Southern Coast Tours
Make Time to Play Along North Carolina’s Southern Coast
Of course, vacation is all about relaxing and having fun, but when was the last time you truly made time to play? There’s no better place to let loose than North Carolina’s southern coast.
Spend an afternoon sampling wines at a local winery, conveniently located en route to the coast. Practice your golf game at some of the state’s best courses. Then explore the sea by boat, and befriend some of the most unique creatures that call the ocean home.
Itinerary #1 – Southern Region – Make Time to Play along North Carolina’s Southern Coast
Smell, swirl and sip award-winning local wines
Conveniently situated along I-40 en route from central North Carolina and beyond to the coastal region, Duplin Winery boasts a wide variety of local award-winning wines. In fact, the winery is home to the largest wine production facility on the east coast.
The winery is open daily for free tours and tastings. A knowledgeable guide will lead you through the facility and explain Duplin’s wine making process. From the crushing pad to the bottling line, you’ll have a chance to see firsthand what goes into producing each bottle of Duplin wine.
After your tour, take a seat in the tasting room. Here you can choose from over a dozen varieties of wine to sample. When you find a favorite, don’t forget to take a few bottles or a case with you on your way to the coast or back home.
Wine tours aren’t the only exciting thing happening at the winery, however. Check the website for weekend events, including live musical performances. You can also dine at the winery’s onsite restaurant, The Bistro, where you’ll find locally-sourced, seasonal menu items perfectly paired with Duplin wines.
Stop by Silver Coast Winery in Ocean Isle Beach. Their wines are modeled after traditional, classic, European styles. They produce wines using hybrid grapes such as Seyval Blanc and Traminette. All of their wines are dry to semi-dry aged in traditional oak barrels or stainless tanks depending upon the varietal. Their winery offers full tours of our production facility along with daily wine tastings of your choice. From American Oak Chardonnay to White Merlot and Touriga, they are sure to have a wine that perfectly pairs with your palate. Both locations offer cheese plates for purchase to enjoy with their wines or you are welcome to pack a picnic of your own to bring along!
Step aboard Battleship North Carolina
Explore WW II history along the Cape Fear River. Step back in time aboard the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA and let history come alive through the crews’ stories. Discover and build your personal connection by steering the ship, starting her engines or even firing the guns!
Come face to face with loggerheads and other sea turtles
Perhaps some of coastal North Carolina’s most intriguing local residents, loggerheads and other species of sea turtles nest on North Carolina shores each year. The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center provides support for the area’s turtle population—caring for injured turtles and protecting new turtle nests.
The center is open to the public five days a week, from early June through Labor Day. Here you’ll be taught about rehabilitation efforts and meet current “patients” that are living at the center. Learn about the Argos satellite tracking system used to track rehabilitated turtles that have returned to sea.
Talk to volunteers who scan 26-miles of shoreline each morning during nesting season, from May to August, to find and mark new turtle nests. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a nestmarked along the beach.
Tee up at local golf courses
With over 400 golf courses scattered throughout the state, North Carolina has earned quite a reputation among avid golfers and casual players alike. Reserve a tee time at one of two exciting courses in the Cape Fear area.
Voted best golf course in the region, the 27-hole Magnolia Greens golf course has played host to a number of PGA and USGA qualifying events. Play among gorgeous, wooded landscapes on either the 18-hole Championship course or 9-hole Azalea course, both designed by the well-known golf architect Tom Jackson. After an exhilarating round of golf, stay for lunch at the club’sMagnolia Grille.
Cape Fear National is Tim Cate’s newest masterpiece. Voted #11 Best Course You Can Play in North Carolina by Golfweek magazine for two years running, this 18-hole course promises an afternoon filled with challenging shots and pristine surroundings. Lunch at The Forest restaurant is the perfect way to refuel off the course.
Drop your luggage at Sea Trails Golf Resort and explore. Our three distinctly different signature courses, designed by Rees Jones, Dan Maples, and Willard Byrd can be enjoyed by players of all levels, but are challenging even to the accomplished golfer. In addition to golf, we have two clubhouses with full-service golf shops, lounges, and dining. Additional golf amenities include putting greens, a driving range, and a PGA-sanctioned Golf Learning Center.
Cruise the North Carolina Intracoastal Waterway
Climb aboard the Belle of Topsail, a 55-foot replica cruise boat modeled after an 1880s riverboat, for a relaxing boat tour off the coast of Topsail Beach. The upper open-air deck is the perfect place to enjoy a cool breeze and take in the stunning maritime landscapes. On brisk nights, indulge in cocktails and snacks in the enclosed bar below that still affords passengers a beautiful view.
Admire the red-orange hue of the sun as it sinks below the horizon on a sunset cruise. Or enjoy a dinner and show cruise complete with music and dancing. Kids will love experiencing the thrill of the open sea on a pirate-themed cruise.
The cruise boat can accommodate up to 49 passengers, so it’s a great activity for families. Or simply embark on a romantic sailing for two. Since the cruise is rather popular during peak summer months, you may want to call ahead to reserve tickets for larger parties. Check the website to find out which themed cruises are offered this month.
Break out your tackle box
The Surf City Pier has been a coastal landmark since it was built in 1948. Much like in its early days, the pier serves as a popular spot for families visiting the beach as well as long-term residents. On any given day, the pier is abuzz with fisherman reeling in the catch of the day, children licking ice cream cones and others just relaxing and taking it all in.
Spend an afternoon taking part in a traditional beach activity—fishing from the pier. A fully-stocked bait and tackle shop has everything you need. Day passes are available for fishermen and spectators. If you frequent the area, you also have the option to purchase a season pass. The pier also hosts seasonal events, including fishing tournaments. Check the website for details.
Visitors who aren’t interested in fishing can still enjoy an afternoon of people watching at the pier. The Surf City Pier Grill is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat. The outside dining area lets you take advantage of warm sunny days and a cool breeze coming off the water. Or simply walk the length of the pier at sunrise or sunset for gorgeous views.
Get back to nature
Just 10 miles from Leland, North Carolina, you’ll find an outdoor recreation facility and 911 acres of undeveloped wilderness. The Brunswick Nature Park is the perfect place to spend an afternoon enjoying nature.
Set out in a canoe or kayak from the launch site for an afternoon of paddling. You’ll pass by craggy Cyprus tree roots as you paddle this outdoor oasis. Pack a picnic lunch and find the perfect spot for lunch under a shady grove of trees. Or, if you’ve got a large group in tow, gather under the picnic pavilion. A charcoal grill is available for cookouts, too.
Since the area hosts the Cape Fear SORBA’s Brunswick Brawl each year, biking is a popular activity. Adventure seekers can set out on bike to explore the many mountain bike trails. More trails are currently under construction, so there is always a new path to explore.
Request more information about these and other activities available along North Carolina’s southern coast, or for specific questions, contact the local visitor’s bureaus: Town of Surf City, Duplin County Tourism, Leland TDA, Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce, NC Brunswick Islands, The Greater Topsail Area Chamber of Commerce, Onslow County Tourism, Pender County Tourism, Southport-Oak Island Chamber of Commerce, Wilmington & Beaches CVB .