Wilmington - Wrightsville Beach - Carolina Beach Fishing Charters
Southport, North Carolina

Southport is a quaint, seaside town that offers numerous restaurants, antiques shops and historic sites. Along the west side of the Cape Fear River's mouth, Southport is reachable by both ferry and scenic highway. Leaving Wilmington, take the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge and hang a fast left onto N.C. Highway 133 just off U.S. Highways 17, 74 and 76. If you miss it, you can also take N.C. Highway 87, although the N.C. 133 route is very beautiful and offers several attractions, including Orton Plantation, Brunswick Town and the Progress Energy Nuclear Plant with its Brunswick Plant Energy Center.

The city of Southport is steeped in history. This coastal community saw the establishment of North Carolina's first fort in 1754: Fort Johnston. A small community of river pilots, fishermen and tradespeople grew up around the fort. In 1792 the town of Smithville was created. In 1808, Smithville became the county seat of Brunswick County. For the remainder of the century, the town made plans to link rail service with the existing river traffic to make the community a major southern port, and the city was renamed Southport.

The town was one of the first areas in the state to celebrate the Fourth of July and is widely regarded as the Fourth of July Capital of North Carolina. History records that in 1795, citizens gathered at Fort Johnston and observed a 13-gun military salute to the original 13 states. In 1813, a Russian warship anchored in the harbor fired a 13-gun salute, and it was on this Fourth of July that fireworks were used for the first time to close the celebration. In 1972, the Fourth of July Festival was chartered and incorporated as the official North Carolina Fourth of July Festival, and it has become a tremendously popular four-day event for residents and visitors.

Southport, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is ranked by both Rand McNally and Kiplinger as one of the most desirable places in the United States to retire. But Southport is great fun even for just a daytrip. History buffs will especially appreciate a visit to Southport for its beautiful old homes and historic cemeteries. Be sure to check out some of the better known historic spots. The Captain Thompson Home, for example, offers visitors a glimpse into the life of a Civil War blockade runner.

The literary set will enjoy a visit to the Adkins-Ruark House where author Robert Ruark lived as a young boy with his grandfather. One of Ruark's novels, The Old Man and the Boy, gives readers insight into Southport life years ago.

Southport's live oak–lined streets, charming architecture, quaint shops -- most notably an abundance of antiques shops -- as well as year-round golf, boating and fishing create an enormously pleasant environment. This is the place for people who genuinely want to kick back and enjoy beautiful coastal scenery. With a year-round population of nearly 2,600, there's still plenty of elbow room. If you fall head over heels for Southport and decide to make a permanent move, keep in mind that its charm also means that the town includes some of the area's most exclusive homes.

Leave the car -- parking is free -- and just walk around until you discover shops, restaurants and views that please you. It's an extremely casual community that invites visitors to pause and savor a slow pace of life that is fast disappearing in nearby Wilmington.







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 Wilmington Fishing Charters provides service in the Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach areas of NC, including Bald Head Island Southport & Topsail Island.

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