Celebrating July 4th in the Brunswick Islands and Cape Fear Coast


Where to see fireworks and celebrate the 4th of July in the Triangle



Nearly every town in the Triangle will have a Fourth of July celebration either over the weekend or next week. From Raleigh’s big downtown celebration – The ‘Works – to Durham fireworks at the Bulls game and Cary’s celebration with the N.C. Symphony, here’s your guide to fireworks, festivals and parades across Wake, Durham, Orange, Johnston and Chatham counties.

July 1

Archer Lodge – Family Fun Day at Archer Lodge (14094 Buffalo Road, Clayton) will have a pageant, a parade and fireworks. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Info: archerlodge.org/events.

July 2

Hillsborough – Picnic in the Park runs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Eno River Farmer’s Market. Catch live music, food trucks, crafts, yard games and a community reading of the Declaration of Independence. Info: bit.ly/2tdzpXj.

Pittsboro – The annual Pittsboro Summerfest at the Pittsboro Business Association will feature a parade, a watermelon seed spitting contest, face painting and a pie throwing contest. The event, which runs 2-8 p.m., will also have an artisan fair and market and two concert stages. Info: bit.ly/2tbpAs7.

Smithfield – Smithfield’s Fourth of July Celebration on Third Street has fireworks, crafts, relays, sidewalk chalk and face painting. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Info: smithfield-nc.com/page/parks_holiday_events.

July 3

Fuquay-Varina – Gates to South Park open at 6 p.m. and a free concert featuring Spare Change begins at 7. There will be fireworks, inflatables and food vendors. Bring a blanket or chair to watch the fireworks. Alcohol is prohibited. Info: bit.ly/2rTCVl.

Garner – The celebration, featuring performances by the N.C. Symphony and Bull City Syndicate, starts at 5 p.m. at Lake Benson Park (921 Buffaloe Road). The evening will end with fireworks. There will be concessions provided by local nonprofit organizations, as well as crafts and inflatables for children. Alcohol and glass containers are prohibited. Info: bit.ly/2rTO7hJ.

Morrisville – Gates open at 6 p.m. and fireworks begin at dark in Morrisville Community Park. There will be food trucks. Bring a chair or blanket. Alcohol and glass containers are prohibited. Info: bit.ly/2sTA7Ga.

Wake Forest – Fireworks and food vendors will be highlights of the event, which will take place at Wake Forest High School Stadium, and The Band of Oz will perform beach music at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 and available for purchase online; children 6 and under get in free. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. There will also be a children’s parade at 10:30 a.m. along North Main Street and West Juniper Avenue. At Holding Park starting at 11 a.m., there will be games, crafts and giant inflatables. Bring cash. Alcoholic beverages and smoking are prohibited. Info: wakeforestnc.gov/july4.aspx.

Zebulon – There will be fireworks after the Carolina Mudcats games Monday and Tuesday at Five County Stadium. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. each day with the game starting at 7. A ticket is required for the game and fireworks. Tickets start at $10. Info: carolinamudcats.com.

July 4

Apex – The annual Olde Fashioned Fourth of July runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a Parade of Wheels at noon, which children 12 and under can take part in. Other activities include inflatables, karaoke and face painting. Pets are not allowed. Info: apexnc.org/532/Olde-Fashioned-Fourth-of-July.

Benson ––Benson’s July 4th Celebration takes place at Benson Singing Grove (400 E. Main St.) 5:30-9:30 p.m. There will be food, games, entertainment, live music, a raffle and fireworks. Info: 919-894-5117.

Brier Creek – The Show Us Your Stripes Block Party will take place 7 to 9 p.m. at the Brier Creek Commons Clock Tower Plaza, featuring games, bounce houses and face painting. Fireworks will start after dark. Info: shopbriercreekcommons.com/events.

Carrboro – The activities will commence at 9:30 a.m. on Weaver Street Market Lawn. A parade from Weaver Street Market to Town Hall will start at 10:50 a.m. There will be live music, a costume contest, inflatables, sack races, a water-balloon toss and bingo for seniors. Info: carrbororec.org/DocumentCenter/View/2750.

