Wilmington is an old Colonial port city known for shipping, agricultural processing, and flowers. The historic town center and waterfront along the Cape Fear River is interesting and attractive. Due to its historic interest and its location on a peninsula formed by the Cape Fear River on the west and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway on the east, housing costs and cost of living tend to be higher than other small North Carolina cities.
Employment growth is also very strong as more find the area. The area has a healthy mix of old and new economy employers, from International Paper and Louisiana Pacific to GE Nuclear Systems and Corning optical fiber, with a few pharmaceutical and biotech equipment firms in addition. There is a large regional hospital and medical complex. Wilmington is somewhat far from many big-city amenities and services, but the climate is pleasant and residential sections are attractive.
Wilmington is located along the southern Atlantic Coast of North Carolina. Because of the curvature of the coastline, the ocean lies about 5 miles east and about 20 miles south. The surrounding terrain is typical of coastal Carolina, with low-lying, gently rolling land with rivers, creeks, and lakes with considerable swamp and marshland adjoining them. Large wooded areas alternate with cultivated fields.
The maritime location makes the climate unusually mild for its latitude, with daily temperature variations less than many nearby areas. Summers are warm and humid, usually with cool afternoon breezes but without excessive heat. High temperatures of 90 degrees F are reached about 1 day in 3, but 100 degree temps are rare. Cold air from the north invades in winter and doesn’t last, and the season is short and mild. On average, daytime temperatures stay below freezing only once a year. Rainfall is well distributed with most occurring during summer thunderstorms. The area is subject to coastal storms and hurricanes, with high winds, high tides, and heavy rain. Winter rain is more likely to be slow and steady, often lasting 2 to 3 days. Snow accumulation is rare.