From taking a tour of Battleship NC to enjoying local fare at the Riverwalk Restaurant and Bar, to dining at some of the best restaurants Wilmington NC, there are plenty of fun activities to take part in while visiting the town.
Tour of the Battleship
If you’re visiting Wilmington, NC, you can’t pass up a tour of the Battleship North Carolina. A World War II landmark, this vessel is an impressive piece of history. This historic warship can be found in Wilmington, just across the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge from downtown.
This WWII battleship was built with the latest in shipbuilding technology at the time. As a result, it was the most decorated battleship of the era.
With the help of volunteer docents, you can explore this impressive ship in an hour. The ship’s nine decks are filled with historical displays, including a surgical clinic, a barber shop, and even a Roll of Honor. Tours run most days of the week. You can purchase tickets online, and guided tours are available.
There are two main tours you can take. The 90-minute “City at Sea” tour includes a tour of the mess decks, a visit to the Barber Shop, and a walk up the gangplank to the port side near Number 3. At the top of the gangplank, you’ll see a number of gun turrets.
Explore Downtown Wilmington
If you are visiting the area, you can also enjoy a ride on a horse-drawn carriage. Alternatively, you can ride a trolley or take a boat cruise.
If you have some spare time, you can explore the Wilmington historic district. It is packed with local businesses and is a popular shopping destination. For a special shopping experience, stop by the Cotton Exchange. This large-scale building features over 15 unique boutiques. You can also visit Port City Pottery & Fine Crafts, which stocks a selection of locally made arts and crafts.
Other amusing things to do in Wilmington NC include seeing the Cucalorus Film Festival, which is held in November. This festival honors the lives of 11,000 North Carolinians who served during World War II.
Another fun-filled event is the Wilmington Fall Wine and Beer Walk. Held in the downtown area, this festival features beer and wine tastings, as well as fun-filled activities.
Take a Walking Tour
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Wilmington, you should consider taking a walking tour. There are several to choose from. In addition to the traditional walking tours, the city offers ghost walks. These are also popular attractions.
The Wilmington Ghost Walk is a walk that meanders through the downtown area streets. Visitors will discover hidden alcoves and forgotten stories. It is a fun and informative experience.
During the walking tour, you’ll learn about the architecture of Wilmington’s old buildings. Some of the most notable include the DeRosset House and the William B. McKoy House.
Wilmington’s historic neighborhoods and buildings are protected by the Historic Wilmington Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization that promotes the preservation of built heritage in the downtown area. They have created two new walking tours in May.
The first walking tour covers the early suburbs. The other explores the religious experience of minority groups.
In addition to exploring the city’s history, visitors will also explore the religious culture of the 19th century. Among the sites to see are St. Thomas Church and the New Hanover County Library.
Enjoy Local Food
When you’re ready to enjoy local fare in Wilmington, North Carolina, there are many places to choose from. Some restaurants focus on locally-sourced seafood, while others serve vegetarian dishes or craft cocktails. You can try out some of the city’s best food tours to get a taste of the best dishes the area has to offer.
If you’re looking for a casual spot to enjoy local fare in Wilmington, you can head to Buzz’s Roost. This restaurant is known for its seafood and solid sandwiches. Inside the restaurant, you can sit by a long interior bar and enjoy views of the Riverwalk. The bar is also equipped with a row of TVs, so you’ll have plenty to watch while you eat.
Another popular spot is Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria. This pizza place offers a full selection of fresh cheese and thin crust. They also have a wide selection of wine and liquor, as well as beer.
You’ll also want to visit Circa 1922 in downtown Wilmington. Known for its charcuterie and tapas, this establishment also features a wide selection of wines and vintages.
Catch Some Waves at Wrightsville Beach
If you’re a fan of surfing, then you’ll want to visit Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, NC. With its vast, four-mile stretch of beach, this spot is a great place to catch some waves. In fact, it was named one of the “World’s 20 Best Surf Towns” by National Geographic Magazine.
