Where next, Charleston or Wilmington, N.C.

May 14th, 2007, 10:35 AM
Original Poster
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Where next, Charleston or Wilmington, N.C.

I am thinking about doing a road trip to Myrtle Beach with our seven year old grandson. We are a budget-minded 50s couple and I enjoy photography and road-tripping to attractions worth the trip. I am afraid I have over-planned my trip. I am seriously thinking about going to Wilmington rather than Charleston after Myrtle Beach. I want to make this trip fun for all of us. We are in central Illinois. And I am also trying to figure out some attractions to stop at on the way home via Charlotte and Asheville.
vagabondz50 is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 10:49 AM
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I love Wilmington and it is a favorite destination. It has a lovely downtown, historical area and the battleship North Carolina. However, hands down Charleston is the more interesting destination. It has everything, history, gardens, cultural attractions, great restaurants and shopping. Patriots' Point, a carriage tour, a visit to a plantation would all be very interesting to a seven year old.

If you are traveling via US 52 or I-40, consider a stop in Winston Salem, the Old Salem district. Absolutely first rate historical area.

Have a great trip.
cmcfong is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 11:52 AM
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From Myrtle to Wilmington, consider going to Southport and taking the ferry over to Carolina Beach. There's an aquarium right on the beach in addition to Fort Fisher. From there you can drive up to Wilmington with plenty to see/do.
TrvlMaven is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 12:59 PM
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I'm from IL too, and I lived in NC a while ago. When you are around Asheville, you should really take the Blue Ridge Parkway, there is nothing like it- and it doesn't cost any more than the cost of the gas driving down the highway! Some of the lookouts are post-card worthy.

When you are in Wilmington, check out the beach at Wrightsville. I remember if being less crowded, family-friendly and much more pleasant. It is very easy to get to from I-40. Just bring a few dollars in cash to pay a parking meter (they are really cheap).

I am not sure which route you were planning on taking from IL, but I suggest not taking MapQuest or whatever without considering an atlas first. In en effort to keep me on interstates, they added time and miles to the trip and some of the alternate routes I found are infinately more beautiful, at least once you get into KY, TN, and the Carolinas.

Depending on when you are planning to go, the NC State Fair in Raleigh is a blast~ totally worth stopping!

Best of luck, I can't wait to go back to NC this summer myself!
BearsGrl8 is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 03:36 PM
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GoTravel has a great trip report on her trip to Charleston. You might want to read it:


BayouGal is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 05:37 PM
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In Charlotte you can go to Discovery Place, an outstanding science museum. You don't say when, but Carowinds is a theme park just outside town that he would enjoy. There are age appropriate rides. There is also a wonderful children's theater--Imaginon--you could check to see if there was a production while you are here.
Gretchen is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 06:14 PM
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I have lived in Wilmington, NC for 20 years because I think it is a great place! We have Fort Fisher and the Aquarium, just a ferry ride across the Cape Fear River from Southport. The USS North Carolina is a water taxi ride across the Cape Fear River from downtown Wilmington. There you can take a ghost walk, visit the 2 year old Serpentarium, which contains many rare poisonous snakes. You can take a horse and buggy ride through the streets, some of which are cobblestone, listening to the historian tell of the past. You can go on a nature trail behind Alderman Elementary School to see the Venus Fly Trap and Pitcher plants growing in their natural environment. And last, but not least, you can go to the beach. Wrightsville Beach is pretty and as someone mentioned...bring your quarters for the parking meters!
liz_coughlin is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 09:58 AM
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You have tough choices because you have identified some wonderful places.

One thing you might consider, depending on how much time you have, is to make Wilmington a day trip from Myrtle Beach. We live in Myrtle Beach and love to drive up to Wilmington and spend the day. You could take the Southport/Fort Fisher ferry on your way out and then just head back down Hwy 17 for a quicker return.

As you're going to be in MB anyway, there is no reason to see Wrightsville Beach--no offense, but it's so similar to the MB area beaches. Instead, spend your time on the waterfront in downtown Wilmington.

This way you could spend some quality time in Charleston, and it is a very easy Interstate drive from Charleston to Asheville, perhaps 4 to 4.5 hours.
beach_dweller is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 09:39 AM
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I was just in Wilmington last weekend. We go pretty often. I would probably base the decision on how much time there is. With 2 days, Wilmington might be a better choice, maybe. If I had 4 or more days, I would definitely choose Charleston. It is one of my favorite towns/cities to visit in the U.S. The two are really very similar in some ways, but Charleston has more.

Civil War history - Charleston: Ft. Sumter, Ft. Moultrie, and Hunley submarine; Wilmington - Ft. Fisher

Other history - Wilmington - a few houses and plantations; Charleston - more houses and plantations.

Ships - Charleston: famous aircraft carrier, destroyer, and coast guard ship; Wilmington - famous battleship

Beaches - fairly comparable actually and here I would give Wilmington a slight edge, but if you have just left Myrtle Beach that may not be a big deal.

Food - Wilmington: a few nice places for seafood and southern cuisine; Charleston: a diner's paradise.

Other things for kids - Wilmington: good aquarium, ferry, snake museum, waterfront; Charleston - larger aquarium (Wilmington's has improved a lot in recent years), IMAX theater, parks.
dan_woodlief is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 12:52 PM
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Much better aquarium in Charleston. I think more to do there to interest kids and adults.
Gretchen is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 05:59 AM
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If you decide to go to Wilmington and as you're budgetminded try the Motel6 there;it's very nice and close to the historic part of Wilmington.Paul
tovarich is offline  
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