Wilmington NC may seem like a small town but it actually has lots more things to do than you would think. Since it is on the coast it has lots of water. From water skiing to ice skating, Wilmington offers everything and anything that you would want to do. Though there may be a lot to do, sometimes you just can’t think of anything to do. Here is a list of everything that I can think of that you might enjoy while you are here.
First on the list is surfing. Something that Wilmington is known for is the surfing scene that it offers. Wilmington is close to the town of Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure, and fort fisher. These spots are known for the good surfing that they offer. While you are here be sure to sign up for the many surf schools that Wilmington has to offer and go shred!
Wilmington has a wide selection of parks to choose from that offer all kinds of activities like basketball, tennis, walking trails, nature reserves, playgrounds, and picnic grounds. Chances are that if you live in Wilmington then there is a park within miles of you. To find out where the five best parks are ten checks out my other blog!
Wilmington may be beach town but it is also home to many hockey leagues and ice-skating. Icehouse is an indoor ice skating rink which will be able to offer you these activities all year round.
If are a scuba diving enthusiast or maybe just want to try it then Wilmington is the place to be. Wilmington has all kinds of shipwrecks and reefs to explore up and down its coast. You will not have trouble finding a fishing charter year round because there are so many to choose from.
Wilmington is full of lots of rich history and if you want to experience first hand then take a tour! Tours that Wilmington has to offer are ghost walks, pub crawls, brewbuses, water taxis, and regular tours.
Looking for something to do on a Friday or Saturday night? You should go out on the town and visit one of Wilmington’s many bars and clubs. Downtown has lots to choose from like jazz bars, fancy clubs, old bars, 18&up clubs and much more. If you are not into the old downtown scene then you can also take a trip to the Wrightsville beach bars if you are looking for a more laid-back vibe. this is one of the more popular things to do among the younger generation.
The reason why most people are attracted to Wilmington is that it is so close to the beach! Here you can lounge in the sun, play in the water, or take a nice walk. No matter what, the beach seems like it would never get old. Even in the wintertime, there are still days that will be warm enough to go to the beach. Wilmington has lots of beaches to choose from like Wrightsville or Carolina beach.
Wilmington offers two main boardwalks that you can walk up and down and look at shops. The first boardwalk is downtown and goes along the Cape Fear River and has numerous shops and restaurants. The second boardwalk is in Carolina beach near the amusement park and this one offers a variety of shops, restaurants, bars, and a mini-golf course.
If you do not feel like taking a guided tour but want to see the history of Wilmington, then go to one of the many museums that Wilmington has to offer. Wilmington has museums such as Cameron art museum, cape fear museum, railroad museum, Wrightsville beach museum, civil war museum, and many mansion museums.
Wilmington is rich with music history always has concerts going on. To find a concert then just check out www.whatsonwilmington.com to find the latest concerts that are happening in Wilmington.
You can’t explore Wilmington all the way if you are always on land. You should rent a kayak or canoe and go explore the wildlife that Wilmington has to offer. There are numerous places around Wilmington to rent gear and some places are greenfield lake, UNCW, and blockade runner. Greenfield Lake even has alligators in the lake so be sure to go there and see them.
The North Carolina coast is known for its great fishing that it has to offer. Wilmington offers every type of fishing that you could think of like river, pond, salt water, pier, and deep sea fishing. Wilmington has numerous piers you can fish off of or if you are a serious fisherman then there are many fishing charters to choose from.
Aquarium, Zoo, & Serpentarium
If you want to get close to nature but not actually be in nature then go to one of Wilmington’s animal parks. Located in Fort Fisher North Carolina aquarium offers all kinds of marine life as well as other reptilian life like an albino alligator. Near the aquarium is a zoo named Tregembo Animal Park and it offers 75+ species to experience. If reptiles are more your thing then go downtown Wilmington and check out the cape fear Serpentarium which offers all kinds of different reptiles to look at.
