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This July 4th Experience A Patriotic Destination In A Classic Coastal Setting

June 10, 2013 - Wilmington, NC - Are you, like many Americans, torn between a patriotic destination and a classic beach experience for your summer vacation? It's a familiar dilemma, especially as July 4th approaches. Get the best of both worlds when you visit Wilmington, North Carolina's historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach. In recent years, Coastal Living magazine identified Wilmington, North Carolina (home to the Battleship North Carolina WWII memorial) among its "Top Spots to Celebrate the Fourth." There are many ways to celebrate our nation's independence with patriotic happenings from the river to the sea. Here's a sampling:

JULY 2nd: N.C. SYMPHONY PRESENTS “STARS & STRIPES”. 7:30 p.m. Patriotic highlights & symphonic favorites. Admission charge. Kenan Auditorium, UNC-Wilmington; 910-962-3500; www.ncsymphony.org.

JULY 3rd: PLEASURE ISLAND FIREWORKS. Enjoy live music (6:00-9:00 p.m.) and oceanfront fireworks (9:00 p.m.) on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. While you’re on the island, enjoy boardwalk amusements and rides; see the rare Venus Flytrap at Carolina Beach State Park; rent a kayak; learn to surf; visit the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher; explore Civil War history at Fort Fisher Historic Site. Watch a free family movie on Sunday evening at Carolina Beach Lake or enjoy live music at the new Kure Beach Ocean Front Park. 910-458-8434; www.visitcarolinabeachnc.com.

JULY 3rd: MOONLIGHT FAMILY DANCE CRUISE WITH FIREWORKS. Watch the fireworks show over Carolina Beach from the decks of the Royal Winner Princess II. Boards at 8:30 p.m.; returns at 10:45 p.m. Admission charge; prepaid reservations. Carolina Beach Marina, Carolina Beach. 910-458-5356; www.winnerboats.com.

JULY 4th: JULY 4th RIVERFRONT CELEBRATION & BATTLESHIP BLAST. The riverfront celebration features live music by Heart & Soul (5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.). At 9:05 p.m., the 17th Annual BATTLESHIP BLAST, among the largest choreographed fireworks display in the Carolinas, will explode over the Battleship North Carolina (a WWII battleship memorial) and the Cape Fear River. The Battleship closes at 6:00 p.m. to prepare for this extraordinary event. Best view of fireworks is from Downtown. For details about fireworks: www.battleshipnc.com.

JULY 4th: FAMILY INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION. The Children’s Museum of Wilmington extends hours until 8:00 p.m. to enjoy patriotic activities, followed by riverfront fireworks. Order dinner or bring a picnic. Special activities beginning at 5:00 p.m. include: air rocket challenge, Sharpie fireworks, sound sandwich noisemakers, soda explosion experiments. Admission charge. Military personnel (with I.D.) and immediate family members receive 50% off admission today. Children’s Museum of Wilmington, Downtown Wilmington. 910-254-3534; www.playwilmington.org.

JULY 4th: HENRIETTA III RIVERBOAT. Enjoy a buffet dinner and great view of the Battleship Blast fireworks over the Cape Fear River. Admission charge. Pre-paid reservations required. Boarding begins at 6:00 p.m.; departs 6:30 p.m. from riverfront at Water and Dock streets, Downtown Wilmington. 800-676-0162 or 910-343-1611; www.cfrboats.com

JULY 4th: WILMINGTON WATER TOURS. 3-hour sunset cruise with rum punch and buffet dinner, followed by fireworks over the Battleship. Boards 6:30 p.m., departs 7:00 p.m. Advance reservations. www.wilmingtonwatertours.net.

JULY 4th: WINNER PARTY BOAT CRUISE. Royal Winner Princess II boards 6:30 p.m.; departs 7:00 p.m. from Carolina Beach Marina for a dinner cruise to see Southport’s July 4th fireworks show. Admission charge. Pre-paid reservations required. Carolina Beach Marina, Carolina Beach. 910-458-5356; www.winnerboats.com.

JULY 4th: INDEPENDENCE DAY MUSIC ON THE BOARDWALK. Enjoy a free concert by the Funk Orchestra (funkadelic fun, 6:00-9:00 p.m.). Free. Carolina Beach Boardwalk. 910-458-8434; www.visitcarolinabeachnc.com.

JULY 4th: INDEPENDENCE DAY MUSIC IN THE PARK. Music by Machine Gun (rock, 4-7 p.m.). Free. Kure Beach Oceanfront Park. 458-8216; www.townofkurebeach.org/independence-day-music-in-the-park-4-7pm-2013-07-04.aspx

JULY 4th : JAZZ AT THE MANSION. Live jazz on the lawn by the Jeff Sipe Trio (6:00 p.m.). Admission charge. Bellamy Mansion, Wilmington. 910-251-3700-; www.bellamymansion.org.

This July, plan to visit Wilmington, N.C. & Island Beaches, a convenient drive from Raleigh via I-40 and from Charlotte via US 74. For a free Official Visitors Guide for Wilmington, North Carolina’s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach, please call 1-866-266-9690 or email visit@wilmingtonandbeaches.com.



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