Travel Guide: Wilmington, NC

Travel Guide: Wilmington, NC

Shauna Toomer
5 min read


Nearly 20 years ago, the quiet city of Wilmington, NC, was both a retirement home and a college hub. Parents sent their children for a good education at UNCW and later moved here to retire while the children settled in their careers. There were several beaches, one small water park, a couple bars, one movie theatre and a slew of assisted living communities. Not so much today. Wilmington is consistently growing with new developments, and it's slowly turning into the place to be. There's a little bit of hustle and a little bit of quiet time, making it the perfect vacation spot. If you're looking for things to do on a much-needed vacation, check out the list below to find activities, entertainment, and dining to fit everyone's budget.

Welcome to Wilmington, NC!


  • Pinpoint Restaurant $$$- An artsy environment with locally sourced American food.
  • Indochine $$- A Thai and Vietnamese hometown hit. Surrounded by gazebos and an outdoor garden.
  • Brunches $- Laid back brunch spot with strong drinks and great food.

Activities and Entertainment

Photo by Sean Russell on Unsplash

For the fitness enthusiast, take a 15-mile biking trip along the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail and enjoy all nature has to offer. Or zen out with an all-level yoga class on the historic Battleship North Carolina.

Your water babies will enjoy the Cape Fear River. Wilmington Water Tours offers yearlong cruises, including a music sunset cruise, narrated tours along the river and other fun options. Wilmington folks also love to experience the beauty of sailing with Shamrock Sailing Adventures. No matter your location or preference, Wrightsville Beach, Kure Beach and Carolina Beach are never too far away. If you choose Carolina, stop by Britts for a donut experience you can't get anywhere else.

If history is your thing, the Tour of Old Wilmington takes you to lots of the downtown landmarks. It's a walking tour so bring comfy shoes. More of the fancy type? Try the horse-drawn carriage with Springbrook Farms. Learn all you can at the historic home tours and again–the Battleship NC.

Need more zen in your life? Wilmington is full of beautifully kept eco-gardens like the Arboretum at New Hanover County and Airlie Gardens. Greenfield Lake Park & Gardens holds 250 acres of tall trees and lovely views, but I'd be wrong if I didn't tell you to stay away from the water! Unless you like gators and other odd objects.

It's party time y'all! Nightlife is sometimes local and always eclectic. After soaking up the sun and all nature has to offer, the Hugh Morton Amphitheater at Greenfield Lake Park hosts plenty of local, regional and national musicians. Our beautiful Riverwalk is also the home of a fun and jazzy Downton Sundown Concert Series during the summer. Stop by Sauce'd - an aesthetically pleasing cocktail bar - on your way out! 

It would be impossible to list ALL of Wilmington's gems in one post. I'd advise you to come to see for yourself and let us know what you find. If you're here, Locals show some southern love and let our guests know your favorite places.