SOUTHPORT has been hailed by North Carolina locals and visitors alike as one of the most authentic and unique coastal communities along the shoreline, and it doesn’t take long for newcomers to figure out why. The small, 2.2 square mile village is a stunning combination of historic residences, lush coastal landscaping, and miles of water in every direction, making it a both a quintessentially southern and maritime community with a distinct culture all its own. No wonder Southport Riverwalk has been the romantic setting for dozens of TV shows and movies.
Featuring a long maritime heritage that is on full display along virtually every downtown street, this surprising weekend or weeklong vacation destination is filled with genuine coastal charm. The town was officially incorporated as the town of “Smithville” in 1792, named after a Continental General who later became a North Carolina Governor. The name was later changed to “Southport” in 1887 as an effort to promote the town as a major shipping port.
Southport features nearly a dozen marinas along the waterfront open to the maritime traffic of the Intracoastal Waterway. As a community that’s devoted to the water, visitors here will also find ample boardwalks to explore the waterfront, restaurants and lounges with incredible views overlooking the river, and even a Waterfront Park and town pier for a front-row vista of the ships passing by.
Day trippers will definitely want to spend the majority of their time either along the waterfront or strolling through the Downtown area, which is home to countless restaurants, boutiques, coastal art galleries, and renowned antique stores that display rare, and uniquely southern pieces. The dining scene in Southport is especially revered, as patrons will find nearly 70 restaurants that range from national fast food chains to unique waterfront grills and cafes.
Useful Area Websites
City of Southport
Southport/Oak Island Chamber of Commerce