Updated: July 19th, 2020
Below is a list of best places I would visit on a trip to this location. My picks fit my personality and interest. Everyone has a different interest so you may not like everything I listed which is fine. If you like a place, I recommend saving it to Google Maps for a future trip down the road. I made sure to include the address or GPS to make it easier to find. You can find out more about me in the "About Me" section to see if we share common interests.
In the info below, the yellow cost number is just an estimated amount at the time I checked their website; over time, the amount could change. With the cost of a hotel room, I'm pricing a queen bed for two people for a night on the weekend, and the amount shown is before taxes. These figures are just a rough estimate of what places could cost, so if incorrect, I apologize.
- Wake N Bake Donuts
1401 N Lake Park Blvd #46, Carolina Beach, NC 28428
Wake N Bake Donuts has some pretty good looking apple fritters on their menu. Their signature donuts look very creative; my personal favorite would be "PB Get Bizzy," which is a chocolate glaze, vanilla peanut butter custard, peanut butter drizzle, and peanut butter cup on top
- Britts Donuts
11 Carolina Beach Ave N, Carolina Beach, NC 28428
This donut shop only makes one type of donut, Glazed, but they are the best in the country in making those donuts. Throughout the years since 1939, Britts Donuts has always been one of the top donut shops in North Carolina.
- Cape Fear Museum of History and Science
814 Market St, Wilmington, NC 28401
The museum is located in the heart of Wilmington and has a handful of exhibits on display. Most of the exhibits at the Cape Fear Museum deal with the local region. The two exhibits that interest me the most would be Michael Jordan, his days in North Carolina, and the replica of a giant ground sloth skeleton with additional information about the animal.
- Beale Street Barber Shop
710 S 17th St, Wilmington, NC 28401
A place good enough for a king, Beale Street Barber Shop, is an Elvis theme barbershop located in Wilmington. You will see local art on display and, if lucky, maybe some live music on stage. You can also get an old-fashioned shave that includes a cooling face wash, hot towels, hot shaving cream, and a face moisturizer. The owner, Mark Sinnis cuts both men and women's hair. Beale Street Barber Shop packs a lot of personality and uniqueness into the business.
- Bellamy Mansion Museum
503 Market St, Wilmington, NC 28401
Tour a 10,000-square-foot, twenty-two room mansion built in the mid-1800s, the Bellamy Mansion is the best example of antebellum architecture in North Carolina. You can explore most of the property on your own including the five-story mansion and two-story slave quarters.
- Battleship North Carolina
1 Battleship Rd NE, Wilmington, NC 28401
You have an opportunity to board a fully restored WWII battleship and explore the nine levels of the ship. During World War II, the ship participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific and earned 15 battle stars. When visiting, try to go either on "Battleship 101" or "Battleship Alive" event day because its a chance to learn more about the ship from expert volunteers at no added cost.
- Casey’s Buffet
5559 Oleander Dr, Wilmington, NC 28403
I found this restaurant from an article that claimed Casey's Buffet had the best buffet in North Carolina. The southern buffet was on point, the fried catfish, bbq pork, fried chicken, and banana pudding was amazing. I had no problem filling my plate up a few times and definitely worth the trip.
- Trolly Stop
94 S Lumina Ave, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480
The Trolly Stop serves the best hotdogs in the Wilmington area since 1976. Their Trolly Stop Hot Sauce, citrus-based sauce (spicy and sweet), is also popular with customers. Following my rule of three, my order would be three "Northern" hotdogs with chili, cheese, and vegetarian baco’ bits with a side order of cheese fries.
- The Fork 'N' Cork
122 Market St, Wilmington, NC 28401
The Fork 'N' Cork located downtown Wilmington serves some of the best burgers in the area. A lot of good items on the menu that are worth a try like scotch egg, fried pickles, and if offered "Chicken and Waffle" sandwich. My burger to order, the Kreider with extra bacon, peanut butter served on a brioche bun.
- Celtic Creamery
201 N Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach, NC 28428
I'm coming here for the Surfer Special, four hot mini donuts with two scoops of ice cream (myself: vanilla & chocolate), loaded with cream, hot chocolate sauce, and chocolate shavings. The Celtic Creamery makes small batches of ice cream from Irish recipes using fresh ingredients and makes some of the best ice cream in the area.
Places to Stay
- Dreamers Welcome
118 S 4th St, Wilmington, NC 28401
Dreamers Welcome is a small boutique inn with four very unique rooms located only a few blocks from the downtown Wilmington area. I think "The Traveler" room was designed just for me, minimal and clean. They offer complimentary vegan breakfast during your stay. Even though Dreamers Welcome is vegan friendly, you can still sneak a Baconator from Wendy's into your room and not be in trouble.
- ARRIVE Wilmington
101 S 2nd St, Wilmington, NC 28401
ARRIVE Wilmington is an upscale modern take on the motel with an attractive courtyard that welcomes people in the evening to relax after a busy day. The hotel is located downtown Wilmington, within walking distance to most activities on my list.
21 and Up Fun
- Good Hops Brewing
811 Harper Ave, Carolina Beach, NC 28428
Good Hops Brewing has its own 9-hole disc golf course on 4 acres. So grab a pint and throw a disc is what I would say to anyone.
- Blue Post Billiards
15 S Water St, Wilmington, NC 28401
The Blue Post is located down a mysterious alley, and this bar has everything I need to enjoy the night. They have pool tables, darts, classic video games, pinball, a jukebox that might play "I Think We're Alone Now by Tiffany," and obviously drinks. If you have pinball you will have my heart.
- Mad Mole Brewing
6309 Boathouse Rd unit c, Wilmington, NC 28403
The entire process of brewing is done by solar power at Mad Mole Brewing. The amount of positive feedback from customers about the brewery was the main reason adding to the list.
Out of Bounds
- North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
900 Loggerhead Rd, Kure Beach, NC 28449
North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is one of three aquariums along the coast of North Carolina. You can take a tour of many unique habitats throughout the aquarium, for example, freshwater streams, coastline, and ocean. All of them play a significant role in North Carolina's ecosystem. A new exhibit for late 2020, “Otters on the Edge", a 3,000 square foot playground for Asian small-clawed otters. (My favorite type of animal)
18.3 miles from Wilmington
- Fort Fisher State Historic Site
1610 Fort Fisher Blvd S, Kure Beach, NC 28449
If you visit the aquarium, you should stop at Fort Fisher afterward, right across the road from each other. The trail is an easy one-quarter-mile length around the remains of the fort. Also, check the huge canon out front near the parking lot and go inside the Visitor Center to find out more history on the fort. The best part is admission to Fort Fisher is free.
17.3 miles from Wilmington
- Frying Pan Shoals
Frying Pan Tower is a unique experience. The tower happens to be 32 miles off the coast of North Carolina in the middle of the ocean. If you volunteer with the restoration of the tower and you are selected, you will be allowed to stay at the tower for the duration of the project. The only cost incurred is the expense of getting there either via boat (cheaper but takes longer to reach tower) or helicopter. During your downtime at Frying Pan Tower, few activities you can partake in, for example, fishing, biodegradable clay skeet-shooting, and scuba diving, the protected reef below.
28.2 miles from Wilmington
Again these are my picks that fit my personality and interest. If you feel that I left one-off that may interest me or other people, message me on Facebook about the location. I value a person's opinion and never just discard the information. Always looking forward to learning about new places to add to my Google Map. ~ Shawn