Looking For Exciting Things To Do in Wilmington NC? Take A Peek At What This Port City Provides!

Whether you’re a local or visiting for the first time, Wilmington is here to bring the fun with an array of activities to explore!

Known as the “gateway to Cape Fear Coast beaches,” Wilmington, North Carolina is a city recognized for its history, architecture, galleries, restaurants, shops, and of course beaches! With all of these opportunities, this port city has plenty of fun and exciting activities to do with your family, friends, or even by yourself. You’re guaranteed to have a delightful time exploring the city as everytime you turn a corner there is something new to see and experience! Whether you’re in the mood for a fun, up-beat night out or a relaxed, low-key afternoon adventure, there’s an array of things to do in Wilmington, NC!

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The Beach(es)!

Hot sun, cool ocean, amazing views = Wilmington beaches.

Wrightsville Beach offers a board walk into the ocean and fun for the whole family! Image courtesy of the This is Raleigh website.

321 Causeway Drive | Wrightsville Beach | wrightsville-beach.wilmingtonandbeaches.com

It’s well known that when you go to eastern North Carolina, like Wilmington, you have to check out the beaches. Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach are the most popular around the city. Each spot offers experiences for every beach lover to take part in and have fun!

Wrightsville Beach, named one of the South’s best beaches, is known for the views. With the gorgeous blues of the water and the scenic architecture around it, everywhere you look at Wrightsville is something to admire. Watersports are also popular here, as National Geographic dubbed it to be one of the top surfing places! They also have events constantly, so you can research and see what’s currently happening at Wrightsville Beach!

If you’re in the market for a laid-back and good time beach experience, then Carolina Beach is your gal! From live music to a vintage boardwalk, this beach has white sands that offer views of the Cape Fear River! They also have restaurants like Britt’s Donuts and Salt Fish Restaurant and Tiki Bar for any cravings you're having after your beach day!

And finally Kure Beach, this beach brings the “small beach town” vibe that you might be missing from anywhere else. It’s home to the oldest fishing pier this side of the Atlantic, an aquarium, and family friendly events held throughout the year!

A day at the beach is a great way to spend your time at Wilmington and these beaches all offer that and more!

“It was lovely! Our first experience on an East Coast beach. It was just beautiful and sunny and so nice to actually be able to swim in the ocean! I would absolutely come back here if we go to Willmington again!” -Yelp Review

Airlie Gardens

A botanical garden that has awe-worthy sights!

Trees, flowers, and gorgeous gardens! Image courtesy of the Airlie Gardens Instagram page.

300 Airlie Rd | Wilmington | airliegardens.org 

Airlie Gardens is a non-profit organization that has a mission to preserve and ensure this public garden’s cultural/environmental programs are held up to a high standard. Airlie Gardens has history all the way back to 1545! They have a breakdown of all of their significant years right here that is a fascinating read. Airlie Gardens has guided tours, events, and exhibits to create a fun and educational experience!

Their event page is constantly updating with new events ranging from Yoga in the Gardens, Guided History Tour, and Homeschool Days, they tend to sell out quickly so you should check their event page frequently to see if there is something you’re interested in!

Airlie Gardens has 3 main exhibits, as of this article they have the Butterfly House that is 2,700 square foot open air structure with butterflies flying around the place, the Native Wildlife Exhibit that has terrariums and aquariums, and an Art Exhibit Hoppy Times that has 10, 4.5 foot tall fiberglass rabbits sculpted by amazing artists! 

Airlie Gardens also offers educational programs, Summer Concert Series, private events, and more!

“Ok, fairly gardens is great for a lot of reasons.  Their summer music festivals...their gorgeous displays, and unique landscape.  An amazing place to go to party at a show or to relax in a coastal, garden area!!” -Yelp Review 

Although this place doesn’t have a GiftYa gift card opportunity yet, check back soon, as new places are being added to the GiftYa website frequently!

The Basics

A creative twist on the typical “southern cuisine”!

Plated well and tastes good? Best combo! Image courtesy of The Basics Instagram page.

319 N Front St | Wilmington | thebasicswilmington.com 

In this home-y, brick-walled bistro, The Basics in Wilmington is a top rated restaurant specializing in southern cuisine, but adding their own unique flavor to it! If you’re in the mood for something specific, there’s a good chance The Basics has it, as this restaurant has four main menus, two drink menus, and a marketplace menu! Let’s breakdown and digest some of what The Basics has to offer:

  • The Marketplace menu has: whole cakes/pies, gifts and condiments, party accompaniments, and platters.
  • The Wine and Beer list has whites and reds by the glass, whites and reds by the bottle,and NC craft beer!
  • Some of their breakfast menu includes: breakfast biscuits, shrimp & grits, steak and eggs, blueberry oatmeal pancakes, and kid’s versions of classic favorites!
  • The lunch menu has things like: soup of the day, crab cakes, fried green tomatoes, chicken salad sandwich, and meatloaf.
  • While their dinner menu has dishes like: fried oysters, veggies salad, smoked pork bbq, a coca cola cake, and pesto encrusted salmon!

