Wilmington Area Beaches

Wilmington Area Beaches
Come dig your toes in the sand!

Haunted Cotton Exchange

Scary, creepy and mostly ghostly tales!

Chills and Thrills await you at the one of the most historic & haunted locations in Wilmington.

Tours 7 days a week

Under 12 Free
All Others $12 each

Group, Private and Bus Tours available

Call for Tour Times

(910) 409-4300


Haunted Tours are so secret you'll have to call for location!
Bring your camera! Things are happening everyday!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Coming to Visit Historic Wilmington, North Carolina this summer? 

Tour Group Discounts

5 Star Story Tellers!

Always a great day for a Haunted Cotton Exchange or
History Walking Tour!

Group Discounts with 10 or more, age 12 and under FREE with adult.  Great for bus tours groups, clubs,schools, family reunions, company outings, fund raisers..
Fun for the whole family!

Call for Tour Times
Call 910-409-4300

North Carolina Beach Cities Along the Cape Fear Coast

Historic Wilmington & NC's Cape Fear Coast encompasses the city of Wilmington and the island communities of Carolina BeachKure Beach and Wrightsville Beach. Its beautiful, uncrowded beaches and nearby estuarine reserves provide a true haven for sun seekers, beachcombers and nature lovers, and a sportsman's paradise for anglers, mariners and water sports enthusiasts. Each of these North Carolina beach cities is unique and will give you its own memorable experience. Because the city and beach towns are within 25 minutes of one another, you can enjoy them all in the same weekend.

Wilmington’s picturesque riverfront emerges from NC's Cape Fear River. Gracing its banks is one of the state’s largest historic districts, numbering approximately 230 blocks. See the city's historic mansions and landmark buildings via horse-drawn trolley or carriage tour, riverboat cruise, restored trolley car, or take a walking tour given by some of the port city's most intriguing residents. Across the river on Eagles Island rests the majestic Battleship NORTH CAROLINA, a restored World War II memorial. 
Lori with Tour Old Wilmington 

There are also other museums for children, fine art lovers, railroad and history buffs, including North Carolina's oldest history museum.
Venus Flytrap sculpture end of  Market on Cape Fear River 
Home to the North Carolina towns of Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, Pleasure Island embodies coastal Americana. Its gazebo, Boardwalk, piers on the beach, marinas and amusements add to its nostalgic appeal. When it’s time for revelry, there are party cruises and deep sea fishing excursions, plus shopping and attractions galore. You can even visit a state park where you can wind your way through nature trails in search of the rare Venus Flytrap, a carnivorous plant indigenous to North Carolina. Step back in time at a Civil War battlefield and museum, or while away hours at the Aquarium’s state-of-the-art ocean and Cape Fear River habitats.

North of Pleasure Island is Wrightsville Beach, where island life is distinguished by its beach village charm and cosmopolitan lifestyle. Enjoy a leisurely bike ride along the North Carolina shore or take a harbor cruise along the Intracoastal Waterway. Visit the island's history museum or spend the day shopping or playing tennis at the park or volleyball on the beach. From sea turtle-watches on the beach to exciting watersports, there's something for those seeking a quiet respite from city life or a more active pace.
Find distances to these North Carolina beach cities.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Carolina Beach History

Carolina Beach, just 30 minutes from downtown Wilmington by car, is on a narrow slip of land between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean. Separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway (Snow's Cut), the island is called Pleasure Island. Established in 1857, when Joseph Winner planned the streets and lots for the 50 acres of beach property he had purchased, the island's only access then was by water. 

In 1866 a steamship began carrying vacationers down the Cape Fear River to Snow's Cut and a small railroad took them the rest of the way into Carolina Beach. In later years, a high-rise bridge was built over Snow's Cut connecting the island with the mainland.
A drive through Carolina Beach reveals a pleasant 1950s-style beach town of modest cottages, increasingly more upscale single-family dwellings and an abundance of three- and four-story condominiums. The town also has a movie complex, grocery stores, drugstores, beach shops and boutiques, numerous restaurants, both upscale and simple, hardware and variety stores, an ABC store and even bait shops. The beachfront motels, including several vintage motor courts, offer a welcome blast from the past. If you were a kid during the '50s and your parents took you on vacation to the beach, this was the kind of place you probably remember. Some of the best beachfront lodging values are offered here. The nostalgia is free.