For surfers of all abilities, Wrightsville Beach is a prime destination. The area offers ample shoreline, surf shops, and lessons. You can take private lessons, or sign up for a surf camp for a larger group.
Aside from the beach, there are plenty of other things to do in the region. Besides surfing, you can check out nearby yacht clubs and charter boat operations. Plus, the oceanfront is a popular wildlife-viewing spot.
Enjoy sailing adventures and explore Masonboro Island. Its calm, clear waters are perfect for paddlers. And if you’re into wildlife, you can explore Zeke’s Island Reserve.
Outdoor Concerts at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater
The Greenfield Lake Amphitheater is a concert venue in Wilmington, NC. The venue has a capacity of 1,200 people. It has recently undergone a renovation project. This includes new landscaping, stage and dressing room facilities.
The venue is also equipped with a concession stand. Concessions include water, beer and small snacks.
There are several concerts and plays held at the Greenfield Lake Amphitheater throughout the year. Usually these performances take place during the summer months.
For the first time in a few years, outdoor concerts are being reintroduced into the Southeastern North Carolina calendar.
The Greenfield Lake Amphitheater is also a good choice for festivals and events. You can find a list of upcoming shows on the Live Nation website.
Visit the Airlie Gardens
The Airlie Gardens in Wilmington, NC, is one of the most beautiful spots in the Southeast. It’s a 67-acre public garden that features wildlife, stunning plantings, and historic structures. Visitors enjoy its beautiful trees and ponds.
The Airlie property was originally a private estate, but it was later purchased by a wealthy rice trader named J. Pembroke Jones and his wife, Sarah. They hired German landscape architect Rudolf Topel to transform the property. In 1906, they had the property redesigned, transforming it into the picturesque garden it is today.
Visitors can walk through Airlie trails, which lead to a tranquility garden, a glass sculpture garden, and a freshwater lake. A seasonal butterfly house is also available for visitors to view native butterflies.
The Garden is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and offers a number of special events. These include Summer Concerts, a North Carolina Azalea Festival, and a Butterfly House.
On the first Sunday of every month, the Airlie Gardens are free for residents of New Hanover County. You can purchase tickets to the Airlie Gardens online or by calling. If you are visiting during spring or summer, you’ll definitely want to visit in order to experience all of the blooming flowers.
Mayfaire Town Center and Lumina Station
Mayfaire Town Center and Lumina Station are two of the best places to shop in Wilmington, North Carolina. These are not only innovative and unique places to shop, but they also offer a wide range of dining options.
The Cotton Exchange is a historic building that features an eclectic collection of shops. This is a great way to spend a day.
Lumina Station offers a more traditional shopping experience. In addition to a great selection of stores, Lumina has a variety of restaurants and art galleries.
There are also a number of other places to shop in Wilmington. One of these is the Battleship North Carolina, which is a great place to go if you enjoy history. You can tour the ship and even take a cruise around the harbor.
Go Fishing at the Oceanic Pier or Johnnie Mercer’s Pier
If you’re looking for some amusing things to do in Wilmington NC, then you need to visit either Johnnie Mercer’s Pier or Oceanic Pier. Both offer excellent fishing opportunities, and are open seven days a week. Fishing is available year-round on the Cape Fear River, the Atlantic Ocean, and the intracoastal waterway.
Johnnie Mercer’s is the longest concrete pier in North Carolina, extending more than 1,000 feet into the ocean. The pier has an extensive pier house, a tackle shop, and a gift store. There are also several picnic tables and benches along the pier.
The pier is open 24 hours a day, and charges a small fee to walk the plank. This makes it a great spot to catch mackerels and flounders. It is also the best place to fish for pompano and drum.
Poplar Grove Plantation in Wilmington NC
The Poplar Grove Plantation in Wilmington, NC is a fascinating place to visit. It is a historic peanut and sweet potato plantation that boasts a rich history and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Poplar Grove Plantation is located on US Highway 17 North. Originally owned by the widow of Cornelius Harnett, the property was purchased by a man named Joseph Mumford Foy. This plantation is considered to be one of the most important antebellum properties in the state.
