Explore New Twists & Turns This Summer

There are endless ways to make the most of a summer getaway to Wilmington and our Island Beaches. Soar down giant waterslides and play miniature golf with the family. Jazz up the night with music in the lawn at the iconic Bellamy Mansion. Fly high with family time at our island beaches at the North Carolina Aquarium's Lorikeet Landing Exhibit filled with exotic, colorful birds. Catch ocean views from atop Boardwalk amusement rides in Carolina Beach. Unleash adventure and take the family on a cruise to a private island or on an island walking tour at Wrightsville Beach. Or simply just relax oceanfront and do nothing at all, where here, summer is more than just a state of mind!

Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park

Soar down a waterslide, race go-karts, chill out in a lazy river. Take a sneak peek inside Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park in this 360-video.

Carolina Beach Boardwalk

Wrap yourself in nostalgia all summer long at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, complete with amusement rides, tiki bars, ice cream, handmade donuts and restaurants.



Anchors Away in the City

Enjoy a summer beach vacation anchored by city happenings nearby. When you need a break from the sand and sun, head to Wilmington for a stroll along the nearly two-mile Riverwalk, then hop on a horse-drawn carriage with Springbrook Farms for a narrated tour through the historic district. Set sail on a sunset cruise with live acoustic music and beverages through Wilmington Water Tours or take the whole family to explore wildlife on a narrated eco-history cruise. Follow the sound of music to discover the Downtown Sundown Outdoor Concert Series, taking place every Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day in the heart of historic downtown and perfect for all ages or attend a concert at The Wilson Center with acts like American folk legend, Don McLean, on June 29. Kick off Independence Day week with a symphony salute to the red, white and blue with patriotic favorites at Stars & Stripes: North Carolina Symphony, July 2 and end the week at one of the most epic July 4th events in the country including a fireworks show on the river plus all the dining and nightlife offered in historic downtown during the City of Wilmington 4th of July Celebration. Between a beautiful waterfront, 230-block National Register Historic District and access to three island beaches, see for yourself why the readers of Southern Living magazine voted Wilmington one of the "South's Best Cities." 

Family Fun

Families stay entertained from sunup to sundown with an assortment of activities all summer long. Let the little ones say 'arr' and be a pirate for the day at the Children's Museum of Wilmington where they can dress as pirates and role-play aboard the Ahoy Wilmington. Cool down at Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park where activities span from a Lazy River and waterslides to go-karts, laser tag and mini golf. Get jumping at Flip N Fly, Wilmington's largest indoor trampoline park and have a night out during their Neon Nights. Pack a picnic and bring your blankets and chairs as the little ones run and play beneath the live oaks at the enchanting Airlie Gardens for the Summer Concert Series, now through Sept. 20 on the first and third Friday of each month. Fun for all generations, learn about the area at the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science. Be amazed by the 200-foot-tall giant ground sloth then blast off with the Space Place Exhibit. Little learners and future horticulturists will enjoy a visit to Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden where Venus flytraps and pitcher plants await alongside walking trails, observation decks and hands-on activities.

Not your average history

Old and young naval and engineering fans alike can see the inner workings of the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA during Battleship Alive - be guided through the galley, tap out your name in Morse code and raise the signal flags. There's plenty to see, do and learn when exploring Wilmington's 230-block National Register Historic District beyond touring through unique events. Built on the eve of the Civil War, the Bellamy Mansion Museum of History & Design is one of the finest examples of Antebellum architecture in the state with tours offered daily. Enjoy a two-for-one experience during Bellamy's Jazz at the Mansion Concert Series as you settle in on the lawn while listening to the sounds of smooth jazz on the second Thursday of each month through September. The only Colonial-era house open to the public in Wilmington opens its doors at night for a Night Tour of the Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens, guided by candlelight, interpreters reveal the superstitions and rituals of bygone times. Travel to Kure Beach to experience where one of the most seminal battles of the Civil War took place and explore the earthen fort and museum at Fort Fisher State Historic Site.

Fresh Fare from Land to Sea

There's nothing like fresh seafood on a summer vacation and Wilmington has abundant options for sea-and farm-to-table cuisine. Start your day at The George where brunch comes with a side of river views. Items like The Riverwalk give a coastal take on the classic eggs benedict with two fried crab cakes on top or fuel your day with a grouper Reuben. Kids will love the blueberry oatmeal pancakes while brunching at The Basics before a day of exploration. Fun, funky and kid-friendly, Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn is a perfect midday fuel-up where items range from nacho platters for the whole family to build-your-own burritos. Pop in for lunch or dinner at The Copper Penny where kids eat for free on Mondays after 4 p.m. with an assortment of options like fish sticks and shrimp baskets. Adults can try Guy Fieri approved options seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives like the hot roasted pork sandwich, beer battered onion rings and 109 Chestnut chicken sandwich. Have a sunset dinner with river views at Smoke on the Water. Transport yourself to a Thai garden at Indochine and dine in your own private cabana for dinner with classic Thai dishes utilizing land to sea ingredients and weekend entertainment including belly dancers. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Kilwin's Chocolate, Fudge & Ice Cream, try artisan cupcakes at The Peppered Cupcake with flavors like caramel macchiato and roasted pear with honey habanero or sample a bit of everything at Boombalatti's Homemade Ice Cream with a four flavor mini-scoop sampler.

Islands in the Sun

Summer means beach season and each one of our three island beaches possesses their own getaway vibe. Take in ocean views from atop a Ferris wheel in Carolina Beach and spend a family-friendly vacation enjoying Free Movies at the Lake and amusement rides and weekly fireworks on the classic Carolina Beach Boardwalk. Combine a retreat to Kure Beach with fun and go under the sea at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, then fly high at the Lorikeet Landing Exhibit. Wind down the weekend at Boogie in the Park beside the ocean with free live music on select Sundays throughout the summer. Wrightsville Beach offers a getaway for all ages and family members from great grandparents to kids. Little ones can learn and play during Touch Tank Tuesdays, hang ten with a surf lesson from various island outfitters or attend day camps while adults can get active with a variety of watersports including standup paddleboarding, kayaking and sailing. Then relax with a specialty drink at the new Oceanic Jetty Bar or next to the Intracoastal Waterway at Bluewater Grill.

Find the perfect place to stay

Reserve a suite at full-service hotels and resorts and take advantage of amenities like a rooftop bar, summer kids camps and oceanfront gardens. Boutique area hotels offer a curated experience along the Wilmington Riverwalk or Historic District where area shopping, attractions and nightlife and are just steps from the front door. Upgraded and modernized hotels and vacation rentals at our island beaches put you steps from the shore. 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 to secure your summer spot!