Sunset Beach is a popular destination near the Coastal North Carolina town of Wilmington.

Sunset Beach is a popular destination near the Coastal North Carolina town of Wilmington.

Over the past several years, North Carolina has been gaining popularity with active adult retirees. The Wilmington area is a particularly great choice for water lovers, as it features a port city set on the banks of the Cape Fear River. The city's historic downtown features a mile-long riverwalk, while nearby beach communities offer access to the Atlantic Ocean.

Wilmington, North Carolina, is located along the East Coast, about two hours from the popular Raleigh-Durham area. The climate is relatively warm throughout the year, with mild winters and hot summers. Daytime temperatures in the summer months are usually in the high 80s or low 90s, but high humidity often brings the heat index over 100 degrees. Winters tend to stay in the mid-50s, with nighttime lows in the mid-30s. Snow is rare, and very light when it does occur. 

The City of Wilmington features a large historic district as well as many modern-day attractions. History buffs will enjoy trips to many monuments and historic buildings, such as the Confederate Memorial, the Cotton Exchange of Wilmington, the George Davis Monument and the Bellamy Mansion. Visitors will enjoy a tour of the battleship North Carolina as well.

The city also celebrates a rich culture with a variety of performing arts venues, museums and galleries. Diverse performances are staged throughout the year at Thalian Hall and The Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington also offers performances in its Cultural Arts Building, and grandkids will love the shows offered at the Thalian Association's Children's Theater.

Brunswick Forest is an active lifestyle community dotted by scenic lakes offering scenic vistas.

Brunswick Forest is an active lifestyle community dotted by scenic lakes offering beautiful scenic vistas.

Annual festivals bring even more excitement to the Wilmington area. Over Thanksgiving weekend, art lovers can browse the annual Wilmington Art Show to discover a wide range of artists and local craftsmen. An independent film festival, Cucalorus, is held each year, as are several music festivals, including the Wilmington Exchange Festival, the North Carolina Jazz Festival, and the Cape Fear Blues Challenge.

Active adults who love the surf and sand will enjoy visiting Wilmington area beach towns: Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach. These beaches are less than 25 minutes apart and each have their own fabulous attractions, such as picturesque boardwalks, aquariums, birding sites, and deep sea fishing excursions.

Older homebuyers who choose to settle in the Wilmington area will be impressed with nearby resort-style communities like Brunswick Forest, St. James Plantation, and Ocean Ridge Plantation. These open-age developments feature spectacular amenities, including spacious clubhouses, challenging golf courses and many outdoor recreations. Each community also includes homes in a wide range of styles, sizes, and prices.

Whether planning a beach vacation or a coastal retirement, the Wilmington area features some of the best destinations in North Carolina.