This port city, which traces its roots to the early 1700s and played an historic part in the Civil War, sits on a peninsula carved out by the Cape Fear River to the west and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway directly to the east. The result is a charming, picturesque city, home to slightly more than 112,000. Modern Wilmington is a dream tourist destination for thousands from around the globe every year. If you're looking at homes near the water, we recommend putting Wilmington on your list of must-see areas.
The city is located in a humid, subtropical climate region, known for having hot, humid summers. Most winters are mild, with cool temperatures and little to no snowfall. With January temperatures often hovering in the 40s and even 50s, Wilmington offers a welcome contrast to the snow and ice experienced in other areas of the country. Summer heat and humidity makes the mercury rise to temperatures from the upper 80s to lower 90s.
Wilmington Roads and Transit System
Wilmington is served by Interstate 40, along with US Highways 17, 74, 76, 117, 421 and state Routes 132 and 133. They connect the city and outlying area to major urban centers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The Cape Fear Transportation Authority provides local bus service within the city, operating as Wave Transit.
Economic Conditions and Outlook for Wilmington
Wilmington is a growing city – as evidenced by a population increase of more than 46 percent since 2000. Due to the diversity of the local economy, which includes construction, the hospitality industry, health care, professional services, telecommunications equipment, trade and pharmaceuticals, the unemployment rate has been consistently lower than state levels and consistent with federal levels. The major employers in the city include the City of Wilmington; Verizon Wireless; Corning, Inc.; New Hanover Health Network; University of North Carolina (Wilmington); General Electric Nuclear Fuel/Aircraft; Pharmaceutical Products Development Inc.; Cape Fear Community College and New Hanover County Schools.
Wilmington, NC Hospital and Medical Facilities
The New Hanover Regional Medical Center is a teaching hospital and one of 10 trauma centers in North Carolina. Located east of Interstate 40, It is also one of two cardiac centers earning an achievement of excellence award. The Medical Center also features the region’s first Level III NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and a state-of-the art robotic platform for surgeons called the da Vinci® Surgical System.
Higher Education in Wilmington
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) has been in operation since 1947. It is the only public university in the southeastern part of the state. UNCW is in charge of managing the only underwater ocean laboratory in the country. Known as Aquarius, it is owned by NOAA and is located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. UNCW offers 55 bachelor’s degree programs, 42 master’s degrees and two doctoral programs. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and has been ranked as one of the Best Public Institutions in the South by U.S. News and World Report. Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) was established in 1958 and its main campus is in downtown Wilmington. The college is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Prospective students can choose from 60 programs leading to a certificate, one-year diploma or a two-year degree. The college offers free programs in job skills, adult literacy and GED preparation, as well as free business counseling and seminars for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Wilmington Beaches, Rivers and Lakes
There is no shortage of both fresh and ocean water activities in and around Wilmington. Life on the water is very much a part of the culture here and if you and your family enjoy an active lifestyle, you'll find plenty of things to do in Wilmington and the surrounding area. Downtown Wilmington’s Riverwalk is a mile-long boardwalk that was built in the 1980s to give locals and tourists alike a place where they could walk along the Cape Fear River and take in the historical structures as well as the inviting shops and restaurants lining its length. On Saturday mornings in the summer, nearby streets fill up with local vendors offering fresh produce and homemade delicacies at the Wilmington Farmer’s Market. Soak up some beach time at Carolina Beach, Kure Beach or Wrightsville Beach – all less than 30 minutes apart and each with its own festivals, seafood restaurants, family-friendly attractions and watersports opportunities. Try out some deep-sea fishing or immerse yourself in historic interactive adventures at our local Civil War sites. All of our pristine beaches offer year-round options for outdoor activities, fine dining, entertainment and exciting points of interest. Patricia Lake is a popular fishing spot located in the nearby Boiling Springs Lakes area. If your search for waterfront real estate would not be complete without considering a lakefront property, then rest assured that local fishing offers a variety of species waiting to be caught. The types of fish that make their homes here include white bass, bluegill, pickerel, redfin pickerel, carp, eel, crappie and several species of sunfish.
Historical Places of Interest in Wilmington
Tourism is an important part of the city’s economy, both from an employment and revenue aspect, and residents, too, take great interest in the area’s historical features. In addition to the many seaside amenities, the Downtown Historic District is one of the largest listed with the National Register of Historical Places. Visitors can take a step back into history along carefully preserved Victorian Era streets by trolley and horse drawn tours. The Battleship U.S.S. North Carolina is docked at the city’s Riverfront. The public can tour this 45,000-ton World War II warship and see the Admiral’s Cabin, the bridge and combat central. The crew’s quarters, the engine room, the galley, sick bay and the gun turrets are also open to the public. The Cape Fear Museum, established in 1898, is the longest continuously-operating museum of history in the state. It is a family-friendly attraction featuring more than 40,000 exhibits. Visitors can also cruise the Cape Fear River aboard the Henrietta III, an historically accurate riverboat that offers narrated sightseeing tours, lunch and dinner cruises and romantic moonlight trips.