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Southern Coast

Swimming, surfing, sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, canoeing, kayaking, jet skiing, boating, snorkeling and offshore diving are year-round options on the Southern Coast of North Carolina.  Historic sites, festivals, arts and attractions are also abundant throughout this region.  

The communities of the Southern Coast offer their own unique histories for visitors to explore.  From the historic Wilmington riverfront  to famous sites like Fort Fisher, the USS Battleship North Carolina, Poplar Grove Plantation, Orton Plantation, Liberty Hall Plantation, Jacksonville USO, the Missiles and More Museum, and many more! 

Like its northern and central coast neighbors, the Southern Coast will not disappoint in terms of beaches, rivers and lakes, and fine golf courses.  Visitors and residents alike will find something for everyone.  

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COUNTIES & CITIES

Counties: The Southern Coast area consists of Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow, and Pender counties.

Bladen County

In 2000, there were 32,278 people residing in Bladen. The racial makeup of the county was 57.22% White, 37.91% Black or African American, 2.04% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.97% from other races, and 0.73% from two or more races. 3.71% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race. The median income for a household in the county was $26,877, and the median income for a family was $33,974. The per capita income for the county was $14,735.

Bladen County is the third largest county in North Carolina, with 879 square miles. Bladenboro, Butters, Clarkton, Dublin, East Arcadia, Elizabethtown, Kelly, Tar Heel, White Lake, and White Oak are located in Bladen.

White Lake, located just seven miles from Elizabethtown, is a true phenomenon of nature, a Carolina Bay with 1120 acres of spring-fed fresh water, a white sandy bottom and lots of safe beaches.  White Lake is one of the most popular summer resorts in the Southeastern U.S.

Other area attractions include Jones Lake and Singletary Lake State Parks, and Bladen Lakes Educational State Forest.  All of which provide numerous opportunities for swimming, boating, camping, hiking, fishing and golf.

Brunswick County

As of the census of 2000, there were 73,143 people residing in the county.  The racial makeup of the county was 82.30% White, 14.38% Black or African American, 0.68% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.32% from other races, and 1.01% from two or more races. 2.68% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.  The median income for a household in the county was $35,888, and the median income for a family was $42,037. The per capita income for the county was $19,857.

The islands and beaches of Brunswick County are a popular summer retreat.  Many visitors return every year to enjoy their charm and solitude.  Bald Head Island, Belville, Boiling Spring Lakes, Bolivia, Calabash, Carolina Shores, Caswell Beach, Holden Beach, Leland, Navassa, Northwest, Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Sandy Creek, Shallotte, Southport, St. James, Sunset Beach, Varnamtown, and Winnabow are the cities and towns of Brunswick County.

Bald Head Island takes life at a slower pace.  Accessible only by ferry, cars are not allowed.  The 173 or so residents all drive modified golf carts to get around.  The small town gained fame as the location for the movie, Weekend at Bernies.

Calabash is known for its distinctive style of fried seafood, known as "calabash style." The "Seafood Capital of the World" boasts several seafood restaurants in this town of 711 residents.

Oakland Island is a popular summer destination despite being almost wiped out by several hurricanes over the years.  With a main industry of tourism, this town of roughly 6,500 residents sees their summer population swell to 30,000 40,000.

Southport is another popular spot with Hollywood.  In fact, the television shows "Dawson's Creek" and "Spies" and the movies "I Know What You Did Last Summer," "Summer Catch," and "A Walk to Remember," have all been filmed in Southport.    It is also the proposed location for the North Carolina International Port which is scheduled to be completed between 2014 and 2016.

Columbus County

According to the census of 2000, there were 54,749 people residing in the county.  The racial makeup of the county was 63.45% White, 30.93% Black or African American, 3.12% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.48% from other races, and 0.77% from two or more races. 2.32% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race. The median income for a household in the county was $26,805, and the median income for a family was $33,849. The per capita income for the county was $14,415.

The following communities are located in Columbus County: Boardman, Bolton, Brunswick, Cerro Gordo, Chadbourn, Fair Bluff, Lake Waccamaw, Sandyfield, Tabor City, and Whiteville.

Lake Waccamaw is the largest of the natural Carolina Bay Lakes with a total surface area of 8,936 acres. The Lake is estimated to be 250,000 years old. The water is dark in color because of the organic matter from the decaying vegetation of the swamps that feed the Lake. It also contains some species, such as the Waccamaw Silverside , that are native only to Lake Waccamaw.

