Parks & Gardens
Discover Nature All Around in Wilmington, NC
When in Wilmington, it’s easy to find nature around every corner. The Atlantic Ocean and Cape Fear River provide a diverse ecosystem that invites unique wildlife, gardens and scenic trails. Embark on nature walks to enjoy wildlife and coastal flora. Visitors will also find entertainment from live music to sports facilities within Wilmington’s picturesque parks and gardens.
At the New Hanover County Arboretum, visitors can explore seven acres of scenic gardens with unique features including a Japanese garden with an authentic tea house and Japanese maples; a water garden with colorful Koi, catfish and lilies; a Contemplation Garden that honors the five branches of the military; and a Children's Garden with a miniature cottage, bug safari hunt and interactive musical features.
The beauty of Airlie Gardens’ more than 67 acres has been showcased in a number of Hollywood and television hits such as Nicholas Sparks' "The Choice," "Words on Bathroom Walls," "One Tree Hill" and "Dawson’s Creek." One of the South’s most premiere gardens is home to walking paths, seasonal blooms, a Butterfly House home to North Carolina butterflies, mighty live oaks including the Airlie Oak that sprouted in 1545, historic and contemporary sculptures such as the Bottle Chapel, Azalea Earl the Frog and birding trails. Participate in the monthly Birding Morning to find a variety of colorful wildlife and up to 200 bird species. For entertainment, the Airlie Gardens Summer Concert Series is the ideal spot to eat, drink and relax on the lawn while enjoying musical performances.
Noted as one of the best dog-friendly spots for outdoor activities, Greenfield Park is home to 190 acres of scenic views, lush gardens, 4.5 miles of walking trails, boat rentals and more. While walking, biking, paddle-boating, canoeing or kayaking the area, visitors will find moss-draped cypress trees and indigenous wildlife. The park and gardens offer restroom facilities, water fountains, playgrounds, shelters, picnic areas and grills, making it the perfect place to enjoy time outdoors. If you enjoy live music, check out a show at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, which hosts popular acts throughout the year.
Long Leaf Park offers a beautiful garden area with a pond and gazebo, picnic areas, a fully-accessible playground, splash pad, 1.55-mile walking trail and off-leash dog park. For a little friendly competition, check out one of the park’s baseball fields, basketball, tennis and sand volleyball courts, or its outdoor gym.
Soak up the great outdoors at Ogden Park, where you can play a round of your favorite sport (soccer, football, basketball, baseball, softball or tennis), stroll along a one-mile paved walking trail with an exercise station or pop a wheelie at its state-of-the-art, 10,000-square-foot concrete skate park.
Head to Arrowhead Park for a round of 18-hole disc golf. The park also offers tennis courts, a basketball court, a multi-purpose field and a playground.
Explore the blissful wonders of Halyburton Memorial Park. The 60-acre nature preserve invites visitors to embark on a 1.3-mile walking and birding trail, participate in fitness classes, nature programs and events, and discover the wonderful world around you during its environmental education sessions.
Mountain bikers will revel in the challenging 8-mile course at Blue Clay Bike Park – New Hanover County’s most extensive bike trail. This off-road trail system is suitable for all levels of cyclists, as well as hikers and runners. Parking, restrooms and a sheltered table are located at the start of the trail.
Art lovers can stroll through Cameron Art Museum's outdoor Art Park to see works of art from artists like Vollis Simpson, Stephen Hayes, Charlie Brouwer, Hiroshi Sueyoshi and more. Hayes' life-size bronze sculpture Boundless is the centerpiece of USCT Park, a part of the museum's outdoor space and the nation's first park honoring the United States Colored Troops and their fight for freedom. The park is on museum grounds where the USCT fought in the Battle of Forks Road.