Hampstead, N.C. – the city United Country Real Estate | Forest and Land Sales calls home – is one of the most-visited places among the cities and towns along North Carolina’s eastern coastline.
Specifically, this is the southeast portion of the state’s Coastal Plain region. It’s known for its amazing beaches with plenty of tourist hot spots, but you’ll find equally beautiful places inland amid lush forests, beside lakes and streams, and across vast stretches of farmland.
With weather that welcomes endless recreation on land and sea; a world of shopping and dining options; communities with well-rated neighborhoods and schools; and even a thriving part of the television and movie industry … Hampstead, Pender County and the surrounding areas offer something for everyone.
There are many opportunities for outdoor adventures in Eastern North Carolina on the Coastal Plain. Whether on the beaches and the ocean, or in areas more inland, you’ll find people surfing, snorkeling, fishing, hiking, biking, hunting and more.
There are too many beaches and islands in the region to do them all justice here, but a popular location is Topsail Island, made up of Topsail Beach, Surf City and North Topsail Beach. Relax at Serenity Point, charter a boat, or fish for speckled trout and red drum off the Jolly Roger or Surf City Ocean piers. Head to the Brunswick Islands for six unique beaches, never too crowded. But don’t miss the mainland either, just across the river from downtown Wilmington.
The Brunswick Islands are also great for wildlife viewing within the many nature preserves, and paddleboarding through the blackwater creeks and rivers. But back to Wilmington for a moment … don’t miss the city’s Wrightsville Beach (a top surfing destination), bike the Island Greenway at Carolina Beach, and hike the trails at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area.
Speaking of recreation areas, state parks and the like, this part of North Carolina’s Coastal Plain has a few other good ones. Hammocks Beach State Park (AKA Bear Island) has primitive campsites, marshlands and trails. Carolina Beach State Park touts its carnivorous Venus flytrap plants and was a 2015 Regional State Park of the Year. And if you’re into birding, Lea-Hutaff Island north of Wilmington is the place to spot Black Skimmers, Piping Plovers, Clapper Rails and other species.
Lastly, if hunting is your aim, you’ll want to check out the various Coastal Region Game Land maps available online. Some of the game lands nearby include Holly Shelter in Pender County, Cape Fear River Wetlands in New Hanover County and Rocky Run in Onslow County. Deer, bear, turkey, small game and waterfowl abound.
Once you’ve explored all the outdoor recreation you can handle, including playing one of North Carolina’s top-rated golf courses around Wilmington, there are plenty of other attractions in this southeast section of the state. From agritourism outings to strolling downtown shops, attending events in the park, sampling local microbrews and more … it’s all here on the Coastal Plain.
Agriculture is a big part of the economy and culture in the region, and you’ll see that reflected in the many agritourism offerings here. There are countless pick-your-own fruit and veggie farms (Burgaw is home to the annual North Carolina Blueberry Festival), as well as oyster farm tours (Hampstead is the Seafood Capital of the Carolinas). On that latter note, seriously, don’t visit Hampstead without having a seafood dinner!
A surprising fact to many, Wilmington plays a major role in the T.V. and movie industry. EUE / Screen Gems Ltd. operates a 43-acre full-service studio lot here and has worked on “Iron Man 3,” “The Conjuring” and other noteworthy projects. But not to be outshined, Wilmington’s Riverwalk is still the city’s top tourist spot. It runs two miles along the Cape Fear River past some 200 boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants.
For a family-friendly educational outing, head to North Carolina Aquarium Fort Fisher. And for those who are all about community events, in Pender County alone there are regular concert series, movies in the park, annual festivals and such — all similar to what you’ll find in many of the region’s small cities and towns.
Across these neighboring North Carolina counties of Pender, Onslow, Brunswick and New Hanover, there’s just so much to enjoy. Is your vibe outdoors on the beach or in the woods? Inside a cozy café or a high-end seafood restaurant? Maybe something else entirely? Come discover the options for yourself and let us know!
Sources: NCPedia.org; NcSe.org; VisitPender.com; VisitNC.com; PenderCountyNC.gov; NCBrunswick.com; NCParks.gov; NCTripping.com; WilmingtonAndBeaches.com; NCWildlife.org; En.Wikipedia.org