Valentine's Day is right around the corner. While it can be tempting to take the predictable route with a dozen roses and a box of chocolates, we encourage you to get creative - especially in a place like Wilmington, NC.

Our beautiful seaside city has many fun, unique, and romantic opportunities to show your beloved how you feel - no matter whether you’re planning a Valentine’s Day event or an anniversary celebration.

Below are six of our time-tested and romance-approved choices. Check them out and see which one you fall in love with first!

1. Dinner at the Little Dipper. Sure, a fancy dinner out may seem traditional - at first. But when you take your significant other to the Little Dipper, your night will be anything but ordinary. Located in the historic Wilmington Downtown district, this locally owned restaurant offers a unique and memorable experience you won't find anywhere else. Yes, that's right - fondue! The Little Dipper offers a menu that features premium meats, fresh seafood, vegetables, and over 17 homemade dipping sauces. This restaurant is very popular (especially for Valentine's Day), so you'll want to make a reservation.

2. Visit the Downtown Historic Riverwalk. The Little Dipper isn’t the only local favorite. Some of the best and most highly sought-after restaurants and cafes are right on the river in Historic Downtown Wilmington, NC. Grab a coffee from 24 South Coffee House, Cheeky Monkey Coffee, or Bespoke Coffee & Dry Goods, and take a morning stroll along the river boardwalk with your loved one to kick off your Valentine’s Day. Or, hop over to Seabird, a favorite local seafood restaurant that offers breakfast and dinner options - using locally sourced oysters and shellfish. Prefer Italian cuisine? Give Tarantelli's a try. Looking for a more classic romantic experience? Circa 1922 – a long-time Wilmington favorite – offers a wide variety of unique food options for all tastes. The historic downtown Wilmington area offers numerous dining options that will surely make you want to return for more.

3. Explore Masonboro Island. This uninhabited barrier island is one of Wilmington's best kept secrets. With 8 miles of pristine, untouched sands, it's only accessible by boat – making it the perfect private destination for outdoorsy couples. For a memorable date, rent kayaks or stand up paddleboards, or take a water taxi or shuttle to take you to this slice of paradise. Pack a light picnic or a box of chocolates, and enjoy a momentary escape with your honey. If conditions are right, you might see a pod of dolphins frolicking in the surf! If you'd like, you can even set up camp and extend your stay on the barrier island overnight.

4. Have a romantic picnic at Airlie Gardens. Grab some of your favorite local bites and head over to lovely Airlie Gardens for a romantic picnic under the Airlie Oak tree. With over 67 acres of gorgeous scenery to discover, Airlie Gardens is a great place to spend time with your loved one. Self-guided tours through the garden are popular among locals and tourists alike. Plus, Airlie Gardens offers one of the easier booking options when it comes to Valentine's Day; just head into their Welcome Center to grab a map and badge to begin your journey. When planning your visit, keep in mind that Airlie Gardens is closed on Mondays in January and February.

5. Check out a local brewery. It’s no secret that Wilmington, NC has some of the highest-rated craft beers in the state. If you haven’t already, make sure to visit Good Hops Brewery. With a disc golf course in their backyard, Good Hops Brewery is perfect for couples who love some competition. If you head over to Hi-Wire Brewing, located in the up-and-coming soda pop district, be sure to grab a slice of fresh Neapolitan pizza from Cugio Forno. Visit Flying Machine Brewing Company, and you might be fortunate enough to find a local food truck favorite like Banh Sai or Grimm Burger on site. This Valentine’s Day, you’ll find yourself falling in love with the wide selection of craft beers Wilmington has to offer.

6. Spend the night at a beach house. Wilmington, NC is known for its many beaches that are just a short drive away. Why not treat you and your better half to a night of luxury in a waterfront beach house? There's nothing more romantic than waking up to the sound of crashing waves and going for a long walk on the beach. Whether you're traveling from afar or live in town, a beach house getaway is a great way to indulge and pamper yourself. Network Real Estate has plenty of beautiful rentals to choose from. Best of all, the fact that Valentine's Day occurs in the off-season means it will be easier and cheaper to book the beach house of your dreams. Check out our offerings in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach and call us today at 910-395-4100 to book your romantic getaway!

We hope this list helps you plan a one-of-a-kind date for you and your sweetheart. Happy Valentine’s Day from everyone here at Network Real Estate!


Network Real Estate not only helps clients buy and sell stunning properties throughout Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach, and Kure Beach, and the surrounding area but we also serve as one of the area’s most trusted vacation rental management companies.

Learn more about our vacation rental management services.