Southport is also proud of its history. Although the area was explored by the Spanish in the early 1520s and used as a pirate harbor in the early 1700s, the town's roots go back to the establishment of Fort Johnston, which was built in 1758 to protect settlements along the Cape Fear River. In 1792, North Carolina's General Assembly commissioned the founding of a town around the fort. This town was originally named Smithville, in honor of a local politician who served in the Revolutionary War and was eventually elected governor.
Over time, Smithville evolved from its humble beginnings as a fishing village and military town into a popular resort town — thanks in no small part to the aforementioned sea breezes. The town was renamed in 1887 as part of a push to become a major Southern port. Although this never came to pass, Southport remains a popular vacation destination and historical site.
When should you visit Southport, NC?
In terms of weather, the best time to visit Southport would be in the spring (from mid-March to early June) or the fall (from mid-September to mid-November). During these months, you can expect temperatures in the high 60s to mid-70s on most days, although they can drop above or below that range. Summer temperatures, meanwhile, tend to average in the upper 70s to mid-80s.
As you might expect, spring is the busiest season for Southport, with summer following close behind. Visiting during fall may give you the best balance of cost and comfort, with temperatures that are still pleasant and lower hotel rates than the peak tourism seasons. Winter sees the fewest number of tourists in Southport, which is good news if you're hunting for hotel bargains. However, temperatures will be chilly during this season. Highs average between 53 and 61 degrees Fahrenheit, so it will be warmer than the country's northern regions but colder than warm-weather travelers would like.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Southport, NC:
Southport by Star Rating
Below are 3 charts demonstrating mean nightly cost trends by star rating class in Southport, NC. You can use these charts to determine the cheapest dates to stay in Southport for your upcoming travels.
Where are the top luxury hotels in Southport, NC?
The most luxurious hotels in the Southport area are three-star beach resorts like the Blockade Runner Beach Resort in Wrightsville Beach and the Winds Resort Beach Club in Ocean Isle Beach.
Guests of the Blockade Runner Beach Resort can choose between standard rooms with one king bed or two queen beds. Deluxe rooms, each with its own balcony, are also available. For meals, guests can dine at the on-site restaurant East Oceanfront Dining. Breakfast is available for a surcharge, while Wi-Fi, parking, and airport transportation are free. Guests with children can pay extra for babysitting and childcare services, which include a children's club and supervised activities.
If you're in the mood to swim or sunbathe, this resort won't disappoint. Beach amenities include a bar, umbrellas, sun loungers, and towels. The resort also boasts an outdoor pool with sun loungers and a poolside bar, an on-site marina, fitness facilities, and a sauna.
The Winds Resort Beach Club, meanwhile, offers complimentary hot/cold breakfast each morning as well as an on-site restaurant and bar called Thirsti Tiki. Guests also have access to grills, two outdoor pools, two spa tubs, a garden, and a library. Wi-Fi and self-parking are both free, and spa services are available on-site.
In-room amenities at the Winds Resort Beach Club are top-notch, too. Each room is individually decorated and includes a microwave, a DVD player, and cable programming. Rooms with two double beds, one king bed, or two queen beds are available. Some feature a wet bar and refrigerator. Book a suite, and you'll get a separate bedroom and your own private living room with a sleeper sofa. Two-bedroom and penthouse suites are also available.
What are the most affordable hotel options for travelers to Southport, North Carolina?
3 Star Average Prices: $117.61
If finding low hotel prices is your top priority, you may want to look outside Southport. Its coastal location and historic charm attract enough tourists to drive hotel prices up higher than those you'll find elsewhere. Wilmington, for instance, lies about half an hour north of Southport and boasts several affordable hotel options, such as the Super 8 by Wyndham Wilmington and the Howard Johnson by Wyndham Wilmington.
The Super 8 by Wyndham is a two-star beach hotel located near the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Rooms here feature free Wi-Fi, refrigerators, microwaves, and cable programming. Guests also have access to a 24-hour business center and free self-parking. Adjoining rooms can be requested, and in-room safes are available for a small per-day fee.
The Howard Johnson by Wyndham, a two-star downtown hotel, offers a little more value. In addition to free Wi-Fi and self-parking, guests get a free continental breakfast each morning. Unlike the Super 8, this hotel does not have a business center, but it does have fitness facilities. Guestrooms include cable programming and partially-open bathrooms with shower/tub combinations and complimentary toiletries.