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The Carolina Coast is a special place. Today I will help you discover one of North Carolina’s Charming Coastal Towns, Southport.
There’s a little coastal town here in North Carolina that I’ve come to love over the past few years. A friend of mine, who is also my hairdresser, moved there and soon after opened her own salon. So even though it is close to a three
Over the years I’ve made a point to fit some extra time into my visits so I could enjoy what the small town of Southport and nearby Oak Island have to offer. Last week I had my most recent visit and it put me in mind to write a post on what makes this small town a must
Like many Carolina coastal towns, Southport is rich with history going as far back as the colonial times. History buffs will enjoy sites like Fort Johnson (which is also the visitor center), Old Brunswick County Jail, and the North Carolina Maritime Museum. All of which is free!
I visited the Maritime Museum on my most recent visit and although not big, it is a very nice and informative museum. It’s a perfect stop when the weather isn’t the best or you need a break from the heat.
What really stands out in Southport is its beautiful waterfront. It’s what captured my attention on my first visit and continues to capture it each and every visit since then. It comes equipped with benches, Adirondack chairs, and even swings for your viewing pleasure. It’s the ideal morning spot to stretch your legs, grab a cup of Joe, and just absorb the beautiful scenery.
Another thing that adds to Southport’s historic charm is the beautiful southern homes that surround the area complete with a rocking chair front porches. You can view quite a few of them as you stroll along the Southport Riverwalk.
Shopping is an activity to be enjoyed while visiting Southport. They have some wonderful antique stores but in my mind, the store that really sticks out is
About two-thirds of the second story is dedicated to puzzles. All with different themes including beach, of course! The bottom floor is filled with a large variety of Christmas decorations. From traditional to beachy and everything in between, and the best part is that their pricing is very reasonable and they offer free ornament personalization!
The back end of the store has a children’s section and an old fashioned candy store. They feature delicious salt-water taffy, if you get nothing else, you must get a small bag of the taffy. I think it’s the best I’ve ever had, honestly!
In addition to the taffy, I was able to score a couple of items for my sister’s Christmas gift. Don’t you love it when you can get a little bit of a head start?! I also bought an ornament to bring home. Derek and I have a tradition of buying ornaments from t
For some reason, we never bought one for Southport before and I was excited to find a cute beach snowman. I can’t wait to add this little guy to our Christmas tree in a few months!
When you’re touring and shopping, it’s easy to get hungry quickly and Southport has some great restaurants, especially if you’re in the mood for seafood. I don’t think I can visit the coast and not get my fix! There are three restaurants that I particularly recommend on the riverfront.
The Provision Company is very popular and with their high-quality seafood, reasonable prices, and beautiful waterfront dining it’s not surprising. Expect a line if you choose to go. It is all outdoor seating which is why I chose not to dine there this last visit as I intended. The day of my visit it was horribly hot and humid. I felt like I was back living in Naples! After all the outdoor walking, I needed some air conditioning.
Oliver’s on the Cape Fear is another option for waterfront dining and delicious seafood. They recently reopened a few months ago after undergoing some repairs and renovations due to last season’s hurricane. They serve lunch and dinner plus brunch on the weekend. Reservations are highly recommended for dinner.
Oliver’s menu is a little more upscale and since I was in more of a casual seafood mood. I went with our old standby, Fishy Fishy. We love coming to this riverfront restaurant that offers both indoor and outdoor seating. It offered the air conditioning I needed and the fried shrimp basket I was craving.
Their seafood baskets come with fries, slaw, and a yummy remoulade sauce on the side with the cocktail sauce. On past visits with Derek, we’ve split their New England clam chowder and it is so yum! Their sandwiches are great, too! Derek once had a Mahi Mahi Po’boy that I swear was as big as his head!
Each restaurant is wonderful. It really comes down to what type of experience you want to have and how you want your seafood prepared!
Because of Southport’s close proximity to Wilmington (aka Hollywood East), Southport has served as a filming location for a handful of movies and TV shows. This includes The Secret Life of Bees and Safe Haven. Here is a link to Southport’s visitors and tourism page. It includes a list of filming locations and some self-guided tours, including a Safe Haven tour! Below is a video of Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough talking about what they loved about Southport while filming there.
Speaking of Wilmington, Southport is so easy to access from Wilmington and its surrounding beaches thanks to the ferry that travels between Fort Fisher in Kure Beach and Southport. One carload is $5 one way, a deal in my opinion, especially when you consider the beautiful views you get during the ferry ride over! There is no reason not to include it in a Wilmington vacation!
Southport is also a great day
If you want to plan a longer stay in the area, there are a
Southport really is a year-round destination. I actually prefer it in the cooler months! It’s not as crowded and the weather is much more enjoyable.
No matter when you choose to visit, Southport truly is a gem among the treasure known as the Carolina coast. I hope that you will come to love it as much as I have!
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Emily Lenora says
I’m so glad you did!