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Recreation and Leisure

waterfrontChanneling its tourism industry; area beaches, riverfronts, marshland, and green spaces equip Wilmington and the lower Cape Fear region with numerous venues for an array of activities for both leisure and active lifestyles. Moreover, with mostly sunny  days and an average maximum temperature of 74.1°F and minimum of  53.9°F; residents can enjoy the GREAT OUTDOORS virtually 365 days of the year. Opportunities for recreation abound by the shore and further inland – surfing, SUP(Stand Up Paddleboard), biking, running, tennis, golf, and more. For those who seek more leisure activities, there are a sundry of choices including outdoor cafes and bistros,  larger commercial merchants, and specialty boutique shops – popular destinations include Chandler’s Wharf  and the Cotton Exchange in Historic Downtown Wilmington or Mayfaire Town Center’s 65+ urban-style shops/restaurants/movie theater and Lumina Station, just minutes from Wrightsville Beach.



In 2012, a comprehensive Greenway Plan was initiated to provide opportunities for multi-modal transportation and recreation and will incorporate greenways and blueways (for canoes & kayaks). Several multi-use pathways have been connected to and constructed alongside main thoroughfares. The River-to-Sea Bike Route stretches over 10 miles from the Riverfront Park in Downtown to Johnny Mercer’s Pier in Wrightsville Beach. Currently under construction, the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail will connect Wade Park to Halyburton Park to Empie to McCrary Park to the Heide –Trask Drawbridge at the Intracoastal Waterway. Another greenway project plan proposes a 6.6 acre passive park at a North Waterfront site in Downtown Wilmington.

  • žWrightsville Beach Park—which includes recreation center, event stage, sports fields, tennis courts and the 2.45-mile John Nesbitt Loop –aka THE LOOP—a local favorite for walkers, runners and their furry friends!
  • ž Abbey Nature Preserve – 67-acre tract through the Coastal Land Trust that includes a 2.4 mile nature trail that weaves through hardwood forest and pine thickets and crosses an old mill pond. The trail head is behind Poplar Grove Plantation.
  • žCarolina Beach State Park – 761-acre site for many annual festivals and concerts; includes an 11-acre pond, amphitheater, gazebos and picnic shelters.
  • žHalyburton Park – 58-acre park features education center with community programs and 1.3-mile path around two ponds
  • žHugh MacRae Park – 98 acres, popular site of several annual events, includes picnic shelters, playgrounds, tennis courts, baseball fields, and a 1-mile paved trail that meanders through long leaf pines and around a lake.
  • žGreenfield Lake – 250-acre park, highlights include paddle boat and canoe rentals, amphitheater, skate park, and 4.9-mile path around the lake.
  • žOgden Park – 160 acres of forested areas, trails, athletic fields, playground, tennis courts, and picnic shelters.


Enjoy miles and miles of glorious stretches of coastal wonderland. Area beaches such as Wrightsville and Carolina Beach have a large residential populace, while others such as Figure Eight Island and Bald Head have primarily vacation homes. A broad scope of rentals are available from smaller beach cottages to luxury beach homes for multi-family use.


Scenic Vistas + Avg. Temp 64°F + 215 Clear/Partly Cloudy Days a Year  = the Ultimate Golf Destination!

It’s no wonder golf courses have even become the central element of design for many area luxury communities. Wilmington and greater Cape Fear region is blanketed with greens, fairways and bunkers….a virtual golfer’s paradise. The 2017 Wells Fargo Championship will be held in Wilmington at the exclusive Eagle Point Golf Club.



With a competitive tennis community, Wilmington’s courts are  swarming with players throughout the year. Several public tennis complexes and private facilities at local country clubs accommodate the tennis ladders for Men, Women, and Youth Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Neighbour Realty and Associates has been a proud sponsor of the annual Porters Neck Tennis Open which showcases national professional and collegiate players.


Power boats, luxury yachts, sailboats, jet skis,  kayaks, canoes…oh my! To accommodate the demand, several local marinas are situated along our waterways and inlets. A new development on the Downtown riverfront includes an over 200-slip marina, the Port City Marina, and will include 2 restaurants and the Indigo Hotel.  Local companies offer boat rentals and charters for fishing, sightseeing, and scuba diving. The Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry is great way to travel by boat AND take your car with you…only $5 for a one-way trip!

Wilmington has a diverse selection of restaurants that includes the traditional franchise restaurants, as well as , many local favorites for the most discerning palette –including a few choice establishments preferred by visiting celebrities:

  • žCatch (910.799.3847)…………………Award-winning chef introduces modern seafood cuisine
  • Jerry’s (910.256.8847)…………….Voted one of Wilmington’s premier restaurants – a local favorite
  • Manna (910.763.5252)…………………..Innovative American cuisine – popular spot for visiting celebrities
  • Caprice Bistro (910.815.0810)…………..Wilmington’s ONLY AUTHENTIC French Bistro
  • Brasserie du Soleil (910.256.2226)….French brasserie café with great atmosphere
  • Portland Grille (910.256.6056)…………Progressive American cuisine from an award-winning chef
  • Pilot House (910.343.0200)……………..Downtown institution since 1978 – Southern regional cuisine
  • The Bridge Tender (910.256.4519)….Wrightsville Beach fave since 1976-waterfront seafood & steakhouse
  • South Beach Grill (910.256.4646)…Another Wrightsville favorite – accessible by boat, bike, or car

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