Athletes of all skill levels will find Wilmington, North Carolina’s Historic River District and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach an ideal fall destination. From Wilmington’s riverfront to nearby seaside towns, there are many ways to enjoy an active getaway. Visitors find it easy to stay fit while away from home by taking advantage of fitness opportunities. In Wilmington, the Gary Shell Cross City Trail offers an off-road, multi-use trail with bicycle and pedestrian access to recreational, cultural and educational destinations. Wilmington’s municipal parks afford a wide variety of sports facilities, including hiking and cycling trails, tennis at the Althea Gibson Tennis Center at Empie Park and golf at the highly acclaimed Wilmington Municipal Golf Course, among others. Local athletes gather for regularly scheduled runs (www.wilmingtonroadrunners.org) and organized bicycle rides (www.capefearcyclists.org). Five public courses beckon golfers and three ocean fishing piers lure anglers. At our island beaches, visitors can take standup paddleboard lessons or join a group SUP excursion. There are also hiking trails at Carolina Beach State Park, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher, and The Loop at Wrightsville Beach Park. Each beach town offers tennis and basketball courts. Carolina Beach has its own skate park. Kure Beach has a disc golf course and bocce ball court. Carolina and Wrightsville beaches boast sand volleyball pits. At any time of day or night, visitors can enjoy a jog on our beaches or a stroll along Wilmington’s mile-long Riverwalk.
Visitors with a competitive spirit will find exciting sports events nearly every weekend from September through November. From triathlons and half-marathons to 5k/10k races, as well as fishing tournaments, tennis championships, cycle rides, and a youth soccer classic, there is something for nearly every sports enthusiast. Some of the state’s largest events take place along Wilmington’s coast this fall when the temperatures are mild, the beaches and roads are less crowded, and hotel rates are more affordable. Approximately 1,000 cyclists will finish the 2012 Cycle North Carolinamountains-to-the-coast Fall ride at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk on October 6. Two large triathlons will take place in Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington: the Wilmington YMCA Triathlon on Sept. 22 and the PPD Beach2Battleship Iron Distance Triathlon on Oct. 20. In November Wilmington will host two large tournaments: the U.S. Tennis Association Southern Combo State Championships (Nov. 1-4 & 8-11) and the Beach Soccer Classic (Nov. 17-18). There are also nearly two dozen smaller sports events from the river to the sea. With all this activity, it’s no wonder Outside magazine(Oct. 2011) included Wilmington (a N.C. Fit Community) among its “2011 Best Towns”.