Hotel at a Glance: Wingate by Wyndham Southport
Wingate by Wyndham Southport is less than 2 miles from Southport’s expansive shoreline. A short trip past the myriad shops, restaurants, and galleries on Howe Street—downtown’s main drag—gets you to the water and Cape Fear riverfront, where you can take a stroll on the riverwalk and pier. After long days spent exploring, you can climb into bed in your spacious room and watch HBO.
- Start your day right with the complimentary breakfast buffet. You can fill up on scrambled eggs, sausage, waffles, and bagels.
- Squeeze in a workout in the hotel’s fitness center.
- Notable accolade: 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
- Grab dinner at the waterfront Fishy Fishy Cafe, whose menu includes bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp stuffed with cajun cream cheese.
Southport, North Carolina: Small Fishing Village and Colonial Military Stronghold
Despite its true location, one could easily mistake Southport for a quaint New England harbor town: it has towering oak trees, lighthouses, and colonial architecture; the idyllic scenery has made it a popular setting in Hollywood productions, including Dawson’s Creek and A Walk to Remember. The pleasures are simple here, and many of them involve being on the water—fishing, sailing, and kayaking are big, or you can simply take a stroll on the riverwalk and pier to watch the waves crash in. Not far from here is the historic downtown district and Howe Street, Southport’s main drag. Most of the city’s notable shops, galleries, and seafood restaurants are peppered up and down this street. The area is also known as North Carolina’s Golf Coast, and you can tee off at one of its 30-plus golf courses.
Southport’s position on the Cape Fear River and Intracoastal Waterway made it a historical military stronghold. Southport was built around Fort Johnston, which survived King George’s War, only to be burned down by patriots during the American Revolution. Today, you can tour the rebuilt fort’s garrison house to learn more about its history. Or head up the coast to pre-Revolutionary Brunswick Town, which was destroyed by British troops in 1776. You can still see the remains of the homes, businesses, and St. Philip’s Anglican Church—dating back to 1754—as well as Fort Anderson’s foundation, a Confederate fort that fell to Union soldiers in 1865.
Bald Head Island is just a short ferry ride across the Cape Fear River. It was once a hideout for infamous pirates Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet. Today, visitors can freely bike and hike around this no-cars-allowed island’s sand dunes, beaches, forests, and salt marshes. If you’re lucky, you might also catch a few sea turtles coming inshore to nest. For a bird’s-eye view of the island, climb the 108 steps to the top of Old Baldy Lighthouse, North Carolina’s oldest standing lighthouse.