Cary – From 3 to 10 p.m., the town will have its celebration in Koka Booth Amphitheatre. There will be watermelon eating contests, a Ferris wheel, a scavenger hunt and music by the N.C. Symphony and the Cary Town Band. Fireworks will start after the symphony’s 7:30 p.m. performance. The event is free, save for some of the amusement rides and pub tables. Pets, hula hoops and weapons are prohibited. Info: boothamphitheatre.com.

Chapel Hill – Fireworks will start at 9:30 p.m. in Kenan Memorial Stadium on UNC’s campus. Gates open at 7 p.m. and other festivities include a watermelon eating contest, face painting, stiltwalkers and food trucks. The suggested donation to help offset costs is $1 for an individual and $5 for a family. No outside food or drink is allowed. Info: bit.ly/2seqxfb.

Cleveland – Celebrate Cleveland starts at 9 a.m. at 9046 Cleveland Road (JCC Cleveland Campus).

Clayton – Catch food vendors, raffles, basketball competitions, cornhole and inflatables at Municipal Park (325 McCullers Drive) starting at 4 p.m. Fireworks will start after dark. Live music, inflatables and rides will continue after the fireworks. Info: bit.ly/2tbFC5n.

Durham – Durham’s Independence Day Celebration, sponsored by Durham Parks and Recreation and the Durham Bulls, includes baseball, fireworks, food and fun. Fireworks happen after the game, and tickets to the game are strongly encouraged, as the gates will open during the 7th inning for general admission based on availability. Tailgating, alcohol in parking decks and watching from parking decks are prohibited. Areas where the game can be viewed outside the ballpark are Tobacco Road Sports Cafe, the grassy area behind Diamond 3, Ponysaurus and Burt’s Bees, outside of the North Deck. Info: durhamnc.gov/1008/Independence-Day-Celebration.

Additionally, the Children’s Independence Day Parade at Durham Central Park starts at 9:30 a.m. (prep), followed by fire truck tours and free popsicles. Info: bit.ly/2tN4ga6.

Kenly – The celebration starts at 8 p.m. at Kenly 95 Petro (923 Johnston Parkway). Info: 919-284-2116.

Knightdale – The band Chairman of the Board will headline the celebration, and there will be food trucks. The event begins at 5 p.m., with shuttles to the Knightdale Station Park beginning at 4. Fireworks start at 9:15 in Knightdale Station Park. Info: knightdalestation.com.

Pine Level – The celebration runs 10 a.m.-10 p.m. at Sam Godwin Recreation Park (U.S. 70-A). Info: 919-965-2284.

Raleigh – The ‘Works will have festivities from noon to 10 p.m. on Fayetteville Street and at Red Head Amphitheater. Fireworks will start around 9:30. Contests include patriotic pooch, watermelon seed spitting, ice cream eating and a hot dog eating. There will be a beer garden and live music including The Connells and DJ Dousro. Info: raleighconvention.com/works.

Selma – The 14th Annual All-American Festival takes place at Historic Selma Union Depot (500 Railroad St.) 5-10 p.m. Info: 919-975-1411.

Zebulon – There will be fireworks after the Carolina Mudcats game at Five County Stadium. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. with the game starting at 7. A ticket is required for the game and fireworks. Tickets start at $10. Info: carolinamudcats.com.

July 5

Holly Springs – From 5 to 9:30 p.m. at Jefferson L. Sugg Farm at Bass Lake Park, there will be patriotic festivities including fireworks at 9:15, face painting, live music and inflatables. Friendly pets on leashes are welcome. Bringing fireworks, including sparklers, is prohibited. Info: hollyspringsnc.us/358/July-5th.

Event Highlight: 33rd Annual Carolina Beach Music Festival


Get your beach chairs and get ready to jam at the Carolina Beach Music Festival. Photo Credit.

Get your beach chairs and get ready to jam at the Carolina Beach Music Festival. Photo Credit.


