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Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy


On a budget: Atlantic Towers is a seaside eleven-story condominium complex that offers unique one- and two-bedroom suites with private balconies. Just outside Wilmington in Carolina Beach, amenities include an oceanfront outdoor pool, indoor heated pool, gazebo with a sundeck and grilling area.

Family: The Hilton Wilmington Riverside is the only full service hotel located on the historic Cape Fear River in the heart of downtown Wilmington. Footsteps away from quaint shopping outlets, restaurants, eateries, historic anti-bellum mansions and sightseeing, including the USS Battleship North Carolina across the river.

Leisure: Named “One Of America’s Top 10 Most Romantic Inns” by American Historic Inns, the Graystone Inn has been recently remodeled. This palatial mansion, built in 1906, is one of the most imposing downtown structures and a historic landmark.

Calamari fritti at Cape Fear Seafood Company. Photo courtesy
Calamari fritti at Cape Fear Seafood Company. (Photo courtesy


On a budget: Offering a great menu full of delicious choices that are great for lunch or dinner, Beach House Burgers is a local favorite in nearby Kure Beach from spring through fall. Known for their thick juicy burgers and hot dogs, they have grown a following of people who love the fresh taste, quality, convenience and affordability.

Family: Having an overall customer review rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars with 158 reviews on Google, Cape Fear Seafood Company is a locally owned and operated restaurant. It’s website boasts of “specializing in regional American seafood, signature dishes, hand cut fish, steaks and chicken along with freshly made desserts all served in a comfortable relaxed atmosphere.” It has two locations, one in Monkey Junction and one in Porter’s Neck, has full ABC permits and an extensive wine list.

Leisure: Manna from Heaven? That’s what the locally owned Manna Avenue 123’s website would have you believe. But, the restaurant may be onto something. In 2015, the downtown Wilmington hot spot became the first eatery in town to earn the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Rating. The restaurant has a goal of incorporating local ingredients as often as possible and boasts of unique cocktails and an extensive wine list.

Photo courtesy Bellamy Mansion Museum
Photo courtesy Bellamy Mansion Museum


On a budget: Enjoy your own leisurely pace with a self-guided tour of historic downtown Wilmington while free maps are available at the convention and visitor’s information kiosk, just off the Riverwalk. Other pleasant walks are the 5-mile trek around scenic Greenfield Lake and the 2.45-mile Wrightsville Beach Loop.

Family: At the Cape Fear Serpentarium, visitors walk through exhibits of venomous snakes, constrictors, crocodiles, and great lizards. Reptile buffs will be impressed with the diversity of scaly residents, with some of the more intimidating species being king cobras, mambas, diamondback rattlesnakes, vipers, puff adders, Burmese pythons, and giant anacondas.

Leisure: Located in downtown Wilmington, the Bellamy Mansion Museum is one of the state’s most extraordinary examples of antebellum architecture. The 10,000-square-foot mansion features fine examples of Victorian architecture in the elegant main entrance framed by soaring columns and the handcrafted intricate details throughout the house.

For more information or to nominate a Port City establishment to be featured in future articles, please email travel editor Aaron Gray at