About Wilmington & Beaches
Heed the Call of the Water
From the River District and Riverwalk that winds around the storied Cape Fear River to three colorful island beaches, there’s something about the water here in Wilmington, NC and our beach towns — Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach — that speaks, surrounds and transforms visitors. As North Carolina’s most accessible coastal destination via interstates and an international airport, the area’s location, natural beauty, culture and history all charm visitors and residents alike making it the ideal place to get away for a vacation or weekend.
One destination and four unique settings . . . from the river to sea . . . create a bounty of extraordinary experiences. Jump to view Fast Facts.
New Hanover County, a.k.a. Wilmington, NC’s River District & Island Beaches, encompasses the City of Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach, as well as a number of unincorporated communities, including Figure 8 Island. Wilmington is situated along NC's southeastern coast, nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway to its east and the Cape Fear River to its west, making for beautiful ocean sunrises and river sunsets. Discover more fun facts about the area.
- Three island beaches (Carolina, Kure, Wrightsville) are just minutes away from Wilmington
- More than 50 diverse attractions from the river to sea
- More than 15 marinas
- Nearly 8,000 guest rooms and suites
- 400+ dining establishments
- More than a dozen bed & breakfast inns
- Over 50 area championship golf courses / year-round play
- More than 150 annual festivals and events
- 230 block National Register Historic District
- Over 30 charter boats and fishing guides
- Headquarters for the NC State Ports Authority
- Wilmington is one of the most haunted cities in the South, with ghost walks and haunted pub crawls
- Referred to as "Hollywood East," the region boasts nearly 400 film/TV credits and its own movie studio
- The rare Venus flytrap only grows naturally within a 100-mile radius of Wilmington
- Among the most historically significant African-American regions in the United States
- Committed to preservation efforts; architecture includes Victorian, Italianate, Georgian and Gothic
- Home to the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) & Wilmington International Airport (ILM)
- Early explorers named the Cape Fear River for its foreboding waters and rough currents where the river meets the sea
- Sports teams include UNCW Seahawks, Wilmington Sharks Baseball and the Cape Fear Community College Sea Devils