- Take a stroll through historic downtown, start at Market and Water and work your way up Market street be sure to grab some Kilwin’s ice cream) (https://www.kilwins.com/stores/kilwins-wilmington) If you are interested in having a guided tour check out Black Cat Shoppe (https://theblackcatshoppe.com/wilmington) which offers historic/movie/ghost tours as well as a Ghost pub crawl through several downtown bars.
- Eat something! Copper Penny (http://copperpennync.com/) downtown serves up delicious sandwiches and salads alongside well pour beers and signature drinks. If you are mid-town try College Street Deli (https://www.facebook.com/pages/South-College-Sandwich-Deli/111699655532219 ) one of our favorite hole in the wall restaurants in town. Want Greek, check out The Greeks (https://www.facebook.com/thegreeksnc) or Sahara (http://www.saharapitas.com/) . Craving Thai food, check out Indochine (https://www.indochinewilmington.com/). In the mood for Japanese try Hibachi To Go (http://www.hibachitogo.com/) And if you are more into chain restaurants be sure to go to Firehouse Subs (https://www.firehousesubs.com/locations/nc/oleander/) on Oleander Drive or Carolina Beach Road.
- Walk the Wilmington Riverwalk, recently expanded from the Isabell Holmes Bridge the other end of Downtown Wilmington. This iconic location in Wilmington is sure to provide you many photo ops!
- Film is a big part of Wilmington history, see if you can get a tour of Gem Studios by the airport, they are the reason Wilmington is known as Hollywood East. Iron Man 3, Journey to the Center of The Earth, The Secret Life of Bees Firestarter, Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill, many Nicholas Sparks movies as well as countless other shows/movies were filmed in and around Wilmington.
- Visit the beach there are many to choose from:
- Wrightsville Beach is in the heart of Wilmington – it is often crowded in the summer and charges for parking (2.75/hr) but it has great piers to fish from and tons of restaurants/bars to explore. if you head there be sure to “do the Loop” a mile walk around the salt marshes… then stop in at Trolley Stop for a hot dog. Also stop in at the Wrightsville Beach Museum to learn about the history of the town and read the letters left in the “mailbox on the beach” over the years.
- Carolina Beach – heart of the natural home for Venus Flytraps (go to the CB state park to see them yourself!) This beach town has a southern style boardwalk, public showers to rinse the salt and sand off and offers handicap accessible wheelchairs for free. They provide a free firework show every week from Memorial day to Labor day (Friday for the first and last show and Thursday for the rest of the weeks.) They also host family movie night on Sundays at the Lake where they play a free movie and offer affordable snacks, bring a blanket/chair.
- Topsail Beach – this beach found north of Wilmington offers expansive beaches, ideal shore fishing co nditions, allows for driving on the beach and has free parking. Topsail and Surf City are intertwined but if you have dogs with you be sure to stick to Topsail Beach as they have friendlier dog laws. This was our favorite beach for shell/stone hunting.
- Hit the links, there are many top notch golf courses in Wilmington, Leland and Hampstead. Find one you love!
- Visit the many Farmer’s markets, from spring until fall there are farmer’s markets in various parts of town every day. Be sure to bring your appetite and grab some $5 bouquets of flowers.
- No need to own a boat to get out on the water. You can rent paddle boards, kayaks or canoes from many vendors. You can also book a day tour, sunset cruises or even a history cruise.
- Go listen to some live music! Downtown Sundown concerts occur all summer long every Friday downtown. Catch a show at Wild Wing Café, Bluewater or Reel Café.
- Get your laugh on! Spend some time at the Dead Crow Comedy club which offers shows nightly including improv! Or take in dinner and a play at Theatre Now.
- Be a kid again! Check out Jungle Rapids (http://junglerapids.com/attractions/laser-tag/) Wilmington’s only water park. They also have putt-putt, go carts andarcade games. If Laser tag floats your boat check out BattleHouse (https://www.battlehouseilm.com/buy-tickets/)
- Enjoy a festival! Nearly every single weekend from spring to fall there is a festival in and around Wilmington. Some of our favorites are Riverfest, Rims on the River, Southport’s Independence Festival, Thanksgiving Flotilla, and the famous week long Azalea festival.
- Step onto the Historic deck of the USS North Carolina (http://www.battleshipnc.com/) for a tour, a ghost hunt in October or watch a truly patriotic celebration honoring all major military holidays.
- Hunt for shells and sharks teeth – at all the area beaches you can find treasures.Be sure to stop in at the Wrightsville Beach Museum for shark tooth hunting!
You really cannot go wrong in your own personal way of exploring Wilmington. There is truly fun for the whole family. If you are a history buff, a beach babe, a surfer dude or a foodie you won’t have to look hard to find plenty of great ways to entertain yourself.