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Wilmington, NC and
Wrightsville Beach, NC;
(also Kure Beach and Carolina Beach)
|Things to see and do:
Children's Museum of Wilmington
116 Orange Street, Wilmington,
Originally opened in 1997, the Children's Museum of
Wilmington has continued to grow over the years and now has re-opened in
its beautiful, expansive new home on a quaint, shady tree-lined street in
historic downtown Wilmington. The Children's Museum offers fun
activities for children of all ages, including an Art Studio where
children can create their own masterpieces, a Pirate Ship for climbing and
exploring, with wonderful props for imaginative play (don't miss the
hidden mermaid, octopus and giant oyster!), a Grocery Store where children
can shop for pretend groceries or check-out groceries at the cash
register, a pretend International Diner where children take orders and put
on an apron and play short-order chef, Imagination Circus with lots of fun
games and activities, a long train table with wooden trains and wooden
boats, Animal Friends (where children can visit animals such as a
chinchilla or a bunny rabbit), a Toddler Room for younger children and
their parents or caregivers, a fun outdoor play area featuring giant
bubble blowing, a rock wall and a giant rope spider's web for climbing, and so much more
for lots of fun imaginative play! Children won't want to leave and
will enjoy visiting again and again!
North Carolina (downtown Wilmington, NC) The most decorated U.S.
Battleship of WWII has 15 battle stars and has been on tour since
1941. Explore nine decks, crews' quarters, gun turrets, and much
more. (910) 251-5797.
- N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher
(Amazing sea life right before your eyes! Watch the sea horses and
pet the starfish and other North Carolina sea creatures. Interact with scuba divers who answer questions
from the audience while swimming around with sharks, fish, skates, and
other sea life! Lots of fun for the whole family.) Located on US 421 @ 15 miles south of
Wilmington, just beyond Kure Beach. From Southport take the
Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry. 900 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach,
NC 28449. (866) 301-3476.
BLOG about the North Carolina Aquariums
- Play on the beautiful expansive white sand beach at Wrightsville Beach.
- Carolina Beach State Park (Look for the Venus Flytraps!)
- Fort Fisher State Recreation Area
- Downtown Wilmington Historic Riverfront District (shops and restaurants
in a beautiful historic riverfront setting; horse drawn carriage tours)
- Bike Riding
Farmers Market (Saturdays and Wednesdays, April - Sept.)
- Airlie Gardens (Airlie hosts
Friday Concerts in the Park from May - Sept.)
- Shopping in downtown Wilmington at the historic Cotton Exchange
- Bellamy Mansion Museum of History & Design Arts (spectacular
restored 22-room antebellum house c. 1861and formal gardens. (910)
- Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson - Visit the excavated ruins of
a colonial port town that was founded in 1726 and burned by the British in
1776; during the Civil War Fort Anderson was the site of a battle in
1865. (Located off of NC 133 near Orton Plantation). (910)
- Cape Fear Museum of History and Science (featuring Wilmington's
Giant Ground sloth from the prehistoric era.) (910) 341-4350.
- Hugh MacRae Park (giant public playground; lots of fun for children)
- New Hanover County Parks. Located on Oleander Drive, one block East of
S. College Road.
The Blockade Runner Beach Resort
The Blockade Runner
Beach Resort is a classic beach hotel/resort, on the beach at
Wrightsville Beach, with gorgeous views and fun activities and events
throughout the year. The Blockade Runner's beach program for kids
was named one of the Top 10 Best Beach Programs by USA Today Travel!
Shell Island Resort, 2700 N. Lumina
Avenue, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480, (800) 689-6765
Shell Island is a favorite
beach destination for local families! Nestled on the northern tip of
Wrightsville Beach, Shell Island Resort is surrounded by a sprawling expanse
of sand and unparalleled views of the Atlantic Ocean. The family-friendly
suites feature walk-out balconies offering fantastic ocean views, and
a white sand beach that seems to stretch endlessly.
