While Downtown Southport has an ample supply of wide front porches to take a load off and enjoy a breeze, many longtime visitors attest there's no better place to relax than the Southport waterfront Park.

City Pier at Waterfront Park in Southport, NC

The 9 acre park has a stunning location that borders both the downtown streets and the Cape Fear River waterfront, and while the busy central streets are a Mecca for dining patrons and antique lovers, it's hard to turn away from the park's stunning open water views. The locale is a high traffic area for commercial fishing vessels and Intracoastal Waterway travelers alike, and a visitor could spend hours on the shoreline, watching the ships churn in and out of the mouth of the Cape Fear River.

Fishing from city Pier at Waterfront Park in Southport, NC

Because the vista is so captivating, the park features a long line of comfortable wooden benches, adjacent to the water, so that everyone can find a quiet place to lean back and enjoy a long look. There are also picnic tables and shelters close to the park's entrance for a shaded lunch, water fountains, swings, and a lighted walkway for evening strolls.

Waterfront Park in Southport, NC

The park is also popular for its proximity to the town fishing pier, a long "L" shaped wooden pier that extends into the Cape Fear River. Handicapped accessible with public restrooms located nearby at the Garrison House, the pier is free to the public, ensuring that anyone can grab a rod and reel and see what's biting in the deep, and mainly salty waters.

Waterfront Park in Southport, NC

The park is open year round, and is easy to find along waterfront Bay Street. There is ample parking available, although the park and the pier can both be popular destinations on summer and holiday weekends. Visitors who intend to sit and stay a while are advised to bring along sunscreen, as the sun can be particularly harsh so close to the waterfront. A camera is all but required, and park patrons will also want to look for the distant views of the Bald Head Island lighthouse to the south, and the neighboring shores of Fort Fisher and Pleasure Island that can be spotted in the distance across the wide Cape Fear River.

Waterfront Park in Southport, NC

The Southport Waterfront Park is arguably one of the best places in Downtown to catch an incredible view, and waste away an afternoon or evening just admiring the waterfront scene. An ideal spot for picnics, fishing, strolling, or just enjoying the act of doing nothing, this small park is a favorite hang-out for both locals and visitors who need to take a breather, relax, and simply watch the world go by.

Waterfront Park in Southport, NC

 

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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.

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.