Carolina Beach Music Festival: 33rd Annual

  • June 2, 2018
  • Carolina Beach
  • Cape Fear Blvd & Carolina Beach Ave S.
  • Carolina Beach, NC 28428
  • (910) 458-8434
  • View Website

    Here is your chance to dance barefoot on the sand or just sway to the Beach Music Beat while standing in the surf. The Beach Music Festival is billed as “the biggest and only beach music festival actually held on the beach on the North Carolina coast” and one of the longest running beach music festivals in the United States. Come out and enjoy a full day of live entertainment with the hottest beach music bands in the south. You can access this festival via the Carolina Beach Boardwalk.  Please check their Website and Social Media for the latest updates.

    Coolers, Beverages and Food Allowed.  Sorry no glass, pets or refunds.

    • Time:  Gates open at 10:00 AM
    • Price:  Advanced $25; day of show $30; 12 and under Free.

SNAPSHOT: Brunswick Islands & the Cape Fear Coast


Beautiful waters and quaint small towns abound in the Brunswick Islands the the Cape Fear Coast.

Beautiful waters and quaint small towns abound in the Brunswick Islands the the Cape Fear Coast.


A quiet and quaint piece of the coast, beautiful in its serenity, yet full of life—welcome to the Brunswick Islands and the Cape Fear Coast. The southernmost town of this stretch of beaches is Calabash, it then extends north toward the Cape Fear coast and Wilmington. Come and see why this coastal region is considered one of the best places to visit and live.


The Brunswick Islands

Get away from it all in the Brunswick Islands.

Get away from it all in the Brunswick Islands.

The Brunswick Islands is 45 miles of preserved, white beaches. With wild beach grass moving gently in the breeze next to blue-green waters, it’s like a piece of paradise. There are solitary spots where you can get away from everyone. There are also bustling boardwalks with cute boutiques and restaurants. Each seaside community holds its own charm, so planning a visit may be difficult.

Oak Island is known for spectacular beaches where you can search for spiraled seashells or just laze about. Located centrally is Shallotte. Find amazing restaurants and cafes, or just indulge in a day of shopping. See where sea turtles come to nest every year with a visit to Ocean Isle Beach. Sunset Beach is a romantic spot to enjoy beautiful views of wetlands and wildlife. The flat roads and quaint small-town charm make Holden Beach a great place to enjoy a day of biking or sightseeing. Get a great meal at one of the 30 seafood restaurants in the small town of Calabash, the “Seafood Capital of the World.”


Cape Fear Coast

If you head north, you will come to another stretch of lovely beaches with tons to do and see—the Cape Fear Coast. Scenic landscapes blend beautifully with picture-perfect villages. Experience relaxation, great times and the history that comes along with a visit to this region. Wrightsville Beach is a place that was once preserved in time, for years isolated from the mainland and only accessible by boat. Or try Wilmington, bursting with excitement and tons of history. There are also lots of fun, outdoor pursuits like kayaking, parasailing, scuba diving, surfing and so much more! Fishing is huge here! Being surrounded by water gives ample opportunity to pursue inshore and offshore fishing excursions.


Explore the streets of quaint coastal communities.

Explore the streets of quaint coastal communities.

Plan your visit now to this amazing region. Experience the culture of coastal living. It has a laidback appeal that will stick with you. You may never want to leave!


Explore Hollywood East in Wilmington


If you love the movies, but can’t make it out to California, experience the silver screen in Wilmington!

Hollywood EastWhile in Southport or Wilmington, a strange sensation may come over you. “Have I been here before,” you may ask yourself. It could be that you have been there, but not in the way you think. Maybe you have been in these places through your favorite movies or TV shows. Tons of films, TV shows, commercials and music videos have been filmed in this area. Because of this the region is now knows as “Hollywood East.”

Famous films that have been filmed here include A Walk to Remember, 28 Days, Empire Records, The Secret Life of Bees and more recently, Iron Man 3 and The Conjuring. TV shows include One Tree Hill, Dawson’s Creek and now Fox’s Sleepy Hollow and ABC’s Secrets and Lies.


