Sunlit Sojourn from the River to the Sea

Winter is the perfect time to expand your horizons and stray off course in Wilmington and our Island beaches. Sunshine and mild temperatures make it an ideal time to get outside for wellness activities like kayaking around the 250-acres of Greenfield Lake and exploring unique flora and fauna found all year long at both Airlie Gardens and New Hanover County Arboretum. Experience winter happenings including an inaugural coffee fest featuring Wilmington's finest purveyors and roasters of coffee and taste cocktails and cuisine during restaurant week. Our island beaches offer the perfect seaside respite. Go on a guided hike with a park ranger, find your Zen with yoga at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher or set sail with a licensed instructor. Whether taking a solo, couples or friends' getaway, enjoy your twin journeys from the river to the sea.




Winter Happenings

Warm-up and perk up at the Wilmington Coffee Fest, February 1, featuring Wilmington's finest purveyors of coffee, roasters and distributors set up at the Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center and Waterline Brewing Co. Taste around town and celebrate Wilmington's vibrant culinary scene during Encore Winter Restaurant Week, January 29 - February 9, where participating restaurants offer special prix fixe menus. Get a two-for-one with Jazz at the CAM: Andrew Bernstein Trio, February 9 at Cameron Art Museum, browse art and sculpture exhibits then catch live jazz in the CAM cafe.

What's New

Explore the Legacy Gallery and Window on Wilmington views at the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA or cruise with Wilmington Water Tours' 3 Bridge Cruise to gain a new perspective on the area's history and ecology. Floriana Restuarant, a beloved restaurant in Washington DC's Dupont Circle neighborhood, will open its second location at the foot of Market Street offering scenic views and balcony dining in early 2020. James Beard Best Chef nominee and former PinPoint Restaurant head chef, Dean Neff, plans to open his own restaurant in historic downtown in June 2020 highlighting Neff's expertise in farm-to-table cuisine. End of Days Distillery, Wilmington's first grain to glass distillery plans to open their doors for tastings, tours and private events in February. New events include the inaugural Marchtoberfest Wilmington NC's Beer Festival on March 7th with 40+ North Carolina breweries, German-style beer, cuisine and music. Discover more of what's new to see and do in Wilmington and beaches in 2020. 

Wellness at the coast

Escape to mild temperatures where outdoor activities beyond sand and shore are abundant. Explore Greenfield Lake Park and Gardens on foot taking in water views on the nearly five-mile trail or rent a kayak to explore by water. Experience a Japanese garden, maples, water garden and authentic tea house at the Arboretum at New Hanover County. Home to over 200 bird species, grab your binoculars and head to Airlie Gardens for a guided bird hike, hosted the second Wednesday of each month, or simply stroll throughout the 67-acres and see the Airlie Oak that dates back to 1545, the Bottle Chapel and more. 

Spring Preview

Spring forward at the North Carolina Azalea Festival, April 1-5, and experience the Southern pageantry and tradition of our coastal community. Soak in arts and culture with street fairs and a juried art show and sale, tour historic homes, stroll through immaculate gardens and find your own rhythm at concerts featuring internationally-known acts like The Avett Brothers, April 4. Families can blast off with Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang during the Snoopy Soars with NASA: To The Moon at Cape Fear Museum of History and Science. Perfect for both foodies and craft beer connoisseurs alike, the annual Cape Fear Craft & Cuisine pairs craft breweries alongside local chefs for beer-inspired small plates served in the beautiful setting of Airlie Gardens, March 28. 

Find Your Beach Zen

Get together with a group of friends for a private Tasting History Tour, experience the new "History In a Glass" drinks tour or stop by Surf House Oyster Bar & Surf Camp for the recently launched Groundswell Dinner Series highlighting locally-sourced cuisine. To work off the tastings, hike through Carolina Beach State Park on a biological wonderland hike with a park ranger. Find your under-the-sea Zen during Yoga at the Aquarium at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher through January 30. In Wrightsville Beach, stick to resolutions walking or running The Loop or grab your significant other for the Valentine Run: 5K, 10K and 15K on February 8, or dance the night away at the East Coast Shag Classic, February 13-16. 

Find the perfect place to stay

In addition to finding historic bed and breakfasts, modern full-service hotels, oceanfront vacation rentals and more accommodations for every vacation and budget, there are renovated and new lodging options to discover. In Wilmington’s Historic District, experience southern elegance at the restored Victorian Italianate mansion, Verandas Bed and Breakfast. Book a stay at the new boutique hotel, ARRIVE Wilmington, and dine at the on-site restaurant Dram Yard Restaurant, enjoy the fire pits, courtyard garden and walkability to attractions and nightlife.