Wilmington, the state's commercial hub and largest city, was founded in 1638 as a Swedish settlement and successively taken over by the Dutch and the English. More recently, it has been populated by employees of du Pont's company headquarters and credit-card banks. The city has handsome buildings in Federal, Greek Revival, Queen Anne, and Deco styles, as well as abundant cultural attractions. Outside the compact city center are several outstanding museums, including some that are legacies of the du Ponts.
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Things You Can't Miss
Don't sleep in. Treat yourself to at least one sunrise over Wrightsville Beach. Johnnie Mercer's Pier offers the perfect vantage point.
Carolina Beach State Park is full of carnivorous Venus flytraps waiting for their next meal. To catch yours, try the park's excellent fishing spots.
Colorful azaleas and camellias show off at the Airlie Gardens, but pay some respect to Airlie Oak, too. Its roots go back to the mid-1500s.
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During World War II, the USS North Carolina fought in every major Pacific offensive. The veteran vessel is now a floating memorial and museum.
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Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is part ecotourism, part aerobic exercise. Lessons from Caper Fear Paddleboarding can get you on your feet in no time.
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