Just a two hours from Raleigh, Wilmington is a great day trip destination. Even in the cooler winter months, this coastal town has lots to offer. From shopping to shipping off on a patriotic adventure, this historic harbor town is well worth the wander.
Start the day in historic downtown district for shopping in quaint, local shops. There is something for everyone from sorting through great vintage clothing finds at Flashbax to cute gift stores like Cresent Moon. Plan your perfect shopping day on the Downtown Wilmington website.
For lunch, stop by Front Street Brewery for brews, classic pub food and friendly faces. This restaurant on Front Street is a warm and homey place to get a meal. The management team is very active on Twitter so give them a tweet if you are in the area
Home of Wilmington’s only brewery, the beers are fresh interpretations of classic recipes. Pairing the Dram Tree Scottish Ale with the Riptide Raspberry Wheat creates a raspberry truffle tasting beverage that amplifies the sweetness of both brews.
Start the meal with a serving of the fried pickles. These thick cut pickles are vinegared right at the restaurant. Dip the crispy disks of deliciousness in the spicy Tabasco aoili. Worth every calorie!
The entrees are generous. The beer battered fish fillets and peppery “chips” is served with a sassy sweet side of coleslaw. If you’re looking for a more traditional fare, try the American Burger for good olde comfort food.
For a sweet afternoon snack stop by the Hot Pink Cake Stand. Yes, it’s as cute as it sounds! Nosh on made from scratch cupcakes, muffins and other delectable baked goods. They even have vegan cupcakes. YUM!
For an afternoon adventure, drive across the bridge to Battleship NORTH CAROLINA. The USS North Carolina is a World War II era battleship that housed 2,339 lives on missions to protect America’s freedom. Open every day of the year, the reasonable admission prices (Adults $12, Seniors and Military $10, Children $6, Children under 5 are free) grants you access to a fascinating ship steeped in patriotism.
Winding over 9 levels of the ship, the self-guided tour of the Galley, engine rooms, bunks, sick bay and bridge give visitors a peek inside the daily life of a sailor. The sheer day in and day out grind of a sailor’s life was incredible. Stations throughout the tour share facts about life on the ship and snippets of testimonials from the brave men who served on the ship. These, along with the stark emptiness of the ship, it’s hard to not be reminded of those we’ve lost in war.
A true hands-on adventure, kids of all ages can climb into the bunks, sit down in the dining hall, and pull knobs and flip levers. There are significant physical requirements of the below decks tour with steep stairs, tight turns and ample opportunity to stumble over the guts of the ship. For those not up for an ambling adventure, there is lots to explore on the upper decks.
The tour takes a few hours. We wandered for about two hours and felt like we needed at least another 30 minutes to see it all. After the tour, stop by the Gift Shop to take home a piece of history.
Distance from Raleigh: Round about 2 hours and 10 minutes – Get the Map
Wander Well Tips:
- Bring your walking shoes. There is so much to see in downtown Wilmington
- Come hungry. Front Street Brewery has generous portions that will fuel all your adventures
- Plan lots of time for the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA. The ship is so fascinating and there is so much to learn. Make sure you have ample time to see every nook and cranny
- Tweet the friendly folks at Front Street Brewery, Battleship NORTH CAROLINA and Crescent Moon for insider tips, deals and additional information to make your wander perfect