Shell Island Photo
Visit the Shell
Island Resort Website
Festivals and Events:
|- North Carolina Azalea Festival
- Airlie Arts Festival
- Orange Street Arts
- Fantail Film Festival on the Battleship North Carolina
(Fridays in Spring/Summer)
- River Fest (Fall
Festival held each October in Historic Downtown
on Water Street.)
Annual Riverfront Celebration features live music, arts, crafts, food,
ship tours, a children's carnival and much more. For more information call
The River Fest in past years has included an Annual Invasion of the Pirates
Flotilla - check the website for more information.
or call (866) 266-9690 for a free visitors guide to Historic Wilmington
and North Carolina's Cape Fear Coast.
Time from Chapel Hill area to Wilmington:
||2.5 - 3 hours
Bald Head Island, NC
||Cars are not
allowed on this beautiful and unique beach island. Residents and
guests take a 20-minute ferry ride to the island and use golf carts,
bicycles, or their own two feet for transportation on the island.
(If you will be renting accommodations, ask whether access to the Bald
Head Island club and pool are included.)
Time from Chapel Hill area to Bald Head Island:
||3-4 hours + 20-minute ferry
Beaufort by the Sea, NC
Wild ponies at Shackleford Banks, Blackbeard the Pirate, and the
Atlantic Beach, Morehead City and much more
||Founded in 1709, Beaufort , NC
is North Carolina's third oldest town. Beaufort is the seat of
Carteret County (the Crystal Coast), and is a great place to take
historical strolls. The historic homes are beautiful and the town is
wonderfully scenic. Visit the Old Burying Grounds (300 year old
cemetery), Blackbeard the
Pirate's House (The Hammock House), and go on the Beaufort
Ghost Walk. Blackbeard's
ship, the "Queen Anne's Revenge," was discovered late 1996 in the shoals of the Beaufort Inlet at
Beaufort, NC and recovery was expected to last several years. Also
visit the nearby islands for shell collecting and nature hikes. Wild ponies roam at Shackleford Banks, not
far from Beaufort!
|Things to see
Wild Horses of Shackleford Banks North Carolina
Book at Amazon
|- Deep sea fishing
- Dolphin watching
- Restaurants and Shopping in Beaufort and Morehead City
- See Wild Ponies roam the beach at Shackleford Banks
- Cape Lookout National Seashore (Visit
the beautiful old lighthouse on open
house dates - by reservation only; or take a sailboat tour to Cape
Lookout Lighthouse.) The seashore is a 56 mile long section of the Outer Banks of North Carolina running from Ocracoke Inlet on the northeast to Beaufort Inlet on the southeast.
- Town of Atlantic Beach
- Rachel Carson Marine Estuarine Research Reserve on Carrot Island
- The N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores
(Brand new renovation and expansion completed in 2006, including wonderful features like a sunken pirate's ship with
sea life swimming all around it and much more.) Located five miles
west of Atlantic Beach off Highway 58 in the Theodore Roosevelt Natural
Area. P.O. Box 580, 1 Roosevelt Drive, Atlantic Beach, NC
- Fort Macon State
Park (guards the Beaufort Inlet)
- The NC Maritime Museum
- Town of Beaufort
- Core Sound Waterfowl Museum
- Harkers Island
- Beaufort Ghost Walk
- Legend of Blackbeard Tour
Activities for Kids on the Crystal Coast (Miniature golf, roller
skating, bowling, etc.)
Festivals and Events:
|- The American Music Festival in Beaufort &
Morehead City (The Magic of Mozart - concerts scheduled from July,
2005 through April, 2006)
Annual Old Homes & Gardens Tour, Beaufort (June 24 and 25, 2005)
- broken link)
- NC Seafood Festival (First Weekend Each October)
Time from Chapel Hill area to Beaufort, NC:
||3.5 - 4 hours
The Crystal Coast is at the southern end of the great barrier island chain called the Outer Banks.
It is a three-hour drive from Raleigh (a straight shot on U.S. Highway
70), and only a few hours from Greenville.
