Happy Father’s Day!
Father’s Day is here and if you’re thinking about doing something different for dad this year consider an ‘experiential’ family getaway. Dad doesn’t need another tie or barbeque set so take a look at these ideas and help create amazing memories for years to come.
On my radar this year: Carolina, Kure and Wrightsville Beaches near Wilmington, N.C.
A Day at Carolina Beach could include a multitude of activities. World-class fishing, miles of beach and a stroll on one of the top boardwalks in the country would be fun, however so would these ‘dad-inspired’ activities.
- Browse the Boats – Maybe you’re not looking to buy a boat, however you can certainly enjoy a day at one of Carolina Beach’s Marinas.
- Take a Hike – On Father’s Day, Sunday, June 15 – Spend the morning with dad and see who can be the first to spot a Venus Flytrap during a Carnivorous Plant Hike at Carolina Beach State Park. A ranger-led hike leaves from the Nature Trail Parking Lot at 10 a.m.
- Child like Wonder – Take dad to the award-winning Carolina Beach Boardwalk where he can ride the Ferris wheel at the seaside amusement park.
And there’s plenty to do at nearby Kure Beach
- Dad can Dance – Sunday, June 15 – From 5-9 p.m., Boogie in the Park presents the talented ensemble of musicians known as Port City Shakedown. Pack the blankets and lawn chairs and head to Kure Beach Ocean Front Park for a free night of family-friendly live entertainment.
- Canoe Excursion – Saturdays (including 6/14)– Paddle with dad during a three-hour guided exploration that takes you deep into the estuarine Research Reserve on Zeke’s Island. Activities may include crabbing, seining or birding, and the trip leaves at 9 a.m. from the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Reserve a canoe in advance by visiting www.ncaquariums.com.
- Butterflies are free to fly (and so is dad on 6/15) – Visit the new Butterfly Bungalow and watch hundreds of butterflies flying free. Open through September.
- Dad meets Mother Nature – Saturday, June 14 – How about a hike to celebrate dad and National Get Outdoors Day? A guided hike through the basin at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area leaves from the Park Office Exhibit Room at 9 a.m. On Sunday June 15, treat dad to the 2:30 p.m. Turtle Talk – the Park’s most popular program – and find yourself fascinated by sea turtles while learning what you can do to help protect the local population.
Ease on over to Wrightsville Beach
- Complimentary Cruise for Dad – Sunday, June 15 – Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours is offering a buy two fares, get one free deal, so it’s okay to bring Mom! It’s good for all of their cruises, including the morning inshore fishing trip, the Masonboro Island cruise and the sunset cruise. Call Captain Joe at (910) 200-4002 to reserve a spot.
- Stand-up Paddle Boarding – Through June 15 – Wrightsville SUP is offering a 15% discount for all dads during Father’s Day Weekend. Take a private lesson from a seasoned pro or rent and explore the salt marsh or open ocean on your own.
- Fish Fights – Challenge dad to a fishing contest and cast from Johnnie Mercer’s Pier. Bring your own gear or rent a rod and reel, You can bring your own gear or rent a rod and reel.
Relaxing in Wilmington
- History Lesson – June 14; July 12 or 8/9 – Before hitting up the beach, stop by the USS North Carolina for Battleship 101 and let dad learn what life was like on a WWII battleship. Free with admission, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- Microbrews and a Cruise – Saturday, June 14 – Treat dad (and maybe mom) with a ticket for the Beer Tasting Cruise with Wilmington Water Tours. The two-hour trip starts at 7 p.m. and is hosted by a brew master from Front St. Brewery. Tickets are $40. Must be 21 or older.
- Relax on the River – Sunday, June 15 – If dad’s idea of an ideal afternoon is a cash bar and cruising the Cape Fear River, he’ll want a seat on one of the Father’s Day Sunday Cruises offered by Wilmington Water Tours. Cruises leave at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and tickets are $25 for adults and $12.50 for children ages 4-12.
Whether you’re planning on being in the Wilmington, N.C. area this weekend or not I hope these ideas will help you create a memorable Father’s Day weekend wherever you may go and note that most of these activities will go beyond this weekend so you can plan a future getaway to Wilmington and Beaches. Happy Father’s Day!
Photo credits: Wilmington and Beaches CVB