Located near Wrightsville beach, the Airlie gardens is something that is fun for the family all year round. It offers scenic trails to walk on that have great views of the water and other things like art that are scattered all throughout the park. During the summer the garden has a spectacular array of different flowers and foliage to see. During the holidays, the Airlie gardens has a lights festival that is always fun to see.
laser tag is a great activity to do indoors if the weather is not good. Wilmington offers two locations for laser tag. The first location is at jungle rapids, which offers your basic laser tag. Then there is Battle house, which offers a larger facility and multiple levels for you to play on. Battle house also has more sophisticated hardware such as different gun upgrades and full body gear
If you are looking for a more surreal experience then indoor paintball might be your thing. Wilmington has one indoor facility and it is crossfire paintball. Crossfire paint is an air-conditioned indoor facility and offers everything you need to play paintball if you do not have your own gear.
Wilmington has only one go karting facility and it is at jungle rapids. They offer rides for 9.99 a price and have single and double-seated go-karts. Their track is about a quarter mile long and is filled with turns and straightaways.
Jungle Rapids also features a waterpark that is open seasonally. The water park features a lazy river, wave pool, and numerous water slides that are fun for the whole family. Jungle Rapids also offers season passes in case you want to go to the water park every day.
if it is raining outside and you have some kids to entertain then take them down to one of Wilmington’s arcades. Wilmington offers two main arcades and they are jungle rapids and “game time arcade”. Jungle rapids arcade is the biggest in Wilmington and will offer the most. “Game time arcade” is smaller but it is located in the independence mall so if you get tired of games then you can do something else.
Wilmington is the home of the battleship known as the USS North Carolina. This sip was at one time the most powerful ship in the world and served as a battleship during world war 2. Since then the battleship has been a floating museum for everybody to see.
From mini putt to full gold courses, Wilmington has a big golfing scene and was the host of the PGA tour event in 2017. Wilmington has lots of top-notch gold courses like pine valley, municipal, and landfall. If you are not looking to play a full game then check out one of Wilmington’s many driving ranges. If you just want to practice your putting swing then check out the independence mall or jungle rapids for some mini golf.
Wilmington is known to have a lot of bikers and is known to be a very bike-friendly city. Most of Wilmington is accessible by bike and the city has bike lanes all over for the people to use. If mountain biking is more your style then Wilmington is full of parks with all kinds of trails. Most famous is UNCW for their off-road bike trails or blue clay bike park which has 8 miles of trail.
The breakout room is exactly what it sounds like, it is a room that you have to break out of. You must assemble a team of family and friends and you all have 60 minutes to communicate, problem solves, and keep calm to be able to break out. Do not worry though, if you are not able to break out then you will not be stuck in the room forever. This activity is fun for all ages and is also a good team building experience for everybody. Wilmington offers three locations for these and they are on Front street, Oleander, and 16th street.
If you are looking for an all-day adventure then be sure to take a ferry ride all around cape fear coastline. The ferry launches from the fort fisher port and will take you on a 35-minute ride to the south port terminal. The ferry launch times are from 5:30-7pm. For more information then please check out their website. https://www.carolinabeach.com/fort-fisher-ferry.html
Wilmington has a great volleyball committee and if you like the sport then I would suggest you checkout Capt’n Bills and dig & dive. These are bars that feature multiple volleyball courts all around their facility that are open to customers. You can either play games with your friends or you can enter into competitions and try to be #1!
If you are into skateboarding, scootering, BMXing or aggressive inlining then be sure to check out one of Wilmington’s many skateparks. Wilmington has three locations for the public to skate at and they are in Ogden, Carolina beach and Greenfield Lake near downtown. These parks mostly offer street skating but also offer Vert terrain.
If you come down to Wilmington and it is raining and you need some new stuff then be sure to go shopping while you are here. Wilmington offers two main malls and those are Independence mall and Mayfaire mall. These two malls will offer your regular shops such as JCPennyy, victoria secret, Yankee candle and stuff like that. If you are looking for more of a local shopping scene then be sure to check out the cotton exchange which is located downtown Wilmington. Check out my blog for more areas to go shopping!
Wilmington is surrounded by water and a great activity for the water is jetskiing! While this may be more of an expensive activity, it is also one that will be lots of fun. Wilmington offers lots of jet ski rental places such as Wilmington jetski rentals and riverwalk water sports. You can choose to ride on the open ocean or in the estuaries that surround Wilmington. If you are looking for something less expensive and less horsepower then try to stand up paddleboard. There are lots of places to rent these but my favorite is Wrightsville beach SUP. Here you can SUP around Wrightsville and go to the little island with a palm tree.