See the Stars

If it’s celebrity sightings you want, you’re in luck! Several celebrities were born in Wilmington, and the phenomenal Michael Jordan owns a home here.  There are also a handful of celebrities who call the sunny shores of Wilmington home while shooting their shows.


See the Sets

The main reason for Wilmington’s “Hollywood East” status is EUE Screen Gems Studios, one of the largest full-service, motion picture facilities outside of California. They have over 20,000 square feet and nine sound stages. Tours will give you glimpses into what is currently being filmed, and will give insight into the film-making process. These walking tours are open to the public at only certain times. Check the WEBSITE for more information.

Dawson’s Creek has had a resurgence in popularity because of livestreaming online. Hook, Line and Paddle offers kayak tours to the house that served as the title character’s home. You’ll also get interesting facts about the area and local history.

If you want to see the real locations used in these famous shows, the Hollywood Walk gives guided tours that are entertaining and informative and a must-do for movie buffs. They can even give you secrets celebrities favorite Wilmington hang outs.

If you’re vacationing in Wilmington, exploring their cinematic history is a must! Check out these businesses to get the lowdown on how to make the movies apart of your Brunswick Islands vacation.


Experience Hollywood East:


EUE/Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington, NC

1223 23rd Street North
Wilmington, NC 28405
(910) 343-3500



Hollywood Walk

8 Market Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
(910) 794-1866



Hook, Line and Paddle

435 Eastwood Road
Wilmington, NC 28403
(910) 792-6945




Fishing Charters in the Brunswick Islands



A day of fishing awaits in the Brunswick Islands!  Photo Credit:  voyagerfishingcharters.com

A day of fishing awaits in the Brunswick Islands!
Photo Credit:


The Brunswick Island vacation is the perfect place for those who are harried by life and need some R&R. What better way to relax than from the deck of a boat, reeling in some fish. But if you’re not sure how to start, here are some local fishing charters that you should set up. They can get you set up with everything you need for an exciting day at sea.


Hook Line and Paddle
435 Eastwood Road, Wilmington, NC • 910-792-6945 • Website

A new fad among those seeking a fishing adventure is kayak fishing. This combines two favorite pastimes into one great experience!  Get outfitted with a kayak and gear for a great day on the water.

Island Tackle and Hardware
801 N Lake Park Boulevard, Carolina Beach, NC • 910-458-3049 • Website

All types of fishing are at your disposal! Stay near shore, and explore the wetlands of the Brunswick Islands, or set off to deeper seas in an offshore fishing boat. They also have everything you need in terms of tackle and gear.

Voyager Deep Sea Fishing
Dock Holiday’s Marina, 1525 13th Avenue North, Myrtle Beach, SC • 910-575-5978 • 910-575-0111 • Website

The most comfortable way to mount a fishing expedition is with Voyager. Luxurious accommodations ensure that your fishing trip will be unforgettable. With Voyager, you can also take advantage of trips to the Gulf Stream and Dolphin Cruises.


If you need help figuring out what type of fishing trip you’d like to take, click here for more info!

Introduction to Fishing in the Brunswick Islands


You won't regret picking up a rod and reel on your Brunswick Island vacation.

You won’t regret picking up a rod and reel on your Brunswick Island vacation.


The Brunswick Islands are a perfect getaway from the hecticness of everyday life. With work and family and activities calling to us, it’s hard to find time to try something new. That’s why you should use your Brunswick Island vacation to full advantage. Why not pick up a new pastime? Fishing is extremely popular in this region of North Carolina. Whether in the mild winter months and the cool spring and fall or the warm summer. These islands lie just 45 miles away from the gulf stream, so there is an excellent chance of landing a great catch!

But where to begin? Maybe you’ve researched fishing, and the terms confuse you. Read below for a simple explanation to the types of fishing that are available in the Brunswick Islands. Then be ready to plan your fishing expedition in the Brunswick Islands!


