There is no better day than the first day of an RV Adventure! This year I vowed that we would make it on the road by noon and we did it! One of the biggest time savers this year was that I made a couple of trips to the trailer at the storage lot to pre-load all our clothes, clean towels, pantry items and the special kitchen appliances (i.e. crock-pot, waffle-maker). It made all the difference!
Tip: Another of my favorite time-saving packing tips is to not make the trip to the grocery store until we are on the road. Save time by skipping the walk into the house, loading up the refrigerator; just to turn around and make the same trip in reverse to the trailer. Voila! One trip and done!
Tip: Click Here to view the RV Adventures with Kids time-tested packing list and tips
Our destination for the day was Wilmington KOA, an easy 3.5 hour drive from home. This KOA may be located off a busy thoroughfare, however, once you pull into the driveway, it feels miles away. The staff at Wilmington KOA were great and our check-in was expedient. Within minutes, we were being led to our campsite.
The kids were so excited to see that our assigned site #24 backed up to the pool! On the promise of a swim after we set-up camp, the kids moved at super-speed to help lower the jacks, get out the rugs, and help Troy with the services.
Being a hot and humid day, the pool felt delicious and the kids spent the next couple hours playing and making camp friends.
After a quick meal, we walked around the campground. There are many amenities to keep the kids busy! We checked out the jump pad and the playground that even has a pirate ship! There is also a gem mine experience, however, we didn’t get a chance to check it out. Being Saturday, they also offered a kid-friendly movie night including free snacks and beverages. We definitely will be staying here again!
Tip: Don’t own an RV? Wilmington KOA offers five different sizes of cabins for rent ranging from rustic to deluxe.
We awoke to a scorching hot day. We packed up our beach bags and headed out for our one full-day in the Wilmington area.
Our first stop was Carolina Beach State Park. I read so much about this “can’t miss” park and their carnivorous plants. We made our way to the Visitor Center to check out the educational exhibits that focused on the diversity of the 13 different plant communities found within the park. I especially enjoyed viewing the tiny live Venus Flytraps plants they had on display.
The on-duty ranger said that the best opportunity to view some of these incredible plants would be along the Flytrap Trail. We were warned the trail could be “buggy” this time of year so we applied bug spray and set out. It was after a couple minutes we realized just how hot it was but we soldiered on.
We approached the pocosin wetlands area where Venus Flytraps tend to grow. We scoured the area and found only one lone Pitcher plant. Around the rest of the loop we looked to no avail. By the time we were on the back half, we just wanted to get back into air-conditioning!
There were a few other trails to explore in the park but we agreed to save them for another time. We did drive the campground loop and visited the 54-slip marina located at the junction of Snow’s Cut and the Cape Fear River. There were tons of people using the two public boat launches, paddle-boarding and fishing. Looked like a great time!
Tip: The best time to visit Carolina Park State Park is in spring when locating carnivorous plants may be easier.
We continued our day with a drive through Kure Beach, a lively beach-side town with colorful homes, a beautiful pier (the oldest on the East Coast) and lots of beachgoer’s. We turned south as we wanted to catch the ferry to the quaint town of Southport.
When we arrived at the ferry terminal, we realized that not only had we missed the ferry we had intended to take, but the line for the next ferry stretched out at least a half mile. With the weather hovering in the 90’s, we decided we didn’t want to wait in line.
With this plan change we were momentarily at a loss as what to do next. There were quite a few options close by like the NC Aquarium, Fort Fisher State Historic Site and Fort Fisher State Recreation Area; popular for surf fishing, and four-wheel-drive vehicles (allowed seasonally with required permits). All options looked attractive, however, the kids were restless for lunch, so I started my search on Yelp for Mexican food.
Tip: To learn more about Kure Beach area tourist attractions click here!
Yelp showed favorable reviews for Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn, located in Carolina Beach so we headed that way. As soon as we sat down, we received a bottomless basket of warm tortilla chips. Next, we made a trip to the Salsa Bar where 9 different flavors were waiting for us. My favorite was Wasabi Avocado; a creamy concoction with the nose-cleaning finish. I couldn’t get enough!
While snacking on chips, we perused Flaming Amy’s entrees. Their specialty burrito offerings cover the gamut of international flavors. Choose from Thai, Greek, Philly, vegetarian, and more. I was frozen with indecision. What should I chose? I went with the Build-Your-Own and chose grilled shrimp with chipotle peppers as my filling. Amazing! Troy ordered Tacos Mexicana; warm corn tortillas topped with steak, diced yellow onions, and fresh cilantro. Even the kids had a fantastic lunch off the kids menu. Satisfying lunch and the prices were reasonable.
Tip: Flaming Amy’s has another location in Wilmington. We will definitely be stopping by again on our next visit to the Wilmington area.
The next part of our plan was to head down to Carolina Beach for some beach time and to check out a rumor. I heard that there was a little shop on the boardwalk that sells arguably the BEST donuts in America.
Among the beach sundry shops we finally located Britt’s Donuts; a North Carolina institution since 1939! I found myself asking how I hadn’t heard about this place as it appears on many national “Top Donut” lists.
Fortunately for us, there were no lines. We were able to walk right up and order. Standing at the counter, you can see the donuts being made through a doorway. In a blink of an eye, we were presented our hot, delicious and sticky glazed donuts. It is no wonder why Britt’s get all the accolades. These donuts are based on simplicity and perfection! These donuts didn’t last long enough for me to even snap my own picture! That says a lot!
Tip: Check their website for their hours of operations s they vary. They also close down September through March.
As much as we could have ordered another round, we decided to check out the beach to see if there was a place to change into our swim suits. We walked out on the pier and the beach was packed with beach-goers. Troy and I were simply were not in the mood for the crowds so we talked Drake and Mia into going back to the campground for pool time. Gratefully they agreed!
In the end, I felt that our Wilmington stop was a little light on exploration. The heat certainly played a large part of why we didn’t pack in more on our one day in town. We also were a bit complacent since it is close enough for a long weekend.
Other activities we had on our list were: Airlie Gardens, Tregembo Animal Park, Battleship North Carolina and downtown Wilmington River Walk. We certainly will be checking out these great attractions on our next visit to Wilmington, NC!
Stay tuned for the next stop on our North Carolina RV Adventure – Beaufort – Cape Lookout area!