Cape Fear River, a beach and an East Coast version of Hollywood

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Situated on bluffs along the eastern side of the Cape Fear River, Wilmington was North Carolina’s first great metropolis. Horse-drawn carriages tour the streets of the city’s huge historic district, some 230 blocks of homes and businesses, most built before and just after the Civil War. Paddlewheel riverboats offer views from the water.

Downtown Wilmington is easily explored on foot. Sidewalks are lined with house museums, trendy restaurants, bed and breakfast inns, hot nightspots, galleries, breweries and boutiques. Streets slope gently down to the water, where the Riverwalk, a mile-long boardwalk along the Cape Fear, provides scenic views of the mighty Battleship North Carolina, berthed on the far shore.

In the 1980s, Hollywood discovered the charms of the old Port City. Dino De Laurentiis built an enormous studio complex on the edge of downtown where nearly 400 major motion pictures and television series were filmed. Wilmington residents have grown accustomed to sharing their sidewalks with stars and gave their city a new nickname: “Wilmywood.”

Running into John Travolta at the grocery store is just lagniappe, “a little extra.”

Today the EUE/ Screen Gems Studios continue to play an important part in the city’s economic and cultural life, sponsoring film production degrees at local colleges and spurring film tourism. Walking tours of the studio and local film sites are available.

In addition to its urban charms, Wilmington has a more sun-drenched side as well. Wrightsville Beach, a family destination with a vibrant surfing culture, is on the city’s eastern border. Nearby Pleasure Island is home of Carolina Beach, with classic oceanfront rides and games and Kure Beach with a world famous fishing pier.

What it Costs

Abstract Pricing at a Glance

Prices often fluctuate dynamically depending on capacity, seasonality and deals. We don’t want to lead you astray by quoting exact prices that quickly become wrong. To give you a rough idea for budgetary planning purposes, though, we have indicated general price ranges for all points of interest.

Price ranges are quoted in $US.

See & Do
N/A => Not applicable
$ => Tickets less than $10 per person
$$ => Tickets $11-25 per person
$$$ => Tickets $26 per person

$ => Rooms less than $100 for a double
$$ => Rooms $200 for a double
$$$ => Rooms $300 for a double

$ => $1-15 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
$ => $16-40 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
$$$ => $41 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)

N/A => Not applicable

$ => Tickets less than $10 per person
$$ => Tickets $11-25 per person
$$ => Tickets $26 per person


By Air

Wilmington International Airport provides a low-stress alternative with direct flights from more than seven major cities around the country, and is a favorite spot to pass customs for private pilots returning from the Caribbean.


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