North Carolina’s Hidden Treasure

Visitors

If you’re looking for a unique vacation that’s exhilarating, magical, and filled with beauty, history, and southern charm, come visit our hidden treasure – Southport, North Carolina. Where the river meets the sea.

Once in town, it won’t take long to see why we’re called historic Southport. Visiting the Fort Johnston-Southport Museum & Visitors’ Center, NC Maritime Museum, Old Brunswick County Jail, and the Old Smithville Burying Ground are all great ways to get a sense of how far back our community dates. Many consider our town to be a living museum – a place where history is both preserved and enjoyed.

Our community’s combination of natural beauty and historic charm has caught the attention of Hollywood. Many popular movies and TV shows have been filmed in Southport including Crimes of the Heart, Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven and Steven King’s Under the Dome.

After a day of strolling our tree-lined streets, shopping in our boutiques, and visiting the many sites that make Southport so special, be sure to stop and spend some time at one of our many local restaurants. From fine dining to fun dining, your choices include fresh- caught seafood, steak, salads, hamburgers, ice cream,pastries, and more.

Finally, when the day is done and it is time to rest, you’ll appreciate our wide range of accommodations from national hotel brands to quaint and cozy bed-and-breakfast inns.

Visitor Guides

Come visit our hidden treasure – Southport, North Carolina… where the river meets the sea.

Things To Do

After a day of strolling our tree-lined streets, visit the many sites that make Southport so special.

Find Your Way Around

Once you are in town, it won’t take you long to see why we’re called historic Southport.

See the ‘Reel’ Southport

So slip on some flip-flops and enjoy a leisurely day around the treasured jewel that is Southport.

The City of Southport Tourism

WELCOME TO SOUTHPORT!

We are here to assist you! My name is Randy Jones, Director of Tourism for the City of Southport. Our office is upstairs at the Ft. Johnston-Southport Museum and Visitors’ Center, located at 203 E. Bay Street overlooking the mouth of the Cape Fear.

Our Visitors’ Center Volunteers and I encourage the public to visit anytime.

For your convenience, free Wi-Fi service is offered in downtown Southport.

Our office hours are 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, Monday – Friday.
If we can assist or help you in any way, please call, email or drop by.

Randy Jones
Tourism Director
Cell: (910) 477-1484
Office: (910) 457-7927
randy_jones@southportnc.org

Sharon Venis
Assistant Tourism Director
Office: (910) 457-7927
sharon_venis@southportnc.org

Watch for these

Upcoming Events

Wed 13

Children’s Basketball

November 14 @ 8:00 am - December 16 @ 6:00 pm
Wed 13
Thu 14
Thu 14

Board of Aldermen Meeting

December 14 @ 6:00 pm
Southport Community Building
223 E. Bay Street
Fri 15

FORT JOHNSTON-SOUTHPORT MUSEUM VISITORS’ CENTER

Home of historic Ft. Johnston, North Carolina’s National Treasure

Meet the City of Southport, a historic city with a revered past, a vibrant present and an exciting future. Historic Southport brims with an atmosphere and charm fostered by residents who have cherished and preserved its past. Their love of history is embodied in the beautifully restored homes, churches and public buildings that grace the city’s unique, tree-lined streets.  The Fort Johnston-Southport Museum and Visitors’ Center overlooks the mouth of the Cape Fear, showcasing the history, heritage, culture and the natural beauty Southport has to offer. Our elite team of Southport Ambassadors can provide you with the information you need to make Southport your most enjoyable stop.

The Fort Johnston-Southport Museum and Visitors’ Center, located in the Fort’s Garrison House, overlooks the mouth of the Cape Fear, showcasing the history, heritage, culture and the natural beauty Southport has to offer. The elite team of Southport Ambassadors can provide you with the information you need to make Southport your most enjoyable stop.

Visit our Southport Business Directory for Accommodations, Dining, Shopping, Museums and Tourist Attractions.

Email us to request more information on the City of Southport.

Southport Visitors’ Center Hours:
Monday – Saturday, 10:00 – 4:00
Sunday, 1:00 – 4:00
Tel: (910) 457-7927

The History of Fort Johnston

Fort Johnston was the first fort constructed in the state of North Carolina and named for Provincial Governor Gabriel Johnston. The Fort was built in 1749 by the British to defend the area from the French and Spanish. The abundant natural resources such as tar, pitch, turpentine, and tobacco put a target on this area. Ironically, when the Spaniards did attack in 1748, the Fort’s construction wasn’t finished and finding no one home, the Spaniards went up river and looted Brunswick Town instead.

There were conflicts to come and Fort Johnston would play at least a small role in almost all of them. In 1754, men from Fort Johnston were sent to help fight in the French and Indian Wars. In 1759, they fought against the Cherokee. When the Revolution broke out in 1775, a large group of patriots stormed the Fort and burned most of the structures in defiance of the British. George Washington and his congress supported rebuilding Fort Johnston and in 1795 enough work had been done to allow Southport’s citizens to use it as a meeting place for their first documented Fourth of July celebration.

In 1810, the Fort saw extensive renovations, including the construction of the present day Garrison House. During the Civil War, Confederates occupied the Fort which was the hub for recruitment and training. The Fort also provided some protection to blockade runners. (Confederate cargo ships that smuggled goods past Union ships which blocked waterways.) During this time, the Fort was occasionally called Fort Branch, and Fort Pender, but Fort Johnston would be the only name that stuck.

When the Civil War ended, so did the life of the Fort as a seacoast defense. Since June of 1881, the Fort’s buildings have been variously used by the US Signal Corps, the Weather Bureau (National Weather Service), the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Surveying Corps. In the 1950’s officers from an air rescue unit of the US Air Force stayed here. The Fort was transferred to Sunny Point Military Ocean Terminal in 1955.

The federal government transferred the property to the City of Southport in 2006. The Garrison House of the Fort is the only surviving structure and is now home to the Fort Johnston-Southport Museum and Visitors’ Center, and the Southport Historical Society.

Fort Johnston is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Shopping, Food, Entertainment, Relaxation.

The Ideal Vacation Spot

Southport has so much to offer for both visitors and residents alike. Following is just a partial list of things to do as noted on Trip Advisor® for 2017.

  1. Southport Pier and Riverwalk
  2. Southport Fort Fisher Ferry
  3. North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport
  4. Kayaking and Canoeing at Southport
  5. Fort Johnston, Southport Museum and Visitors Center
  6. Sunset Boat Cruise / Boat Tours from Southport
  7. Silver Coast Winery Tasting Room in Southport
  8. Southport Marina Boating and Fishing at Southport
  9. Franklin Square Gallery / Local Artists
  10. Old Brunswick County Jail Museum
  11. Sightseeing Tours of Southport
  12. Gift & Specialty Shops (13 in all)

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