The lower Cape Fear region was explored in the 1521 and again in 1526 by the Spanish. They chose to move on, due to poor soil and lack of adequate fresh water supplies.

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

The first settlement in the area, Brunswick Town, was located further up the Cape Fear River. Fort Johnston was built at the mouth of the river between 1745 and 1754 to protect the upriver settlements and provide quarantine service for incoming seamen. A small community of river pilots, traders, and fishermen sprang up around the fort.

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

In 1792, Joshua Potts requested that the NC General Assembly commission the town. The town was originally named Smithville, after Benjamin Smith, who had served under General George Washington in the Revolutionary War. He later became Governor of North Carolina.

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

Smithville grew as a fishing village and military town --because of its strategic location, Fort Johnston was active in every United States war effort. It also became a popular summer resort, due to the steady sea breezes.

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

In 1795, the town began observing Independence Day. It now host the Official North Carolina 4th of July celebration. Smithville became the county seat of Brunswick County in 1808. (The county seat was moved to Bolivia in 1975.)

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

After the Civil War, businessmen tried to create a major southern port here by combining river transportation and railroads. The name Southport was chosen in 1887 as part of that promotional effort. Though the town never became a major port city, it did gain telegraph service and a coaling dock for steamships.

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

Southport was on the river steamer routes until 1925. Railroads did serve the town from 1911 until World War II. In 1966 the NC Department of Transportation located the landing for the Fort Fisher ferry nearby.

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

Vintage photo of historic Southport, NC

 

Southport River Walk

Southport River Walk

The Historic Riverwalk in Downtown Southport will quickly introduce newcomers to the waterfront scene in this coastal community, and will surely instill a newfound appreciation and overall enthrallment with this scenic laid-back region.

Bald Head Island

Bald Head Island

Bald Head Island, a roughly 5 square mile southern North Carolina barrier island that extends into the Atlantic Ocean, may be a small and secluded island destination, but it makes up for its size with a world of exclusive and elite vacation style.

Southport Historical Society

Southport Historical Society

The Old Brunswick County Jail is a favorite stop along any historic Downtown Southport walking tour, as the early 1900s structure is chock-full of stories which span from its stately brick architecture to its original sprinklings of graffiti, still legible after more than a century.

Southport, NC Camping Guide

Southport, NC Camping Guide

From picturesque beaches that straddle the state border, to sunny destinations found just inland of the Cape Fear River, the Southport region is dotted with an array of campgrounds that will entice visitors of all outdoorsy tastes. The options are nicely varied, and can range from RV resorts where all amenities are accounted for, to rustic and primitive destinations that straddle the water’s edge. With a variety of unique features, picturesque settings, and locations that are close to all the attractions the Brunswick and Cape Fear regions have to offer, campers will find ample ways to relax in the sunny Southport area.