Wilmington Waterfront (iStockphoto)

Aerial view of Wilmington, North Carolina (iStockphoto)

Fort Fisher Side Wilmington (iStockphoto)

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What to do in Wilmington

Wilmington simply can’t—or won’t—shake its past, and it’s a history complete with cannons and ghosts and adult beverages. Walk beneath the canopy of live oaks dripping with Spanish moss in Old Wilmington and you’ll get a sense of just how mature it is. In fact, Wilmington, on the banks of the Cape Fear River and a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean, has been a thriving port city for nearly 300 years. And it has the plaques to prove it: 300 blocks chock full of them. Wilmington was infamous as one of the East Coast’s most raucous towns, popular with drunken sailors, pirates, and women of ill repute. Paradise Alley, the former red-light district between Market and Dock streets, is now home to chic lounges and restaurants. Guided tours point out 18th-century mansions, underground tunnels with questionable purpose, and even old brothels.

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Traveler Reviews of Wilmington


MrsJBolt rates Wilmington
Wilmington is unique. It is spread out to encompass a port & river, a university, and beautiful beaches nearby. The historic area near the river is a quiet place to stroll in & out of little stores and get a great bite to eat. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington sprawls out and can be a great place to pop in for a game of frisbee. But the beaches around Wilmington are lovely. Not as wide as the beaches to the north, but still a great time for a getaway or family vacation. Topsail Beach & Carolina Beach are typical beach towns, Wrightsville Beach is more flashy, and places like Bald Head Island & Southport are hideaways to the south. Tour the Battleship that sits just outside of Downtown and explore the sets of a few of the Wilmington based studios. Be sure to eat seafood too, fresh & yummy!
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