The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA is an unmistakable site across from downtown Wilmington. Moored in quiet dignity and majesty along the Cape Fear River, this historic World War II landmark is a must-see for Cape Fear vacationers.

Walking the deck of the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

With construction commencing in 1937 and completed by 1940, the battleship was instrumental in World War II and was involved in every major Pacific offensive. As the "newest" member of the fleet of battleships that were ingrained in the war, the USS North Carolina, with its wealth of technological advances and modern design, received a lot of attention during and after the war, earning the still-used nickname of "Showboat." Outfitted with nine 16-inch/45 caliber guns in three turrets, and twenty 5-inch/38 caliber guns in ten twin mounts, the battleship was a formidable opponent that required 144 officers and 2,195 military members to keep her afloat and in service.

USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

Throughout her many battles during World War II, the ship earned 15 battle stars and lost only 10 men in action, (with 67 men wounded), which was a tremendous feat in the Pacific region.

USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

After the war, the USS North Carolina settled into a less active life, serving as a training vessel in 1945 and 1946. In 1947, the ship was officially decommissioned and sent to the Inactive Reserve Fleet in New Jersey, where she sat for the next 14 years. In 1958, it was announced that the ship was soon to be scrapped altogether, when representatives, organizations and citizens from North Carolina stepped in to save their battleship namesake. The enthusiastic "Savor Our Ship" campaign was successful, and in 1961, the ship made its way to its current home as the Showboat of Downtown Wilmington. Just a few months later in April 1962, the ship was dedicated as a North Carolina memorial to its WWII veterans and the 10,000 state residents who died during the war.

Go below deck at the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

Today, the USS North Carolina is open every day of the year (including holidays) to curious tourists and residents alike who want to take an in-depth look at World War II's most recognizable battleship. Patrons are welcome to take a self-guided tour throughout the ship from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (opening at noon Christmas Day) and until 8 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Areas and points of interest are well-marked, and visitors should plan to reserve a good two hours to explore the ship in its entirety, from the top-level decks to the galleys well below sea level. Ticket prices range from $6 for children to $14 for adults, with special discounts given to active or retired military members and seniors.

USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

The battleship also hosts holiday events and special programs highlighting features of the ship, such as “Power Plant,” Firepower!” and “Showboat – Systems & Design.” “Hidden Battleship” tours of unrestored sections and areas of the battleship bring visitors to the depths of the battleship to unearth the engineer's office, torpedo area, engine rooms, fire control tower at the top of the ship, and much more.

USS North Carolina battleship tour

The ship is also open to school groups (with educational programs available for students of all levels), for birthday party rentals and for other events that attending guests will never forget.

An exhibit at the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA is worthy of exploration any day of the week. Bring a sense of adventure, a love of history, and an appreciation of fantastic waterfront views of the city of Wilmington, and see why this "Showboat" is still one of coastal North Carolina's most beloved historical landmarks.

USS North Carolina battleship tour

 

USS North Carolina battleship tour

USS North Carolina battleship tour

USS North Carolina battleship tour

USS North Carolina battleship tour

USS North Carolina battleship tour

USS North Carolina battleship tour

USS North Carolina battleship tour

USS North Carolina battleship tour

USS North Carolina battleship tour

USS North Carolina battleship tour

USS North Carolina battleship tour

USS North Carolina battleship tour

USS North Carolina battleship tour

USS North Carolina battleship tour

USS North Carolina battleship tour

USS North Carolina battleship tour

An exhibit at the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

A Navy seaplane aboard the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

Medical facilities on the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

Bunks in the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

Machine Shop on the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

Ammunition on the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

Powder kegs on the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC

Battleship USS North Carolina

Battleship USS North Carolina

Battleship USS North Carolina

Battleship USS North Carolina

Battleship USS North Carolina


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Victory Beach Vacations

Victory Beach Vacations

Visitors who are on the hunt for the postcard-perfect vacation rental in the heart of the Carolina Beach or Kure Beach area will find an enticing selection and plenty of friendly customer service when they rent through Victory Beach Vacations. Based in Carolina Beach in the coastal Cape Fear region, Victory Beach Vacations has more than 100 vacation rentals in all shapes and sizes to ensure that every vacationing family can find their dream home away from home on the beach.   When you book your Cape Fear getaway with Victory Beach Vacations, the fun doesn’t end when you leave the beach, it continues with an array of privately-owned properties outfitted with all of the amenities needed for a fabulous beach vacation.   Jenna Lanier, General Manager, explains that her family first opened the rental and property management business in 2002. At the forefront of Victory Beach operations is Lanier’s mother, Caroline Meeks. Meeks is both the Broker in Charge and co-owner with husband, Buck Meeks, who manages the Field Services team with Lanier’s husband, Scott.   For nearly 20 years, the Victory Beach team has worked tirelessly to establish a network of top-of-the-line rental properties for Cape Fear visitors to enjoy. “As far as our properties go,” explains Lanier, “they are all updated, well-furnished and appointed. “We have always performed post-cleaning inspections and since the pandemic, have put freshly laundered duvets over all of the comforters between rentals.”   Lanier emphasizes how important the guests experience is “we strive to give our guests a relaxing, stress free, memorable vacation.” This emphasis on customer service has led to Victory Beach Vacations having a 4.8 Google rating with over 300 reviews by happy owners and guests.In addition to Victory Beach’s superior sanitation practices, the company offers properties for every type of visitor. Choose from luxury oceanfront houses and condos to more reasonbly priced 2nd row properties with oceanviews. Many properties include pools and hot tubs as well, perfect for outdoor entertaining, and many are dog friendly.   Lanier also notes that all properties are within walking or driving distance to Pleasure Island’s main attractions – Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. The former, as described by Lanier, is the more commercialized of the two destinations and features a boardwalk, outdoor dining options and a plethora of weekly activities including fireworks, live music, amusement park pop-ups, and movies under the stars. Kure Beach offers a more residential feel with its fishing pier, intimate restaurants and family favorite, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.More water fun awaits, too. “There is a harbor and a canal that feed into the intercoastal. We have several properties on the harbor so guests can bring their boat, kayak, [or jet ski] and travel between islands,” says Lanier.   A stay with Victory Beach Vacations is an annual pilgrimage for most. “A large percentage of guests are previous guests. Some even reserve the same property for the next year as they’re checking out,” Lanier says. “It’s almost like it’s their personal vacation home.”   Even before guests arrive at their vacation destination, the Victory Beach Vacations’ website greets them with a live beach cam and exquisite aerial footage of both Carolina and Kure Beaches. See for yourself by scanning the QR code and call Victory Beach Vacations at 910.458.0868 to book your Cape Fear getaway. Start making your memories today! —Grace Silipigni