USA TODAY Readers Choose Wilmington as America’s Best Riverfront

WILMINGTON, N.C. -- The Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau [CVB] joined with the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County along its award-winning riverfront to announce that Wilmington, North Carolina has been voted as America’s Best Riverfront in the 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest sponsored by USA TODAY. Wilmington, North Carolina’s new #1 ranking among USA TODAY’s 10Best - Best American Riverfronts tops a growing list of accolades bestowed upon the destination in recent months. This prestigious 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award shines a spotlight on Wilmington’s vibrant riverfront with more than 200 shops, restaurants, attractions, tours and cruises within easy walking distance.

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According to Libby McMillan, content manager for USA TODAY’s 10Best, this was one of their largest contests to date and the race between Wilmington (#1) and Spokane (#2) was a tight one.  Wilmington received 33% of the total votes and Spokane received 28% of the total votes. The two competitors shared an amazing 61% of all votes over the four-week voting period. To see the full list of winners, visit www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-american-riverfront/.

Nominees were chosen by a panel of relevant experts which include a combination of editors from USA TODAY; editors from USA TODAY 10Best.com; relevant expert contributors; and sources for both these media and other Gannett properties. The nomination panel for each award category is displayed on its associated contest page.  All voting is digital and the 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest is accessible on the 10Best.com website. 10Best receives about 700,000 page views per month.

“With this designation, the rest of the country will learn what we already know – Wilmington has the best Riverfront in the United States and remains our most popular tourist attraction. The city is proud of the investment we have made in this important public amenity and today’s national designation shows why it’s so important to our community,” said Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo.

“To have our riverfront ranked #1 Best American Riverfront is an exciting achievement that will further advance our tourism and hospitality industry and overall economic development efforts,” said Commissioner Jonathan Barfield, Jr.  “And I applaud the City of Wilmington’s leadership for their investment and visionary leadership.” Barfield added.

“Visitors of Wilmington and its island beaches know that our riverfront is a special place for recreation, dining, shopping and enjoying natural beauty. Visitor surveys consistently prove that Wilmington’s historic river district is among our two key ‘attractors’—the other being our island beaches, located just minutes away,” states Kim Hufham, president/CEO of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority. “From a tourism standpoint, the importance of a national designation such as this cannot be overstated. We are grateful to our visitors and residents for the roles they played in making this dream designation of ‘America’s Best Riverfront’ a reality for Wilmington, North Carolina.”

From its historic river district to its island beaches, Wilmington, North Carolina is flowing with a vibrant attitude and a warm energy. Wilmington’s city is concentrated in a walkable river district with an eclectic mix of culture in a progressive, yet historic setting. Wilmington’s coastline is filled with down-to-earth people, natural beauty and unlimited vacation choices. The pulse and progressive pace of this coastal community free you to be spontaneous… and see where the water takes you.

Wilmington’s riverfront is renowned for its breathtaking Cape Fear River sunsets and views of the Battleship North Carolina. As a focal point of Wilmington’s National Register Historic District, the riverfront also serves as a stunning backdrop to dozens of festivals and events, as well as film and television productions such as “Iron Man 3,” “We’re the Millers,” several Nicholas Sparks films, and  TV’s “Sleepy Hollow,” “Under the Dome,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “One Tree Hill,” “Matlock” and more. Visitors can experience Wilmington’s historic river district by horse-drawn carriage, Segway, riverboat cruises, walking and trolley tours. The 1.75-mile wood-plank Riverwalk hosts a weekly farmer’s market and concerts, as well as popular annual events such as the North Carolina Azalea Festival in April, Riverfest in October and dozens more throughout the year.

Wilmington and its island beaches offer one destination with four unique settings. Wilmington is an easy drive from I-95 via I-40 and US74. Prefer to fly? The Wilmington International Airport (ILM) is located only 10 minutes from the river and 20 minutes from the beach. ILM provides flight options through Delta and American Airlines/US Airways. ILM offers many non-stop flights to popular destinations within the U.S. and is only one stop away from the world.

For a free official Visitors Guide to Wilmington, North Carolina and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach, please call 1-866-266-9690 or visit the website www.GoWilmingtonAndBeaches.com. 

The New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority d/b/a Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization of New Hanover County that stimulates economic development through the promotion of travel and tourism.