Wilmington, North Carolina, has become my "home base" after my parents moved there six years ago, so I've been luckily enough to explore all the charming city has to offer.
From delectable eats and beaches to lush parks and the iconic bridge from One Tree Hill, there's quite a bit to see here:
1.Airlie Gardens is a stunning park featuring 67 acres of walking paths — a must-have if you want to get some fresh air and see some gorgeous flowers.
2.Edge of Urge in downtown Wilmington is a great place to shop for stuff that isn't a standard souvenir. They have lots of quirky pins, books, cards, and candles in addition to locally made jewelry and cute outfits.
3.Bespoke Coffee will help you fuel up for your day of fun. They serve delicious Counter Culture coffee (roasted in North Carolina!) and have a chill atmosphere that'll make you feel right at home.
4.Crust Kitchen and Cocktails's Instagram account alone will leave you drooling — and just wait until you actually take a bite out of their grilled cheeses. This spot is '90s themed and you certainly won't find it *cheesy* in the slightest.
5.Lewis Nursery and Farms will give you the chance to get ~down 'n' dirty~ (get your head out of the gutter!) while picking various berries. Take your haul home and whip up a delicious homemade pie.
6.If you were a fan of One Tree Hill, Wilmington has plenty of things that'll catch your interest. There's a OTH convention that occurs yearly as a fundraiser (yes, the majority of the cast comes), the iconic bridge from the opening theme song, and other hidden gems.
7.Wake N Bake donuts will win you over with a single bite. From a donut with a hot pepper-infused chocolate glaze to a "purple rain" donut with lavender sprinkles, these unique desserts (or breakfast items, you do you) are a must-try.
8.Head to Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar for a drink and some stunning views of the historic harbor. I can't think of a better way to unwind, TBH.
9.Or kick back at Front Street Brewery and indulge in a cold beer or whiskey (they're the largest whiskey bar in NC!) and a burger.
10.Spend the day lounging at Wrightsville beach or simply take time to stroll during the sunset — it's so beautiful you won't want to miss it.
11.And while you're at the beach, visit the "Mailbox at the Stairs" for some emotional reflection and inspiration. While the stairs are no longer there, visitors are encouraged to leave a note and take one in return.
12.The original Bitty and Beau's coffee shop, which now has a few locations across the U.S., will warm your heart as their coffee actually warms you up. The shop is staffed by people with disabilities.