Downtown Southport NC

Southport's downtown is a genuinely unique destination that combines all the charms of a laid-back coastal village with historic southern architecture and style. The end result is a collection of restaurants, museums, shops and services with a flair all their own, and a slow-as-molasses pace that invites visitors to pull up a rocking chair, take in a water view, and simply relax.

The downtown is at its busiest and most populated by the water, as the town of Southport is unique in that its community center is located adjacent to the mouth of the Cape Fear River, right before it meets up with the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, this area of town has been a popular port o' call for centuries, and visitors can spot this historical maritime influence around every corner. Worn and weather-battered harbors stand side by side with modern marinas and waterfront restaurants or businesses, and boats of all varieties line the docks that encircle the downtown area. A popular destination along the Intracoastal Waterway, the town has more than its fair share of both dockage and local marinas for maritime travelers to drop anchor and just relax with a stroll onshore. The area is also a popular home base for commercial fishermen, and it's not unusual to see shrimping and fishing boats mixed in with the dozens of sailboats and decadent yachts.

Southport Historic District

Many city strollers attest that the waterfront region is easily the most scenic aspect of Southport, and folks walking through will find a long boardwalk that hugs the harbor front, in addition to a Waterfront Park with plenty of benches, picnic tables, and swings. The park also borders the town's pier, an ideal locale for incredible downtown photos, or just some great fishing along the Cape Fear River banks.

Downtown Southport NC

Just a couple streets inland, visitors will find a thriving community of historic homes, small museums and a host of shops and boutiques. Antiquing is very popular in this region, and downtown visitors will find a variety of antique and consignment stores that are filled with nautical and uniquely Southern treasures.

Downtown Southport, NC

The slowed-down southern style is evident around every city block, and just about every business has a wide front porch with plenty of shade and rocking chairs or benches so folks passing through can enjoy a rest, and a breath of fresh air. Spring and summer are especially alluring times to visit this downtown, as the historic homes are lined with nautical, gracious landscaping with towering palm trees next to rose bushes, hydrangeas, and grand Southern Magnolias. But amidst the flora and fauna, Southport is arguably best known for its large concentration of ancient live oaks, which have been standing along the downtown streets for hundreds of years.

A shop downtown Southport NC

Downtown Southport visitors certainly won't go hungry while exploring the town, as a number of the old turn of the 20th century buildings have been converted to bistros, delis, cafes, and even fine dining restaurants. Patrons can enjoy a quick bite or a cold beer under a shaded tree-lined porch at a number of small sandwich shops and pubs, or enjoy a long elegant meal at one of the converted downtown eateries, like "The Pharmacy" which is located in a former drug store. There are also a number of establishments located right along the water for a great meal that is almost surpassed by the incredible waterfront view, and virtually every restaurant features a range of fresh seafood choices, plucked from the Cape Fear River or Ocean Atlantic waters just hours before dinnertime.

A shop downtown Southport NC

As for accommodations, visitors via the Intracoastal Waterway can always pull up to a local marina and dock for a few nights, however travelers by land will want to explore the incredible selection of local Bed and Breakfasts. There are a half dozen historic B&Bs in the downtown area, each with its own unique charms and amenities, with gorgeous landscaping and a central location that's close to the action. Visitors can also opt to spend a week or more at a downtown vacation rental home. These cute coastal cottages or statuesquely grand homes are inviting and relaxing getaways, with easy walking distance to the region's waterfront attractions, restaurants, and shopping.

Shoppers in downtown Southport NC

A tour of Downtown Southport is a must for anyone with an appreciation for southern culture, coastal living, and an all-around relaxed and laid back atmosphere. With a wide selection of restaurants, antique stores, and countless spots around town to pull up a bench and admire a view, Downtown Southport encourages visitors to simply slow down and enjoy the scene. Whether a visitor is taking a quick break on land after a hard day of cruising the Intracoastal Waterway, or simply enjoying a mainland day trip from the beaches of neighboring Bald Head Island or Fort Fisher, the charms of Downtown Southport are sure to impress any visitor with scenic water vistas, historic buildings, and a relaxed southern style all its own.

Downtown Southport NC


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

Southport, NC Activities for Kids