Local Hotels

Hotels

For postcard-perfect long weekends, or full week stays that have exceptional access to indoor and outdoor pools, restaurants, and amenities, there's nothing quite like the convenience of a stay at a local hotel or motel. A number of area hotels have been welcoming guests for decades, and as a result, vacationers have come back year after year for the fantastic service and the million-dollar views.

Vacation Rental Homes

Vacation Rentals

Visitors are often surprised at the number and variety of weekly vacation rentals throughout the area.. Vacation rentals are, in fact, an increasingly popular accommodation available to vacationers, and visitors will find that the sheer number of rentals available allows them to find an ideal retreat to fit their crew, from quiet condo complexes to brightly colored oceanfront sand castles.

Masonboro Island Estuarine Reserve

Masonboro Island Estuarine Reserve

Situated on the edge of the Cape Fear Coastline in between the bustling towns of Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach, the Masonboro Island Estuarine Reserve is a unique slice of undeveloped and natural barrier island shoreline that’s an important habitat for countless coastal species. Hard to reach but wonderfully isolated, visitors who make a trip to this literal deserted island will be rewarded with great shelling, beautiful landscapes, and miles of beaches to go around.

Activities for Kids in the Cape Fear Area

Activities for Kids in the Cape Fear Area

From the sunny beaches to the educational museums and attractions, the Cape Fear region is seemingly designed for kids. The towns that dot this coastal region are filled with tempting options for the young and young-at-heart, which includes cool watersports, outdoor activities, historical treasures, and just about everything in between. Make your Cape Fear vacation a trip that your family will never forget by ensuring that these kid-friendly activities and destinations are on your agenda. With so much to see, discover and do, it’s no wonder that the Cape Fear area has been ranked as one of the best family-friendly vacation destinations along the coastline.

Fort Caswell

Fort Caswell

The eastern tip of Oak Island is figuratively guarded by the long abandoned Fort Caswell, a centuries old but still relatively intact structure that originally encompassed a huge portion of the island. Today, the structure is a landmark within the Fort Caswell Retreat, occupied by the North Carolina Baptists Assembly, and even though the fort hasn't fired off a cannon in decades, it is still an imposing and impressive sight along the edge of Oak Island's eastern beaches.

Carolina Beach Fishing Pier

Carolina Beach Fishing Pier

The Carolina Beach Fishing Pier, technically known as the "Carolina Beach Fishing Pier Northern Extension" is a fantastic destination for sightseers and anglers alike at the northern edge of Carolina Beach. Bordering miles of undeveloped beaches to the north and small clusters of vacation accommodations to the south, the pier feels deceivingly isolated, which makes it an ideal spot for a peaceful ocean sunrise, or a full, dedicated day of reeling in the saltwater species that can be found in abundance along the North Carolina coastline.

Cape Fear area Surfing Guide

Cape Fear area Surfing Guide

Surfing is big in the Cape Fear area, and it’s a sport that has been enjoyed by decades of locals and vacationers alike. With gentle summertime waves that are perfect for beginners, and larger and more challenging swells that can make an appearance with a passing storm or hurricane, the surfing scene in the Cape Fear area can be as wild or as laid-back as a surfer wants. Visitors who want to get their toes wet in this popular beach activity will find ample destinations – and ample learning opportunities – to hit the waves. From cool camps that are perfect for young surfers just learning the ropes, to popular tournaments where East Coast’s best surfers shine, there’s something for everyone when it comes to the Cape Fear surfing scene.

Cape Fear Fishing Guide

Cape Fear Fishing Guide

Whether a visitor lands in the inland regions of Wilmington and mainland New Hanover County, or the coastal vacation hotspots of Carolina Beach and Wrightsville Beach, fishing is always readily available – and celebrated – in the Cape Fear area. A favorite activity for locals and visitors alike, the sheer variety of waters and terrain ensures that anglers of all tastes will never be too far away from a local fishing hole or a full-fledged fishing adventure.

Museum of Coastal Carlina

Museum of Coastal Carlina

In Ocean Isle Beach, an occasional rainy or cloudy day never interrupts the fun, thanks in no small part to a bevy of local attractions which includes the nationally renowned Museum of Coastal Carolina. A favorite destination of frequent Ocean Isle Beach visitors, the museum is a sprawling interactive site which represents all aspects of coastal life, from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean to the evening skyline. From interactive touch tanks to skin-crawling (but perfectly safe) snake exhibits, this museum is sure to leave an impression on vacationers of all ages.

