10 things to do in Wilmington, NC

Welcome back to Travel Tuesday! Today I’m taking you to another one of my favorite NC coastal cities- Wilmington. You may have heard of Wilmington before, due to it being a hotspot for a lot of films and TV series, which is why it’s been dubbed “Wilmywood” or “Hollywood East”. However, this charming coastal city has so much more to offer. Let’s get right into the top 10 things to do in Wilmington, NC:

1. Sleep on a Houseboat

Just a short walk from downtown Wilmington you’ll find the cutest little row of houseboats perched on the Cape Fear River. The Cove is a gated community complete with a marina and right within walking distance to several restaurants, bars, etc. We stayed in this one and it was five stars all around. If you get sea sick though, it probably won’t work for you because it does constantly rock/sway.

2. Slow Down

This is something I have a hard time doing on vacation. I want to explore as much as possible so I don’t miss anything! However, waking up on the river with views of the marina allowed me to slow down and soak in the morning. 10/10 recommend.

3. Stroll Along Riverwalk

Riverwalk runs parallel to the Cape Fear River. It’s a scenic two mile walkway that features lovely views of the river on one side and plenty of markets, boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants on the other. It starts at Nunn St and stretches to the Marina, right next to the house boats I mentioned earlier.

4. Explore Downtown Wilmington

Downtown Wilmington contains a lot of history! If you’re into historic buildings, ghost stories, etc. then you’ll really enjoy it. There are plenty of ice cream shops, cafes, boutiques and things of that such to pop into while you walk around. We felt perfectly safe during the day but as it got later the area became a little iffy. I wouldn’t recommend having children downtown past dinner time.

5. Check Out the Local Food

We absolutely fell in love with the food in Wilmington. I have a really restricted diet (due to food allergies)  and two of us are completely gluten free so sometimes finding good food can be an issue. But, we didn’t have that problem in Wilmy. Without a doubt though, the best place we ate was Cheesesmith in the Cargo District. Cheesesmith is a fancy grilled cheese shop where you can get all kinds of fun additions inside your grilled cheese. They also have loaded fries that are absolutely divine.

6. Visit The Cargo District

The Cargo District is a community of repurposed shipping containers. It’s really such a cool concept and a great way to promote sustainability. Within the Cargo District you can find 17 restaurants, 19 retails shops and more than 40 service-centric businesses.  You can read more about the Cargo District, and check out all of the shops/restaurants, here.

7. Charter a Yacht

This was by far the best part of the trip. We chartered a beautiful yacht through Awesome Adventures and captain Reggie spent the day showing us all of the cool spots in the area. The boat was comfortable and has a bathroom on board as well as a fridge and cooler for food and drinks. You can bring a full lunch and eat right on the water! The yacht rental includes tubes and floats that you can attach to the boat while it’s anchored. We loved gently floating next to Masonboro Island.

8. Visit Masonboro Island

This kind of goes along with chartering a boat or even just renting a boat for the day. Masonboro Island is only accessible by boat and if you don’t know your way around the area you’re definitely going to want a captain who does. I promise you, it’s worth the effort to get there. We went in August so it wasn’t peak beach season and we had the entire place to ourselves. Our captain anchored the boat down and we waded through the shallow water to get to the island. Once you cross the gorgeous sandy dunes you’re greeted by miles and miles of open sea.

9. Swing by the Sea

If you look carefully you’ll notice this swing on your way out to Wrightsville Beach from Wilmington. We stopped by on our way back, just as the sun was starting to set and the kids had the best time swinging next to the ocean.

10. Take a Sunset Cruise

There are so many options if you want to book a sunset cruise in or around Wilmington. It’s the perfect way to end your trip. There are several options that include dinner, just be sure to check before you book!

I hope you enjoyed this little Wilmington roundup and that it inspires you to get out and explore the beautiful state of North Carolina. For more Travel Tuesday inspiration, check out my post on the lovely little town of Beaufort. 🙂 Happy travels.