17 Best Places and Things To Do in Wilmington, North Carolina

Wilmington, North Carolina, is a charming coastal city with a rich history and a vibrant cultural scene. Known for its picturesque waterfront, stunning beaches, and Southern hospitality, Wilmington offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Wilmington:

1. Airlie Gardens

Airlie Gardens

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Escape into the beauty of nature at Airlie Gardens, a 67-acre garden oasis featuring stunning displays of flowers, walking trails, and picturesque lakes. Don’t miss the iconic Airlie Oak, a centuries-old tree that provides a serene and shady spot to relax.

2. Bellamy Mansion Museum

Front Exterior

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Step back in time with a visit to the Bellamy Mansion Museum, a stunning antebellum home that showcases the history and culture of the region. Take a guided tour through the elegantly furnished rooms and learn about the mansion’s significance during the Civil War era.

3. Cape Fear Museum

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Discover the history, science, and cultural heritage of the Cape Fear region at the Cape Fear Museum. With interactive exhibits, artifacts, and educational displays, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the area’s past and present.

4. Wilmington Railroad Museum

Wilmington Railroad Museum

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If you have an interest in trains and railroads, don’t miss the Wilmington Railroad Museum. Learn about the role of rail transportation in Wilmington’s history and explore the museum’s collection of vintage locomotives and model train displays.

5. Carolina Beach State Park

Carolina Beach State Park

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Nature lovers will appreciate the serene beauty of Carolina Beach State Park. Enjoy hiking and biking trails that wind through diverse ecosystems, including marshes and maritime forests. The park also offers camping facilities and access to the scenic Sugarloaf Dune.

6. Tregembo Animal Park

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If you’re traveling with kids or animal lovers, the Tregembo Animal Park is a great place to visit. This family-owned zoo houses a wide variety of animals, including lions, tigers, giraffes, monkeys, and more. You can even feed some of the animals and enjoy interactive experiences.

7. Greenfield Lake Park and Gardens

Greenfield Lake Park in Wilmington NC

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Escape the city’s hustle and bustle at Greenfield Lake Park and Gardens. Rent a paddleboat or kayak to explore the lake, go for a leisurely walk or bike ride along the scenic trails, and enjoy the serene atmosphere. The park also hosts concerts and events during the warmer months.

8. Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens

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Step into Wilmington’s colonial past with a visit to the Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens. This historic house museum allows visitors to tour the beautifully furnished rooms and learn about the city’s early history. The well-manicured gardens provide a tranquil retreat.

9. Masonboro Island Reserve

Pelicans flying over ocean

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Embark on an adventure to Masonboro Island Reserve, a pristine and undeveloped barrier island. Take a boat or kayak to reach this secluded paradise, where you can enjoy beachcombing, picnicking, birdwatching, and even primitive camping.

10. Cameron Art Museum

Cameron Art Museum.jpg

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Art enthusiasts should visit the Cameron Art Museum, which showcases a diverse collection of contemporary art, regional works, and rotating exhibitions. The museum also hosts workshops, lectures, and performances related to various art forms.

11. Riverfront Park

Riverwalk Dining Area Overlooking Water

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Spend a relaxing afternoon at Riverfront Park, a picturesque green space along the Cape Fear River. Enjoy a picnic, go for a bike ride or a jog along the trails, and soak in the scenic views of the river and downtown Wilmington.

12. Cape Fear River Watch

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Join a boat tour or kayak excursion organized by Cape Fear River Watch. These guided tours provide an opportunity to learn about the unique ecosystem of the Cape Fear River, its wildlife, and the conservation efforts being made to protect the river.

13. Poplar Grove Plantation

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Poplar Grove Plantation is a historic site located in Wilmington, North Carolina. It is a fascinating place that offers visitors a glimpse into the region’s agricultural past and provides insight into the daily life of a 19th-century plantation.

14. New Hanover County Arboretum

New Hanover County Arboretum

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The New Hanover County Arboretum is a beautiful and expansive garden oasis located in Wilmington, North Carolina. It serves as a serene escape for nature lovers and offers a variety of horticultural displays, educational programs, and recreational opportunities.

15. Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park

Jungle Rapids CVB

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Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park is a popular entertainment destination in Wilmington, North Carolina. It offers a wide range of attractions and activities for the whole family to enjoy.

16. Greenfield Park

Greenfield Lake Park

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Greenfield Park is a picturesque public park located in Wilmington, North Carolina. This beautiful green space offers a tranquil retreat for visitors, with its expansive lawns, serene lake, and lush gardens.

17. Halyburton Park

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Halyburton Park is a natural oasis nestled in Wilmington, North Carolina. This 58-acre nature preserve and park provides a serene setting for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers to explore and appreciate the local flora and fauna.

Wilmington offers a thriving food and craft beer scene, numerous art galleries, and an array of festivals and events throughout the year. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply enjoying the coastal beauty, Wilmington has something for everyone to enjoy.