Columbus County loves its festivals.  Strawberries have been celebrated in Chadbourn for nearly three-quarters of a century. It is home to the North Carolina Strawberry Festival which is the longest running agricultural festival in the state.  Fair Bluff is home to the Southeastern North Carolina Watermelon Festival. Tabor City, once known as the Yam Capital of the World, pays tribute to the areas sweet potato crop with the annual North Carolina Yam Festival.  The county seat of Whiteville is home to the North Carolina Pecan Harvest Festival and the peculiar Fire Ant Festival.

Duplin County

In 2000, there were 49,063 people residing in the county. The racial makeup of the county was 58.67% White, 28.94% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 10.87% from other races, and 1.06% from two or more races. 15.14% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.  The median income for a household in the county was $29,890, and the median income for a family was $34,760. The per capita income for the county was $14,499.

Duplin County is the ninth largest county in the state in land area, 819 square miles. Cities and towns within Duplin County include:  Beulaville, Calypso, Faison, Greenevers, Harrells, Kenansville, Magnolia, Rose Hill, Teachey, Wallace, and Warsaw.

The county is headquarters to several agricultural, livestock, textiles and manufacturing businesses such as Murphy-Brown's Company, Inc., Carolinas Turkeys, House of Raeford, and Guilford Mills, Inc. 

New Hanover County

There were 160,307 people residing in New Hanover County according to the 2000 census. The racial makeup of the county was 79.91% White, 16.97% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.79% from other races, and 1.05% from two or more races. 2.04% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.  The median income for a household in the county was $40,172, and the median income for a family was $50,861. The per capita income for the county was $23,123.

The county is divided into the following cities, townships, and designated census areas: Cape Fear, Carolina Beach, Federal Point, Harnett, Kure Beach, Masonboro, Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Bayshore, Castle Hayne, Hightsville, Kings Grant, Kirkland, Masonboro, Murraysville, Myrtle Grove, Ogden, Sea Breeze, Seagate, Silver Lake, Skippers Corner, and Wrightsboro.

Wilmington main tourist attraction is its historic downtown.  However, its approximately 75,000 residents appreciate that its bustling business center is also only minutes away from nearby beaches.  Its residents have the unique advantage of living nestled between a river and the ocean.

Wrightsville Beach is known for the beauty of its houses, which are considered to be top examples of contemporary beach architecture. Over recent years, many of the older, more primitive beach cottages, have been renovated or replaced. Property values have skyrocketed with the constantly occurring construction, renewal, and renovation on the beach.  Some of Wrightsville's finest properties range in price from $800,000 to several millions dollars.

Onslow County

There were 150,355 people residing in the county in 2000. The racial makeup of the county was 72.06% White, 18.48% Black or African American, 0.74% Native American, 1.68% Asian, 0.19% Pacific Islander, 3.62% from other races, and 3.22% from two or more races. 7.25% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.  The median income for a household in the county was $33,756, and the median income for a family was $36,692. The per capita income for the county was $14,853.

Jacksonville, Richlands, Sneads Ferry, Swansboro, White Oak, Half Moon, Holly Ridge, Jacksonville, North Topsail Beach, Piney Green, Pumpkin Center, Richlands, Sneads Ferry, Surf City, and Swansboro are communities located in Onslow County.

Located 40 minutes from Wilmington and 15 minutes from the Atlantic Coastal Waterway is the county seat of Jacksonville.  Over 66,000 people call Jacksonville home including the residents of the U.S. Marine Corps Camp Lejeune and the New River Air Station.

Historic Swansboro is a picturesque village and port on the White Oak River. The town has a rich history which spans both the Colonial and Civil War periods. The Bicentennial Park on the waterfront features a statue of local hero, Otway Burns, a privateer and builder of the first steamboat constructed in North Carolina.

Pender County

In 2000, there were 41,082 people living in Pender County. The racial makeup of the county was 72.74% White, 23.58% Black or African American, 0.49% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.03% from other races, and 0.94% from two or more races. 3.64% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race. The median income for a household in the county was $35,902, and the median income for a family was $41,633. The per capita income for the county was $17,882.

Atkinson, Burgaw, Hampstead, St. Helena, Topsail Beach, and Watha are located in Pender County.  Burgaw, the county seat is located 25 miles north of Wilmington and possesses "small-town charm", and good old fashioned Southern hospitality.  Because of lower taxes and inexpensive property, Hampstead is being billed as an up-and-coming place to live.  Many retirees from places such as Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey now call the village home.  It is also home to four of the top golf courses in southeastern North Carolina: Castle Bay Golf Club, Olde Point Golf Club, Belvedere Plantation Golf Club, and Topsail Greens Golf Club.


 



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