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Airlie Gardens picture in Wilmington, NC
Brett Cottrell / Photo Courtesy of New Hanover County

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  • Parks and Gardens Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.4
Overall
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  • Value
    4.0
  • Facilities
    4.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

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Wilmington's 67-acre Airlie Gardens are enchanting. Not only do the gardens feature the flora and fauna native to this corner of North Carolina, they also contain a butterfly house and a tangle of footpaths ideal for a walk through the woods. Plus, a roster of special events further adds to Airlie's allure: For instance, in December, the gardens host a monthlong festival of lights; in the summer, there are concerts every other Friday. 

A recent visitor to Airlie Gardens says that its oak trees are among the most beautiful she's ever seen. Many travelers also highly recommend visiting when the gardens are hung with twinkle lights at Christmastime. Another great time to visit is during the spring, when the garden's many flowers are in bloom. 

From March to December, the Airlie Gardens are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In January and February, the gardens are open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission to the gardens costs $9 for adults, $5 for military, and $3 for kids between the ages of 4 and 12. Kids 3 and younger get in for free. You'll find the gardens on the banks of Bradley Creek about 10 miles east of the historic district; on-site parking is available. For more information, visit the Airlie Gardens' website

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#1 Riverwalk No trip to Wilmington is complete without a stroll along its mile-long Riverwalk. This wooden boardwalk that borders Cape Fear River is lined with popular restaurants and bars – and punctuated ... Read more » P A Thompson / Getty Images

#2 Historic District The 230-plus blocks that comprise Wilmington's historic district are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and they contain everything from mansions to museums, as well as a ... Read more » Pgiam / Getty Images

#3 Wrightsville Beach Wrightsville Beach is located just 10 miles east of the Historic District, and it receives high praise for its wide ribbon of sand, which is easily accessible and lined by ... Read more » Chad_Talton / Getty Images

#4 Airlie Gardens Wilmington's 67-acre Airlie Gardens are enchanting. Not only do the gardens feature the flora and fauna native to this corner of North Carolina, they also contain a butterfly house ... Read more » Brett Cottrell / Photo Courtesy of New Hanover County

#5 Battleship North Carolina Back when Battleship North Carolina was commissioned in 1941, the ship was thought of as "the world's greatest sea weapon," and it turned out to be just that by ... Read more » red_moon_rise / Getty Images

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Riverwalk picture in Wilmington, NC
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Airlie Gardens picture in Wilmington, NC
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Along Cape Fear River, visitors can stretch their legs on the one-mile Riverwalk. P A Thompson / Getty Images

The Bellamy Mansion Museum is among a number of antebellum properties in Wilmington's Historic District Pgiam / Getty Images

Many visitors to Wilmington spend a day or two at nearby Wrightsville Beach. Chad_Talton / Getty Images

The Airlie Gardens feature 67 acres worth of North Carolina flora.  Brett Cottrell / Photo Courtesy of New Hanover County

This battleship glided through the Pacific Ocean and fought a number of offensives during World War II. These days, it's docked in Wilmington and open for tours year-round. red_moon_rise / Getty Images

The tour guides at the Bellamy Mansion Museum make its 22 rooms come alive, with stories about the home's architecture and Bellamy family. Pgiam / Getty Images

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