Wilmington: Southern Hospitality At Its Best

The Wilmington area, one of the fastest growing deep water ports on the East Coast, combines its economic potential with an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities to offer a relaxed, gracious way of life.

Wilmington has a historic legacy that begins before the Revolutionary War and runs through its stance as the last Atlantic port open to blockade runners during the Civil War. Today, the continuous restoration and preservation in the Historic District is a tribute to the city's proud heritage.

Historic Wilmington affords visitors the unique opportunity to enjoy a bustling seaport rich in shopping, dining, culture and the arts, while being only minutes away from barrier islands, broad beaches and the intra-coastal waterway.

The 200-block Historic District highlighting the downtown area opens into a scenic riverfront park that overlooks the

USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial.

A beautifully restored battleship, the USS North Carolina was considered the greatest sea weapon in the world when commissioned in 1941. During World War II, "The Showboat" earned 15 battlestars and participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific from Guadalcanal to Okinawa. A memorial since 1961, the battleship is dedicated to the men and women of all U.S. military services who defended our country during WWII.

Visitors may view a 10-minute orientation film and then take a two-hour, self-guided tour which includes the crew's quarters, galley, sick bay, engine room, pilot house, guns, Kingfisher float plane and museum.

One of Wilmington's most unique features is the city's status as the leading entertainment production center in the Southeast. Wilmington has steadily developed into a major film-making community since the first picture, Stephen King's "Firestarter," was shot by Universal Pictures in 1983.

One year later, Dino DeLaurentis constructed a studio facility in the Port City and the facility, now owned by Corolco Pictures, has grown to eight sound stages. It's now a full service studio lot for filming motion pictures, television series, made-for-television movies, corporate training films and commercials.

Overall, 60 movies and 25 commercials have been filmed in Wilmington, including "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "Rambling Rose," "Billy Bathgate," and "Super Mario Brothers." The popular television series, "Matlock," is currently produced in Wilmington.

Wrightsville Beach, just minutes away from Wilmington's downtown area, is a year-round island resort. Wide, uncrowded beaches, full service marinas and a variety of accommodations are complemented by excellent seafood restaurants, specialty shops and exciting nightlife.

A special place, Wrightsville Beach is a small island community offering big vacation opportunities without losing its village charm. The beach is known for its miles of pure white sand excellent for quiet walks and protected areas for the water sports buff - swimming in sparkling water, fishing from the surf, sailing, diving, surfing and skiing.

Just south of the city lies Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, also enjoyable destinations. The two areas offer pier fishing, charter boat cruises, a family amusement park, fine restaurants and music festivals.

Historic Fort Fisher and the North Carolina Aquarium are also minutes away and both offer free admission. The Fort Fisher State Historic Site was the largest earthen fort in the Confederacy and enabled daring blockade runners to enter the lower Cape Fear River with vital military and food supplies.

The Fort Fisher Visitors Center features period artifacts, relics from sunken ships, slide presentations and special events. The North Carolina Aquarium, meanwhile, is a public aquarium with a live shark tank, sea turtles, and other marine animals.

History. Recreation. Shopping. Entertainment. It's all found in the Wilmington area, one of the nation's most enjoyable destinations.