Brunswick Island Fishing 1 Brunswick Island Fishing 2


Click here to view North Carolina Recreational Fishing License Types and Fees

Click here to purchase a North Carolina Fishing License


Click here to read more about fishing charters in the Brunswick Islands 

A Romantic Brunswick Island Valentine’s Day


In the Brunswick Islands, Valentine’s Day Will Be Anything But Routine


Spell out your love by taking your Valentine to the Brunswick Islands.

Spell out your love by taking your Valentine to the Brunswick Islands.


Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Don’t let it sneak up on you, otherwise you may have to resort to grocery store chocolates and a local chain restaurant. Since President’s Day is the Monday after the big V, you could take a long weekend trip. Say… a trip to a place where a warm breeze can blow in the middle of February. Where you and your love can watch the sunrise and sunset on the same beach. Where there is always something to do, some place to dine and lots to experience! A trip to the Brunswick Islands is what this love doctor is recommending. Don’t get stuck in a rut. You only live once! Pack up and head out today to the beautiful Brunswick Islands!


Looking for a place to stay?

Don’t just day-trip it to the Brunswick Islands, why not stay? There are two options, hit up a hotel or inn, or rent one of the lovely beach properties that are located throughout the area. If the latter is your plan, why not mix it up? Lovely rooms are just a putt away at Beau Rivage Golf and Resort. You can stay in a luxury resort, and the next day hit the holes. During winter there is a special rate of only $29 after 1 p.m.

Since you have the flexibility of a three-day weekend, there is also the option of staying in an oceanfront rental, with all the comforts of home. R.H. McClure Realty will work with you to find exactly what you’re looking for, and before you know it, you could be sitting on a porch overlooking the shore hand in hand with your Valentine.

Beau Rivage Golf and Resort
649 Rivage Promenade, Wilmington, NC • (910) 392-9021 • Website

R.H. McClure Realty
24 Causway Drive, Ocean Isle Beach, NC • (910) 579-3586 • Website


Looking for things to do?

Because of its location, Brunswick Island is full of beautiful nature spots. From the beach to the marshes, you and your Valentine will be captivated by everything the natural world has to offer. Click here to read more about the natural beauty of the Brunswick Islands.

But why not take it all in while skimming smoothly across the waterways that surround the area. If you want to keep things interesting with a little adventure, Hook Line and Paddle offers kayak tours Tuesdays–Saturdays. Or, let someone else do the seamanship. At Voyager Deep Sea Fishing & Dolphin Cruises, you can take a 2 ½ hour Dolphin Cruise, experiencing the marine life of the Brunswick Islands.

Hook Line and Paddle
435 Eastwood Road, Wilmington, NC • (910) 792-6945 • Website

Voyager Deep Sea Fishing & Dolphin Cruises
1525 13th Avenue North, North Myrtle Beach, SC • (843) 626-9500 • Website
Click here for a coupon


Looking for a great place to wine & dine?

What’s Valentine’s Day without a fabulous dinner reservation? Though there are many great places to eat in the Brunswick Islands, this meal should go that extra mile. A visit to the Pilot House may just turn you into a fine dining gourmand unable to go back to casual fare. But make your reservation soon, because the special Valentine’s Day menu will be out of this world! Choose from airline chicken stuffed with sundried tomatoes or a filet duo with a side of smashed purple potatoes. And to finish, a chocolate bundt cake or sorbet with cheese wontons.

In my family, The Melting Pot is where we went to celebrate our important occasions—sipping champagne, enjoying a bubbling pot of fondue. And what’s more important than Valentine’s Day!? They are offering a Valentine’s Day special, so get your reservation now.

The Melting Pot
885 Towne Center Drive at Mayfaire, Wilmington, NC • (910) 256-1187 • Website
Click here for Valentine’s Day Specials

Pilot House
2 Ann Street Wilmington, NC • (910) 343-0200 • Website
Click here for coupon


Looking for someone to watch the kiddos?

You have the perfect evening out planned, but there’s just one problem… what to do with the kids? In the Brunswick Islands, this problem has the perfect solution! Your kids will be thrilled when they find out that you are dropping them off for a sleepover at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. It’s a kid friendly event called Hugs & Fishes Valentine’s Day Lock-In. Drop them off Friday night, hug them goodbye, and let your kids experience a night in a museum, while you get the night out.

