The beautiful port city of Wilmington provides a perfect destination for those who love the excitement of the city and the laid back atmosphere of the coastal south. The best of both worlds, Wilmington offers hundreds of options for visitors to get to know the beautiful area. Whether you love history, the arts or just cruising along the water you'll find enchantment and romance along the charming shores of the Cape Fear River.
English pioneers settled along the Cape Fear River in the early 1720's because of it's dense natural resources. Slave labor from South Carolina and Barbados was often used to take advantage of these resources. At its start, Wilmington was a major port and ship building center. The forestry around the area provided much of the timber used in boat building; naval stores also provided much of the commerce in the area. Throughout the Civil War, the Wilmington port provided many of the supplies to the Confederate army and soon after Union soldiers took the area the Civil War ended. Beautiful antebellum homes, the skeletal remains of Fort Fisher and believed-haunted graveyards all speak to the rich history of the area.
Large live oaks line the streets of Wilmington's historic downtown where buildings stylized with Victorian architecture are still extant. Walking tours through the area are a great adventure on a warm day where tour guides will help you explore Wilmington's storied past, or enjoy a tour of historic Wilmington the a horse-drawn carriage tour where a costumed driver takes you through a half hour journey through the beautiful sites in the area. Both tours will show you the beautiful old homes, breathtaking churches and famous historic sites such as the Bellamy Mansion. This amazing home was built on the eve of the civil war for a distinguished physician and business leader in the community. After the Union took Fort Fisher, the mansion became the headquarters for the Union army. Today the home is a museum open to the public for tours and is often the site of weddings.
If you love the water, try a pleasure cruise along the Cape Fear in a riverboat. Whether you're looking for a fun, family day trip or a romantic evening for two, the Henrietta III tours the port city along the Intracoastal Waterway. They offer entertainment and delicious meals on the many cruises. If you love southern style barbeque and banana pudding, sign up for the Redneck Wedding Comedy Cruise where Bubba marries Sally Jean; if you love intrigue take the Murder Mystery Cruise to see if you can solve the crime. They also offer narrated sightseeing cruises, a Sunset Dinner cruise, wedding cruises and cruises for almost every special event.
The North Carolina Battleship offers self guided tours of the World War II ship for individuals and groups alike. The restored ship has such and extensive interior and history, tours can take anywhere from two hours to four hours for participants to truly explore. The visitor's center offers a film to delve into the current memorial's wartime history. You'll be both saddened and exceptionally proud as you visit The Roll of Honor, a room filled with the names of more than 10,000 North Carolina soldiers, pays tribute to the individuals who gave their lives to allow others freedom from oppression in the second World War. The North Carolina Battleship remains one of the fascinating historic attractions along the coast.
There are so many things to do; you'll find something for everyone. Dining options in the area are equally diverse as the many delicious restaurants along the banks satisfy every taste. From fine dining along the waters edge to low key eateries, there is a wealth of choices throughout the town. No matter what you're looking to enjoy, Wilmington provides the perfect setting for your vacation.