Growing up on Cape Cod means you are never far from a beach. When beautiful beaches are part of your world, it’s easy to take them for granted! During my childhood and teenage years, the beach was a place to go year-round. The summer brought friends and fun in the sun. During other seasons, with the new found freedom of a car, the beach was a place for peace and quiet.
My husband and I left New England in 2006 for a new adventure in Wilmington, NC. I’m a bit farther from the Cape these days, but I’m never far from the beach. With a growing family of my own, the beach is still sacred but in a very different way. It is the one place in today’s busy world where cell phones are silenced, there’s no WiFi and true quality time with each other and with our children takes center stage. Having three small kids, there is never a shortage of things to get done; however, when we hit the beach we are taking the time to actually enjoy our family.
Wrightsville Beach is the closest to our home, at only 8 miles away. We regularly share the
beach with many people but it still allows us to get our quick “fix” of the salty air, sand and sea. There are also several great places to eat and shop nearby. One of our favorite “grown up” restaurants is The Bridge Tender, located in the marina just over the bridge from the beach. If there is ever a wait for a table, it’s usually not too long. My husband and I will just grab a drink on the deck and watch the boats go by.
Although Wrightsville Beach is close by, “our beach” is located about 26 miles from our home near Fort Fisher. The area is rich with history. North Carolina Historic Sites writes this about Fort Fisher: “At the dawn of the American Civil War, the Confederacy took control of this neck of land near the mouth of the Cape Fear River and constructed what was to become the largest and most important earthwork fort in the South. Two major battles were fought there, and many Union soldiers received the Congressional Medal of Honor for their gallant participation. Today, much of the fort has been eroded by the ocean.”
If you continue past the fort you will reach “our beach”, Fort Fisher Beach. It’s a place where you can actually drive down the beach to find your perfect spot for a day of solitude. The kids absolutely love that they can really explore without a lot of other people around. My husband and I like that it feels as if we are miles away from everyone. Due to the effort it takes to get out there, it’s usually a full-day affair…but that is just the way we like it!
The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is also located in this area. It is reasonably priced at $6-8 per person and can be toured in about 2 hours. Its proximity to the beach is perfect if you are in need of a second activity for the day. They also offer special programs, summer camps,space for events and are involved with several charitable causes.
Overall, we could not be happier with our decision to move to Wilmington and raise our family here. It is the perfect combination of beautiful
coastline and true southern charm. Cape Cod was certainly a special place to grow up and we are grateful for the many memories we made there. We feel like Wilmington will be just as special for our children. It truly feels like “home”.