There are so many relaxing things to do in Wilmington, NC it makes the perfect destination for a mom-vacation. A trip you take with your girlfriends, all by yourself, or even bring the kids and use our fabulous trick for getting some time all to yourself!
When you take your kids, it's a trip.
When you go on your own, it's a vacation.
We all laugh about that cliche, but what would you say if I told you there was a way you could take your kids AND have real vacation time all to yourself to do whatever YOU want to do??
Last summer, I spent an entire week in Wilmington, NC doing whatever I wanted all day long every single day.
AND I brought the kids with me. This is not a trick:
- No babysitters.
- No grandparents.
- No hotel kid-care.
Just my girls and me, together for an entire week at a lovely hotel right on the beach. Days spent however I wanted. Now that, my friends, is a mom-cation.
How did I do it?
I signed my kids up for surf day camp. YES. Surf camp is a real thing!
You can read my entire review about the best surf camp in North Carolina here.
That means while my girls were off learning how to catch waves and care for our oceans and all its creatures, basically having the time of their lives, I was free for 7 - 8 hours every single day for an entire week to relax at the beach.
Alone. Quietly with my own thoughts. It was heaven.
And at the end of the day, I'd swing by camp to pick up my thoroughly exhausted kids and take them out for dinner.
Then they'd crash in bed super early while I stayed up watching tv or reading my book with a glass of wine.
It was momming at the ocean and I wish it could be my life. Ha!
Now to be fair, my husband was supposed to come with us.
I was looking forward to a lovely romantic getaway for the two of us with bonus full-family time at the end of each day but he had just started a brand new job and was reluctant to use up his limited vacation days so soon after his first day.
So whether you're heading to Wilmington with the whole-family, just your girlfriends, or all alone, you won't want to miss:
The most relaxing things to do in Wilmington, NC:
Step 1: Sign your kids up for surf camp.
Read more about our favorite surf camp here. They have both day-camp and overnight options depending on the age of your kiddos. My girls made memories there that will last their entire lives. So though I'm being snarky about this being a mom-cation week, it really was intended to be a special experience for them.
Step 2: Rent a house on Wrightsville Beach or check out the Shell Island Resort where we stayed.
All the suites are ocean front with balconies and there is both an indoor and an outdoor pool on site. Our room at Shell Island also had a small kitchenette so I was able to make breakfast, lunch, and some dinners during the week to help us save money. The girls were so exhausted after surf camp, I appreciated the on-site restaurants as well.
Wrightsville Beach is just a very short drive to downtown Wilmington. Traffic wasn't bad during the day getting on and off the island and I think it is totally worth reserving by the beach rather than staying in town.
Step 3: The obvious answer to what there is to do in Wilmington is to hang out on the beach. Read a book, watch the waves, go swimming, take a nap. Enjoy a margarita in the middle of the day, just because you can!
Step 4: When you've had enough sunshine, take a drive into downtown Wilmington and shop the adorable local boutiques along the riverfront.
I got swallowed up by the cutest yarn store ever, The Noble Thread. After I took time to pet all the yarns, I selected some hand-dyed yarn to make a small project during the trip. If you haven't tried knitting or crocheting by the beach, you're missing out. So soothing. (The owner also does web orders if you want to check her out here!)
Stroll around the market and you'll find all kinds of cute shops to support--housewares, art shops, clothing and more.
Step 5: Though you're in Wilmington, NC, you can have a lunch that will make you think you are in Paris, France.
I enjoyed the Most Delicious Crab Salad EVER at Le Catalan right on the historic riverwalk in Wilmington. You can sit at one of the adorable bistro chairs under the shady awning out front and watch the water as you sip on a glass of wine.
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While the girls are busy surfing, I took myself out to lunch at a little local riverfront French cafe, Le Catalan. Their crab salad was so good I had to hold myself back from licking my plate. Instead I used every crumb of that warm crispy baguette to sop up every drop of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I have got to try to recreate this at home!! #beachfood #frenchcafe #visitnc #cltfoodbloggers #peanutblossomtravels #foodblogfeed #feedfeed #wilmington #eatlocal
Step 6: While the kids are occupied at surf camp, treat yourself to ice cream from Kilwin's which is just a short stroll from Le Catalan. What the kids don't know, won't hurt them. Enjoy your frozen treat all by yourself with no one begging for taste. Sometimes the forbidden fruits are the most delicious.
Travel Tips for a Girls' Weekend
Want to head to Wilmington with your girlfriends and leave the kids at home? Simply skip the surf camp portion and the rest of my itinerary works! First time traveling on your own? Don't miss my top 10 tips for women traveling solo.