Wellness Trip Ideas
Stay Active While on Vacation
Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice exercise and wellness. In Wilmington and our island beaches, visitors can savor river and ocean breezes and scenic views while biking along numerous trails, surfing or stand up paddleboarding, hiking or kayaking through enchanted parks and gardens, practicing their Zen or scheduling a tee time, all while experiencing everything to see and do along the best of the North Carolina coast.
Running, Hiking, Kayaking and More
Rent a bicycle and take to two wheels at Blue Clay Bike Park, an eight-mile off-road trail system for mountain bikers. Recently updated and upgraded, the trails are suitable for all levels of cyclists – as well as hikers and runners.
Feel the breeze as you pedal your way along the River to Sea Bikeway. This 11-mile on-and off-road trail follows the Historic Beach Car Line, which carried vacationers from downtown Wilmington to nearby Wrightsville Beach by trolley. Or take a trip on the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail, a 15-mile off-road, multi-use trail that provides bicycle and pedestrian access to numerous recreational, cultural and educational destinations in Wilmington. The trail connects Wade Park, Halyburton Park and Empie Park to the Heide-Trask Drawbridge at the Intracoastal Waterway.
With an almost five-mile biking and walking trail beside the lake and elegant live oaks draped in Spanish moss, Greenfield Park is a dreamy place to explore on water by paddleboat or canoe, or along the trail on bike or foot.
Ogden Park’s state-of-the-art 10,000 square foot concrete skate park is equipped with a bowl, rails and steps–perfect for anyone looking to drop in on their skateboard. The park also features a one-mile walking trail, playground and lighted athletic facilities including tennis courts, baseball fields, softball field, full-size basketball court and soccer and football fields.
For kayaking, birding, backpacking, hiking or camping adventures, book an individual or group excursion with Mahanaim Adventures. The outfitter offers all types of expeditions including half-and full-day adventures, as well as birding kayaking tours, river paddle trips or romantic sunset cruises in a tandem kayak.
Looking for some watersports? Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach is the place for you! Learn the way of the waves with a surfing lesson taught by a professional, take a stand up paddleboard tour or lesson down local waterways, explore the coastal waterways by sailboat charter or become certified at an ASA Certified Sailing School at Wilmington’s nearby beaches. For rentals, lessons, guided excursions and more, visit one of the area’s many local outfitters.
Salute the Sun
Channel your inner-yogi when practicing yoga extends beyond the mat and includes scenic views and unique locations. Take an all-level yoga flow class aboard the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA, where history, river and downtown views complement your experience. Pair your yoga with a pint at Waterline Brewing, or experience Yoga in the Gardens at Airlie Gardens – one of the premier gardens of the coastal South.
Open to all ages, abilities and levels, Wrightsville Beach yoga on the Crystal Pier at Oceanic Restaurant with Be Unlimited Yoga takes place seasonally May through October, where the sounds of the Atlantic Ocean’s waves help produce a perfect “flow.”
If you’re looking to hit the links, golfers can choose from several area golf courses. The 18-hole Beau Rivage Golf & Resort features lush greens, sandy hills and water views. With countless tight doglegs and narrow Bermuda grass fairways, Beau Rivage will test your accuracy off the tee.
Designed by legendary golf architect Donald Ross, the Wilmington Municipal Golf Course has been named the 50th best course in North Carolina by “Top 100 Golf Courses of the World.” The course pays homage to Ross’ original design with restored bunkers and large greens.
Looking to experience the waterways surrounding Wilmington and our island beaches firsthand? Just off the area’s shores and hidden beneath the waves are hundreds of sunken sites to explore. There is a wide variety of offshore reefs, ledges, shipwrecks and underwater habitats within a few miles of Carolina, Kure and Wrightsville Beaches. Wrightsville Beach is one of the few places in the world to find high concentrations of giant prehistoric megalodon teeth. Dive in with a SCUBA diving charter or lessons from one of the area's diving companies like Aquatic Safaris which offers gear for rent or purchase, as well as hands-on instruction and lessons.
Take Time to Rejuvenate
Wellness includes relaxation too and there are plenty of ways to kickback. Ki Spa combines natural products with healing techniques in a holistic approach, with services including massages, facials and a variety of special event packages. The certified green salon, Sage Salon and Spa, offers a variety of rejuvenating options from massages to hair care using vegan, natural and organic products. If retail is your form of therapy, walk and weave your way through a variety of shops located in eight historic buildings that make up The Cotton Exchange or spend a day at Mayfaire Town Center, an open-air shopping center featuring a variety of brand name stores, eateries and Regal Mayfaire Stadium 16 & IMAX Movie Theatre. Designed to simulate the environment of Himalayan salt caves, relax and heal at Prana Salt Cave or Native Salt Cave and Wellness.
Active on Island Time
There are endless options for getting active on our island beaches. Hang-ten in the birthplace of North Carolina surfing with a surf lesson at Wrightsville Beach, try your hand at stand up paddleboarding (SUP) or take in the marsh and Intracoastal Waterway views from the 2.45-mile Loop that traverses the island. Outdoor enthusiasts love Carolina Beach State Park where six miles of trails weave hikers in and out of a maritime forest accompanied by waterside views, raised bed trails and the native Venus flytrap. If you’re looking to get out on the water, kayak around the closest freshwater lake to the ocean at Carolina Beach Lake Park. Eco-adventures meet idyllic relaxation at Kure Beach. Hike the 1.10-mile Basin Trail at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area to see unique coastal wildlife and a WWII bunker, or go on a guided kayak tour to Zeke’s Island Reserve, home to rare migrating species including loggerhead sea turtles.
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Hang ten with a surf lesson and rent paddleboards or kayaks to cruise through area waterways.
Pamper yourself with a massage and facial or sit in a salt cave for refreshing halotherapy.
Step into scenic parks and travel from the river to the sea along multi-use urban trails.