Carova Beach, Corolla,
Duck, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head
Roanoke Island, Hatteras Island, Ocracoke Island
||The Outer Banks is renowned for its pristine white beaches,
and offers an
abundance of things to see and do.
|Things to see
North Carolina Lighthouses
Book at Amazon
Lost Colony: Musical Theatre Under the Stars (Roanoke Island) --
at the Waterside Theater at Fort
Raleigh National Historic Site (here Sir Walter Raleigh's explorers
and colonists founded settlements on Roanoke Island in 1585.
Visitors center, book store, and nature trail; open year-round but closed
Christmas day. (252) 473-5772.
- The N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke
Island (Located at 374 Airport Road, off Highway 64 Business on the
north end of Roanoke Island near Manteo.) P.O. Box 967, 374 Airport
Road, Manteo, NC 27954-0967. (866)332-3475.
- Wright Brothers National Memorial
- Visit the site of the Wright Brothers' First Flight
- Run up and down the sand dunes at Kitty Hawk. Visit Jockey's
Ridge State Park - 42-acre park has the largest natural living sand
dune on the East Coast. (Walk around the valleys and hills of the
dunes and picture what a desert might be like - all white sand and blue
skies.) Hang gliding, kite flying, hiking, visitor's
center, gift shop, museum, picnic facilities and restrooms
available. Watching the sun set on Jockey's Ridge is a popular beach
outing at the Outer Banks.
free admission. (252) 441-7132
River National Wildlife Refuge - Enjoy hiking, kayaking, canoeing
(guided canoe tours available for a fee) and wildlife observation at the
Refuge with more than 150,000 acres of wetland habitats hosting wildlife
ranging from wood ducks and alligators to black bears and red
wolves. (252) 473-1131
Island Festival Park - Visit the Elizabeth II, a
sixteenth-century representative sailing ship (said to be an exact replica
of the kind of boat the members of the "Lost Colony" sailed upon from
England to Manteo, Outer Banks), and the Roanoke Island
Settlement Site featuring blacksmithing, woodworking and games, Art
Gallery, Interactive, Hands-on Museum that is great for kids & all ages, Museum Store, Fossil Pit, Film Theatre, waterside boardwalk,
maritime forest and marsh conservation area, and more. Picnic tables
available. Admission fee. (252) 475-1506; (252) 475-1500.
- Visit the Elizabethan
Gardens, a living memorial to the lost colonists. Open
year-round. Admission fee. (252) 473-3234.
- Visit the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
- extending more than 70 miles from South Nags Head to Ocracoke Inlet,
with more than 30,000 acres. Lighthouses, picnic areas, camping
grounds. (252) 473-2111.
- Bodie Island Lighthouse - This 156-foot
tall striped lighthouse is not open for climbing, but there are nature
trails and a visitor's center in the old keeper's quarters features
exhibits, a bookstore. Located eight miles south of US-158 and US-64
intersection within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
- Go on a guided tour to see
wild horses on the beach (Corolla, Ocracoke)! Pick up any of the
Outer Banks coupon magazines when you get there and you'll find lots of
- Take the kids for lunch or dinner at Goombay's
in Kill Devil Hills (Mile 7 Beach Road) and have a "Shirley Shark" (beach version of
the classic Shirley Temple; arrives with a fun surprise and a toy rubber
shark -- Okay, we'll ruin the surprise: our waitress poured the red
grenadine from the mouth of the plastic shark into the ginger ale in a
clear glass, causing the red grenadine to disperse, similar to the look
of blood in the water. Our kids were thrilled and delighted.
The most memorable kids' drink ever!) Other drinks on the kids
menu (each featuring a funny toy surprise) include the Crocodile Punch,
Alien Elixer, Freaky Frog, Smiley Mon and Creepy Cola. Kids also will enjoy the decor,
fish tank, and underwater
ceiling scene. (Look up a the ceiling and you spot a dolphin swimming at
the "surface"/ceiling above you.) Good food and lots of fun for the whole family!
See the menu and photos at www.goombays.com.
There is so much more to do at the Outer
Banks! We have listed some of the highlights here; to find more
Festivals and Events:
here for a comprehensive calendar of festivals and events in the Outer
Banks. A great resource for planning your trip to the Outer Banks!
|Approx. Drive Time from
Chapel Hill area to the Outer
||5 - 5 1/2 hours
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