Tucked away just below Wilmington and just 45 minutes or so above the South Carolina state line you'll find Southport, NC. Centuries of boating men and women have left their mark on this village. Don’t be in a hurry and come by and explore it. Stede Bonnet, the Gentleman Pirate, was repairing his vessel in a nearby creek when he was captured. If you stop here for a visit, you too will be captured by the charm and welcome attitude in this coastal village by the river.
Located at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, Southport was originally incorporated in 1792 as Smithville. However, its progressive citizens changed its name to Southport in 1887 in hopes of attracting a port. The port went further upstream to the City of Wilmington, but this entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the City today. The historic charm of this community will captivate you as you walk under a canopy of 200 year old live oak trees, or walk past majestic Victorian styled homes which once belonged to river pilots or maybe even a pirate or two. Southport is one of few cities with a true downtown. Banks, antique & collectible shops, restaurants, and professional offices line about a five block area in the downtown commercial district. Just outside this district is one of the finest medical care facilities in our region, J.A. Dosher Memorial Hospital.
A visit to our area is not complete without a day or two of walking through our antique and specialty shops, stopping along the way for a leisurely lunch at an outside pub or restaurant along the waterfront or yacht basin, taking a historic tour of the city, watching transoceanic vessels pass by at Waterfront Park and visiting the NC Maritime Museum in Southport. The City of Southport also offers sailors, anglers and boaters a safe haven through the Southport Marina or Old Yacht Basin.
It's a town close enough to Wilmington to reach the conveniences of a big city and its college campus, yet just out of reach of the interstate traffic. The Southport Visitor Center is easily found on a walk about town. The Center provides a nice selection of brochures outlining local attractions, businesses, restaurants, medical services, art galleries and the local Southport Trail, an hour walk through town, by live oak trees, around corners, through graveyards - three centuries of history. Several movies have been filmed here, most recently "Safe Haven" in 2013 starring Julianne Hough and Josh Duhammel. ''Crimes of the Heart'', starring Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange and Sissy Spacek was filmed at the Northrop House. An Oprah Winfrey movie, ''The Wedding,'' and ''Summer Catch'' are a few more names to look for in the video store if you want to catch a bit of Southport before visiting.