Travel in North Carolina: Visit NC Places Seen in Nicholas Spark's new Movie, "The Choice"

North Carolina has been known to be called the "Hollywood of the East". Bestselling author, Nicholas Sparks, who lives in New Bern, North Carolina bases a lot of his novels in the  South. His fans will be thrilled to learn that they can visit some of the very same spots featured in the film. "The Choice" –in the coastal town of Wrightsville Beach, N.C. 

This new movie  based on Spark’s 2007 novel of the same name  chronicles the love story of two neighbors and their life-changing moments over the years. This latest movie is one of several movies by the author that has been filmed in the area, including “Safe Haven,” “The Longest Ride” and “Dear John.” 

And here's an interesting tidbit, I've personally worked in the hospital where some of the scenes were filmed in "The Choice."  Filming was  in Columbus County and the surrounding area in addition to the Wilmington area. 

·         Drinks with a View – In the movie, Dockside Restaurant and Bar is a go-to spot for the leading man, Travis, and his friends. And in real life, the restaurant is very much the same – perfect for a group setting. Perched on the water, it’s a hot spot for locals and visitors who come for fresh seafood and drinks overlooking Wrightsville Beach’s beautiful Intracoastal Waterway. It’s also a popular spot for passing boaters to dock and dine.

·         Dine Like the Stars – Want to dine like your favorite characters in the movie? Book a reservation at Brasserie du Soleil, where an essential scene in the movie takes place. Located in a shopping village right over the bridge from Wrightsville Beach, this restaurant features traditional French cuisine with an atmosphere that is both luxe and comfortable.

·         Romantic Paddle – Re-create the boat scene between Travis and Gabby on one of Wrightsville Beach’s many waterways. There are plenty of rentals available on the island where you and a loved one can hop in a canoe or kayak and paddle the day away while exploring the coastline. Wrightsville Kayak Company will even deliver a kayak rental straight to your location and pick it up when you’re done!

·         Cruise the Coast – In “The Choice,” there are several scenes where the main characters are cruising on a boat with friends. These scenes were filmed on Masonboro Island, the longest undisturbed barrier island in southern N.C., with pristine beaches that are only accessible by boat. To follow in the characters’ footsteps, visitors can schedule their own boating journey with Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours, which offers a variety of experiences including harbor sunset cruises or day trips to Masonboro Island to collect shells or spot wildlife.

 ·         Take a Garden Tour – Another spot close to the beach where filming took place is the picturesque Airlie Gardens. Dating back to 1886, these historical gardens span 67 acres where guests can gaze upon beautiful Southern gardens, live oaks, freshwater lakes and colorful wildlife.

·         Explore Other Star-Studded Locales – While visiting Wrightsville Beach, there are many other locations where TV shows and movies have been filmed, and star sightings have taken place. Stars like Will Ferrell, John Travolta, William Baldwin, Jennifer Aniston and Julianne Hough have all been spotted at several popular dining spots on the beach including South Beach Grill, Bluewater Waterfront Grill, Oceanic, Dockside Restaurant and Bar, and Bridge Tender. Popular TV shows have been filmed on the island including Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill and Sleepy Hollow, as well as movies like “A Cinderella Story: Once upon a Song” starring Lucy Hale and “28 Days” starring Sandra Bullock.

Keep an eye out for Screen Gem Studio Tours. Right now, tours are not on the schedule, but the typically begin them again during the summer months.

Photos above supplied by Wilmington and Beaches  Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Visit today's tourism partner for the latest events and news. 

Book your Greater Wilmington stay on On my last visit, I was at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort. 

Photo by Leigh Powell Hines

Also, book directly with my affiliate partner, Marriott. I recommend the brand new Courtyard by Marriott in historic downtown Wilmington or the SpringHill Suites at Wilmington Mayfaire for a fun getaway. 

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