3 Hours 3 Days: Take A Trip To Wilmington

Jonathan highlights some fun spots to take a mini vacation this summer.

We continue our series, helping you plan a budget-friendly, three-day family vacation to a destination within three hours of the Queen City.
Today Jonathan takes us to a place the North Carolina town Congress calls the “Coast Guard City.”

Day 1:
If you stay on US-74 Eastbound for a little more than 3 hours, you won’t miss the Tarheel state’s southernmost city – Wilmington, North Carolina.

  • When you first arrive in town, stretch your legs and take a stroll through downtown on the city’s famed riverwalk.
    Situated along the Cape Fear River, the nearly two-mile scenic pathway was voted the Best American Riverfront by USA Today readers in 2014.
  • Hungry after your walk? Don’t look too far for something to eat, the Riverwalk is lined with dozens of local eateries sure to please your pallet. Among them the Copper Penny. Known for their house soups, fresh salads, and delicious concoctions, the restaurant was recently featured on Guy Fiori’s television show “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.” They even offer outdoor patio dining for those thinking about social distancing.

Day 2:
With temperatures typically in the upper 70s and lower 80s on a summer day, visiting one of the area’s three beaches is a must.

  • Wrightsville, Carolina and Kure beaches are perfect vintage points to capture a picturesque sunrise by the sea.
  • While you’re near the coast, learn a bit about the region’s history at the Fort Fisher Historic Site and Civil War Museum.
  • As the sun sets, head back downtown. Clubs and bars are still closed, but nightlife isn’t canceled.
  • Wilmington is one of the most haunted cities in the South, with nightly ghost walks and weekend haunted pub crawls sure to spook and surprise.

Day 3:

  • Start your final day early, beating the heat and the long lines – with a tour of Wilmington’s most iconic treasure – the Battleship North Carolina. In the wake of the pandemic, they’ve even slashed ticket prices for adults and kids anxious to explore the restored World War II Battleship.

Here’s what you need to know before you go:

  • The best time to visit is weekdays in June and July before college students potentially return to the area this fall. Also, weekdays are best because you’re more likely to avoid big crowds at the beaches.
  • When it comes to accommodations consider staying at a bed-and-breakfast or Airbnb. There are more than a dozen bed-and-breakfast inns in Wilmington. Plus, you’ll have fewer interactions with others while also experiencing truly local hospitality.
  • Like many other attractions across the state, there are still a few popular destinations in and around Wilmington closed due to the pandemic. At last check, the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher remains closed.