Or, you could call Nancy’s Nannies, an organization that makes sure you get the best babysitters for your money, without the stress of tracking one down.

Hugs & Fishes Valentine’s Day Lock-In
Fri., Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. — Sat., Feb 13 at 9 a.m.
Cost: $55
North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, 900 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach, NC • (910) 458-8257 • Website

Nancy’s Nannies
3407 Taylor Street, Morehead City, NC • (252) 726-6575 • Website


Looking for a fun Valentine’s Day event?

The fun thing about visiting a charming place like the Brunswick Islands is that their enjoyable events are not just for locals, they’re for everyone! The Silver Coast Winery is hosting a special event entitled Cheers to Love & Chocolate. Delicious local wines paired with delectable chocolate truffles, what could be better?

Or if you’d like to dine with your sweetheart on the open seas, come to one of Wilmington Water Tours special Valentine’s weekend events! Follow Your Heart is a two-hour romantic dinner cruise on Saturday night, and Treat your Sweetheart: “Mimosas & Sweets” allows you to lull the afternoon of Valentine’s Day away by sipping cocktails and sampling goodies.

Cheers to Love & Chocolate
Sat., Feb. 13 at 1:00, 2:30 & 4:00 p.m.
Cost: $15
6680 Barbeque Road NW, Ocean Isle Beach, NC • (910) 287-2800 • Website
Click here for event details.

Follow Your Heart
Sat., Feb. 13 at 5:00 p.m.
Cost: $40
212 South Water Street, Wilmington, NC • (910) 338-3134 • Website
Click here for event details.

Treat your Sweetheart: “Mimosas & Sweets”
Sun., Feb. 14 at 2:00 p.m.
Cost: $26
212 South Water Street, Wilmington, NC • (910) 338-3134 • Website
Click here for event details.


May you and your sweetheart have a Happy Valentine's Day in the Brunswick Islands!

May you and your sweetheart have a Happy Valentine’s Day in the Brunswick Islands!



A Full Day at Fort Fisher


Fort Fisher: Where Beauty & History Collide

Fort Fisher


Fort Fisher is a small area located in Kure Beach. But this small area has so much to offer you and your family while you’re visiting the Brunswick Islands. There is a little something for every taste. This area has a rich history dating all the way back to the Natives who lived in this area before European settlement. It’s also a place where nature has been preserved and untouched so that visitors can bask in the purity of pristine beaches. And alongside this, there is an aquarium where you and your kids will get up close and personal with the local aquatic life.

Be sure to make Fort Fisher a stop in your Brunswick Islands vacation.


Fort Fisher History

The history of Fort Fisher is dappled and varying. This location was touched by history in a variety of ways. And there are two museums where you and your family will learn how this region gives you a glimpse into the past of our nation.

North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Center

1528 Fort Fisher Boulevard South
Kure Beach, NC
(910) 458-9042

The region around Fort Fisher has been an important waterway from prehistoric times to present day because of its proximity to the Cape Fear River. The hazardous geography of North Carolina’s coast caused many shipwrecks that are now being excavated out of the mud and sediments in and around the coastlands. Because of this, we can glimpse into the past, from Native American dug-out canoes to colonial merchant ships to Civil War sea vessels. At the North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Center, view the rich maritime history of the Brunswick Islands.


151st Anniversary Fort FisherFort Fisher Historic Museum

1610 Fort Fisher Boulevard South
Kure Beach, NC
(910) 458-5538

Fort Fisher was a vital fortification to the Confederacy during the Civil War because it protected the routes that allowed trade into and out of the South. This fort also features huge earthworks that protected the fort from barrage. Visitors to the fort will receive a history of not just this location, but of the conflict between North and South that occurred during the Civil War.


Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

1000 Loggerhead Road
Kure Beach, NC 28449
(910) 458-5798

The Fort Fisher State Recreation Area is the perfect place to take your family to enjoy the dunes, marshes and clean beaches that make Brunswick Island the perfect natural getaway. Enjoy this beautiful portion of land and get away from the tourist packed beaches.

