Best & Fun Things To Do + Places To Visit In Wilmington, North Carolina. #Top Attractions

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You must visit Wilmington, North Carolina, at least once in your lifetime. Make the most of your vacation time in Wilmington, North Carolina, we have compiled a list of our favorite things to do in Wilmington, North Carolina. Explore the top attractions and activities in the best places to go in Wilmington, North Carolina, by scrolling down! Wondrous Drifter is a Web 3.0 startup in the tourism industry that aims to disrupt the industry as a whole by utilizing Web 3.0 technologies.

Airlie Gardens

Airlie Gardens Wilmington, North Carolina / Matt Trostle / Flickr

The Airlie Gardens is a place in Wilmington full of beautiful nature and scenery that is a sight to behold.

The garden is over 67 acres with facilities for visitors and residents to see and admire, like its historic buildings, lakes, formal gardens, sculptures, pines, and diverse ecosystem. 

Around 1884, Airlie Gardens got purchased by Pembroke Jones and his wife as a lot area to eventually built their ideal garden.

In 1999, it was officially opened and has been a popular tourist destination for the past century.

It has gardens that are formal and informal. Some of the world-renowned collections in this garden include its 400-year-old Airlie Oak and the 100,000 camellias and azaleas. 

From May 15 until October 15, visitors can check out the butterfly house with an open-air space of over 2,700 square feet. It has many unique butterflies native to North Carolina, particularly seeing the giant swallowtails and monarchs.

Visiting Airlie Gardens is a lovely experience in itself.

Address: 300 Airlie Rd, Wilmington, NC 28403, United States

Battleship North Carolina

Battleship North Carolina used to be one called the world’s greatest sea weapons during its time. 

If you are curious to want to know more and why you have to take a tour of the Battleship North Carolina.

This battleship during World War II used to be the first of the ten battleships to be part of the American fleet. 

It could carry over 100 marines, 2,195 enlisted men, and 144 Navy officers. When people onboard this battleship, they’ll get a glimpse into the lives and stories of the people who served on board.

Come for a tour to see the nine levels of this battleship, along with its artifacts, oral histories, and photos.

There are other accessible attractions children can enjoy touring, such as its engine room, sailor’s bunk, Combat Information Center, and many more. 

During the weekends, there are various events that the Battleship North Carolina does not usually show to the public, such as having toured with special behind-the-scenes and re-enactments. 

So step on board to learn more about the iconic Battleship North Carolina.

Address: 1 Battleship Rd NE, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States

Bellamy Mansion Museum

Bellamy Mansion Museum, Wilmington, North Carolina / Brian Leon / Flickr

A visit to the Bellamy Mansion Museum has to be part of your things to do in the city of Wilmington for its antebellum architecture.

This mansion was known in the state as among the largest slaveholders from the mid of 19th to the 20th century. 

The Bellamy Mansion Museum is over 10,000 square feet, built for Dr. John Dillard Bellamy and his family. 

It has the main entrance designed with intricate details that were handcrafted and soaring columns framed around the mansion. 

If visitors go outside, they can see the Victorian garden with one-of-a-kind magnolia trees over 150 years old and oyster-shell paths to walk around.

This museum allows visitors to go on daily tours to visit this once urban slave quarter, among the last remnants of the country, and the design arts and history in this museum.

So visit this one-of-a-kind museum that will take you back in time.

Address: 503 Market St, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States

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Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens

Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens is one of the best places to go in Wilmington, North Carolina

Come inside the Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens to see this public museum and its unique Georgian architecture.

They built this place in 1770 and are currently part of the National Register of Historic Places.

It features a few distinct areas in the house and gardens, such as objects from the 18th to 19th-century household goods, rooms, antiques, a separate kitchen house, and many more for visitors to see.

The Burgwin-Wright House provides guided tours and allows people to rent the facility for private or personal events. 

As to the gardens, the ones who designed it was two renowned landscape architects in Colonial Williamsburg named Donald Park and Alden Hopkins. 

