Tim Langdon and his wife, Renee, founded Camp Flintlock on a simple concept: people learn about history best if they live it. The Langdons know firsthand: they live on the property in an 18th-century-style log home that Tim and his friends built by hand. To immerse visitors in their colonial world, the Langdons host overnight camping trips where visitors can sleep in colonial-style tents, fire muskets, and string together Native American–inspired necklaces. At residential summer camps, guests even don colonial garb and participate in daily chores, such as splitting firewood and looking over their shoulder for the British. For those who just want a taste of colonial living, school field trips and day camps include activities like making beeswax candles and playing colonial games.
In 40 years, Hinnant Family Vineyards has had time to grow 87 acres of muscadine grapes that have been turned into succulent wines, some as old as the vineyard itself. While the wines are the specialty, the team also opens its gate to visitors seeking to learn about winemaking, picnic on the wraparound porch, celebrate their weddings, or attend a summer music festival.
The tall grass parts and small fish scatter as Barrier Island Excursions, LLC's stand-up paddleboards glide gently through the marsh. The outdoor adventure company specializes in tours designed to give people an up-close look at the Barrier Islands' delicate marine ecosystem without leaving a foot or fin-print. During the day or after the sun sets, a 38-foot 1936-model cruiser ferries groups out to the pristine beaches of Southport, Oak Island, and Bald Head Island, where everyone disembarks and steps onto their boards. Experienced guides give advice on how to maintain balance on the water and can lend assistance throughout each trip. In addition to ferrying paddleboarders, the cruiser also gives themed scenic tours, such as bird-watching expeditions, historical tours, or wine-tastings with food-pairings.
A Cape Fear naturalist with a master's degree in environmental science and captain's credentials from the United States Coast Guard, Captain Joe Abbate is just the guy to follow into North Carolina's swamps and coastal waterways. Joe and his nautical team at Wrightsville Scenic Beach Tours lead expeditions along the Atlantic coast that range from birding tours to sunset expeditions to excursions in which passengers learn to talk like a pirate from Don Juan Cortez, a swashbuckling historical reenactor. The company's fleet consists of two ships: Shamrock, a 27-foot, motorized catamaran that can carry up to 22 passengers, and Island Hopper a 22-foot skiff that can navigate both the open water and marsh grass.
Wilmington Water Tours' owners decided to fulfill a lifelong dream, bought a boat, and took to the waters. The owners' passion for boating and local history soon garnered attention, and with the help of some friends, they founded Wilmington Water Tours to show off local history and sights.
Today, they own the Wilmington, a wake-canceling catamaran with a fully enclosed, heated cabin capable of seating up to 49 people. Groups board the vessel to explore the waters of Cape Fear. They cruise the coastline, watching the silhouettes of buildings transform into molten-colored spires in the sunset. They can also explore the history, wildlife, and mysterious channels of the Cape Fear River. Sometimes they just absorb the sounds of the state, inviting a musician to play on their Acoustic Spotlight tour as they drift down a river or pull loop-de-loops in the harbor.
In a city known for its Hollywood ties, it’s no surprise that many of Wilmington's residents moonlight as actors. Such is the case with Cape Fear Segway Tours' guides, who tap into their flair for theatrical performances and excellent autograph penmanship, as well as their intimate knowledge of Wilmington’s famous filming sites. Cape Fear Segway Tours also offers advanced tours for seasoned segway riders and Two hour Historic tours that glide past museums and historic landmarks.