Wilmington's Five Best Boating Destinations

Wilmington’s Five Best Boating Destinations

It is the middle of summer in Wilmington, North Carolina…hot, humid, and the perfect time for an afternoon boat ride. Whether you are looking to cruise, fish, or simply anchor up and enjoy the sun, everyone will enjoy at least one of Wilmington’s best boating destinations listed below. So read on and go boating!

1. Afternoon On Masonboro Island

Though Memorial Day and July 4th hold a certain reputation on this uninhabited island, a visit during the week or later in the season truly shows off the area’s natural beauty. Surfing, fishing, spearfishing, skim-boarding, and sunbathing are just a few of the activities available. With 8 miles of coastline, every boater can find that secret spot to anchor up or just cruise along the shore.

Masonboro is located between Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach and camping is allowed. Be sure to pick up trash and check out Masonboro.org for volunteer opportunities and more information on this amazing island.

2. Live Music By Boat

If you enjoy live music, and let’s face it…we all do… nothing beats heading over to Bluewater Grill on a Sunday or Dockside Grill on Fridays. Classic rock, “yacht rock”, and reggae are the standard genres you will hear from your boat or if you decide to head in and grab a drink. Both restaurants offer boat parking but I would recommend showing up early to guarantee a spot. Full bar and restaurant services add to the fun and once ready to leave, nothing beats the sunset ride home.

Another option is to anchor up as close to Wrightsville Beach Park as possible and  listen to the Sounds of Summer Concert series. Though it may be slightly distant, a drink and a sunset are nice compliments to some reggae jams.

3. Inshore and Offshore Fishing Wrightsville Beach

Amateurs and pros alike flock to Wrightsville to take advantage of the summer fishing. Flounder and drum are hitting hard this time of year and can be found near docks, marshes, and creek openings. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and black sea bass can all be found within 10 miles and Mahi, kings, and the occasional sailfish can all be caught right around the 20 mile mark.

For the latest fishing gear, head over to Intracoastal AnglerTex’s Tackle, or Redix and stock up on tackle. Be sure to grab a copy of Fisherman’s Post to see what has been biting in the area. Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach offer an amazing array of fishing opportunities regardless of boat size so be sure to get out and get your lines wet!

4. Downtown Wilmington Cruising

Beyond the multitude of delicious restaurants and live entertainment, downtown Wilmington offers an array of cruises by Cape Fear Riverboats. Murder mystery, dinner, or a sunset cruise sound fun? These are all available at affordable rates and promise a fun and out of the ordinary experience.

Smaller boat cruises are also available including a ride over to the historic USS Battleship North Carolina which is a blast in of itself. Charters, weddings, and full boat rentals are other options through Cape Fear and can have you watching the sunset in style.

5. See the Surrounding Cities

Believe it or not, many of the beaches along the East Coast are quicker by boat than car. Pack a cooler and cruise on up to Topsail, Surf City, or check out  the houses of Figure Eight Island. To the south lies Carolina Beach, Southport and Bald Head Island. All of these can be fun day trips or an overnight stay on Bald Head.

If you decide to avoid the ICW and go oceanside, be sure to research the different inlets dotting the coastline. Many of these inlets can be tricky depending on the tide and winds. Ask fellow boaters, know your navigation rules, and try to follow someone else with a similar boat in and out of the harder to navigate areas.

Wilmington boasts some of the best boating destinations on the east coast. Whether fishing for sailfish, visiting surrounding beaches, or sunset cruising downtown…there is surely a perfect spot for everyone. Did we forget your favorite trip? Be sure to let us know!

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