To read more about this and other beautiful nature spots, click here.


North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

900 Loggerhead Road
Kure Beach, NC
(910) 772-0500

Spend an afternoon with the fishes. The kids may not be begging to learn about history, but what about petting a shark? There is so much to do at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher! See an albino alligator, see a sea turtle face to face, climb the Adventure Reef and so much more! Be sure to visit on your Brunswick Islands vacation.


Experience Nature in the Brunswick Islands


Nature preserves, like those found in the Brunswick Islands, are places of peace and beauty.

Nature preserves, like those found in the Brunswick Islands, are places of peace and beauty.


If you’re in the Brunswick Islands, you probably came for the beautiful, uncrowded beaches, and an easy stress-free vacation. But as you look around, you will find that nature has touched this region with a singular beauty. Because the pristine beaches face south, you can sit on the sand and enjoy watching both sunsets and sunrises. But don’t just be tied to the surf. Allow yourself to take some inland expeditions. The Brunswick Islands has so much to offer nature lovers! Coastal birds hover for fish over stunning marshes. Reeds blow in the soft breeze on sand dunes. Hear the trills of rare and endangered birds in coastal forests. Trudge through muddy tidal flats to discover hidden beauty that few tourists ever get to experience. This coastal community offers more than just a sandy day in the sun. This region is also known for the largest variety of unusual plant species in North Carolina. Use your vacation time to de-stress and get in touch with nature.


Nature Preserves & State Parks Near the Brunswick Islands


Bald Head Island Conservancy

700 Federal Rd, Bald Head Island, NC • (910) 457-0089

The Bald Head Island Conservancy’s mission is to ensure that the natural beauty of this region is protected and preserved. The island is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Cape Fear River on the other. Your family has a plethora of fun options:

-exciting adventure programs
-walking the clean, protected beach
-birding expeditions
-or hiking through salt marsh, maritime forest, dune and beach habitats


 Bird Island

40th Street and West Main Street, Sunset Beach, NC • (910) 962-2998

Bird Island is a barrier island completely untouched by development. As you walk through the wild terrain, you will encounter empty beaches, large dunes, salt marshlands and peaceful tidal creeks. You may also encounter the threatened loggerhead sea turtle.


 Boiling Spring Lakes Preserve

1 Leeds Road, Boiling Spring Lakes, NC • (910) 395-5000

When exploring the average natural habitat, one will expect to find about ten or so plants every step. But Boiling Springs has almost double the number of rare and interesting flora growing in their wetlands. The harsh climate and soil of the region has also given visitors a rare treat–species, such as the carnivorous Venus Flytrap, have evolved and thrived. This preserve hosts a bounty of beautiful flora and plentiful fauna you won’t soon forget.


Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve

6150 Rock Creek Road NE, Leland, NC • (910) 962-4191

Originally settled by pre-Revolution English settlers, this area is now a coastal forest nature preserve that can boast of being featured on the North Carolina Birding Trail. Visitors can wander seven miles of well-maintained trails while listening to the sweet melodies of several species of warbler. Learning stations along the trail allow this to be an educational as well as restful excursion.



Green Swamp Preserve

Highway 211, Supply, NC • (910) 395-5000

The open savannas of the Green Swamp Preserve are dotted with majestic longleaf pines, still shrub bogs, beautiful orchids and 14 species of carnivorous plants, including the rare sundew and pitcher plants. Just be sure to keep your distance from the American Alligators who calls this preserve home.


Carolina Beach State Park

1010 State Park Road, Carolina Beach, NC • (910) 458-8206

At Carolina Beach State Park, miles of hiking trails will not only lead to the diverse habitats this region is known for, you will also get to experience the rich history of the region. Both Native Americans and pirates called this area home. You can see Sugarloaf, a 50-foot sand dune that has been a landmark since 1663. A marina also provides a perfect starting out point to explore some of the best fishing spots in North Carolina.


Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

1000 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach, NC • (910) 458-5798

Fort Fisher is known as the location of one of the premier North Carolina aquariums as well as the Civil War era fort that the area is named for. But the protected oceanfront attracts visitors who want to experience the pristine beauty and rare species who make their nests along the shoreline. A four-wheeling adventure is also allowed seasonally.

Read more about Fort Fisher here…



Top 20 Activities in Wilmington, NC

Wilmington, N.C. is full of amazing things to do! If you are ever bored in this North Carolina community, then there is something wrong! Here is your full guide to the top 20 things you can do while vacationing here.



1. Catch a ride.

The Wilmington Trolley Company offers 45-minute guided tours around Wilmington, guaranteeing you learn something new around every corner.

2. Take your kids to the Cape Fear Serpentarium.

If you can’t use kids as an excuse, just go there yourself. See some of the deadliest reptiles in the world. You’ll never forget it or regret it.

A 12-foot crocodile is just one of many reptiles you'll meet at the Serpentarium.

A 12-foot crocodile is just one of many reptiles you’ll meet at the Serpentarium.


3. Take a catamaran or riverboat tour.

If you’re tired of being stuck on roads, take to the water! Catamaran tours are available for sunset cruises, eco cruises and history cruises. Some riverboat tours even feature murder mystery dinners. Choose the one that fits your interest!

4. Have a little frightful fun.

There are plenty of ghost tours around Wilmington, some of which feature a little multitasking. Have a thrilling time when you join in on a haunted bar crawl through Wilmington.

5. Eat seafood on the waterfront.

Or at least enjoy a cocktail at sunset. There’s nothing more relaxing than dining on a patio as the sun glistens across the water.

6. Get a taste of the local eats and brews.

Downtown you’ll find culinary tours and brewery tours, so stop for a bite or a sip, and discover why the dining scene is so incredible here.

7. Tour Screen Gem Studios.

And be sure to have your camera handy in case you run into any celebrities along the way!

8. Visit a museum or historic battleship.

Wilmington is rich in history, so fit in a fun blast from the past to learn about some of the exciting events that took place here. Click for a list of historical places to visit.

9. Browse a local art gallery.

Get a true sense of Wilmington by viewing it from the eyes of a local artist. You may just find a new piece for your wall at home.

Experience the finer things in life at Wilmington's local art galleries.

Experience the finer things in life at Wilmington’s local art galleries.

10. Visit the farmers’ market.

Wake up early Saturday morning to find fresh produce and herbs, cheeses, meats, honey, jams and jellies to take home with you.

11. Take a bite of the sweet life.

Wilmington is famous for its sinfully delicious selection of sweet shops, so indulge in a cupcake, crepe, donut or pie to satisfy the craving.

12. Find a souvenir that encompasses your visit to Wilmington.

Whether it’s a locally crafted treasure, a home décor item or just a fun trinket, you’ll enjoy perusing the eclectic stores here to find a treasure worth bringing home.

13. Tour the Bellamy Mansion Museum of History & Design Arts.

Inside one of North Carolina’s most spectacular examples of antebellum architecture, you’ll learn interesting Civil War facts and get an informative look at historic preservation in action.

14. Watch a concert by the river.

Free, live music plus a gorgeous backdrop equals an incredible way to spend an afternoon.

15. Have a drink at a rooftop bar.

Because you can.

16. Take a tour of the Cape Fear Historic Byway.

Notice the historic architecture in the Old Wilmington Residential District, and gaze across the Wilmington Waterfront for spectacular views.

17. Visit the Antique District.

You can easily spend an afternoon browsing the delightful shops here.

18. Catch a show at Thalian Hall.

Where else would you have the opportunity to watch a performance inside a building listed on the National Register for Historic Places?

19. Throw a Frisbee. Or play catch.

Greenfield Park and Gardens is a lush oasis that features a paved multi-use trail that’s part of the East Coast Greenway.

20. Have a quiet moment of reflection inside Airlie Gardens.

You’ll discover a breathtaking view around every corner of formal gardens, walking trails, lakes and ever-changing flowers.