Masonboro Inlet

Masonboro Inlet

Known in local mariner circles as one of the easiest inlets to cruise through in North Carolina, Masonboro Inlet is much more than just a straight-shot channel to the Atlantic Ocean. The waters and the cool beaches surrounding the waters are ideal for a myriad of activities, including fishing, shelling, surfing, and just enjoying a gorgeous day on the beach. Plan an outing to the beaches that border this sliver of water, or take a cruise to explore abundant Cape Fear waters, and enjoy one of the most popular waterways west of Wilmington.

Cape Fear area Kayaking Guide

Cape Fear area Kayaking Guide

With miles of water in every direction, and a collection of cool destinations that are only accessible via a water-bound vessel, the Cape Fear area is a prime destination to launch a kayaking adventure. Take to the waves for a thrilling ride, or enjoy a leisurely exploration through a network of shallow creeks and marshes, and discover why kayaking reigns supreme as one of the most popular sports in the Cape Fear region.

Intracoastal Waterway - Cape Fear Area

Intracoastal Waterway - Cape Fear Area

Mariners of all varieties will find that the Intracoastal Waterway in this corner of coastal North Carolina has a lot to offer visitors and locals alike. Following the Cape Fear coastline, and bypassing a myriad of cool towns and attractions along the way, mariners taking a cruise along this famed stretch of water may want to settle in for a day to discover what the Cape Fear region is all about.

Oak Island Golf Club

Oak Island Golf Club

The Coastal Carolina region has long been known to frequent visitors as a golfer's paradise, and Oak Island is certainly no exception. The Oak Island Golf Club is a favorite destination among Wilmington residents, and has gained notoriety along the East Coast as one of the most entertaining, and scenic golf courses, along the southern North Carolina shoreline.

Figure Eight Island

Figure Eight Island

Located just east of the quiet Ogden area of Wilmington, Figure Eight Island is a destination that has inspired curiosity for decades. Privately owned by its homeowners, and only accessible by a single bridge that crosses the Intracoastal Waterway, the island is a rumored haven for celebrities, wealthy CEOs and company owners, and any visitor who just wants a private escape. Though difficult to access, visitors who make the cut by renting or buying a vacation home on the island will be treated to one of the quietest beach landscapes in the area. As a result, Figure Eight Island retains its reputation as one of the most pristine – and privileged – vacation destinations in the coastal Cape Fear area.

Henrietta III

Henrietta III

It's hard to miss the Henrietta III as she cruises along Downtown Wilmingtontowards the open waters of the Cape Fear River. As the largest cruise boat in North Carolina, and the state's only true stern wheel riverboat, the Henrietta III has become a staple of the downtown scene in Wilmington, adding to its historic charm and southern flair for fun.

Bald Head Woods

Bald Head Woods

But despite being an instrumental component to the island's very existence, and a protector against erosion and storms, Bald Head Woods serves a more visible role as a fun, outdoor destination for visitors to enjoy off the beach. A popular spot with bird watchers, hikers and nature fans alike, this rustic destination allows vacationers to easily step off the beaten path, and dive into Bald Head Island's natural landscape.

Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach is a unique little North Carolina coastal destination that encompasses both mainland and barrier island terrain, and is located just a seashell's throw from the South Carolina border. Despite its proximity to larger destinations like Wilmington, NC to the north and Myrtle Beach, SC to the south, the community has never lost its small town charm, and its decidedly beachy atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for laid back vacationers who want to soak up the salt, the sun, and the endless ocean views.

Cape Fear Shelling Guide

Cape Fear Shelling Guide

The Cape Fear shoreline is one of the most unique shorelines in North Carolina. Comprising of both hopping beach towns as well as delicate barrier islands that are completely undeveloped, the sheer diversity of the area beaches make them an enticing attraction for virtually any vacationer.

Fort Fisher Ferry

Fort Fisher Ferry

Visitors to historic Southport who want to make a beach escape, or Carolina Beach travelers who need an easy yet scenic route to head south will find the Southport / Fort Fisher ferry a convenient yet completely unique way to explore the southern North Carolina coastline. Though just a short 35 minute ride from the mainland to Pleasure Island, (the home of Fort Fisher State Park, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach), this ferry trip nonetheless gives its passengers exceptional views of the Cape Fear River, and an incredible story to take back home.

Cape Fear area Beaches Information

Cape Fear area Beaches Information

If there’s one thing that Cape Fear locals and visitors alike adore, it’s the local beaches. The area is teaming with stunning shorelines that span from the private Figure Eight Island all the way to the pristine Zeke’s Island Reserve. Spanning miles of coastline, it can be tricky for visitors to decipher where to go first, where to park, and what to do once they’ve landed on the sand. The good news is that virtually any stretch of shoreline has its own arsenal of activities for visitors to enjoy, and because of the sheer diversity of beach communities, virtually any beach fan can find just the environment they are looking for.

