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Wilmington Boating Advice

Old 06-07-2020, 01:07 PM
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Default Wilmington Boating Advice

Looking at bring my 20í Lake & Bay flats boat up for a week at the end of June. Any advice you guys could share? Ramps, sand bars, restaurants, target species, and Iím not sure if it would be worth while to rent a slip? This was a last minute trip. Thanks for any advice.
Old 06-07-2020, 05:07 PM
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Try dockside or bridgetender for slip rental( usually they are full and don't want to rent to anyone under 50' FYI) The amount of transient dockage in Wilmington is horrible, pretty much everywhere is private/owners. You might be able to find some transient dockage in carolina beach

Get to the boat ramp very early, every public ramp in wilmington is completely full by 9am on most summer weekends. Slip would make it very nice and easy if you can find one

As far as boating, masonboro is fun to hang out at, masons inlet and riches inlet are my favorite, the farther north you move the better the water quality gets. Riches inlet looks like the carribean in the summer when the tide is coming in.

Resturants: Dockside is HORRIBLE, its a very nice atmosphere but their drinks and food is absolutely horrible. Fishhouse has a place out front you can dock and eat and is pretty good food(alot better than dockside and affordable still) Bluewater also has dockage out front but would be your most expensive option, but the food has been great every time Ive been there.

There is a public dock on wrightsville beach right by Wings that you can tie up to for a couple hours and goto any of the restaurants on the beach in Wrightsville, (theres bars, pizza place, ice cream and more)
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Old 06-07-2020, 05:22 PM
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Provisions in Southport

Bald Head Island...

Doug
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Old 06-08-2020, 03:27 AM
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Not to steal a thread, but a few years ago we really liked Dockside. Past few times, as was said, food has been terrible.
Did ownership change or did they decide just to be a bar scene?
Old 06-08-2020, 12:18 PM
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Are you staying in Wilmington formal, or out on the beaches?

The city owns quite a few public docks that are cheap dockage. We went up from the south (Murrells Inlet SC) last summer via boat and stayed in downtown at the Best Western Coastline, and docked right out front of our hotel on public docks. Embassy Suites is a bit nicer, and a few hundred yards away. Went back and forth to the core of downtown via boat, and basically were just tourists. We did go up to the beaches via Snows Cut, and ended up eating at Dockside...not knowing their reputation. It wasn't anything special, but our waitress guided us very well. Great atmosphere, and our meal/service was very good. The upstairs seating is air conditioned if you are out and about on the boat needing a break from the heat.

As others mentioned venturing south to Southport is great. Watch the tides/weather, as the Cape Fear Sound can get nasty....particularly when tide and wind coincides. Provisions or Fishy Fishy for food. Neat farmers/craft market on Wednesdays a few blocks from either of them. Also a nice maritime museum there.

My wife and I absolutely love downtown Wilmington. Could hang out there for weeks on end. Tons of great restaurants, historic homes, etc. Definitely recommend visiting some of the historic homes while in town. The Railroad museum is also very good if you like US History. Battleship NC is a fantastic tour if you like history. Also really nice to just watch the town from the river on the boat at night while having a cocktail.

Battleship NC & Downtown at night.





View from hotel with boat right out front.


View from AC section upstairs at dockside.


Old 06-08-2020, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Scout View Post
Not to steal a thread, but a few years ago we really liked Dockside. Past few times, as was said, food has been terrible.
Did ownership change or did they decide just to be a bar scene?
We ate there a few months ago and it was pretty good, better than I remembered the last time I had been there.
Old 06-08-2020, 01:07 PM
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Bluewater has some of the best crab cakes I've ever had and that includes Eastern Shore of Maryland, Boston, Cape Cod, Matha's Vineyard, Nantucket, etc. Not a bad view either! The rest of their menu is ok.
Old 06-08-2020, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by hotwire_marine View Post
There is a public dock on wrightsville beach right by Wings that you can tie up to for a couple hours and goto any of the restaurants on the beach in Wrightsville, (theres bars, pizza place, ice cream and more)
How does that public dock work? First come, first served? Do you need to pay anyone?

What about in Wilmington? What public docks/slips are available there for a few hours?
Old 06-08-2020, 03:31 PM
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https://www.wilmingtonnc.gov/departm...eation/docking
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Old 06-08-2020, 03:34 PM
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Awesome! Thanks!
Old 06-08-2020, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Kevin_NC View Post
What about in Wilmington? What public docks/slips are available there for a few hours?
Originally Posted by hotwire_marine View Post
dont be surprised if they donít answer to take your $. Had reservations last summer, called, emailed, called on radio, upon arrival, after confirming on Thursday prior to arriving on Sunday. No response. Tried again Monday. Same thing. They had my boat name/registration in advance and confirmed my reservation. Went radio silent while we were there. Just tie up and do your thing, if you canít find anyone.
Old 06-08-2020, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by autobaun70 View Post
dont be surprised if they donít answer to take your $. Had reservations last summer, called, emailed, called on radio, upon arrival, after confirming on Thursday prior to arriving on Sunday. No response. Tried again Monday. Same thing. They had my boat name/registration in advance and confirmed my reservation. Went radio silent while we were there. Just tie up and do your thing, if you canít find anyone.
Typical govt employee. At least you can say you tried haha!
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Old 06-08-2020, 07:20 PM
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Fishing out of Wilmington this weekend. Anyone else? Also any near/offshore reports? Iím headed out around 20-25 miles offshore, hoping something besides mackerel are biting.
Old 06-09-2020, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Kevin_NC View Post
How does that public dock work? First come, first served? Do you need to pay anyone?

What about in Wilmington? What public docks/slips are available there for a few hours?
The Wrightsville dock is first come first served. Lots of dinghies there lately and I wouldn't plan on definitely being able to dock. There are tons of slips downtown. I too have tried to pay with no luck. Just make the effort I guess.
Old 06-10-2020, 04:47 PM
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Thanks for the heads up guys. I hope to be able to share some pics after our trip.

Cheers
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Old 06-11-2020, 04:21 AM
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Rumdumb - wanting to make sure you are aware as you plan your trip. Wilmington proper is not on the ocean it is on the Cape Fear River a good ride (15-20 miles) upriver. Wrightsville Beach is on the ocean and the AIWW runs between it and the mainland (bridged of course). Dockside and those other places are along the AIWW for the most part.
Old 06-20-2020, 06:36 AM
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My mom sent me a map showing where everything is. Thanks for the heads up though. Cheers
Old 06-20-2020, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Rumdumb View Post
My mom sent me a map showing where everything is. Thanks for the heads up though. Cheers
just be super careful going between the two sides. Very easy to do, just stay in the marked channel transitioning from snows cut to the cape fear river/south bound ICW. Do not take a shortcut......it will be visually tempting.
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