One Day In Southport, NC

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From somewhere distant within my northern Illinois home, my phone dinged.

I spun around quickly, trying to place where the sound was coming from before I lost my sense of direction. The robin’s egg blue phone case sat noticeably on the stark white hallway bookshelf, and I double tapped the screen to illuminate the notification- I had received a Facebook message from an old college friend.

It read- “Hey, I’m going to Southport. What should I do?”

A smile crossed my face. “Ahhhh, Southport!”

Memories of living there still make my heart ache even after six years away. Southport, North Carolina is one of those towns where you instantly feel at home, and for me, it was. Technically, I lived about 10 miles away, but that didn’t stop me from venturing into town as often as possible just to have that hometown girl feeling. Southport gives me all the feel-good feelings. From the breathtaking Waterfront Park to the awe-inspiring filming locations sporadically found around town to the classic Southern image of trees covered in Spanish Moss, Southport has it all and beckons you to bathe in its beauty and ocean water.

Giant trees in Southport

Southport is full of giant old trees making it beautifully landscaped!

For me, Southport is ideal. It’s my Stars Hollow.

If you have ever sought to find Stars Hollow, look no further! In fact, I’m not the only one who feels that Southport oozes the charm of this fictional town. The television show Hart of Dixie actually filmed it’s first episode in Southport and later moved to the Stars Hollow set. Fun fact, huh?!

Southport Historic Riverwalk

For a little jaunt, explore the historic riverwalk!

While there isn’t really a quaint, white gazebo in the middle of town, that’s easily forgivable when you find yourself sitting along the shoreline, swinging on a bench, sipping a marvelous cup of Port City Java and watching boats go in and out. Don’t let the fresh scent of ocean mesmerize you too long, though. If you only have one day in Southport, and there’s a lot to see!

So how would I spend my day in Southport?

Well, first off, I would start out on foot. Southport is an excellent town to walk around, and I feel like you experience so much more when you are really connecting with it. Southport features a gorgeous downtown, loaded with adorable little shops, restaurants, and historical buildings.

Port City Java

Coffee and chocolate croissant at PCJ.

Park your car downtown, and spend the day walking around. I would pick a spot near Port City Java, grab a cup of coffee and a chocolate croissant, before walking the two blocks down to Waterfront Park. Then, I would plant myself in one of the green swings, sway in the wind, watch the seagulls fly, the waves crash and the boats pull through.

The swings in Southport

I can’t tell you how many hours I spent on this swing!

Southport’s downtown area and neighborhoods are very walkable!

Once my coffee is drained, I would explore the shops of downtown, visit the Christmas Store, gaze at art in the gallery, and settle in for lunch at Provision or Fishy Fishy.

Provision, Southport NC

Provision, a great place to grab a bite to eat!

Shrimp in Southport

Shrimp in Southport at Provision.

I would also want to visit the beach, but first I would walk the streets a little bit more, perhaps searching for filming locations around town. How many movie sets can you spot while walking around? I’ve found locations from Dawson’s Creek, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Hart of Dixie, A Walk to Remember, Revenge, Under the Dome, and Safe Haven.

For more movies filmed in Southport, visit this site.

Hollywood East

If you are a film buff and really enjoy searching for film locations, venture into Wilmington, a short drive from Southport, and home to the east coast’s Screen Gem Studios. Wilmington has been a filming location for productions such as One Tree Hill, Little Britain USA, Revolution, The Conjuring, Dawson’s Creek, The Crow, Witches of East End, and much, much more.

For a more thorough list of films from throughout the state, including Hunger Games and Dirty Dancing, visit the FilmNC website!

Okay! So once I finished exploring the town, I would locate my car and head to the beach.

While you can easily take a ferry across to Kure Beach or Fort Fisher, my favorite beach to visit near Southport is Caswell Beach and is only a few minutes drive. The ferry is a great way to get to and from Wilmington to explore it’s neighboring beaches though.

Caswell has a nice stretch of shoreline and seems to always provide enough room to stretch out and have privacy. From Caswell, I would plop down into the sand, wrap a blanket around my shoulders, and listen to the waves crash – the perfect ending to exploring my perfect town.

Caswell Beach, Southport NC

Caswell Beach near Southport is a great beach to relax at.

I have literal heart aches writing this article and missing this dream town so much! Have you visited Southport before? How did you spend your time there, and what was your favorite part of the town? I’d love to hear all about your experience in the comments below!

*I wish I had better photographs to share, but I lived there 6 years ago and my camera was really bad quality, plus I had no idea what I was doing then.


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One Day in Southport

My life has been a collage of airlines and exhaustion, and I wouldn't change a thing! I'm a budget traveler, and I adore exploring the world one plane or train ticket at a time!


  • Toni

    November 6, 2017 at 2:33 am

    Ah this was such a good post! Brought back all my memories. I’ve been to Southport many times and found all the locations -namely for Safe Haven which was amazing. I’ve also seen a lot of the places you have and taken the ferry too! Felt like I was in an Ep of Dawson’s creek for sure! I need to return. NC is my fav state!

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