Did you know that Wilmington is the most accessible coastal destination in North Carolina? It boasts natural beauty, classic architecture, charming history, culture, as well as a friendly atmosphere. Split your time between the vibrant culture of the city and the nearby island beaches, including Carolina, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach.
Start your visit with a stroll along the popular Riverwalk in downtown Wilmington next to Cape Fear River. Along the way, visitors can veer off and check out a few worthwhile attractions, such as the Cotton Exchange. This is a shopping complex located within eight historical buildings. In case you love animals and a zoo day, check out the Cape Fear Serpentarium, an indoor zoo with many species of venomous snakes, crocodiles, and exotic lizards.
Floating on the river across downtown Wilmington, the mighty and majestic USS North Carolina is a sight to see for naval and military enthusiasts. The ship was the first to join the American battleship fleet during World War II and is now a national historic landmark. The downtown and Riverwalk area is also known for its restaurants, boutique shops and the Wilmington’s Farmer’s Market.
On the more cultural and artistic side, visitors will enjoy a visit to the Cape Fear Museum, one of the oldest museums in the state dedicated to the preservation and collection of artifacts from the areas surrounding Wilmington. The Cameron Art Museum also features a permanent collection of works from both local and internationally-recognized artists in a diverse range of disciplines. Finally, the old-world Thalian Hall Center is one of the oldest theater venues in the country where visitors can partake in musical, film, or theater productions.
To witness a glimpse of the past, the Bellamy Mansion is an iconic example of antebellum architecture. The impressive house was built for Dr. John Dillard Bellamy and his family and is known for its distinct outer columns and elegant detailing. Today, the humble abode serves as a museum for history and design arts. Next, another lavish house to visit is the Georgian-style Burgwin-Wright House and its gardens. Visitors can tour the antique, decorated rooms with furnishings dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Afterwards, feel free to wander the tranquil grounds past fig and pomegranate orchards towards a rose and herb garden.
Located five miles south of Wilmington, undisturbed Masonboro offers oceanside beaches, rolling grasslands, marshes, and maritime forests. The waters surrounding the island are rich with marine life and the beaches are home to the nesting grounds for green sea turtles. The island can be reached by boat and visitors can explore the area on foot. For a piece of nature a little closer to Wilmington, the historic Airlie Gardens are perfect for an afternoon walking tour. The 67-acre estate is brimming with lush azaleas, tall pines, camellias, and a lake with resident swans.
Experience the best of both worlds in Wilmington and rent a car with Orbitz. Pick it up once you land at Wilmington Airport, so you can easily explore the city’s historic landmarks or venture further away to the coastal beaches and nature reserves. We have the right car for every customer’s needs at guaranteed low rates. You can choose from our variety of rentals, such as comfortable SUVs or eco-friendly compact cars.