When you visit the plantation, you will have the opportunity to walk through its grounds and tour its Manor House Museum. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see the two heritage art studios that are located on the property.
Poplar Grove is part of the National Park Service’s Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. This path runs from Wilmington in the north to Jacksonville in the south, and is a distinctly unique area of the United States that is rich in culture.
Poplar Grove Plantation is a wonderful place to visit with family and friends. Its sweeping grounds include stables, pastures, and several event spaces. You can rent the facility for your wedding, engagement session, or other special occasion.
In addition to offering tours, Poplar Grove hosts a local farmers market every Wednesday. Visit the Farmers Market at Poplar Grove and you can buy fresh, locally grown produce and pottery from vendors.
Poplar Grove Plantation also hosts several special events throughout the year. Each December, the plantation hosts a Candlelight Tour of the Manor House. These tours are held on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.
Wilmington Railroad Museum
The Wilmington Railroad Museum is a local institution that has a wealth of history and information to offer. A great place to visit for a family outing, the museum is located next to the River Walk in downtown Wilmington. It is open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
The museum’s most impressive room is the model train room. The 1,500 square foot hall contains more than 20 models, including a replica of the 1950s Atlantic Coast Line Wilmington freight and passenger terminal area. You can even control the models using buttons.
In addition to model trains, there are several other displays of railroad artifacts and transportation equipment. Visitors can learn about the history of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and other railroads in the southeast.
Children will love the Children’s Hall, which is filled with play areas and tons of toy trains. They can also explore the steam engines and caboose. On the first and third Monday of the month, there is a special story hour for kids.
The gift shop has plenty of unique books, apparel, and other treasures. If you’re a locomotive lover, you can get some training and take part in special games for young engineers.
There is plenty to see at the Wilmington Railroad Museum, including a hundred-year-old steam locomotive and a life-size caboose. Visitors can also take a free trolley ride to see the museum.
The museum is closed on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and Thanksgiving. However, hours are extended in the summer and winter months.
Visit the Azalea Festival
The North Carolina Azalea Festival is the largest annual community celebration in Wilmington, NC. This springtime festival features five days of family-friendly events. It also showcases the history and culture of Wilmington.
Visitors can expect a wide variety of musical acts, a fireworks show, and a street fair. In addition, visitors can take a tour of homes and gardens and visit special exhibits.
The Azalea Festival is a family-friendly event that is held in April each year. The Festival’s weekend-long Street Fair is free to attend and includes a wide variety of vendors, food, and hands-on activities.
One of the most popular events of the Azalea Festival is the parade. Over 100 thousand people gather each year to watch the parade. After the parade, the Fireworks display begins at 9:00pm.
Another event of the festival is the Youth Art Show. Students can enter artwork into this juried art competition. From 10 am to 4 pm, attendees can browse the displays of student artwork.
Sea Turtle Camp
Sea Turtle Camp is an experiential program designed for teens and preteens alike. It combines marine biology, water-based activities, and an understanding of coastal conservation. The program is held at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital in Wilmington, NC.
In order to learn about the marine environment, participants of the Sea Turtle Camp experience firsthand the various facets of North Carolina’s ecosystem. They also have an opportunity to interact with sea turtles in the wild. Upon completion, participants will have a more complete appreciation for the role that coastal conservation plays in our lives.
The program also includes a memorable group photo and a community service certificate. Tuition includes lodging, meals, and all requisite equipment. This is a fun and educational experience that will leave campers with lifelong memories.
If you’re curious about what it takes to rescue a sea turtle, attend Sea Turtle Camp. You’ll learn about the medical and scientific aspects of sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation while gaining an appreciation for coastal conservation.
