Wilmington, NC

A travel guide to Wilmington, North Carolina

Carlee Alexandria: Travel and Lifestyle Blogger

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Kure Beach, North Carolinacarleealexandria.com

I first started visiting Wilmington when I lived in Raleigh, N.C. I quickly fell in love with the views of Kure Beach, the charm of the riverwalk and the small-town feel of the city. We loved it so much that we’ve been back since moving to Greenville, S.C.

Here are my favorite things to do and places to eat in Wilmington, N.C.

The Ballast in Wilmington, North Carolinacarleealexandria.com

Where We Stayed WE STAYED

Hotel Ballast

We stayed at Hotel Ballast in downtown. The hotel is right on the Riverwalk and the views are spectacular.

The Riverwalk in Wilmington, North Carolinacarleealexandria.com

Things To Do

The Riverwalk

You can’t go to Wilmington and not take a stroll along the Cape Fear River. My favorite time to walk the Riverwalk is in the morning.

Shopping in Wilmington, North Carolinacarleealexandria.com

Hit the Town

Wilmington is full of all kinds of cute shops. A few of my favorites are Old Books on Front Street, the shops inside The Cotton Exchange and all the boutiques.

Black Cat Shoppe in Wilmington, North Carolinacarleealexandria.com

Famous Filming Locations

If you’ve seen One Tree Hill or Dawson’s Creek (two of my favorites), you’ve seen Wilmington. The Wilmington website gives the perfect info for the filming locations here: One Tree Hill and Dawson’s Creek.

Wilmington, North Carolinacarleealexandria.com

The Historic District and Arlie Gardens

If you’re in the mood to house hunt (and by hunt, I mean dream), take a walk through the Wilmington Historic District or go for a drive through Arlie Gardens. The houses are beautiful!

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolinacarleealexandria.com

Hit the Beach

There are so many beaches to choose from in the Wilmington area. My favorite is Kure Beach. I suggest driving all the way down to Fort Fischer and parking across from the museum. Parking is free.

Carolina and Wrightsville Beach are lots of fun too. There’s a really cute boutique in Wrightsville called Hallelu. I drove by it so many times before actually making the trip there. Don’t make that mistake. 

Side note: If you’re in Carolina Beach, do yourself a favor and stop by Britt’s Donuts.

Bespoke Coffee in Wilmington, North Carolinacarleealexandria.com

The Best Coffee Shops

Bespoke Coffee and Dry Goods

Bespoke is probably our favorite thing about Wilmington, and when staying downtown, it’s our go-to morning coffee stop. Their cappuccinos are excellent.

Drift Coffee and Kitchencarleealexandria.com

Drift Coffee and Kitchen

Located between downtown Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, Drift is the perfect stop to start your beach day. They serve coffee, treats and healthy foods.

Eternal Sunshine in Wilmington, North Carolinacarleealexandria.com

Restaurants and Ice Cream

Eternal Sunshine

Eternal Sunshine is a place frequented by the locals, and we know why. We highly recommend their classic breakfast, but we also hear they’re known for their eggs bennedict.

Oceanic in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolinacarleealexandria.com


Oceanic may have been my favorite part about our last trip. Located in Wrightsville Beach, this spot is serving up fresh seafood and ocean views. They don’t take reservations, so be sure to get there early.

Bluewater Waterfront Grill in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolinacarleealexandria.com

Bluewater Waterfront Grill

We love eating on the water – can you tell? This time we settled for the Intracoastal waterway and took in the view of the boats. I highly recommend Bluewater.

Copper Penny in Wilmington, North Carolinacarleealexandria.com

Copper Penny

Copper Penny was the first place I visited in Wilmington and one of my favorites to this day. Guy Fieri visited the joint in 2018 and approved too.

Boombalatti's Ice Creamcarleealexandria.com


Did you really take a beach vacation if you didn’t get ice cream? Boombalatti’s is serving up the best in the Wilmington area, and they have vegan options too!

Other Recommendations

We have a few other places on our list for next time. Here are some restaurants people have recommended: Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar, Indochine (Thai and Vietnamese), Seabird, Flaming Amy’s, The Basics, Wake n’ Bake Donuts, South Beach Grill and The Little Dipper.

Looking for more? Follow along on Instagram @carleealexandria or visit my blog at carleealexandria.com.

Have you been to Wilmington? Comment and tell me your favorites!

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Sharing about the best bed and breakfasts + travel and life in our southern bungalow.. // Blogger at carleealexandria.com. Follow along on Instagram @carleealexandria.

Greenville, SC

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