There is a lot to see in their gardens as it covers over half an acre. The entrance to the gardens is free, and you get to see something unique such as its rose garden, medicinal and kitchen garden, two terraced gardens, and many more.

So come by the Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens to see what makes it beautiful.

The distinctive architecture of Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens makes a trip there well worth visiting.

Address: 224 Market St, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States

Cape Fear Museum of History and Science

Cape Fear Museum of History and Science is one of the best places to go in Wilmington, North Carolina

The Cape Fear Museum of History and Science is one of the top attractions in North Carolina.

While staying in Wilmington, visit the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science to learn a lot.

In North Carolina, this museum is the state’s oldest history museum in the middle of downtown Wilmington.

They initially opened this museum to preserve, interpret, and collect Confederate memories and artifacts during the Civil War.

Today, it mainly features the region’s culture, science, and history,

It has an array of many engaging, fascinating, and educational displays and exhibits for any visitors to see in this museum. 

It showcases around 52,000 objects and events, such as the famous basketball superstar who lived in Wilmington, Michael Jordan, Cape fear ecosystems, and events during the Civil War.

The museum showcases unique features, such as the Michael Jordan Discovery Gallery, the Giant Ground Sloth, the Simmons Sea-skiff boat, and many more.

There are also traveling and temporary exhibits for visitors to see. 

So come and learn at the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science.

Address: 814 Market St, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States

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Cameron Art Museum

Cameron Art Museum Wilmington, North Carolina / Donald Lee Pardue / Flickr

The Cameron Art Museum is one of the best things to do in North Carolina.

The Cameron Art Museum is a place filled with art that you have to check out in Wilmington. 

This museum started in 1964 and is in the city’s historic downtown, featuring various permanent work collections of decorative and fine art. 

Some collections were designed and made by different local and international artists. 

Some famous artists like Ando Hiroshige and Mary Cassatt were among the many artists that featured their works in this museum.

On an annual basis, it has rotating exhibitions to showcase contemporary historical significance.

The site of this museum is unique as it used to be the site during the Civil War Battle of Forks Road. This site had Confederate Revetments constructed when Fort Fisher fell and during the time the Confederacy ended.

Besides just looking around only art, the museum does hosting for children and family programs that involve dance, music, literature, film, and other things to do to keep people entertained.

Then visit the Cameron Art Museum and take a moment to look at the many works of art on display. 

Address: 3201 S 17th St, Wilmington, NC 28412, United States

Carolina Beach State Park

Carolina Beach State Park is one of the best places to go in Wilmington, North Carolina

The Carolina Beach State Park is one place you can get to take a fresh breather and enjoy the outdoor nature in Wilmington.

This park has beautiful nature, scenery, and landscape around south Wilmington, near a small seaside town. 

It is a good place for any outdoor enthusiast or nature lover to come by and visit as it only takes 20 minutes to travel from the city to this park.

You can check and sightsee some of the scenic places like the Cape Fear River for its stunning beach and surrounding woods near several coastal ecosystems such as bogs, swamps, and ponds to explore the wilderness within the park.

It has remarkable natural sights, pathways, and other facilities that are good for recreational activities like kayaking, hiking, and camping in the park.

Watch out for alligators nearby the local marina and spotted in this park.

Come to this great place if you’re looking for an outdoor park to visit.

Address: 1010 State Park Rd, Carolina Beach, NC 28428, United States

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Children’s Museum of Wilmington

Children’s Museum of Wilmington is one of the best places to go in Wilmington, North Carolina

If you’re searching for a place for the kids to have a good time, bring them to the Children’s Museum of Wilmington.

The Children’s Museum of Wilmington is a place that provides the chance for kids to learn, explore, and have a hands-on experience regarding topics such as culture, science, and art. 

This museum is suitable for kids around the age of 10 years old. As a museum for children, it aims to establish a playful and magical experience to stimulate children to get curious, imagine, and love learning.

Some exhibits are interactive and engaging for children, such as the Tootasaurus Dental Exhibit, which helps familiarize children with the dental environment. 

