Things to Do in North Carolina: Southport

Jason Frye
| February 18, 2024 | 4 Minute Read
A pier at sunset. The City of Southport, Department of Community Relations

Whether you drop in for a weekend or spend a week in this quaint seaside town, you won’t have to look far to find something to do in Southport, North Carolina.


Southport Waterfront Park

It seems every sunset’s a memorable one here by the water. You can feast your eyes from Whittler’s Bench in the Southport Waterfront Park (where Howe Street meets Bay Street by the Cape Fear River), the lawn of Fort Johnston, the Southport Fishing Pier (above), a waterside restaurant like Provision Company, or the gazebo at the end of the Southport Historic Riverwalk Marsh Walking Bridge and Gazebo.

A cannon rests in front of the Fort Johnston Visitor Center, a large brick building. The City of Southport, Department of Community Relations

Fort Johnston-Southport Museum

Make your first stop the Fort Johnston-Southport Museum and Visitor Center (above), a former British Fort built in 1749. Here you’ll learn about the founding of Smithville—now Southport—get an overview of the town’s history, and chat with friendly volunteers happy to share their favorite places to catch the sunset, grab a bite or while away the hours.

Walking tours

Five “free roam tours”—self-guided jaunts around town—utilize an app to guide you around Southport to explore historic homes, churches, monuments and markers; sites important to the area’s African American heritage; and even filming locations from Safe Haven (one of many movies filmed here). Each of the five tours on offer will lead you all over town; as you’re exploring, pop into one of the galleries, antique stores and boutiques on your route.


Streat Side

Grab a bite to eat from Streat Side, a takeaway joint serving Latin-inspired bowls, quesadillas and tostadas; take yours down to Waterfront Park or around the corner to Franklin Square Park and dine al fresco.

A sauce-covered steak plated with citrus garnish Jenna Fahey

Fizzy Jane’s

If you’d rather dine indoors, try Fizzy Jane’s (above), where the upscale menu focuses on sharable starters and entrées ranging from surf and turf to crab stuffed mahi mahi to the steak roast. For a special treat, try the Fish of the Day or Wild Game entrees, fresh and masterfully prepared by the chef.

Exterior view of hotel with grass and parking lot in foreground. Marriott

Fairfield Inn & Suites Southport

There are several places to stay in Southport, from historic homes turned B&Bs to inns with views of the Cape Fear River to AAA Diamond award winners. AAA Three Diamond recipient Fairfield Inn & Suites Southport (above) offers a stylish, affordable stay (where you can earn or spend some Marriott Bonvoy points) a short drive from the heart of downtown.

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