Definitive guide to a weekend visiting Wilmington
With a buzzing food scene and beautiful beaches just two hours from Raleigh, Wilmington is worthy of a roadtrip.
Of note: Since Wilmington is my hometown, I might be just a little biased.
Here's where to stay and what to eat, drink and do once you're there.
Celebrity chef Vivian Howard's family-friendly pizzeria has delicious cocktails and pizzas, and a signature hot honey sauce I'd drizzle on anything.
- Address: 206 Greenfield St.
This insanely popular Thai and Vietnamese restaurant has a must-see back patio featuring a lotus pond and seating inside Thai huts.
- Pro tip: They don't accept reservations, so expect a wait.
- Address: 7 Wayne Drive
You can't go wrong with breakfast or lunch. If you go for lunch, get a cheeseburger (or a double).
- Pro tip: Bring cash; the old-school spot doesn't do cards.
- Address: 6301 Oleander Drive
Go here for the intracoastal views and casual fare. If you decide to rent a boat, you can park at the docks.
- Bonus recs: The Bridge Tender is another waterfront option beside Dockside if you want a white tablecloth option. Poe's Tavern or Tower 7 also also popular picks by the beach, but they don't have views.
- Address: 1308 Airlie Rd.
A trendy French restaurant in a posh shopping area, Brasserie is ideal for group dinners or date night.
- Address: 1908 Eastwood Rd., Suite 118
Go here for a spiked slushie and if you want to drink with the locals.
- Address: 5 N. Lumina Ave.
This popular craft cocktail bar has tons of creative mixes, like the Cotton Candy Martini.
- Address: 111 Grace St.
Wilmington has several coffee shops to try, but I miss Port City Java the most Maybe its the tiny bits of crushed ice, maybe it's the nostalgia, either way get an iced coffee here.
- Find all locations here.
1. Spend the day at Wrightsville Beach
If you want to be walking distance from tourist attractions like the pier or Wings, look for parking somewhere between accesses 15 and 30. If you prefer a quieter beach day, park near access eight.
- Details: Parking is $5 an hour or $25 a day.
- Pro-tip: If you're spending the day there, head to Roberts and stock up on snacks and chicken salad (their signature item) — 32 N. Lumina Ave.
2. Rent a boat
My family has been using Entropy Boat Rentals for years. It's owned by a couple who makes their own boats.
- I recommend doing a half day and asking the owners for directions to the less popular islands.
- Bring your own chairs, bocci ball, pimento cheese sandwiches (and maybe a beer or two) for an optimal beach day.
Cost: It's $300-$340 for a half day (six hours) or $420 for a full day (12 hours).
3. Take a self-guided film and TV location tour
If you were a big "Dawson's Creek" or "One Tree Hill" fan, you can follow this map to see some of the shows' iconic filming locations.
This renovated Victorian home was converted into a boutique bed and breakfast.
- Address: 118 S. 4th St.
- Cost: Starts around $200 per night.
Whether you want to stay downtown or at the beach, there's a huge range of Airbnbs available to fit various budgets.
This oceanfront boutique resort has been operating on Wrightsville Beach for more than 50 years.
- Address: 275 Waynick Blvd.
- Cost: Starts around $300 per night.
More Raleigh stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Raleigh.