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Two residents having a picnic within Riverlights community in Wilmington, NC

23 May . 2024

A Guide to the Best Parks in Wilmington

Wilmington is in the gorgeous coastal region of the Southeastern United States which puts it at the heart of some ideal weather. Of course, you will never run out of water activities, but there are also acres of planned green space, trails, parks, and boardwalks to enjoy on a nice day.

If you want to explore the best local parks in Wilmington outside of the Riverlights neighborhood, check out some of our favorites!

Long Leaf Park

Long Leaf Park is located in central New Hanover County, a short drive from downtown and UNCW. This park has a lovely garden area with a pond and gazebo that can be reserved for reunions, wedding ceremonies, or photos, as well as an outdoor special event space. A full-size basketball court with lights, four tennis courts, a sand volleyball court, and four little-league basketball courts are among the sports amenities. Long Leaf also has a 1.55-mile paved walking track, playground, a seasonal splash pad, exercise station, and an off-leash dog park. The park hours are from 8am-10pm.

Greenfield Park

Greenfield Park is a 250-acre park located around Greenfield Lake in Downtown Wilmington. The park features 5 miles of walking and biking trails, 2 tennis courts, nature gardens, grills, playgrounds, and plenty of sunny areas to lay out. Other amenities include a boat and kayak rental shop, a skatepark, and live music year-round at the Greenfield Lake Amphitheater. Check out the event calendar to see the upcoming shows.

Carolina Beach State Park

Carolina Beach State Park is located in New Hanover County,  just 18 miles south of Wilmington. The park offers campsites, cabins, and many fishing spots. It is one of the few parks where you can drive onto the beach with a four-wheel drive vehicle, making it the ideal fishing spot. If you visit in the warmer months, you may even catch a glimpse of the loggerhead turtles nesting along the sandy shores. The park is home to the Venus flytrap and a lot of other exotic plants that inhabit the area. There are educational hikes held by the park rangers where visitors can learn more about the plants.

Smith Creek Park

Smith Creek Park is a 1.3-mile paved multipurpose park with picnic tables, a floating dock, and bike trails. Catch and release fishing is allowed here with a valid NC fishing permit. There is also a newly added Park Preserve which has an extra one-mile trail for walking and biking.


Riverlights is also home to many planned parks and green spaces for residents specifically, including The Live Oak Commons at Marina Village. This is one of our favorite shady spaces commonly used for fun events such as afternoon concerts, farmers markets, movies, yoga classes, and much more. If you’d like to learn more about what parks and trails our residents enjoy and the many activities, from bonfires at Ember Park to kayaking at Boat Builder Park, explore more here.

Whatever your plans may be, whether it’s jogging the trails, walking your dog, hiking, biking, or relaxing, all Wilmington parks are unique and a treasure to explore. If you feel like trading the sandy shores for the lush greenery, we hope you visit some of the best parks in Wilmington.