We’ve long known that Wilmington is special; now all the readers of USA TODAY know it, too: Wilmington’s been voted America’s Best Riverfront in the 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest sponsored by the newspaper.
Wilmington’s riverfront features more than 200 shops, restaurants, attractions, tours and cruises within easy walking distance.
According to Libby McMillan, content manager for USA TODAY‘s 10Best, this was one of their largest contests to date and the race between Wilmington (#1) and Spokane (#2) was a tight one. Wilmington received 33 percent of the total votes while Spokane received 28 percent. The two competitors shared an amazing 61 percent of all votes over the four-week voting period. To see the full list of winners, visit www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-american-riverfront/.
Nominees were chosen by a panel of relevant experts which include a combination of editors from USA TODAY; editors from USA TODAY 10Best.com; relevant expert contributors; and sources for both these media and other Gannett properties. The nomination panel for each award category is displayed on its associated contest page. All voting is digital and the 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest is accessible on the 10Best.com website. 10Best receives about 700,000 page views per month.
“Visitor surveys consistently prove that Wilmington’s historic river district is among our two key ‘attractors’—the other being our island beaches, located just minutes away,” said Kim Hufham, president/CEO of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority. “From a tourism standpoint, the importance of a national designation such as this cannot be overstated. We are grateful to our visitors and residents for the roles they played in making this dream designation of ‘America’s Best Riverfront’ a reality for Wilmington, NC.”
The city is concentrated in a walkable river district with an eclectic mix of culture in a progressive, yet historic setting. Wilmington’s coastline is filled with down-to-earth people, natural beauty and unlimited vacation choices.
Wilmington’s riverfront is renowned for its breathtaking Cape Fear River sunsets and views of the Battleship North Carolina. (Read our article and view the video of the July 4th festivities from the battleship.)
As a focal point of Wilmington’s National Register Historic District, the riverfront also serves as a stunning backdrop to dozens of festivals and events, as well as film and television productions such as “Iron Man 3,” “We’re the Millers,” several Nicholas Sparks films, and TV’s “Sleepy Hollow,” “Under the Dome,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “One Tree Hill,” “Matlock” and more. Visitors can experience Wilmington’s historic river district by horse-drawn carriage, Segway, riverboat cruises, walking and trolley tours. The 1.75-mile wood-plank Riverwalk hosts a weekly farmer’s market and concerts, as well as popular annual events such as the North Carolina Azalea Festival in April, Riverfest in October and dozens more throughout the year. (Read our story on dining downtown.)
Wilmington and its island beaches offer one destination with four unique settings. Wilmington is an easy drive from I-95 via I-40 and US74. Prefer to fly? The Wilmington International Airport (ILM) is located only 10 minutes from the river and 20 minutes from the beach. ILM provides flight options through Delta and American Airlines/US Airways. ILM offers many non-stop flights to popular destinations within the U.S. and is only one stop away from the world.
IF YOU’RE GOING: For a free Visitors Guide to Wilmington and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach, call 866-266-9690 or visit the website www.GoWilmingtonAndBeaches.com.