Another is the Magnetic Minds Science Research Center as a place to facilitate and let children join in any science projects. 

Besides that, the museum features current exhibits, exclusive adventure passes, daily programs, field trips, and many other things to do in this museum.

The Children’s Museum of Wilmington is a great place to take your kids to enjoy.

Address: 116 Orange St, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States

Historic District

Historic District is one of the best places to go in Wilmington, North Carolina

Are you curious about which to visit out of the many districts in Wilmington? 

If such is the case, the Historic District in Wilmington has to be part of your list of things to do when going around Wilmington.

This place is among America’s historic districts for its covers over 230 blocks stretching from Market Streets to the Water Streets in the city.

Visitors and residents can sightsee and buy around the historic district, such as homes, churches, museums, gardens, restaurants, shops, and other buildings.

You can try their other transportation methods, such as riding the riverboats, trolley cars, and horse-drawn carriages when getting to tour Wilmington’s historic district.

People can also do self-guided tours, particularly when strolling around the nearby cape Fear River. 

Are you tired of looking for a place to grab a bite? 

Let you can fill your stomach as you go around the Historic District. There are over 40 restaurants with many different cuisines to choose from and eat.

It has around 40 restaurants in the historic district locally owned that offer fresh seafood with seats near the water’s edge to have a stunning view while dining in.

Wilmington’s Historic District is a place worth going around.

Address: Wilmington, NC 28412, United States

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Masonboro Island Reserve

Masonboro Island Reserve, Wilmington, North Carolina / NC Wetlands / Flickr

Check out the Masonboro Island Reserve as an island full of natural wildlife and nature to explore.

It is a long barrier island that stretches over 8.4-miles somewhere in the southeast part of Wilmington, about 5 miles.

It has various ecosystems to sightsee, such as ocean beaches, salt marshes, rolling grasslands, the time forest, and tidal flats.

Check out the beaches as it serves as nesting place for animals, such as the green sea turtles and loggerhead. Its waters are nutrient-rich and considered essential spots for marine nurseries of various fish such as the pompano, bluefish, mullet, summer flounder, and other kinds of fish.

Visitors can visit the Masonboro Island Reserve by riding a kayak, canoe, or boat from any private or public boat ramps with a fee for the ride or other services provided.

People can do primitive camping on the island for only two days.

Take a chance and go to the stunning Masonboro Island Reserve to see its surrounding natural beauty.

Address: Masonboro Island State Natural Area, Wilmington, NC 28409, United States

Museum of the Bizarre

Museum of the Bizarre is one of the best places to go in Wilmington, North Carolina

The Museum of the Bizarre is one of the best places to visit in North Carolina.

Are you on the hunt for something bizarre yet fascinating place to visit?

A visit to the Museum of the Bizarre will give you a unique experience in Wilmington that you won’t forget.

This place is an odditorium museum in North Carolina. It is ideal for any science enthusiast to visit, regardless of age. This museum has various exhibits and attractions with affordable prices for people to pick around.

It has family-friendly exhibits and collections with display items that are noteworthy to see, such as the Big Foot imprint, Fort Fisher mermaid, Alexander Hamilton’s hair, ghost deer, Crystal Skull of Knowledge, wet specimen exhibits, and lots more for people to see.

There are also additional exhibits that are interactive and engaging to explore and navigate for visitors, such as the museum’s Laser Vault and Mirror Maze. The museum even allows children under three years old are free to enter the museum.

Then come and see the science and unknown wonders inside this museum.

Address: 201 S Water St, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States

New Hanover County Arboretum

New Hanover County Arboretum is one of the best places to go in Wilmington, North Carolina

Experience the outdoor natural beauty in Wilmington by going to the New Hanover County Arboretum.

This arboretum is a one-of-a-kind tourist attraction near the New Hanover Country Cooperative Extension Service, stretching over 7-acres.

They built this arboretum in 1989 with over thirty gardens with surrounding flowering plants, bushes, and verdant lawns.

Today in North Carolina, the New Hanover County Arboretum is among the enormous water gardens in the state, with over hundreds of unique fish such as catfish and multi-colored koi fish. 