Bowling is another great activity for indoors. It does not matter if you are in a league or if you have never bowled before, bowling is always fun. Wilmington offers three main bowling allies and they are ten-pin alley, cardinal lanes shipyard, cardinal lanes beach bowl. These bowling allies offer food and drinks as well as arcade machines.
If you like drinking beer and watching live sports then Wilmington has great spots to do that. Wilmington is home to the hammerheads which is a semi-professional soccer team that is always entertaining to watch. Wilmington is also home to UNCW which always has games going on. The UNCW basketball is probably the most entertaining to watch since they have been in the NCAA two years in a row.
Wilmington is a very flat place to live so there are not very many mountains around here that you can rock climb. There are gyms though that offer everything for your rock climbing needs. If you are a student at UNCW then you can use the rock wall that they have at the gym or if you are more into bouldering then you can visit the wilmingtonrockgym.com and they will have everything you need for beginners and experts.
Masonboro Island is an 8-mile long island that runs along the Wilmington coast and has not been developed on. Masonboro in only accessible by boat so the public has not yet destroyed everything on the island. Masonboro Island is a great place to go for secluded fishing, surfing, camping, or anything else you like to do on the beach. To get to Masonbro then you have to take a boat that you have or a charter over there.
Wilmington itself does not have a winery in the city but if you travel outside to Rose Hill then you will be able to go to the Dupline winery. The Dupline winery offers free tours and tastings. They also have a restaurant on site and great wine selection for you to choose from.
There are lots of movie theaters around Wilmington such as regal cinemas Mayfaire 16, AMC Wilmington 16, The pointe 14 and UNCW Lumina theater. If you are a student at UNCW then you will be able to get awesome discounted tickets but the movies will not be brand new though.
Defy gravity is a 23,000 sq ft trampoline sports park that is located on market street in Wilmington. Defy gravity is a fun place to go with your family or with friends if you are looking for fun and a great workout at the same time. The park features wall to wall trampoline as well, functioning ninja warrior course, and special events such as dodgeball.
Learn how to make sushi
Have you ever wanted to learn how to make sushi but never had anybody to teach you? Well, then you are in luck because Genkis sushi offers you classes on how to make sushi. In the class, they will teach you the history of sushi and also how to make it. For more info then check out. http://www.genkisushiwilmington.com/sushi-courses-and-workshops/
Wilmington is a very diverse and creative city to be in and if you are creative then you should try a painting class. Wilmington offers a class called wine and design where you can paint while sipping wine if that is what you are into. If you want more of a painting class without the wine then they offer paint-N-play and Brushin Up.
Wilmington is a port city and has lots of cruises going in and out of their ports. These are not royal Caribbean cruises but they are still gun day trips to go on. Most of them leave from the downtown port and some are known as “Booze cruises” where you can drink and gamble for the day while out at sea. Then there are others that you can take that just offer a scenic ride around the waterways.
Shows & plays
Wilmington is also known as “Wilmywood” because of all the movies that have been shot here. Wilmington is a great place for filmography as live shows. Places such as Thalian Hall and Kenan auditorium are always offering live opera and plays to the public.
Just because Wilmington is a beach town doesn’t mean that it still does not have guns. If you are gun enthusiasts then go to one of the gun ranges down here that Wilmington has to offer such as shooters choice or Bull’s eye.
If you are an adrenaline junkie that lives near the beach then be sure to try skydiving. Skydiving here would be great because you would be able to have a better view than most areas around the united states. Skydive Coastal Carolinas offers skydiving out of Oak Island and here is their site. this is definitely one of the more exciting things to do in Wilmington.
Wrightsville beach loop
The “loop” at Wrightsville beach is actually one of Wrightsville beach’s biggest attractions. The loop is a 3-mile long sidewalk that circles around all the action of Wrightsville beach and it. The loop attracts all kinds of people like dog-walkers, families’ cyclists, runners, walkers, and anybody else who likes scenic routes. The starting point for the loop is usually at Wrightsville beach park and you just follow the sidewalk all the way around. During your trip on the loop, you will pass bridges, downtown Wrightsville, Wrightsville beach museum, and multiple parks.