Southport North Carolina

nc towns
and beaches

alphabetical listing


ATLANTIC BEACH

 

AVON BEACH

 

BALDHEAD ISLAND

 

BEAUFORT

 

BUXTON

 

CALABASH

 

CAROLINA BEACH

 

CAROVA

 

CASWELL BEACH

 

CEDAR ISLAND

 

COROLLA BEACH

 

DUCK

 

EMERALD ISLE

 

FORT FISHER

 

FRISCO

 

HAMMOCKS BEACH

 

HATTERAS

 

HOLDEN BEACH

 

INDIAN BEACH

 

KILL DEVIL HILLS

 

KITTY HAWK

 

KURE BEACH

 

NAGS HEAD

 

NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH

 

OAK ISLAND

 

OCEAN ISLE BEACH

 

OCRACOKE

 

PEA ISLAND

 

PINE KNOLL SHORES

 

ROANOKE ISLAND

 

RODANTHE

 

SALVO

 

SANDERLING

 

SHALLOTTE

 

SOUTHERN SHORES

 

SOUTHPORT

 

SUNSET BEACH

 

SURF CITY

 

TOPSAIL BEACH

 

TOPSAIL ISLAND

 

WAVES

 

WILMINGTON

 

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH

 

Privacy Policy

welcome to southport nc

Southport on the Lower Cape Fear Region was explored in the 1521 and again in 1526 by the Spanish. They chose to move on, due to poor soil and lack of adequate fresh water supplies. The first settlement in the area, Brunswick Town, was located further up the Cape Fear River. Fort Johnston was built at the mouth of the river between 1745 and 1754 to protect the upriver settlements and provide quarantine service for incoming seamen. A small community of river pilots, traders, and fishermen sprang up around the fort.

 

In 1792, Joshua Potts requested that the NC General Assembly commission the town. The town was originally named Smithville, after Benjamin Smith, who had served under General George Washington in the Revolutionary War. He later became Governor of North Carolina. Smithville grew as a fishing village and military town --because of its strategic location, Fort Johnston was active in every United States war effort.

It also became a popular summer resort, due to the steady sea breezes. In 1795, the town began observing Independence Day. It now host the Official North Carolina 4th of July celebration. Smithville became the county seat of Brunswick County in 1808. (The county seat was moved to Bolivia in 1975.) After the Civil War, businessmen tried to create a major southern port here by combining river transportation and railroads. The name Southport was chosen in 1887 as part of that promotional effort.

 

Though the town never became a major port city, it did gain telegraph service and a coaling dock for steamships. Southport was on the river steamer routes until 1925. Railroads did serve the town from 1911 until World War II.

 

Several marinas in the area cater to the dock and dry lift boat enthusiasts and their services spill over to non-boaters. Coastal cruisers come by car, boat or by plane to this quaint town. There is a small airport for private planes to land. Nearby Wilmington offers a larger airport (ILM) servicing the southeastern NC region.

 

Southport has always attracted sailors, the earliest visiting the area in 1524 and 1526 were French and Spanish explorers. The first European vessel constructed in the New World was built on these banks of the lower Cape Fear River. The town still reaches out to ocean going vessels and Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) cruisers. The River Pilot's Tower stands on Bay Street looking over the mouth or the river, providing pilot services to ocean going ships traveling the Cape Fear. The town offers one free transient spot at the end of the dock in the town harbor.

 

Now an influx of older folks looking for relaxation and retirement opportunities as well as young people who wish to escape the stress and traffic of large city living. Children of Southport no longer move away on graduation but stay to work in the community and start their own businesses. At one time the fishing industry and summer restaurants provided the only work for the young.

 

When you get tired of looking and shopping go down to the waterfront and rock in a swing across from the Whittlers' Bench. Listen to locals talk about fishing and politics and watch the boats and gulls. Browsing for a home, summer cottage or vacation stay will take determination to narrow your scope because there are so many options.

Link to Ferry Schedule http://www.ncdot.org/transit/ferry/routes/

In 1966 the NC Department of Transportation located the landing for the Fort Fisher Ferry nearby. Tucked away just below Wilmington and the mouth of the Cape Fear River and just 45 minutes or so above the South Carolina state line you'll find Southport. Centuries of boating men and women have left their mark on this village. If you aren't in a hurry, come by and explore it. Stede Bonnet, the Gentleman Pirate, was repairing his vessel in a nearby creek when he was captured. I venture to say if you stop here for a day, you too will be captured by the charm and visitors' welcome attitude.

 

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 though town and live oak trees, around corners, through graveyards - three centuries of history. Several movies have been filmed here. ''Crimes of the Heart'', starring Diane Keaton, Jessica Lang and Sissy Spacek was filmed at the Northrop House.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Carolina Coastal Living 2014