If you are a plant enthusiast or lover you want to look around the gardens of the New Hanover County Arboretum, people can check the many things to see, such as the aquatic garden, rose garden, bog garden, landscaped Japanese garden, ad herb garden that will make people may admire when sightseeing around.

The fields of this arboretum contain more than 4,000 varieties of both native and indigenous plants.

Visitors may understand more about gardening by visiting the arboretum’s educational center and horticulture laboratory.

New Hanover County Arboretum is well worth visiting and a sight to behold.

Address: 6206 Oleander Dr, Wilmington, NC 28403, United States

North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Wilmington, North Carolina / Mark Doliner / Flckr

If you are searching for something to do with kids and family, you can visit North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher for its many beautiful aquariums.

From Wilmington, it is only around 20 miles from Wil to reach this North Carolina Aquarium.

People can learn and look around the many aquatic wildlife in this aquarium nurtured,  preserved, and collected from various parts of the region and across the world.

Some exhibits showcase the species in saltwater and freshwater to emphasize the changing sea habitat and the Cape Fear River.

There are many animals for visitors to look around when visiting their aquariums, such as seeing stingrays, jellyfish, different types of fishes, eels, sea turtles, sharks, and many other animals to see.

Visitors can join in the aquarium’s many programs that they host daily with opportunities to ask questions to the staff, interact with unique animals up-close and even watch them feed the animals.

If you want an exciting aquatic experience, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is worth a visit.

Address: 900 Loggerhead Rd, Kure Beach, NC 28449, United States

Poplar Grove Plantation

Poplar Grove Plantation Wilmington, North Carolina / Corey Balazowich / Flickr

Did you know that Poplar Grove Plantation is the oldest peanut plantation? To learn more, visit this fascinating destination to visit in Wilmington.

Tours and historical places at Poplar Grove Plantation will highlight its heritage, culture, and history.

For visitors and residents alike, it’s about twenty minutes away from the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor.

It used to be a public museum when it first started in 1980 to conserve and preserve the home of a thriving farming family and the works dome during the 19th century. 

Joseph Mumford was the one who built this 15-acre house with a landscaped garden of over 835 acres.

The Poplar Grove Plantation is now a place as an animal sanctuary, a venue for hosting several annual festivals, and a farmers market.

Look around the unique and historic Poplar Grove Plantation.

Address: 10200 US-17, Wilmington, NC 28411, United States

Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden

Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden Wilmington, North Carolina / Stuart Borrett / Flickr

Are you by any chance intrigued with seeing carnivorous plants? 

Then visit the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden in Wilmington.

Furthermore, it is part of the Piney Ridge Nature Preserve and joined with the North Carolina Coastal Trust as the city is responsible for managing this garden.

In fact, this carnivorous plant garden got its name after Stanley Rehder, a flytrap guy who worked tirelessly to conserve the plant garden that is currently recognized.

The surrounding plants around the  Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden are unique, for they grow up within a radius of 70 miles.

Visitors can visit this carnivorous plant garden as it is open all year and all week around the hours of daylight.

They said it is best to come during the spring for that time of the season full of abundant life. 

It features other facilities, such as the native collection of carnivorous plants, a walking trail, and even an observation deck. 

To get to behold looking at the carnivorous plants at the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden.

Address: 3800 Canterbury Rd, Wilmington, NC 28403, United States

Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts

Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts is one of the best places to go in Wilmington, North Carolina

A visit to the Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts will give you a thrilling experience of watching the performing arts. 

This hall center is among the oldest and most noteworthy theaters in America. With it first started in 1858, it began as a venue showcasing music performances, theater productions, films, and dance performances.

As a matter of fact, it was created by a renowned architect named John Montague Trimble and is the only one of his extant masterpieces that is still standing.

Some celebrities performed in this Thalian hall center during the 19th to 20th centuries, such as Ziegfeld Follies, John Philip, and other famous people.

For their efforts, it was acknowledged as one of America’s most notable theaters for the restoration of the Thalian Hall Center for Performing Arts.

