The Wayback Machine -
Southport " The Jewel of The Cape Fear Coast"

SOAR is a non-profit, no-kill, animal rescue shelter. It accommodates lost, abandoned and injured dogs and cats, giving our animal friends a chance at life, an opportunity to be loved, and hopefully a new and loving adoptive family. We provide safe shelter, medical treatment, healthy food, love, and daily care to cats and dogs.
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The Indian Trail Tree in Keziah Memorial Park is estimated to be over 800 years old and was used by the Cape Fear area Indians.

Smithfield cemetery

Southport is located between wilmington and Myrtle Beach

Our Location couldn't be better. Southport is 5 minutes from Oak Island and Caswell Beach, 10 minutes from St James , 15 minutes (via ferry or private boat) to Bald Head Island, and 20 minutes to Holden Beach & Ocean Isle. Airports are 30 minutes north and south, as Southport is equidistant from historic Wilmington, N.C. (25 minutes north), and the entertainment, dining and golf capital of the world, Myrtle Beach, S.C. (40 minutes south). Southport is located in the southern part of Brunswick County via US Highway 17 to Highways 87 and 211.
View a live cam of Oak Island beach
Imagine a lazy afternoon spent strolling the beach in search of the perfect shell, the glimpse of a dolphin in the water or watching the setting sun melt into the ocean at twilight. Oak Island can make these images become a reality. Along 8 miles of pristine shoreline, this island offers countless opportunities for unwinding.

Guests have a variety of comfortable accommodations, including motels, roomy condominiums, rustic beachfront cottages or more modern rental homes. Oak Island is home to several championship golf courses and free tennis as well.

The island provides the total resort experience. Watersports, golf, miniature golf, a water slide, 3 piers and deep sea fishing are only a few of the attractions that make Oak Island a popular but quiet vacation destination, life on the Island is a balance between the calm seclusion of the beaches and the easy proximity to the mainland entertainment and recreation.

There are many things to do at, and around, this charming beach community including:

Oak Island boasts 30 golf courses within 30 minutes! Watch for Brunswick County to become the golf capital of the coast. Several area courses include: The Gauntlet, The Players Course and The Members Course all at St. James Plantation; the Freddie Couples course; Carolina National at Winding River Plantation; Lions Paw and Panther Run at Ocean Ridge Plantation; The Pearl; Oak Island Golf Course.

Boating, Fishing, & Beaches
Boating - For both the sail or power enthusiast, the beautiful Cape Fear and Lockwood Folly Rivers, Intracoastal Waterway, and the Atlantic Ocean are available for boaters.

Offshore - Charter and private boats take you to your prize catch, including marlin, sailfish, dolphin, king and spanish mackerel, wahoo, bluefish and more.

Inland waters - Fishing, crabbing, shrimping and clamming are abundant in tidal creeks and along the Intracoastal Waterway.


Southport Lifestyle

A quaint fishing village on the mouth of the Cape Fear River, Southport is place you come to visit and end up never wanting to leave. Beautiful Victorian-style homes grace the sidewalk-lined streets under huge sweeping oak trees, hundreds of years old. Cool ocean breezes keep temperatures mild year round. And Southport’s midway point between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach make it close to all of the action, yet with an ambiance that feels worlds away.

Self-guided walking tours provide a wealth of discovery. Stroll down Moore Street and visit the many colorful gift shops, art galleries and antique dealerships. Stop and rest at Waterfront Park where you may see huge cargo ships making their way up the Cape Fear River to the port city of Wilmington. Enjoy fresh seafood overlooking the Southport Yacht Basin and Marina where sailing vessels stop on their way along the Inter-coastal waterway.

The many historic sites like the old Southport Jail, St. Philips Episcopal Church and Smithfield cemetery are all easily accessible on foot. You can also learn about the colorful history of Southport and real life legends of the famous pirate Stede Bonnet at the Southport Maritime Museum. The Southport Visitor Center provides maps, brochures and self-guided walking tours.

Just walking underneath the huge sprawling oak trees that line the avenues leading to beautiful historic homes takes you back to a gentler, friendlier period of time. Although a laid back lifestyle exists, Southport is a bustling city.
Southport has lot's of antique shops, historic sites, the Southport Maritime Museum, wonderfully diverse restaurants, art galleries and relaxing parks. The most popular park in Southport is Waterfront Park. From the park you can watch large transoceanic ships from every country pass on their way up the Cape Fear River to the State Ports, creating remarkable photographic opportunities. Southport is so photogenic that a number of motion pictures and TV films have been made here.

To truly understand the history and to experience Southport's touch, one must pay a visit to our town. Begin your visit at the Southport 2005 Visitor's Center, where maps, brochures and self-guided walking tours can be found. Just around the corner is the Southport Maritime Museum, where visitors can travel through Southport's maritime history. Take time out from sight-seeing to enjoy Southport's historic business district. The many antique and fine shops along Howe and Moore Streets give visitors a chance to walk and browse at their leisure. Also, be sure to walk along the Southport Riverwalk and visit the shops around the Yacht Basin and near the Marina.

Finally, take time to enjoy wonderful local food at the many restaurants around town and pick up some fresh seafood from the fish houses along the Yacht Basin.

Southport History

The first Spanish explorers to the region arrived in 1521, but it was further up the Cape Fear River that the first settlement, Brunswick Town was formed in the mid-1700s. Between 1745 and 1754 Fort Johnson was built as quarantine service for incoming seamen and to protect settlements further up the river. Located at the mouth of the Cape Fear, Fort Johnson attracted a small community of river pilots and fishermen and the area began to thrive.

In 1792, the NC General Assembly, at the request of Joshua Potts, commissioned a new township and what is now known as Southport was born. The new town was originally named Smithville, after Benjamin Smith who served under George Washington in the revolutionary war. Cool summer breezes soon made Smithville a popular summer resort, and its strategic location made Fort Johnston important in every United States war. In 1808, Smithville became the county seat of Brunswick County.

After the Civil War, entrepreneurial and visionary businessmen saw opportunity to create a major southern port city by combining the city’s river transportation with the new railroad system which was changing the face of the United States. As part of their strategy, Smithville was renamed Southport in 1887. Telegraph service and a coaling dock for steamships were added. Although Southport never became the major port city they dreamed of, railroads served the town from 1911 to World War II and it was on the river steamer routes until 1925.


The North Carolina Maritime Museum's
North Carolina Maritime Museum, Inc., is the museum's private non-profit support group. It provides supplemental financial support to N.C. Maritime Museum sites in Beaufort, on Roanoke Island, and at Southport, through a membership/donation program and logistical support through its elected board of directors.
Visit the Museum:-}