In addition to its hands-on education, Sea Turtle Camp offers a wide array of programs. These include travel programs, school groups, and adult retreats. During the course of a week-long program, participants have the chance to participate in several activities including SCUBA diving, boogie boarding, and even nest-related activities.
Sea Turtle Camp has been ranked as the number one attraction in Wilmington. To learn more about the program, visit their website. Also, check out the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.
Bellamy Mansion Museum of History and Design Arts
If you’re interested in learning about the history of Wilmington, NC, then Bellamy Mansion Museum of History and Design Arts is a great place to visit. The mansion is situated in downtown Wilmington and was built between 1859 and 1861. It’s one of the most impressive historic antebellum buildings in the state.
Originally, the house served as a private residence. After a period of renovation, the property was opened to the public as a museum in 1994. In 1986, it became a National Historic Landmark. This historic site offers a look at the lives of the Bellamy family, and their role in the development of Wilmington.
As you walk through the halls of the mansion, you’ll find a variety of historical pieces, including brass chandeliers and grand columns. There’s also a wraparound porch, and acres of lush gardens. You can take a self-guided tour, or visit with a guide to learn more about the mansion and the surrounding area.
Located on Market Street, Bellamy Mansion Museum is a historic venue that serves as a hub for a variety of community events. The mansion has been restored to its former glory. Visit the gallery, take a tour, and enjoy a day of culture.
Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park
If you’re looking for something fun to do with the family in Wilmington, North Carolina, Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park is just the place.
Kids’ Fun Attractions at Jungle Rapids Include – Go Karts and Mini Golf – Water Park – Climbing Wall – Laser Tag – Bowling – Outdoor Fun – Birthday Parties – Play Structure – Locker Room – Restaurant & Bar. For more information on Jungle Rapids’ services and entertainment, check out their website.
The Water Park at Cedar Point has a million gallon wave pool and a sidewinder half-pipe water slide. Other water activities include a Super Bowl and Dual Lane Speed Slides. Aside from the waterpark, the amusement park features a go-kart course, a jungle gym, and an arcade.
Dry Attractions at Cedar Point – Aside from the waterpark, the amusements park also offers a dry play area, a climbing wall, and a huge indoor playground. All of these attractions are open year round. During the off season, the restaurant and cafe are closed.
Other attractions at Jungle Rapids include the 30-foot indoor rock-climbing wall, a large play structure, and a lazy river. Guests can also take advantage of the arcade, which has 100 games.
Masonboro Island Reserve in Wilmington NC
Masonboro Island is a protected barrier island in North Carolina. The island is an important area for sea turtle nesting. It is also an important place for birdwatching, fishing, and shelling.
The Masonboro Island Reserve protects 44,000 acres of estuary land. These areas include salt marshes, tidal flats, dredge spoil areas, and beach uplands.
The island is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of several protected sites in New Hanover County.
Visitors can camp overnight at Masonboro Island and go shelling. Visitors can also surf, boat, and picnic. During the fall, the beaches are especially beautiful.
Several local charters are available for fishing in the Masonboro Inlet. Some of the fish you can catch include flounder and speckled trout.
In addition to its natural beauty, Masonboro Island is home to loggerhead sea turtles. During the summer, you may see green sea turtles. Moreover, the waters of Masonboro Sound serve as a nursery for fish. Similarly, visitors may also see Wilson’s plovers.
Masonboro Island is part of the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve. It is located 5 miles southeast of Wilmington. A fee-based ferry service is available to get to the island. You can also take a private tour.
The North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve’s mission is to support research, education, and nature-based recreation. Masonboro Island is a protected area where you can enjoy a variety of activities.
Wilmington NC has plenty of fun things to do if you’re looking for a great getaway. Whether it’s taking in a show at the Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts, eating local seafood and exploring historic downtown Wilmington, there is something here for everyone.
There is plenty of outdoor fun to be had such as visiting the Airlie Gardens, kayaking along the Intracoastal Waterway, or biking along the Cape Fear River Trail. Wilmington NC is a great destination for an enjoyable and memorable vacation.