People can visit its three Thalian Hall Center venues that host more than 400 events and performances every year.

So be entertained by coming to the Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts.

Address: 310 Chestnut St, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States

Tregembo Animal Park

Tregembo Animal Park Wilmington, North Carolina / Donald Lee Pardue / Flickr

Somewhere in the eastern part of North Carolina is the state’s oldest zoo, the Tregembo Animal Park.

It first opened in 1952 to the public and featured various species. 

Presently, it has over one hundred animal species in the Tregembo Animal Park, such as amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals to see.

This animal park is where you can see some common animals such as bears, lions, tigers, giraffes, zebras, sloths, and other animals you get to see in any usual animal place or zoo.

Come here to see the Snow Macaques, Two-toed Sloths, White Bengal Tigers, and many other creatures you may or haven’t seen before here.

Besides just looking around the animals in this animal park, visitors can even check its mini-museum that showcases many things, such as fossils, dinosaur bones, ancient artifacts, and other unique items.

Tregembo Animal Park is worth a visit to look at exotic animals.

Address: 5811 Carolina Beach Rd, Wilmington, NC 28412, United States

Wilmington’s Riverwalk

Wilmington’s Riverwalk, North Carolina / rollingrck / Flickr

If you want to stroll around Wilmington, you can take a mile walk around Wilmington’s Riverwalk. 

This Riverwalk is near the Cape Fear River and has particular boutique shops, bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops for anyone planning to stop by, buy, and eat.

It has benches and stools around this wooden boardwalk available for visitors or residents who would what to stop by and sit for a moment to take in the beautiful scenery on the Wilmington Riverwalk.  

Wilmington’s Riverwalk opened to the public in 1980 to increase tourism and draw visitors to the city’s historic downtown.

Visitors can pass by walking the pedestrian walkway to see the Isabel Holmes Bridge and the Cape Fear Memorial for anyone to sightsee at such iconic bridges. 

Don’t miss out on the neighboring Cotton Exchange, the 1914 Murchison Building, including the USS North Carolina.

Without a doubt, Wilmington’s Riverwalk is worth strolling around.

Address: Wilmington Downtown Riverwalk, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States

Wilmington Railroad Museum

Wilmington Railroad Museum, Wilmington, North Carolina / Mr.TinMD / Flickr

A visit to the Wilmington Railroad Museum will showcase the many railroads and how it has been vital in America for over a century.

This museum was open to the public in 1979. It is now a place to offer various engaging and educational exhibits to anyone regardless of age. 

Check out the many enjoyable activities and collected displays for kids and adults to enjoy at the Wilmington Railroad Museum.

There is a lot to see from a boxcar, a steam locomotive over 100 years old, a life-size caboose, and even a playing area for kids called the Thomas the Tank Train.

It has other exhibits that will showcase the development of the railroads made in the city and how some iconic people like George Pullman and many others contributed to the railroads in the museum.

Every year, events are hosted in the museum and are family-friendly for anyone to visit.

Come and learn about the railroads at the Wilmington Railroad Museum.

Address: 505 Nutt St, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States

Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville Beach Wilmington, North Carolina / Michael A. Richardson / Flickr

Are you looking for a place to stop by for a summer vacation in Wilmington? 

If yes, you have to spend some time outside at Wrightsville Beach.

It is a haven beach spot ideal for doing any water-related activities, such as swimming, kiteboarding, surfing, and paddleboarding.

This beach is famous for its waters as crystal blue, surfing competitions, a spacious sandy beach, for doing standup paddleboarding, and more.

It is free to visit any time of the year and has lifeguards if any dangerous surfing wave or storm happens.

People can go onboard a 42-feet yacht that does a sailing tour for over two hours to let people see the stunning surrounding scenery of the barrier islands and waterways near the beach.

If anyone wants to stop by somewhere else on the beach, there are nearby shops, vacation homes, bars, hotels, and restaurants to shop and buy.

This wonderful beach is worth a visit. 

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Address: 17 Stone St, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480, United States

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