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Things You Should Know Before Moving to Wilmington, NC

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Take a riverside walk along the Cape Fear River - an experience exclusive to the "Coast Guard City," otherwise known as Wilmington, a port city situated in the coastal southeastern region of North Carolina. With one of the largest historic districts, you will find a city emmersed in U.S. history, with mild pleasant weather and friendly people.

Having thoughts about moving to Wilmington, and need help making a decision? Look no further than here at Movers.com. This guide will offer tips and information to help you make your decision to relocate an easier one. After that, you can get started by comparing free moving quotes from reputable services here as well.

Wilmington Climate

If you move to Wilmington from a colder climate, you will probably find the weather much more pleasant here. The city has a subtropical humid climate, and is characterized by mild winters with highs in the mid 50s. You will get a long spring, usually around late February until early May. Temperatures during this time can range from the high 60s to low 80s, with some lows dropping to approximately 50 degrees.

Summers are typically humid and range from the mid 80s to high 90s. Very rarely, the area may experience a tropical storm due to being close to the Atlantic Ocean.

Wilmington Neighborhoods

Whether you're looking for more of a vibrant city life as a single or young professional, or a family-friendly community to raise your children in, Wilmington has a place for it all. The city features a diverse list of neighborhoods that can fit almost any lifestyle or budget with the right amount of looking.

For a more upscale experience, Autumn Hall and Bayshore Estates offer custom homes and great views with ramp access to the Intracoastal Waterway. You'll enjoy quiet streets lined with trees and proximity to the best schools the area has to offer. Homes in these two areas start around $250,000 and upwards of $700,000. Brunswick Forest offers upscale townhomes that start at a more moderate $100,000, and commuters enjoy being closer to Downtown. If you prefer somewhere closer to the beach, look into Parkside at Mayfair, which is less than five minutes from Wrightsville Beach and 10 minutes away from Downtown. Here, you will also be close to Mayfair Town Center, a great place for shopping, catching a movie or dining out.

Registering Your Car

New residents wishing to obtain a North Carolina driver's license and license plates must visit the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles. Upon moving to Wilmington, you must transfer your license within 60 days of relocating. To receive a license, you must pass the road sign recognition, written and vision tests.

The necessary paperwork to get your new license includes two forms of identification, Social Security card, proof of residency (a bill, for example, addressed to your new home), and proof of insurance.

To register your vehicle, you are required to present documentation proving you have liability insurance and that your car was inspected.

Wilmington Schools

When moving to Wilmington, school-aged children will be apart of the New Hanover County Public School System, which operates all public schools in the city. The district includes two Pre-K centers, 25 elementary schools, nine middle schools and seven high schools including an early college site. In addition, the city is also home to numerous academies and alternate school opportunities.

The city is also home to four higher education facilities. Students looking for higher education can attend Shaw University's satellite campus, Mount Olive College's satellite campus, Cape Fear Community College or the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. UNC Wilmington is a public university and has approximately 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students each year. It is part of the University of North Carolina System.

Wilmington Employment

Finding a job in Wilmington may not be such an easy task, but with diverse industries driving the economy and a falling unemployment rate, this city may have an opportunity for you. As of March 2013, the unemployment rate hovered around 9 percent in the city, only just slightly over the national average.

Wilmington's economy thrives in industries like electrical, medical, electronic and telecommunications equipment, as well as food processing, retail, nuclear fuel and pharmaceuticals. In addition, the film production industry has been up and coming in recent years in the area, and has been responsible for a fair amount of job growth. Wilmington boasts a lively night scene, and relies on tourism to fuel some of its economy as well. The average salary in the area is approximately $59,000 annually.

Some top employers in the area are: New Hanover Health Network, New Hanover County Schools, General Electric, UNC Wilmington, Verizon and Cape Fear Community College.

Living Costs in the City

While costs of housing in the area are slightly lower than the national average, locals say you will most likely pay more for goods and services, in comparison with the rest of the country.

The median sales price for single family homes in the area is approximately $171,000, but more upscale neighborhoods have homes that range from $300,000 to $1 million. You will find a similar situation with price range for renting apartments, too. Rent can start as low as $600 per month for a one-bedroom, but depending on the neighborhood, some one-bedroom apartments rent at approximately $1,200.

Gas pump prices are slightly lower than the rest of the country, while food costs may average slightly more depending on where you previously lived. Electric bills for a smaller apartment run at least $80 a month, but will rise during hotter or colder months, and will be more towards $120. These prices will rise based on usage and the size of your home.

Wilmington Moving Resources

Moving and storage companies are ready and willing to help you with your move to Wilmington, whether you're moving from out of state or from another county in North Carolina. Make sure you get estimates from multiple moving services before you commit to hiring any (at least three estimates). Check back to our guides for tips on how to choose your moving service wisely with important questions to ask, differentiating between types of estimates, and mistakes to avoid. Visit the following pages at Movers.com to get quotes for the following services:

Wilmington Transportation

If you're relocating without your own personal vehicle, Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority provides services throughout the city including bus routes, shuttles and a free downtown trolley (Wave Transit). Greyhound provides a bus route to Raleigh as well.

The city also has the NC-DOT Cape Fear Run bicycle route, which connects Wilmington to Apex. Since the Cape Fear River is close to the Intracoastal, the city also offers docking facilities.

When driving in the city, the main highways are: Interstates 40 and 140, U.S. Routes 1,74,76,117 and 421, and North Carolina state highways NC 132 and 133.

Culture & Contemporary Life

The city is in close proximity to three beaches and features a historic district spanning nearly 300 blocks, including a mile-long Riverwalk in downtown. Take in the World War II memorial battleship USS North Carolina, or attend the annual Cucalorus independent film festival.

In addition to outdoor activities, Wilmington houses the Cameron Art Museum, Bellamy Mansion, the Confederate Memorial and the Children's Museum of Wilmington. You can take in plenty of performances at Thalian Hall, or visit Sunset Park Historic District, which features Queen Anne Style architecture.

If you're into events, you'll find plenty of them in Wilmington, and will therefore spend a majority of your time outdoors. There's the Carolina Beach Music Festival, July 4th firework displays, surfing contests, triathlons, 5k races, and top rated restaurants that will keep your stomach full and your taste buds satisfied.

Wilmington Relocation Tips

  • In this city, you'll be close to the beach, so pack some sunscreen and your bathing suit and soak up some sun!


  • While the unemployment rate isn't too high, it is still a good idea to do plenty of research and fill out job applications prior to your move, so you will have employment upon arrival


  • Get a subscription to your local newspaper so you can have a sense of what's going on in your new city. You might also want to get a head start on hooking up your utilities so you don't have to worry about the lights not being on when you get there!

Jenna Farmer  Posted by Jenna Farmer on May 27, 2013

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