Carolina Beach underwent a dramatic transformation during the 1990s. Once considered a wild party spot, it is currently evolving into a heavily residential community dedicated to creating a wholesome family environment. Recent years have seen the cultivation of improved services, pleasant landscaping, attention to zoning and tangible citizen action to make Carolina Beach an attractive visitor destination.

The main business district is centered around an active yacht basin containing a large number of charter fishing boats and large excursion boats. The nearby Boardwalk area is undergoing revitalization and rebuilding in conjunction with the oceanfront Courtyard by Marriott Resort Hotel and several mixed-use condo/retail projects.

Anglers love Carolina Beach. The surf promises wonderful bounty all year long, and there are plenty of tackle shops and piers as well as the opportunity to experience deep-sea fishing from the sterns of a number of charter boats berthed in the municipal yacht basin. Several annual fishing tournaments are based on the abundance of king mackerel, and you can pay a nominal entry fee for a chance to reap as much as $50,000 for the winning fish.

Carolina Beach also offers one of the few state parks in the region. For a modest fee, you can camp and enjoy the wonders of coastal nature. The Venus's flytrap, a carnivorous plant that eats insects, is abundant in the park. This plant, a relic from pre-human existence, grows naturally within a 60-mile radius of Wilmington.

Away from the seasonal bustle at the center of the city, Carolina Beach is a quiet community of about 5,000 year-round residents. That number jumps three to five times at the peak of the vacation season. The community is growing in appeal to both locals from Wilmington and newcomers from other areas for two big reasons:Â It isn't crowded yet and it's affordable. Many a Wilmingtonian has given Wrightsville Beach over to visitors for the summer in the past few years and turned to Carolina Beach for a quiet spot on the sand.

Kure Beach
To the south, Carolina Beach merges into the town of Kure Beach (pronounced "CURE-ee"). Development here began in the 1870s when Hans Andersen Kure moved from Denmark and bought large tracts of land in the middle of the island. Apparently, things moved slowly because Kure Beach wasn't incorporated until 1947.
Today Kure Beach is overwhelmingly residential, dotted with modest cottages, new upscale houses and a number of beach motels. Several condominium buildings cluster together in one area, but there are few tall buildings. In fact, new structures may not be built taller than 35 feet. At the center of town, a popular fishing pier extends 712 feet out over the ocean and there are several restaurants. A charming boardwalk with benches extends north along the beach and is lighted at night.

Once upon a time, some of the best real estate deals could be found in Kure Beach, but today this sleepy beach town is fast growing in popularity and price, although it's still possible to find a bargain. What you won't find is a lot of amusement park–style entertainment here, although there is an arcade, and there is very little in the way of shopping.

A permanent population of about 1,500 residents makes for a very close community, but Kure Beach's small size should not lead visitors to think they're out in the boondocks. The town maintains its own municipal services and fire protection, and a local planner describes the community as being "like any big city, only smaller."
Kure Beach will remain small because it is completely surrounded. The Fort Fisher State Recreation Area and Historic Site are on the south side, and the U.S. Government owns the west side as part of a buffer zone for the military terminal at Sunny Point across the Cape Fear River. Carolina Beach borders the town on the north, and, of course, the Atlantic Ocean forms the east border.
Fort Fisher

