music Series, perfect for kicking off a Sunday night of fun. 


Hotels and lodging options book up quickly. Reserve your accommodations now to enjoy the Memorial Day holiday in Wilmington and our Island Beaches.