Summer Bucket List

Trip Ideas in Wilmington and Island Beaches

Squeeze every last moment out of your coastal vacation with our bucket list of things to do this summer in Wilmington and our Island Beaches. We’ve highlighted a summer full of places to go, must-try experiences, things to see, dishes to eat and hidden gems you won't want to miss. Discover tried and true classics or experience new things to do.

 

Tried & True Classics 

Wilmington 

Carolina Beach 

Kure Beach 

Wrightsville Beach 

 

New Favorites

Wilmington 

  • Sip on a signature ale or lager at new breweries like Hi-Wire Brewing Wilmington and Catawba Brewing Co. 
  • Walk along the Riverwalk and attend a concert at the new Riverfront Park & Amphitheater in downtown Wilmington 
  • Visit H20 Today, a Smithsonian traveling exhibition at Cape Fear Museum of History and Science through 2022 
  • Dine on locally sourced, in-season seafood at the newly opened Seabird from James Beard semi-finalist Chef Dean Neff 
  • Discover Wilmington’s World War II significance -- recently designated as the nation’s first WWII Heritage City -- along a self-guided history tour 
  • Enjoy a tour and tasting of Wilmington’s first craft distillery, End of Days 
  • Visit each of Wilmington’s unique neighborhoods and try new food options like Mariposa in the South Front District or Italian gelato at GelaRto in Historic Downtown 
  • Explore new dining experiences coming soon like The Green House, Wilmington’s first fine-dining vegan restaurant, and CheeseSmith, a gourmet grilled cheese and sandwich shop 
  • Enjoy luxurious amenities and unique experiences with a boutique stay in Historic Downtown Wilmington at The Hive or Dreamers Welcome 
     

Carolina Beach 

Kure Beach 

  • Visit the Asian small-clawed otter family at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher  
  • Wake up to stunning ocean views by spending the night at one of Kure Lighthouse Inn’s luxury apartment rentals 
  • Visit Fort Fisher State Historic Site and Museum’s newest exhibits: “From Slave to Soldier: the African American Experience at Fort Fisher,” highlighting African Americans’ role in Fort Fisher’s story and  "A Memory A People Could Not Forget: Lumbee Indians at Fort Fisher," detailing the vital role Lumbee Indians played in building the fort's massive earthworks (debuts June 29)
     

Wrightsville Beach 

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