New Hanover County is a true treasure in Southeastern, North Carolina offering a high-quality of life for its 202,000 plus residents. The county was formed in 1729 as New Hanover Precinct of Bath County, from Craven Precinct. It was named for the House of Hanover, which was then ruling Great Britain. With beautiful beaches an interactive community and a nationally recognized historic district, New Hanover County is a great place to visit and call home. Activities and attractions are a daily occurrence in every corner of the county. Everything from live music to farmers markets and festivals take place almost every weekend of the spring, summer, and fall. New Hanover County is surrounded by neighboring Brunswick and Pender Counties which offer lots of other great opportunities.
New Hanover County even makes movies. The Wilmington region has been an active production hub since the early 1980’s and has the largest soundstage east of Los Angeles. Wilmington has produced three No. 1 box office hits in one year, with “The Conjuring,” “Iron Man 3,” and “Safe Haven.” Not to mention productions like “Sleepy Hollow” and “Under The Dome.” New Hanover County is full of surprises with southern charm, endless attractions and beautiful cities.
Our Cities & Towns
Carolina Beach: This tourist hot spot is located at the northern end of Pleasure Island and a few miles NE of Kure Beach. Carolina Beach is filled with great shops, restaurants, hotels and oceanfront recreational opportunities. Check out our section on Carolina Beach where our own Anna Platz lives and plays. She’ll give you some insight into the community and fun places to visit while you’re there.
Kure Beach: Kure, pronounced “CURE-ee”, is a wonderful, small oceanfront community located just south of Carolina Beach. The vibe is a little more laid back than CB and the nightlife scene is much more mellow. Unlike most of our local beaches, visitors can find free parking around Kure Beach. When planning a trip, make sure to check out Ocean Front Park in the heart of downtown near the iconic Kure Fishing Pier. If you’re staying for dinner, be sure to check out Freddie’s italian restaurant. It’s a local favorite.
Wilmington: Wilmington is the County Seat of New Hanover County. It’s a vibrant city filled great neighborhoods, booming businesses, exciting restaurants, amazing parks, much more. If you’re visiting Wilmington, be sure to make is to the downtown Historic District. There you can walk the Riverwalk, take a carriage ride through the quaint neighborhoods, dine along the banks of the Cape Fear River, participate in a ghost walk, tour film locations, or take a boat ride from a number out outlets. Directly across the river the downtown is the US Battleship North Carolina which is open to the public. Find other great things to do in Wilmington NC >
Wrightsville Beach: The city consists of a four-mile-long beach island with pockets of commercial property on the mainland and an interior island called Harbor Island. In the summer, Wrightsville Beach is a hotspot for locals, area students, and visitors alike. There are great waterfront restaurant, cool little shops, and some of the nicest beaches on the East Coast. The Wrightsville Beach park has 13 acres of tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, softball, football and soccer fields, plenty of playground equipment and a very popular walking trail. The city is also home to a United States Coast Guard station.
Pleasure Island: South of Wilmington lies Kure Beach, Carolina Beach and Fort Fisher collectively known as Pleasure Island. Found on the island are many attractions, such as the Fort Fisher Civil War Museum, Carolina Beach State Park, the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, and the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. In addition, the Pleasure Island Beach Music Festival at Carolina Beach recently celebrated its 25th year. The Island Gazette is a local newspaper that serves the island communities.
Figure Eight Island: Figure Eight is a private island just north of Wrightsville Beach that can only be accessed via a guarded causeway bridge. It has been a popular destination for celebrities and politicians such as former Vice President, Al Gore. Due to its private nature, the island is very involved in wildlife conservation.
Masonboro Island: Masonboro, which is underdeveloped and only accessible by boat, is a destination for surfing, boating and camping. The island is a mix of marshes, dunes and tidal flats, with beaches along its Atlantic coastline. The beaches are a nesting ground for loggerheads and green sea turtles. The waters, on the sound side of the island, are a nursery for spot for mullet, flounder and pompano.