Carolina Beach: Carolina Beach is located 10 miles east of downtown Wilmington. Carolina Beach offers a white sand Atlantic coastline, many excellent restaurants and bars, Britts donuts (a favorite of the locals), ocean front hotels, and the boardwalk for the beach shoppers and arcade fans. Likewise, there are several options for bike and kayak rentals, excellent spanses for walking, and for the beachcombers, more shells than you can possible scoop up in one visit. Carolina Beach has much to offer tourists visiting the Wilmington/ Cape Fear area. From downtown, following US 421 East to Carolina Beach.
Kure Beach: Just east of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach is a very small area with a lovely boardwalk and fantastic beaches. With a small but friendly atmosphere, Kure Beach is a quieter beach visit, close to a small local market and ice cream shop.
Fort Fisher: Fort Fisher hosts a civil war museam and is a must see spot. The museum offers maps and exhibits to its visitors, explaining the battle of Fort Fisher and civil war relics. Along with the relics, there is a beautiful path and another small beach as well as the boat launch area. While visiting Fort Fisher, keep an eye out for the Southport ferry coming through the bay to dock near the boat launch. The scenery is stunning with rolling greens against the blue of the sky and water. For the brave, there is a jetty that extends out into the water. Fort Fisher also has a small picnic area and is a nice quiet getaway with history and charm.
Fort Anderson: Fort Anderson is a confederate earthen fort build on the site of Brunswick town along the Cape Fear River. Fort Anderson protected Wilmington form the Union attack from the southwest side of town. The fall of this fort, along with Fort Fisher, led to Union occupation of Wilmington in 1865. Fort Anderson and the site of Brunswick Town is interesting to vist for those interested in colonial and civil ware histroy. From downtown Wilmington, take US 74 West to the Belville exit; take River Road 9SP133) south to Orton Rd SE. Fort Anderson is about 18 miles southwest of Downtown Wilmington.
North Carolina Aquarium: The Cape Fear North Carolina Aquarium is one of three aquariums in North Carolina. This aquarium has low country ecosystems, fresh and sale water fish tanks, and a reptile zoo. When traveling with children, the aquarium is a fun, educational, and interesting place to visit. From downtown, take US 421 East for approximately 15 miles from downtown Wilming, past Carolina Beach and Fort Fisher state park.
Wrightsville Beach: Wrightsville Beach is a close drive from Wilmington. The town offers various activities including a pier, beach shopping, a long stretch of white beach, excellent beachcombing, restaurants, watersports, tours and cruises, kayak rentals, and beautiful scenery. Likewise, there is bird sanctuary on one end of Wrightsville Beach and on the other end of the beach, a park that is quiet and scenic with dunes and walking paths through the dunes. Wrightsville Beach can be reached easily and efficiently but be prepared to pay for parking. Otherwise, it is absolutely stunning…bring your camera!
Topsail Beach: Topsail Beach is easily a half hour or so drive from Wilmington. However, Topsail Beach is a nice area which houses a Sea Turtle rehabilitation center and hospital. The facility just won an Animal Planet award and does much work to care for turtles and eggs laid along the Carolina shoreline. This is a nice community, beachy and friendly, and a nice drive and place to visit. It has restaurants and shops as well as a lovely beach.
Airlie Gardens: Airlie Gardens is a large botanical garden on the Mayfaire side of Wilmington and not far from Wrightsville Beach. For the avid flower lover, Airlie Gardens has an abundance of local flowers, walking paths, and a fantastic history covering various eras in American History. The picture above is the Glass Bottle House…made of glass bottles. The sunlight refracted is stunning…very original and breathtaking art!
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