To the south of Kure Beach are the Fort Fisher State Historic Site and Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. The Historic Site, amidst twisted live oaks on the west side of U.S. Highway 421, was the largest of the Confederacy's earthwork fortifications during the Civil War. It fell to Union forces in 1865, cutting off the last of the Confederate supply lines from the sea. During World War II, as an arm of Camp Davis to the north, it became an important training site for anti-aircraft and coastal artillery defenses and a large airstrip was located there. An extensive visitors center offers an historical perspective and guided tours. The Recreation Area on the east side of U.S. 421 has 4 miles of wide, unspoiled beach, a visitors' center with a bath house, a snack bar and restrooms
Also located here is the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. The state's largest aquarium, it offers many dramatic exhibits and features a huge shark tank and a half-acre freshwater conservatory. See our Attractions section for more things to do.
At the southern end of U.S. 421 is the Fort Fisher–Southport Ferry, possibly the best $5 cruise in the world. More information about the ferry is in our Getting Here, Getting Around section. Across the road is a public boat launch area that is popular for windsurfing, Parasailing, kiteboarding, kayaking and fishing. All in all, these southernmost beaches of New Hanover County from Carolina Beach to the southern tip of Pleasure Island offer 7.5 miles of enjoyable vacationing and relaxed beach living.
Photo credit: ©Peter Doran
© 2011 InsiderInfo, Inc. All Rights Reserved

History of Wrisghtsville Beach NC

Wrightsville Beach History

Wrightsville Beach was not always the plush vacation and residential area it is today. Early in its history, the island was owned by the State of North Carolina and was known as New Hanover Banks. Originally the island was in two segments separated by an inlet that has since been filled in, with the northern segment known as Shell Island, the site of the present-day Shell Island Resort, along with expensive homes and large condominium developments.

Third Oldest Yacht Club Built

Between 1791 and 1841, the island became private property, although it remained uninhabited, visited only by hunters and fishermen. However, the area was popular for sailing, and in 1853, the first structure was built, the clubhouse for the Carolina Yacht Club, the third oldest yacht club in the United States. In fact, some of the club members were involved in the Civil War, and blockade runners were active in nearby waters, with three of them supposedly having foundered on the island.

Rail Lines Constructed

Following the war, a turnpike, with a surface of oyster shells, was constructed between Wilmington and Wrightsville Sound, and in 1887 the Wilmington Seacoast Railroad laid tracks from the city to the Hammocks, a piece of land to the west of the beach now known as Harbor Island. A footbridge connected the Hammocks with Wrightsville Beach, and development began to pick up.
Another yacht club, several hotels and some beach cottages were built, and in 1889, the rail line was extended across the Hammocks and Banks Channel to the beach proper, and visitors from Wilmington began to flock to Wrightsville Beach in the summer. In 1899, with only 40 or 50 residents, most of them seasonal, the Town of Wrightsville Beach was incorporated, but unfortunately, later that year a hurricane destroyed it.

Beach Trolley Comes

The town was soon rebuilt, the rail line became an electric trolley in 1902, and by 1907, 8,700 passengers from Wilmington, New York and other cities made their way to the beach on the “Beach Trolley.” Costing $7,000, a significant sum in those days, Lumina was built at the end of the trolley line in 1905. Consisting of 12,500 square feet, Lumina was three floors of activities including bowling alley, dance hall and shooting gallery.

Connected To Wilmington

Lumina was expanded several times, a movie screen was erected 50 feet out in the surf, and in 1910, 600 electric lights were placed on the exterior making it visible for miles. By 1930, the population had grown to 110 residents, but in 1934 a fire destroyed more that 100 cottages and the Oceanic Hotel. Again, the town rebounded and in 1935 a road was built all the way from the mainland to Wrightsville Beach.

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Group Tour Discounts

Haunted Cotton Exchange Tour

Coming to Visit Historic Wilmington, North Carolina this summer? Tour Group Discounts. 5 Star Story Tellers!

Always a good Day for a Haunted Cotton Exchange or a History Walking Tour!
Group Discounts with 10 or more, age 12 and under FREE with adult.  Great for bus tours groups, clubs,schools, family reunions, company outings, fund raisers..
Fun for the whole family!
Call for Tour Times
Call 910-409-4300