Fall is quickly approaching, and although we are blessed with mild coastal NC weather and extended summers it is time to start the autumn memory-making process! We have compiled a list of 10 fabulous things to do in and around Wilmington, North Carolina this fall! Explore and enjoy the upcoming months!
1. Grill out (preferably S’mores!)
What fall would be complete without the toasty shell of a marshmallow cooked over open flames? Heck, anything cooked over an open flame is always better! Bonfires or grilling are immediate ways to get your friends and family bonding. No one can argue the lure of the open flames, and the sense of wonder that they create. Let the story-telling time begin! Topsail, Oak Island, and Carolina Beach (Freeman Park) all offer some way of taking the stories to the beach. You can find their rules and regulations on bonfires or grills on the beach in the following links:
2. Take a Hike...or Bike!
Our area offers up some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Where else can you bike from a bustling riverfront to the calming waves of the Atlantic Ocean? The cross-city trail is tagged as the upcoming “urban Appalachian Trail.” But, you don’t have to wait for its completion to get your move on. Take the camera and hike The Basin Trail, aka the “Hermit Trail,” at Kure / Fort Fisher. Look at the leaves changing on the campus of UNCW. Or just stroll the sands of Oak Island! Whatever you choose to do, your body and mind will thank you!
3. Spend an Afternoon Treating Yourself to a Wine or Craft Beer Tasting!
Wilmington, NC has hit the craft beer scene with a bang! Breweries are popping up all over town, and they don’t disappoint. Grab your best friends for an afternoon of talking and tasting. If beer isn’t your thing, try some of our local wines! Nothing like a slow glass of scuppernong wine to warm the soul. Did you know that the scuppernong is our state fruit?! Yeah, we are the fun state!
4. Get Your Party on at any of our Area Festivals!
Just because Azalea Fest has rolled on by doesn’t mean that you have to live festival-free for the season! The NC coast is known for its love of a good party. We will find any reason to celebrate...a few of us have been known to throw a hurricane party! To party with the whole community head to one of the plentiful festivals in the area. It is a good way to meet your neighbors, learn a little about the area’s culture, and get your fill of fair food!
Downtown Wilmington will be hosting Slide Fest. Though technically not a “fair food” event, it is an opportunity to slip and slide your way through downtown!
Head to Kenansville, NC for the Muscadine Harvest Festival
5. Explore the City from the Cape Fear River with a Riverboat Tour
Nothing is more beautiful than watching the sunset from the bow of a boat. Coastal NC knows it, and is happy to offer up some fun and unique water tours! A fixture of downtown Wilmington is the Henrietta III. The Henrietta has been host to many weddings, private parties, proposals, and even gives Santa Claus a lift from the North Pole!
6. Get Ready for Halloween with a Haunted Ghost Tour!!
Wilmington, NC was founded in the 1700s. A lot of the previous tenants must have loved it so much that they just don’t want to leave! With Halloween just around the corner, this might be the ultimate fun fall activity! If the spooky stories have your nerves shot, maybe the haunted pub tour is more your speed! Whichever tour you choose, you are sure to appreciate the history of Wilmington and its natives a little more!
7. Spend a night at the Theatre
The arts scene in coastal North Carolina is alive and thriving! With inspiring natural scenery and vibrant town life, it's no wonder that on any given Saturday or Sunday you can find a host of theatres offering up some of the area’s best talent! Since its construction beginning in 1855, Thalian Hall has been the premiere stage for watching productions both big and small. We encourage you to soak in the scenery of this magnificent space. At the end of September you can even catch a performance of the Adam’s Family! Get your family ready to rock October!
8. Get your Yard and Home Ready for the Holiday Season!
Do you remember all of those boxes taking up space in your attic labeled "Holiday Stuff?" It's time to break those babies out!! Start with all of the orange-colored decor, then work your way to the red, greens, and whites! When you get tired of prettying up your home make your way to the yard! Go ahead and rake that grass down to the sand! Let the kids wear themselves out jumping...and re-raking. The photo ops will be worth it! Then blow the dust off of the top of the board games and declare the winner of the day! You will sleep good after this day!
9. Football and Chili
Nobody appreciates local football like North Carolina appreciates football! Set the crockpot on and head out for some Friday Night Lights! Throw your team colors on and cheer, cheer, cheer in the crisp autumn air!
What respectable “Things to do in Coastal North Carolina” list would be complete without fishing? None. Say goodbye to summer, but not the ocean! Load your freezer (or catch and release). Locals love the fact that fishing spots are less crowded in the fall. And, we all love the fact that Red Drum, Flounder, Trout, and King Mackerel (if you are off-shore) are biting! Novice or not, there is no memory worth more than the ones spent with family, wrapped in a hoodie, holding a fishing pole!
We even have a festival for that!