Oak Island

Oak Island

Visitors will find an easy-to-get-to beach paradise at Oak Island, an expansive but peaceful retreat that's located an easy drive away from Wilmington, Southport, and other inland North Carolina communities. Both the main town and the island itself share the name of "Oak Island," and while the town extends slightly inland, encompassing the Cape Fear Regional Jetport, the rest of the community is cut off from the world by the long Elizabeth River, and a network of salty creeks and canals. This watery gap may not be particularly wide, but visitors will feel the change as soon as they cross over the bridge. Once ashore, Oak Island is a picturesque landscape of charming vacation rental homes, cool seafood restaurants and shops, and miles of ocean shoreline.

NC Maritime Museum Southport

NC Maritime Museum Southport

The North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport is one of three maritime museums sponsored by the state that lies along the eastern portion of NC. The Southport branch focuses on the maritime history of the lower Cape Fear River, and contains a detailed and fascinating collection that covers shipwrecks, piracy, the Civil War, commercial fishing, hurricanes, and a number of other natural and manmade events that have left a permanent mark on the North Carolina coast. Voted one of the best attractions in Southport by newcomers and frequent vacationers alike, an afternoon at the museum is a must for any coastal lover who wants to dive right into the fascinating history and culture that this region supplies in abundance.

Top 10 Things to do in the Cape Fear area

Top 10 Things to do in the Cape Fear area

New visitors may find that making a list of things to do during a packed Cape Fear vacation seems, initially, like an impossible task. With a wealth of incredible attractions, activities, and stunning landscapes, it’s hard to narrow down the literally hundreds of diversions into a single vacation agenda. So if you’re having a little difficulty deciding what to do during your Cape Fear vacation, consider these activities that are readily waiting at your fingertips. From cruising through open river waters, to sampling the finest cuisine in coastal NC, these are the “must” things to do that have led to countless happy vacations.

Caswell Beach

Caswell Beach

Visitors who love a quiet beach town, a dash of history, and a sunny location that’s close to a variety of Cape Fear attractions will fall in love with Caswell Beach. This small community that’s tucked away on the eastern edge of Oak Island has tons of charm and shoreline to go around, making it a coveted destination for family friendly vacations. Discover this small beach town that’s almost off the map, and see why a visit to Caswell Beach is always an enticing addition to any vacation agenda – whether it’s just a day trip, or a full week by the seashore.

The Cotton Exchange

The Cotton Exchange

Visitors can celebrate Wilmington's deep-rooted history in trade with a visit to the historic Cotton Exchange. The complex of eight buildings features over 30 shops and restaurants that are worthy of exploration, and will provide an enjoyable morning or afternoon of retail therapy for Wilmington visitors of all tastes and styles.

Kure Beach Ocean Front Park & Pavilion

Kure Beach Ocean Front Park & Pavilion

One of Kure Beach’s newest pubic parks is already becoming one of its most popular, thanks to a prime location along the oceanfront, and a host of concerts, shows, and special events that have all been held within its borders. The Kure Beach Ocean Front Park & Pavilion is home to the town’s largest public green space, and is perched along the oceanfront, inviting visitors to stop by and admire the scene. Fun for big community-wide events and everyday visitors alike, this park is charming both the visitors and locals of Kure Beach.

Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

Enjoy miles of pristine beaches, salt marshes, and scenic views in every direction with a visit to Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. Located just south of Kure Beach, and renowned for its 6 miles of undeveloped shoreline, this sunny beach destination is one of the most popular state parks in North Carolina, and offers miles of fun around every corner.

Pleasure Island

Pleasure Island

Cape Fear visitors in a vacation state of mind will find plenty of reasons to celebrate in Pleasure Island. This moniker that’s given to the island found just south of Wilmington is well-deserved, as the small collection of beach communities that make up this isle are stuffed with stunning beaches, tempting restaurants, cool shops, and ample ways to have fun. A popular destination for day-tripping locals and weekly vacationers alike, Pleasure Island more than earns its reputations as one of the most fun destinations in the Cape Fear area.

Cape Fear Educational Activities

Cape Fear Educational Activities

Visitors who want to transform a vacation into a learning experience that will delight “students” of all ages will adore the Cape Fear area. Home to a wealth of museums, iconic sites, and natural attractions, there’s always an opportunity to discover something new in this historically and culturally rich region. So spend a couple afternoons or days exploring the following sites that put education in a unique and always fascinating new perspective. From historical treasures to stunning shorelines, learning is always a joy in the Cape Fear region.

Southport Historical Society

Southport Historical Society

The Old Brunswick County Jail is a favorite stop along any historic Downtown Southport walking tour, as the early 1900s structure is chock-full of stories which span from its stately brick architecture to its original sprinklings of graffiti, still legible after more than a century.