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Where to Stay in Wilmington
Located along the banks of the Cape Fear River, Wilmington, North Carolina features many museums, monuments and landmarks that work to preserve the unique history and culture of the Lower Cape Fear region. The small city of about 100,000 residents is also a base for travelers visiting the North Carolina coastal communities of Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and Kura Beach, all of which boast beautiful stretches of sand and excellent swimming waters. If you are traveling to Wilmington, search for affordable hotels in the city's downtown region. Located just east of the river, these establishments, many of which have historical significance, cater to both pleasure seekers and business travelers. These exclusive hotels also provide guests with easy access to Wilmington's Riverwalk, a mile-long entertainment district and promenade. Downtown Wilmington is also home to many quaint bed and breakfasts. If you are looking for an intimate stay, compare rates at these locally owned accommodations. You can also find budget hotels near the University of North Carolina at Wilmington campus. Many of these discount accommodations are located along the city's main thoroughfare, Market Street, making it convenient for tourists to commute west to downtown or east to the ocean. Speaking of the ocean, visitors can book reservations at a luxury resort along Wrightsville Beach. A handful of upscale accommodations cater to vacationing travelers with special amenities and breathtaking ocean views.
Wilmington Hotel Tips
Wilmington hosts many community festivals throughout the year. One of the city's largest events is the Wilmington Exchange Festival. This five-day long event takes place around the Memorial Day holiday and highlights independent artists in the areas of music, film, art and literature. Wilmington is also home to the North Carolina Jazz Festival. The three-day celebration of jazz music takes place in February and attracts hundreds of out-of-town visitors. If you are planning on attending either of these events, make sure to book your hotel reservations months in advance to ensure availability. In addition, if you are traveling on a budget, understand that hotel prices along the coast tend to rise during the popular summer months.
If you'd rather avoid the crowds and don't mind cooler weather, search for cheap Wilmington flights and hotels after Labor Day and before Memorial Day. Accommodations and airlines sometimes reduce their rates to attract travelers during this off-season. Fortunately temperatures can still be rather comfortable, with highs in the 60s and 70s and lows in the 40s and 50s. However, some area attractions do close during the low season.
Wilmington Hotel Recommendations
Located in historic downtown Wilmington near the banks of the Cape Fear River, Stemmerman's Inn is a cozy hotel that offers guests elegant and comfortable accommodations. The recently updated inn is housed inside the Victorian-style VonKampen Building, which dates back to 1855. With its exposed brick and beams, the interior reflects its 19th century history. Guests can choose from seven unique suites. All rooms have high ceilings, a kitchenette, large livings spaces and upstairs sleeping lofts. Some feature spectacular views of the city, while others face the river. There is also a common deck above the hotel's parking area where guests can convene and look out onto the water.
Or book reservations at the luxurious Coastline Inn. Operated by Best Western, the Coastline Inn is located between the river and Cape Fear Community College. The hotel serves a complimentary breakfast each morning and offers free high-speed Internet access to all guests. The facility boasts 53 guestrooms and suites, all with views of the riverfront. Room amenities include flat-screen televisions, workspaces and walk-in showers. Business travelers can take advantage of the conference spaces at the adjacent Coastline Conference and Event Center. There is also an exercise room and a business center. The hotel does allow guests to stay with a pet in exchange for an additional fee, and children 17 and younger stay free when accompanied by at least one paying adult.
Head out to Wrightsville Beach and make reservations at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort. This oceanfront property provides guests with convenient access to miles of Lower Cape Fear beaches. Guests have a choice of several room options. Atlantic Oceanfront rooms provide guests with picturesque vistas, flat-screen televisions, a coffeemaker and a refrigerator. Deluxe rooms come with a private balcony and a marble-appointed bathroom. Each morning, guests can enjoy a full complimentary breakfast in the resort's EAST restaurant, which also serves a selection of gourmet cuisine and fine wines. For a cocktail, head to the hotel's Aquarium Lounge, which boasts a classic American and seafood menu along with a full bar. There is also an on-site health club that offers 60- and 90-minute massages.
The Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority, also known as WAVE, provides public bus service throughout Wilmington and the rest of Hanover County. However, routes are limited. WAVE also operates a free downtown trolley. Intercity bus service to nearby Raleigh is available through Greyhound. Because Wilmington's public transportation system does not cover the entire area, many travelers find it ideal to rent a vehicle from one of the rental agencies in the area. Navigating the city and surrounding region is relatively easy. Traffic and parking are usually not a problem. Bicycling is also a popular mode of transport. The Cape Fear Run bicycle route connects Wilmington to Raleigh.