The Basics has plenty more where that came from, so take a look at what they’re serving so you know what to get when you head to this great restaurant!

“Best breakfast in Wilmington. I've eaten here at least 4 times. The waitstaff is friendly and efficient. I have yet to eat something I didn't enjoy. The crab cake Benedict is AMAZING and I'm very picky!” -Yelp Review

Although this restaurant doesn’t have a GiftYa gift card opportunity yet, check back soon, as new places are being added to the GiftYa website frequently!

Cameron Art Museum

Art and culture enriching the visitors each step at a time!

A gorgeous exterior means a gorgeous interior! Image courtesy of the Cameron Art Museum Instagram page.

3201 S 17th St | Wilmington | cameronartmuseum.org 

The Cameron Art Museum also known as CAM is the cultural gathering place that enhances the lives of every museum go-er and local community through their top quality exhibitions, public programs, and classes.

Currently in store is the Design Through Time, State of the Art, and 20 Years exhibition that showcases a variety of art/sculptures filled with history and creativity. The Cameron Art Museum also has showings of different documentaries, deep dives into certain artists and their work, and talks with artists! That doesn’t cover everything CAM has to offer, but it does give you a sneak peek at what you can expect from this sensational museum!

“Had a great time at the art museum . AWESOME staff that made us feel right at home and made sure we had all the information we needed for each exhibit. A few exhibits there. The art was great and the lighting was exceptional. Will return quarterly to see all of the exhibits.” -Google Review

Although this museum doesn’t have a GiftYa gift card opportunity yet, check back soon, as new places are being added to the GiftYa website frequently!

Parks & Disc Golf

Whether you’re new to the disc golf game or a seasoned player, these spots have it all!

A little gazebo on a little pond in this beautiful park! Image courtesy of the dgcourcereview website.

K Avenue & S 7th Ave | Kure Beach | townofkurebeach.org 

Disc golf is a flying disc sport where players grab a disc and throw it at a goal (pictured above), and the rules are similar to golf. Wilmington is no stranger to having gorgeous parks, and some of the parks have great disc golf courses!

  • North Regional Park has a nationally recognized 18 hole disc golf course designed by Harold Duvall.
  • Arrowhead Park has the perfect 18 hole course designed for beginners, so if you’re new to the disc golf game, this course is designed to help you build your skill!
  • Joe Eakes Park also has an 18 hole course, with plenty of other activities surrounding it so you can spend a whole day there!
  • Good Hops Brewing has a free 9 hole course on the 4 acres of land, allowing you to grab a drink and get to playing with your friends!

It’s always fun to pick up a new activity, especially one that is relatively easy and fun to learn, and what better to do in Wilmington!

“I LOVE this place! Best disc golf course I have been to.  The holes are beautiful and challenging.  I love that you get a great workout by playing, too! The park feels safe and is nestled in between neighborhoods so it is off the beaten path.  I will be back again and again!” -Yelp Review

John Nesbitt Loop

The local’s favorite 2.45 mile walk in the city!

You get the full loop when you walk this famous Wilmington trail! Image courtesy of the Wrightsville Beach Magazine website.

Wrightsville Beach | Wilmington | alltrails.com 

What’s known as “The Loop” to locals is more widely known as The John Nesbitt Loop. It’s a 2.45 mile walking path at Wrightsville Beach, a place for runners, bikers, and casual strollers to enjoy the sights of Wrightsville Beach and to find something new on your way around.

Some of the places you can see on your way around are Lee's Nature Park, Kenan’s Creek, Harbor Way’s Gardens, Banks Channel, the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History, restaurants, and of course the beach! While you’re taking a walk around this beloved loop you can find even more places to explore and experience so you get many new fun things for the one little stroll in Wilmington!

“Bypassing a number of popular landmarks and attractions, and featuring plenty of views that highlight the heart of the town, a walk, run, or stroll along the Loop presents an opportunity to explore Wrightsville Beach from the inside out.” -Wrightsville Beach Blog Post

While all of these places are fun to explore and experience, there’s so much more to Wilmington, North Carolina that you could sit for hours just learning about everything this charming city has to provide! From beaches and parks, to restaurants, stores, and useumes, there are so many great things to see in Wilmington, NC!

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Trae Bodge

Trae Bodge is the shopping expert here at GiftYa. Trae helps people find the best deals and ideas on popular new items to purchase.

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