Spring Blooms with Festivals
and Coastal Family Fun

From old traditions to newly sparked interests, there are countless ways to stray off course in Wilmington and our Island Beaches. Experience a spring renewal as visitors are encouraged to bask in the arts, southern culture and blooming azaleas during the North Carolina Azalea Festival. Savor river breezes while exploring the Historic District and brick-lined streets of downtown then dine al fresco at one of our many cafes lining the Riverwalk and main streets. Celebrate and participate in craft culture of a different kind during Cape Fear Craft and Cuisine. See the Battleship or the North Carolina Aquarium like never before on a behind-the-scenes tour. Experience spring break on our island beaches including a fresh food scene and signature events like the Seafood, Blues & Jazz Festival or Carolina Cup. Whatever your path, enjoy your twin journeys from the river to the sea all spring long.



Have A Spring Affair With Wilmington

Make the most of spring in Wilmington with an Azalea Affair. Noted as a Top 20 Event by Southeast Tourism Society, the North Carolina Azalea Festival, April 3-7, displays the pageantry and tradition of our coastal community. Find your own rhythm at concerts featuring internationally-known acts like Tyler Farr, April 4, Hank Williams Jr. on April 5 and Ice Cube, April 6. Soak in arts and culture with the NC Azaela Festival Parade on April 6 and a Juried Art Show and Sale, April 6-14. Have a dose of southern hospitality and see beautiful homes on the Historic Home Tour, April 6-7. Pair your ales with small plates, March 30, where 20 local chefs partner with 20 breweries sampling their best at Cape Fear Craft & Cuisine.

Island Time

Trade city vibes for island time with a visit to our three island beaches, each possessing their own personality and things to do. Enjoy a new kind of island blue at the Pleasure Island Seafood Blues & Jazz Festival, April 13-14. Fins and feathers flock together during the Lorikeet Landing Exhibit, April 20-Sept 30, at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, where you can interact with colorful, exotic birds as they whisp around your head and eat from your hand. Get active on the water at Wrightsville Beach and watch or participate, April 24-28, in one of the largest SUP competitions in the world, the Carolina Cup. Witness Venus flytraps and carnivorous plants in their native habitat at Carolina Beach State Park or hike waterside. 

Family-Friendly Getaway

Family vacations help adults find their inner kid again and kids explore and learn more. Visit with Wilmington’s oldest resident, a 200-foot-tall giant ground sloth at the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science then blast off at the hands-on Space Place Exhibit where little astronauts can learn and play with a robotic arm, microscopic experiments and more. Spend time at the Children’s Museum of Wilmington with magical, hands-on exhibits. Kids can climb high in the whimsical toddler treehouse, set sail in a pirate ship, shop for dinner in the Neighborhood Market, discover the ecological surroundings of Wilmington and our island beaches with Sea and Me as well as more exhibits and daily activities. Flytrap Frolic at Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden lets the little ones learn about the area's native carnivorous plants while engaging in a multitude of hands-on activities, scavenger hunts, crafts and live animal exhibits, April 27. Family Fun Day at the Bellamy Mansion, April 28, is a great way to experience Wilmington's eclectic history while keeping the kids entertained with face painting, storytelling, pony rides, petting zoo and even puppies.

Tours and Tales

Don’t just visit signature attractions and places, immerse yourself in the stories behind them. The Hidden Battleship Tour, March 23, speaks to the explorer at heart where you can see un-restored areas like the Radio II and ammunition handling on the third deck, the Captain's Cabin, and climb inside the fire and guns control tower atop the ship feeling like a soldier on the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA. Grab a tasty cocktail or drink from the bar and enjoy live acoustic music as you cruise down the Cape Fear River on a Wilmington Water Tours Sunset Cruise. The stately gardens of Bellamy Mansion will be blooming with traditional heirloom plants, nodding to the creations of Mrs. Bellamy herself. Take a guided tour through the gardens, mansion and carriage house as you hear the stories of those who built the home on the eve of the Civil War. Hop aboard Springbrook Farms' guided carriage tour led by rescued horses and a costumed carriage driver to peruse the 230-block National Register Historic District, hearing the stories behind Wilmington's stately mansions. Film buffs can relive Wilmington on the big screen with a 90-minute Hollywood location walk through a city that serves as one of America’s largest living film sets.

An Artistic Escape

Known as a cultural gem for our theater groups, live music clubs, galleries and art-centric events, Wilmington is the perfect place to indulge in an arts and culture getaway. Find the perfect piece of artwork at local galleries like Art in Bloom Gallery featuring paintings, drawings, jewelry, sculptures and more in a renovated 19th century horse stable with large courtyard space or browse the eclectic Brooklyn Arts District to visit galleries and meet the artists behind the work during Fourth Fridays. Browse the interactive, A Time When Art is Everywhere Exhibit, at Cameron Art Museum where reimagined worlds are turned into digital projections, then continue into the night with live music in the CAM Cafe Thursday evenings. Rock 'n' roll the night away at the Grammy and Tony-winning tale, Jersey Boys, March 19-20 at The Wilson Center. Decorate with coastal charm and take a bit of the beach back with you at the Coastal Living Show, March 23. Watch a concert lakeside at Hugh Morton Amphitheater at Greenfield Lake Park and see acts like The Infamous Stringdusters, March 31.

Dine Outdoors

Spring is the perfect time to take advantage of Wilmington's many options to dine al fresco. Savor river breezes, enjoy oysters Rockefeller and take in panoramic Cape Fear River views from the large outdoor deck of Elijah's Restaurant. From the patio to the menu, transport yourself to Paris at Le Catalan French Cafe and Wine Bar where a fine bottle of vino is accompanied by water views and an incomparable ambiance. Sip cocktails on a rooftop bar at Cloud 9 while savoring fresh seafood, jerk wings and lobster rolls. Dine al fresco with Cape Fear River views and a delicious mix of seafood and BBQ at Smoke on the Water. Experience dining island style nearby at Carolina Beach where ocean views are accompanied by BBQ and a cold one on the topside deck at Carolina Smokehouse, savor the Caribbean inspired dishes at Jack Mackerel's Island Grill in Kure Beach or enjoy dinner and drinks beside the Intracoastal Waterway at Dockside Restaurant near Wrightsville Beach.

Find the perfect place to stay

Reserve a suite at full-service hotels and resorts and take advantage of amenities like a rooftop bar and oceanfront gardens. Boutique area hotels offer a curated experience along the Wilmington Riverwalk or Historic District where area shopping and nightlife and are just steps from the front door. Downtime after last year's storm allowed for upgraded and modernized hotels and vacation rentals at our island beaches. From historic bed and breakfasts and modern full-service hotels to oceanfront vacation rentals, you'll find accommodations for every vacation and budget. Book now as spring and summer rentals go quickly.