While the Grand Strand offers a long list of attractions to check out, sometimes the urge to hit the highway and take a road trip can sweep any of us away — especially if our stay in the Myrtle Beach area is an extended one. And located roughly and hour’s drive up the Atlantic coast from The Cottages at North Beach Plantation, the coastal city of Southport, NC, offers a great destination for an easy day trip.
Found near the spot where the Cape Fear River ends its southward journey to the Atlantic Ocean, Southport is known as “the home of salubrious breezes,” a reference to the gentle winds that regularly blow off the sea in the area, as well as the role they can play in promoting one’s personal health and well-being. The city, widely recognized for its beautiful coastal scenery, its history and its residents’ maritime heritage, is also a popular destination for television and movie filming. Among the 40-plus films and television series that have made Southport-area attractions and views recognizable are Dawson’s Creek, Under the Dome, Matlock, I Know What You Did Last Summer and A Walk to Remember.
Consider these reasons to hop in the car for a scenic ride north to Southport:
Shops and restaurants: In Southport’s quaint downtown area, visitors can soak in the area’s slow pace of life while dining and shopping at a unique collection of eateries, shops and boutiques. For those in search of a little retail therapy, a collection antique shops and consignment shops are a particularly big draw here, and the restaurants on offer include an assortment of bistros, delis, cafes and fine-dining restaurants, many in historic 20th century buildings, as well a number of waterfront restaurants where, of course, seafood is the main attraction.
Ferry rides (Fort Fisher and Bald Head Island): A pair of popular ferry rides depart from the Southport area — one to historic Fort Fisher and the other to Bald Head Island, a prime destination for nature lovers. At Fort Fisher, visitors can tour the remains a Civil War-era Confederate fort that protected trading routes running to and from nearby Wilmington, NC. The island is also home to the popular North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, as well as the town of Kure Beach and its historic pier. At the second popular ferry destination, Bald Head Island, visitors can head for the beach, check out a lighthouse commissioned by Thomas Jefferson, play some golf on a world-class course, or explore protected creeks and maritime forests.
Southport Pier and Riverwalk: The perfect destination for a relaxing and scenic waterfront stroll or bike ride, the Southport Riverwalk is lined with wooden benches for those looking to sit a spell and soak up the sights. Along the trek to the wooden pier, which overlooks the miles-wide Cape Fear River and (on clear days) provides a peek at a distant lighthouse and barrier islands, pedestrians and bikers can catch beautiful open-water views, great birdwatching opportunities, and a scenic backdrop of historic homes and marinas. Learn more at southport-nc.com.
North Carolina Maritime Museum: History buffs and lovers of life on the water will find plenty to explore at the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport, whose exhibits focus on educating visitors about the area’s fisheries, shipwrecks, hurricanes and military conflicts ranging from piracy to World War II. Visit the museum’s website to learn more.
Of course, the list of Southport-area attractions keeps going from there. Visit southportnc.org to learn more and to plan your perfect day trip. After your day of coastal exploration, head back to your comfortable oceanfront accommodations at The Cottages at North Beach Plantation to relax with our wide range of amenities while resting up for another day of enjoying the Myrtle Beach area. Book your Grand Strand getaway today — and get ready for some good times on the Carolina coast!