Whether you’ve lived in the Tar Heel State for years or are looking for a warmer, slower-paced community to move to in retirement, Wilmington may fit the bill. Situated at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, this city offers all the amenities and access to services shared by other metropolitan areas while encouraging a laid-back, slower-paced lifestyle. Read on to learn more about what makes Wilmington such a great place for retirees.

What Does Wilmington Have to Offer for Retirees?

Situated an hour drive from Myrtle Beach, SC, and an hour and a half drive to Bald Head Island, NC, many residents and visitors see Wilmington as the gateway to other popular destinations in the coastal South. With easy (and convenient) access to river walks, scenic waterways, and sandy beaches, water lovers will rejoice at the options that await.

Wilmington’s walkability makes it a perfect retirement spot. Public transportation is available (and convenient), and the city boasts many Uber and Lyft drivers who provide an inexpensive alternative to taxicabs. Food, drink, entertainment, and even medical services are available within a short walk in every part of the city.

Historic District

Wilmington’s Historic District is one of the largest in the United States and is located along the banks of the Cape Fear River. Although this district can instantly transport you back to a simpler time, when streets were packed with carriages and pedestrians instead of cars and scooters, it also blends modern elements like a performing arts center, trendy restaurants, and newly-constructed hotels.

Retirees can spend months exploring Wilmington’s Historic District at their leisure or even opt for one of the city’s walking, carriage, or Segway tours, where a tour guide can point out unusual, unique, and little-known facts about this fascinating piece of Southern history.

And if you’d rather take in the Historic District by water, the Battleship North Carolina serves as a memorial for the 11,000 North Carolinians who died in service during World War II. This award-winning tourist attraction regularly brings visitors from around the country.

Food, Drink, and Entertainment

Wilmington’s downtown River District boasts more than 40 locally-owned restaurants and pubs. A commitment to try one new restaurant a week will take nearly a year to complete, and by that time, you’re likely to have added even more to the list! Most of these restaurants offer convenient seating at the river’s edge, and Wilmington’s coastal climate ensures you’ll be able to enjoy dining outdoors from spring through late autumn.

The River District also regularly features live music, allowing you to experience dinner and a show while surrounded by friendly, welcoming Southerners. Because Wilmington is such a popular destination for retirees from around the country, it can be easy to strike up new friendships with others from your generation.  

What Activities Can the Whole Family Enjoy?

In addition to being a popular retirement destination, Wilmington offers fun for the whole family—so whether you’re hoping for your grandkids to join you on their summer vacation or would like to plan a family reunion, you’ll have no shortage of activities and experiences to offer loved ones of all ages.


From local boutiques to upscale global chains, both Midtown and Downtown Wilmington are a shopper’s mecca. Mayfaire Town Center is an outdoor shopping mall with over 90 shops, stores, and restaurants including a movie theater situated less than five miles from Wrightsville Beach. Downtown Wilmington boasts dozens of eclectic shops for apparel, houseware, and gifts. Your loved ones can outfit themselves in North Carolina fashions, set themselves up for a day at the beach, or collect personalized souvenirs to bring home.  

Museums and Arts

Airlie Gardens is one of Wilmington’s most popular outdoor wedding locations, and one look at the expansive property makes it easy to see why. With more than 100,000 azaleas on display, a native Butterfly House, and monthly bird hikes, this tranquil garden provides visitors with a one-of-a-kind experience.

Wilmington also offers film festivals, art festivals, and museum exhibitions that showcase the impressive (and sometimes quirky) talents of local artists. With this city’s Southern charm and sense of inclusiveness, it’s become an artist’s mecca of sorts—and many major movie studios have used Wilmington as a backdrop for national and international motion pictures.

Midtown Destinations

For younger children or adults with a well-developed sense of adventure, Midtown has quite a bit to offer. Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park can be a great way to spend a day (or even a weekend). The amusement park features a full-scale water park, including a million-gallon wave pool and lazy river, along with go-karts, laser tag, rock climbing walls, miniature golf, and an arcade. After this fun, you and your family can spend the evening catching a movie at one of the three movie theaters in Wilmington.

Combining this long list of amenities with a laid-back pace and low cost of living, Wilmington can be the perfect destination for retirees and those nearing retirement. After decades of hard work and sacrifice, you deserve to spend retirement in a temperate locale that can provide you with a top-notch quality of life.

Cambridge Village of Wilmington is the area’s premier resort style retirement community, offering the conveniences and amenities that you’d expect of a luxury independent retirement community. We take a holistic approach to health, treating the whole person and focusing on well-being in every area: physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual. Ultimately, we offer a community that makes people feel at home and an environment they can thrive in. Contact Cambridge Village of Wilmington at (910) 387-0465 for more information or schedule a tour today.