Quaint, quiet and historic, all aptly describe the fishing town of Southport. Located at the mouth of the Cape Fear River on the Atlantic Ocean, Southport was an ideal location for riverboat captains who settled there. Southport was originally incorporated in 1792 as Smithville named for North Carolina Governor Benjamin Smith, who served valiantly under George Washington in the Revolutionary War. Its citizens changed its name to Southport in 1887 in hopes of attracting a port but it went further upstream to Wilmington. Southport retains much of its old-world charm today. This historic charm captivates you as you walk under a canopy of 200 year old live oak tress and past majestic Victorian century homes which belonged to those riverboat captains and perhaps a pirate or two who made their homes in Southport because of the pirate-friendly local governments in the hay-day of piracy. The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Southport chronicles the exploits of many of those pirates.
Southport features Fort Johnston, a Civil War military post, as well as great views of Old Baldy Lighthouse on Bald Head Island and Oak Island Lighthouse. Legend has it that some of the historic homes and businesses in Southport are still inhabited by spirits from the past. In fact, you can take an historic walking tour along the streets of Southport and learn all about the city’s rich history. You will also want to see various set locations for popular TV shows and movies.
Southport is home to one of the finest small hospitals in the region J.A. Dosher Memorial Hospital. The hospital’s reputation draws medical professionals from across the county to practice in the area, providing residents some of the best health care in Southeast North Carolina.
Southport offers sailors and boaters a safe haven through the Southport Marina, Old Yacht Basin and City Pier.
Southport is the quintessential small Southern town, right down to its five block, tree lined commercial district, home to local businesses, galleries and antique shops, and restaurants.
Rand McNally ranked Southport as one of the best places in the country to retire. Southport was named the happiest coastal town in the US and the best place to celebrate 4th of July. Whether for retirement, vacation or permanent full time lifestyle, Southport is attractive to all ages. From Historic homes that the residents have made preserving their rich history a priority, to brand new homes in picturesque developments, to marina or marsh front condos and homes, Southport offers choices of small town Southern living with ocean beaches and plenty of golf nearby.