Sprawling along the east bank of Cape Fear River, Wilmington is a laid-back city whose historic streets have lured enough TV and movie producers to be nicknamed “Wilmywood”. It’s home to one of the most famous battleships in the United States and is within easy access to the beach resorts that line the Atlantic Coast.
Things to do in Wilmington
Moored across the river from downtown Wilmington is the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial, which served in the Pacific during World War II. Embark on a self-guided tour of the ship to witness old photographs and hear stories of life on the ship by the crew. You’ll also have a chance to explore all the nooks and crannies of this iconic vessel.
One of Wilmington’s most impressive buildings is the 19th-century Bellamy Mansion, which exhibits the antebellum style of architecture that was popular following the American revolution. Explore the exhibits detailing life on this plantation and witness the former slave quarters, newly restored carriage house and expansive garden area.
Discover the natural and human history of the region at the Cape Fear Museum, including exhibits on carnivorous Venus flytraps and a casting of giant ground sloth bones. Don’t miss the small tribute to Wilmington-born basketball superstar Michael Jordan or the Cape Fear Stories section, which details the journeys of those who’ve called the region home.
Want to see some of the world’s deadliest snakes up close? Visit the Cape Fear Serpentarium, where around 40 species of venomous snakes from across the globe are housed within enclosures mimicking their natural habitats.
Getting around Wilmington
Wilmington International Airport is 10 minutes’ drive from the downtown area and there are long-distance buses to destinations across North Carolina. Water taxis access the Battleship North Carolina and a free trolley operates through the downtown area.