The 4th of July begs for a weekend getaway and because this year it falls on a Friday, I couldn’t be more tempted to load up my family and hit the road. Living in the suburbs of Raleigh, NC, we are within a two hour drive to some of North Carolina’s best beaches and I can honestly say there’s not a summer weekend that goes by that doesn’t tempt me to do the same. The beach is home to me. It’s the one place where my soul settles like none other, so calmed by the ocean, its gorgeous sunrise and sunset, and the reality that it is just so completely huge, I am so completely small, and the big picture makes it all come clear. It also calls to my faith. There’s not a day in the sand that I don’t think of the poem “Footprints in the Sand” and I love that I’m so instantly grounded by all the beauty the beach gives to us so selflessly for our delight.
This year, thanks to the Wilmington and Beaches, NC Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, I’ve got a great list of 4th of July weekend activities to fill our days should we choose to go. Because I’m all about the beach first, I would absolutely chose to start and end my time on the ocean but then plan all kinds of holiday specific and unique things to do in between. I’m lobbying my people as I type that while not on our family calendar, we’ve got no reason not to go to the beach this weekend. We’ll see how that ends up but in the mean time, if you are thinking of a last minute 4th of July weekend getaway, here are some great reasons to choose the area included in Wilmington and Beaches, North Carolina.
Thursday July 3
Independence Day Fireworks – Head to the Carolina Beach boardwalk for a pre-July 4th celebration. Spend the evening listening to live music before ending it with an impressive seaside fireworks finale. Entertainment from Massive Grass and Southern Trouble begins at sunset (6:30 p.m.), while fireworks begin at 9:00 p.m. Arrive early to grab your spot at the gazebo or on the beach and make the most of all the boardwalk fun!
We visited Carolina Beach just last summer and loved all the character and charm that a boardwalk destination offers. If you are in the area, this family friendly boardwalk is a can’t miss for all the right reasons. Admission is free. Visit www.VisitCarolinaBeachNC.com for more info
Friday, July 4
Extended Behind the Scenes Tour – Get a front row ticket for feeding time at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. This tour takes you to the top of their biggest exhibit, the Cape Fear Shoals, where you’ll have a birds-eye view of their 235,000 gallon tank. See moray eels, sharks, stingrays, and more fascinating fish swim and be fed below! 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $12-$23 per person. Visit www.NCaquariums.com for more info and to reserve a spot.
4th of July Dinner Cruise – Head to the heart of downtown Wilmington and hop aboard the Henrietta III, North Carolina’s largest riverboat, to take part in a one-of-a-kind Independence Day celebration. Feast on a buffet dinner before marveling at the fireworks display that will take place above the water. Boarding begins at 6:00 p.m. and the cruise is from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Admission is $62 for adults and $39 for children ages 2-12. Call (910) 343-1611 for more info.
City of Wilmington 4th of July Celebration – Party with the City of Wilmington during their annual 4th of July Celebration which will feature live music provided by the 440th Army Band. Walk along Riverfront Park and enjoy food from local vendors before getting your camera ready for the culmination of the night when jaw-dropping fireworks will be launched from a barge in the Cape Fear River. Vendors are present from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and fireworks begin at 9:05 p.m. Admission is free. Call (910) 341-4602 for more info.
Saturday, July 5
A Century of Dining – Travel back in time for the sake of food at the Wrightsville Beach Museum’s latest exhibit. “A Century of Dining at Wrightsville Beach” shows what Wrightsville Beach dining was like between the 1880s and the 1980s. The collection encompasses a variety of dining experiences and establishments ranging from restaurants to oyster roasts. 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. Call (910) 256-2569 for more info.
Carnivorous Plant Hike – Hit the trail on a ranger-led hike and learn about the fascinating world of the carnivorous plants that grow at Carolina Beach State Park. Walk among plants that bite back and try to identify the infamous Venus flytrap. Meet at the nature trail parking lot at 10:00 a.m. Admission is free. Call (910) 458-8206 for more information.
Sunday, July 6
Boogie in the Park – Bring the family to the beach and dance the night away to a variety of original music and covers provided by The Mark Roberts Band who plays everything from classic blues to Motown hits and rock ’n’ roll. The outdoor concert will take place at Kure Beach Ocean Front Park and is hosted by the Town of Kure Beach. 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Admission is free. Call (910) 458-8216 for more info.
FREE Movies at the Lake – This week’s movie is The Nut Job, an action-packed comedy that follows the adventures of a mischievous squirrel and his rat sidekick. Bring lawn chairs and blankets and find a spot on the lawn at Carolina Beach Lake Park. Movies begin at dusk (approx. 8:45 p.m.) Admission is free, and refreshments are available for purchase. Call (910) 458-8434 for more info.
Summer is nothing if not made for spur of the moment, unplanned fun. With our oldest child off to college in the fall, I”m hopeful ours will be full of weekend getaways just like this making sure we have as much fun as possible while we have the time at hand. Tell me…
What is your favorite summer time weekend getaway?
For more information about Wilmington and its island beaches, visit www.WilmingtonandBeaches.com. And keep an eye out for more weekend getaway posts all month long. After all if you don’t get out of dodge in July, when will you? If you love to pin, we’ve got a great Family Travel Pinterest Board with your name on it too! Thanks so much for stopping by ~ have a GREAT 4th of July!!!!
Disclosure: Special thanks to the Wilmington and Beaches CVB for providing media assets for this unsponsored post.