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Overview

Just south of North Carolina's Crystal Coast, the historic town of Wilmington anchors the Cape Fear coast, which includes the quaint towns of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach. The area is popular for its long, lovely beaches, fishing, sailing and lolling around the boardwalks eating ice cream and fish and chips. Wilmington is a fun little town, getting famous for its burgeoning film industry. "Dawson's Creek," "Matlock" and "One Tree Hill" were filmed here, and Julia Roberts' "Sleeping with the Enemy" was filmed in Kure Beach.

Wilmington sits on the Cape Fear River and has a charming historic district — 230 ...

Just south of North Carolina's Crystal Coast, the historic town of Wilmington anchors the Cape Fear coast, which includes the quaint towns of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach. The area is popular for its long, lovely beaches, fishing, sailing and lolling around the boardwalks eating ice cream and fish and chips. Wilmington is a fun little town, getting famous for its burgeoning film industry. "Dawson's Creek," "Matlock" and "One Tree Hill" were filmed here, and Julia Roberts' "Sleeping with the Enemy" was filmed in Kure Beach.

Wilmington sits on the Cape Fear River and has a charming historic district — 230 blocks are a National Register Historic District. Old trolley cars and horse-drawn carriages provide tours, or you can hop on a paddle-wheeler and cruise the river. This whole area caters to families, with plenty of museums, attractions and theme parks for kids. Moderately priced hotels dominate and a lot of visitors pitch a tent in local campgrounds or at the Carolina Beach State Park.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Debra Landau for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summertime, from June to mid-September