Wilmington, located on the southeastern tip of North Carolina along the banks of the Cape Fear River, is home to approximately 114,000 residents. This history-rich area offers a unique mix of an important southern port city with beautiful natural wonders to explore and enjoy. Nearby barrier island beaches and Hollywood-worthy scenic locations embrace its diverse population and reflect the warmth and welcome that awaits new residents.


Wilmington, an important port city, figures into earliest American history. Explorers noted this area on maps as early as the 16th century and was colonized when an English settlement was established in the 1720s. During the Revolutionary War, Wilmington became a crucial commercial port for patriots defying British rule. Unscathed, Wilmington thrived and expanded by railway all the way to Raleigh, the state capitol. When the Civil War erupted, Wilmington was held by the Confederacy, and eventually fell to Union troops after the defeat of Fort Fisher, signaling the end of the Civil War a few months later. Racial tensions led to the Wilmington Race Riots and the Wilmington Massacre of 1898, one of the darkest points in area history. During WWI and WWII, Wilmington’s proximity to the coast boosted the shipbuilding industry, and State Port Authority was approved in 1945. There are many historic remnants of this earlier time to explore.

Lifestyle & Area Attractions

History is at the heart of Wilmington, and with several area museums and historic sites to explore, residents can always find local points of interest to fill leisure hours. The historic district comprises 230 city blocks, and tours are available year-round. The oldest museum, the Cape Fear Museum, chronicles Wilmington’s earliest history. Stroll through Airlie Gardens, home to the over 500-year old Airlie Oak, also known as the Angel Oak. Spend a pleasant day along the mile-long Wilmington Riverwalk and climb aboard Wilmington’s floating museum, USS North Carolina, a battleship awarded 15 battle stars during her service in the Pacific theater. Shop in the collection of modern stores located in the historic Cotton Exchange or discover the many specialty shops where you can find artisan crafts. Explore Fort Fisher or one the several historic houses located throughout the county. The local library system offers weekly programing for children and adults.

For outdoor enthusiasts, bike or hike through the miles of parks or nearby Kure, Carolina, or Wrightsville beaches, play rounds of golf at Wilmington Municipal, Pine Valley or Cape Fear Golf clubs, or try your skills at the Castle Bay Country Club, a challenging Scottish-styled championship course. Go boating, swimming, or fishing on the Cape Fear River or along the coast, with endless opportunities to enjoy water activities along the hundreds of miles of shoreline.

Area restaurants pride themselves on sourcing local fresh ingredients to make dining unique and unforgettable. Try top-rated Savorez for Latin and Central-American cuisine, or Fish Bites Seafood for fresh sea fare. Take the tour and then enjoy the offerings at Front Street Brewery with an award-winning craft beer and pub classics with a southern twist. Perhaps a cup of fresh coffee or a warm pastry from Bitty and Beau’s Coffee is what you crave. With so many choices, you can’t go wrong!

General Information

With the median age of 35.4, Wilmington has a relatively young demographic. In Wilmington, there are 37 public schools, 121 private schools and 5 charter schools, offering educational options for every need. The New Hanover County School District boasts top-rated public schools.
Higher education opportunities abound close by. UNC-Wilmington, one of the campuses of the North Carolina university system, boasts 56 majors, 36 Master’s, and 4 Doctoral degree programs. Cape Fear Community College and Miller-Motte College serve the Wilmington area with degree and certification programs.

Health services in the Wilmington area are abundant with several hospitals and facilities scattered across the county.

Fun Facts

Be warned! Pirates invade the harbor every year during Riverfest. The city is home to the largest television and movie production studio outside California. Famed explorer Giovanni de Verrazano described the area “as pleasant and delectable to behold, as it is possible to imagine.” The Wilmington climate is pleasant year-round, with an average of 26.4 inches of rain annually.


School Name Phone Students*
A H Snipes Academy of Arts/Des (910)251-6175 392
Bradley Creek Elementary (910)350-2051 420
Career Readiness Academy at Mosley PLC (910)251-6161 115
Carolina Beach Elementary (910)458-4340 450
Castle Hayne Elementary (910)602-4970 540
Charles P Murray Middle (910)790-2363 1025
College Park Elementary (910)350-2058 513
College Road Early Childhood Center (910)350-7860 138
Dr Hubert Eaton Sr Elem (910)397-1544 511
Dr John Codington Elem (910)790-2236 501
Edwin A Alderman Elementary (910)350-2031 286
Edwin A Anderson Elementary (910)798-3311 686
Emma B Trask Middle (910)350-2142 750
Emsley A Laney High (910)350-2089 2084
Eugene Ashley High (910)790-2360 1823
Forest Hills Global Elementary (910)251-6190 343
Heyward C Bellamy Elem (910)350-2039 621
Holly Shelter Middle (910)602-4046 691
Holly Tree Elementary (910)790-2250 508
Isaac M Bear Early College High School (910)350-1387 237
J. C. Roe Center (910)395-4472 27
John J Blair Elementary (910)350-2045 581
John T Hoggard High (910)350-2072 2095
Lake Forest Academy (910)772-2515 40
M C S Noble Middle (910)350-2112 866
Mary C Williams Elementary (910)350-2150 461
Murrayville Elementary (910)790-5067 652
Myrtle Grove Middle (910)350-2100 744
New Hanover High (910)251-6100 1529
Ogden Elementary (910)686-6464 724
Pine Valley Elementary (910)350-2121 591
Porters Neck Elementary (910)251-2975
R Freeman Sch of Engineering (910)251-6011 285
Roland-Grise Middle (910)350-2136 874
SEA-Tech (910)530-6300 139
Sunset Park Elementary (910)815-6948 340
The International School at Gregory (910)251-6185 507
Walter L Parsley Elementary (910)790-2355 649
Williston Middle (910)815-6906 740
Wilmington Early College High (910)362-7789 263
Winter Park Model Elementary (910)350-2159 294
Wrightsboro Elementary (910)815-6909 592
Wrightsville Beach Elem (910)256-3171 311