Hello Summer Our Bucket LIst

Our Summer Bucket List: The Ultimate Summer Guide to Loving Summer in Wilmington… here are our favorite ways to embrace the season!

Summer in Wilmington is nothing short of magical, and we at The Gillespie Group are excited to share our favorite ways to embrace the season! We’ve each compiled our top five bucket list items for making the most of the sunny days and warm evenings this summer. We hope our ultimate summer guide will help you discover the best of Wilmington. Dive in and let us know how you are celebrating all the fun and adventure this beautiful coastal city has to offer this Summer!



  • Beach Days: I love a good day at the beach. My favorite beach access is Hamlet at Carolina Beach. Pack up a cooler and spend the afternoon! My current favorite beach snacks are a pub-sub, Cape Cod kettle chips, watermelon, Caprese salad, and High Noon!
  • Golf Cart Rides: Golf carting around Carolina beach. During the summer, there’s an electric vibe to the atmosphere. Visitors are here, and everyone is having a good time! I love just riding around the island people-watching, making a pitstop at a shag bar for a great cocktail, scoping out the boardwalk and all the nightlife, and maybe hitting up a veggie wagon on the way home for an ice cream cookie sandwich.
  • Masonboro Island: If you area boater, and you live in Wilmington, you know about Masonboro Island! A super fun summer afternoon is loading the boat and spending the afternoon at Masonboro. Families of all kinds and their dogs are often found splashing in the water, cranking some tunes and having a good day! It’s a nice change from the beach scene and lets you be out on the water.
  • Bald Head Island: It’s like a tropical vacation yet so close to home! Baldhead Island is a super beautiful quaint island just off the coast of Southport. You can take the ferry over there, grab a golf cart and spend the day just exploring around, hiking some trails, grabbing lunch and relaxing on the beach! If you can get a guest pass to the golf course, they have multiple restaurants and a nice pool for the whole family!
  • Live Oak Bank Concert Pavilion: Looking forward to hanging out this summer on the lawn of Live Oak pavilion and listening to some tunes. I love having such a great concert venue so close to home where I can always find parking, feel safe getting to and from and, the panoramic view of the Cape Fear River is the cherry on top! We’ve got tickets for a couple reggae bands, and we usually do this every summer. It’s always a good time!


Beach Day at Masonboro Island with Freedom Boat Club: My husband and I are members of a local boat share club, Freedom Boat Club! They have locations in Wilmington, Carolina Beach, and Topsail Beach. We plan to spend most weekends and even some week days taking the boat out with our friends and pups, but this summer, I want to explore new areas of Masonboro Island and dock the boat for a drink at Dockside in Wrightsville Beach!

Downtown Date Night: One of my favorite summer plans is a romantic date night with my husband downtown! We love starting the evening with a pre-dinner cocktail at the cozy Blind Elephant or the vibrant Whisky Tango Foxtrot. After drinks, it is off to dinner at our go to spot, Circa 1922, with its charming, intimate atmosphere, or Seabird, where the seafood is always fresh and delicious. It’s the perfect mix of great food and great company!

Favorite Local Park or Outdoor Spot: My favorite outdoor spot is Freeman Park on the north end of Carolina Beach! As a dog mom to two high-energy pups, this section of the beach is perfect for them between being more secluded and the more lenient off-leash rules! During the off-season, we spend almost every evening after dinner here watching them play in the ocean! 

Exploring Southport with the Pups: When we are looking for a day trip, we love taking the drive on from Fort Fisher to Southport with our two pups, Manny and Maisy! Southport is such a charming coastal town with its lovely shops and relaxed vibe and it offers a nice change of pace from our full time residence in Carolina Beach. I am especially looking forward to lunch at Fishy Fish Café —my husband swears they have the best fish and chips, and I love all of their fruity cocktails. Then, some time shopping and enjoying the beach with the dogs! It truly is a delightful way to spend a summer day exploring and enjoying the local flavor!

Camping at Freeman Park, Carolina Beach: For a bit of adventure, our new favorite activity is to spend a night camping at Freeman Park in Carolina Beach. This unique drive-on beach lets you set up camp right on the sand! From cooking burgers and hot dogs over a camp fire, watching the sunset, and then waking up to a stunning sunrise with my family and our pups, it is always an unforgettable experience.

Sunrise Beach Yoga and Breakfast on Pleasure Island: This is something that I have been wanting to try since I moved here! I have heard that there is truly no better way to start a summer day than with sunrise yoga! As someone who does predominantly strength training and cardio, this is a well deserved break for my body and mind! Afterwards, of course, we must head to Malama Café on Pleasure Island for some amazing coffee and breakfast. It’s the perfect way to combine wellness and delicious food, setting a positive tone for the rest of the day! 



  • Beach Day at Mason’s Inlet: Take the boat out to Mason’s Inlet and have a beach day on the island.
  • Summer Concerts at Live Oak Bank Pavilion: Enjoy a summer concert downtown on the riverwalk.
  • Drinks at Dockside: Grab drinks at Dockside on the water at Wrightsville Beach and watch the sunset.
  • Paddle Boarding to Shark Tooth Island: Find some shark teeth and other gems while paddle boarding.
  • Farmers Markets: Stock up on local produce and products at WB Farmers Market on Mondays and Wilmington Farmers Market at Tidal Creek on Saturdays to support local businesses.


  • Concerts: Live music is our favorite pastime, and we really enjoy the music venues in Wilmington! Live Oak brings in amazing artists—I’ve been to two shows already this year! I can’t wait to check out Greenfield Lake Amphitheater for the first time this summer, not to mention all the local artists.
  • Beach Mornings and Evenings: Of course! It’s hot, though, so catch me at the beach early morning with my coffee from a local shop or in the evening with a pizza to split with my fam! Honestly, my favorite way to start and end a day.
  • Walking the Loop: This is such an easy way for me to stay active. There’s nothing better than the 2.5ish miles around Harbor Island with the coastal breeze and a good book/podcast to listen to while getting steps in!
  • Trying A New Restaurant: or 2 or 3! My list is endless with places I want to try this summer. A few of them are Olivero, Circa 1922, Catch & more!
  • Outdoor Sports: I really want to add pickleball to my list of hobbies this summer. I also am an avid golfer so I hope to spend some time on the links! I love paddleboarding, kayaking, and anything on the water as well.

We hope our summer bucket lists inspire you to get out and enjoy the sunny days ahead and make those unforgettable memories! From beach days and boat trips to concerts and exploring charming coastal towns, there’s something for everyone. Happy summer! XOXO!