Local Activities · travel guide · United States

The Top Must-See Hidden Gems In Wilmington, North Carolina

Wilmington has a special place in my heart as it was the first city my husband and I  lived in together after getting married.  Recently we went back for a weekend getaway to visit a few of our old favorites and also discovered several new spots that we loved.  As you may know, there is no shortage of beautiful beaches near Wilmington – the closest ones are Carolina Beach (where we stayed), Wrightsville Beach, Fort Fisher, and Kure Beach.  On our recent visit, the weather was still quite cold, so our time on the beach itself was limited to a brief walk to see the sunrise before we got too cold.   Whether you’re visiting in cold weather or in warmth, here are just a few of my recommendations for some hidden gems to discover in the area!

Active Ideas

  • Take a self-guided or ranger-led hike on the Venus Flytrap Trail to see the multiple varieties of carnivorous plants (best seen in warmer months) and get your NC State Parks Passport stamped.  You can also visit the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden to see more!
  • Visit the Riverfront Farmers’ Market – fun shopping area where you can also support local farmers and small businesses.
  • Attend a free outdoor workout with Females in Action or F3 (the equivalent for men).  They are held almost every day of the week and can be a great resource if you’re traveling and don’t have a gym nearby.
  • Take a tour of Battleship North Carolina and also be sure to stroll down the Riverwalk.  These are not hidden gems by any means, but definitely worth your time!
  • Join a volleyball, cornhole or dodgeball tournament at Dig and Dive.  I’ve played multiple volleyball tournaments here and love the atmosphere!  Capt’n Bills is another fun volleyball venue in Wilmington with plenty of tournaments and leagues.


Food and Drink

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  • Eternal Sunshine Cafe – Unique breakfast spot.  Try the benedicts!
  • Genki – It’s a small, family-owned restaurant with amazingly fresh sushi and house sake that is out of this world.   Try to make a reservation because it fills up quickly. Also, be SURE you try the house-made caramels they offer you at the end of the meal.
  • Indochine – Thai and Vietnamese that offers huge portions of deliciousness.  Gets very crowded so come early or make a reservation.
  • Tap Tea Bar.  They have delicious boba tea and frosteas (with ice cream) options, board games to play, and they are pet-friendly!  They gave our fur baby a dog treat, so nice!
  • Flaming Amy’s – Funky Mongolian BBQ.  Create your own bowl with fresh veggies, your choice of meat, and then choose rice/noodles and sauce.  Jalapeno lime and Ginger is a great combination for the sauces.
  • The Sour Barn – Pet-friendly extension of Broomtail Craft Brewery.  They have a huge selection of sour beer, board games, and a relaxing back patio.


  1. For a unique night, stay in this shipping container.  Bonus: It’s pet-friendly and 2 blocks from Carolina Beach.
  2. For a budget option, stay at the quaint Stella Maris Hostel.
  3. For a luxurious bed and breakfast, stay in this Victorian Mansion near the Riverwalk.

My list barely scratches the surface of all there is to do in this eclectic city filled with history, but I hope I’ve given you some ideas that might not show up on other city guides.

Happy exploring and let me know if I can help you with any questions about planning a trip to the Cape Fear area!


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This post was proofread by Grammarly

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you for helping me continue to share great products with you!

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