Explore

24 Hours In Coastal Wilmington, North Carolina

By Leah Freeman-Haskin

Share

Wilmington is a coastal destination in North Carolina that offers history and adventure from the Cape Fear River to the scenic beaches along the Atlantic. If you happen to find yourself with 24 hours to spend in this fascinating city, here are a few spots you must visit. 

Morning

Hotel

The heart of Wilmington is located in its downtown river district.  You will find ARRIVE Hotel in this historic center that is bustling with new shops and eateries. This brand new “neighborhood hotel” is just two blocks from the river and walking distance to everything that downtown has to offer. You won’t find all of the frills that come with larger hotels, but the experience is in the details of the stunning design, immaculate garden spaces, and friendly staff. 

RELATED: How To Spend A Day In Black-Owned Charleston, South Carolina

Breakfast

Jester’s Café is a boutique bistro in the heart of the Castle Street Arts and Antiques District serving homemade contemporary Southern fare with a French flair. A restaurant nestled inside a historic cottage home, this cafe offers everything from their famous homemade quiches to french toast casserole. 


Photo via jesterscafe.com

Walk

You can spend the entire morning walking through the historic downtown area, visiting local galleries, shops, and specialty stores. The locals will gladly stop and chat with you about their love for their city and how things have changed in the last decade. If you get tired from walking, you can enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride or a guided cruise down the Cape Fear River.

Afternoon

Beach

If you are traveling with kids, Carolina Beach may be the best option. With a lively boardwalk that offers live music, pizza, donut, and ice cream stands as well as an arcade, the kids will have plenty to do. Just 30 minutes up the coast, Wrightsville Beach is known for its crystal blue waters and spacious beach offering plenty of water sports and outdoor healthy and wellness activities. 

Photo via wilmingtonandbeaches.com

Lunch

South Beach Grill overlooks the scenic harbor on Banks Channel, located on Wrightsville Beach. With Southern-inspired and locally sourced cuisine, you can enjoy a delicious lunch here with views of the ocean.

Gardens

Airlie Gardens is home to 67 acres of walking paths, formal gardens, seasonal blooms, mighty live oaks, historic structures, and contemporary sculpture that provides the perfect backdrop for a post-lunch stroll.

RELATED: How To Spend 24-Hours In Panama City, Panama

Evening

Dinner

After an afternoon at the beach, you can head back downtown to Copper Penny for dinner and drinks. As featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, this lively, neighborhood saloon offers a large menu and signature drinks but is best known for their Hot Roast Pork Sandwich, the 109 Chestnut Chicken, and Homemade Beer-Battered Onion Rings.

Photo via copperpennync.com

Nightlife 

You can hear live music thumping from the doorsteps of just about every bar along the Cape Fear River.  From the Ibiza Nightclub housing a rotation of DJ’s and drag queen shows to microbreweries like Front Street Brewery, this quaint college town comes to life at night.

Share
Travel Noire

Leah Freeman-Haskin

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

8-Year-Old Boy Rescued After Being Swept Out To Sea On Unicorn Float

8-Year-Old Boy Rescued After Being Swept Out To Sea On Unicorn Float

An 8-year-old boy was swept out to sea while on a unicorn float in North Carolina. Declan O’Connor and his family were visiting from Ohio and brought his unicorn pool float along to Oak Island beach. Declan got on top of the float to enjoy the water, but a wave swept him out to sea, […]

Kelsey Marie

The Ultimate Memorial Day Weekend Party & Event Guide

The Ultimate Memorial Day Weekend Party & Event Guide

As the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day Weekend often serves as a preview of what to expect this upcoming summer season. Related Post: Five Great Road Trips For Memorial Day From day parties, cultural events, concerts, festivals, and more, here’s how you can take full advantage of the three-day weekend across the country. African […]

Parker Diakite

What To Expect At The 2019 National Black Theatre Festival

What To Expect At The 2019 National Black Theatre Festival

The National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF) is a biennial festival celebrating African American contributions to culture. NBTF was founded by the late Larry Leon Hamlin in 1989 with the goal of uniting black theater companies in America and ensuring the survival of the genre into the next millennium. According to The New York Times, “The […]

Stephanie Ogbogu