Spending a Day in Southport North Carolina

Southern Trees Southport North Carolina

We weren’t lucky with weather this week. The sun hardly peeked out from the clouds, it rained most days, and the temperature was definitely un-southern-ly (my new word). I remember it being really hot in April last year, but I was also coming from Detroit, one of the coldest cities in the U.S. during it’s record breaking winter. I think my expectations were a little too high this year. I just need to remember that after April showers, comes beautiful May flowers.

Southern Trees Southport North Carolina

Nick had some work down in Southport on Sunday and so I tagged along with him. I never turn down the opportunity to visit a beach town or any road trip for that matter. Big or small, I want to see it all. Though, I’ve already been to Southport before, I still wanted to visit again; it’s definitely one of my favorite places.

You can read all about my first experience in Southport with THIS link.
If you love the movie Safe Haven or anything Nicholas Sparks, you'll enjoy that post!

santino the pit bull

We were a little wishy-washy about bringing Tino (Santino) with us. It’s about a 3 1/2 hour drive from Charlotte to Southport and we didn’t know how he’d act being in a car for that long. We decided it would be a good idea to get him use to car rides while he’s a puppy so that he’s prepared for them later in life. Considering it was Tino’s first road trip, we left Grumples at home with Nick’s parents and let him hang out with the other dogs all day.

We made sure to pack treats, water, doggy bags, a Nyla bone, and a comfortable bed for him to sit in. Of course he sat in my lap the entire ride. Overall, he did extremely well. He just slept, woke up a couple times to chew on the bone, and then drank water. Now he can’t wait to hop in the car.

Southport North Carolina

After Nick was done with his work, we went for a walk around the town and by the water. We are working on his pulling habits. The harness seems to work a little, but we are trying to break him from it while he’s young. Grumples pulls every now and then, usually when he sees a squirrel or other dog. I’m trying to work on it, but it’s hard now that he’s almost four. Nick’s dad has been a huge help in training him.

Southport North Carolina safe haven

Most of the town closes down on Sundays. That’s the best day to go for photos because everything is empty. This is the outdoor area at the Moore’s Market. If you read that other post, you’ll know which place I’m talking about.

Southport North Carolina safe haven

It was so peaceful walking around. If you closed your eyes, you’d hear seagulls, boats, and a couple cars pass through every now and then. I don’t care what anyone says, closing my eyes always helps me hear more of my surroundings, and it works the other way around, too . I have to turn down the music to find street numbers.

Southport North Carolina safe haven

This time of year, you’ll see everything in bloom. If I had a front porch down there, I’d be sitting on it every second of daylight. I’d be watching the tourist, the fisherman, and blogging about my sites from the porch. I’d be the porch girl.

Southport North Carolina safe haven

Most of the stores start opening up around noon on Sunday. We went into some of the boutiques and shops. Nick bought me a cute long sleeve T that said Southport. It’s a pretty purple 🙂

Southport North Carolina safe haven

Some of the stores allow you to have dogs in there; of course we took Tino in! It’s good to socialize your pups around other dogs and people. Putting them in all kinds of environments help them! The kids seemed to LOVE Tino and he loved them back. You could pet that dog for hours, and he’d never get sick of it. He gave him all wet kisses and he let them hug him!

After shopping a little, we headed towards the water.

Southport North Carolina safe haven

The line of houses with the big oak trees overlooking the water were my favorite. They all had big wooden staircases that lead you across the street to a private pier. They had big front porches upstairs and downstairs.

Southport North Carolina safe haven

I guess I should add “buy house in Southport” on my bucket list. It’s a fairytale place. I never knew Safe Havens could actually exist; Southport is living proof.

Southport North Carolina safe haven

The young boys, who probably lived in those houses across the street, were out fishing. It’s nice to see kids outside instead of sitting indoors on their iPads or in front of an Xbox. Though I’m sure if most kids could walk outside and be standing in a body of water, they’d trade in their xbox controllers for fishing poles too!

Southport North Carolina safe haven

It was definitely an overcast day, but much better than the weather we were having all week long. You could see the rainstorms from across the water. We walked down the pier to see what the fisherman were catching, and went closer to the water to see how Tino would react.

Southport North Carolina safe haven

The sun would peek out here and there, but never for long. We knew we’d be getting hit hard during the drive home.

Southport North Carolina safe haven

The shore was empty. The wet sand must have turned people off. I actually like the wet sand because then it doesn’t stick to you when you’re shoes or feet get wet! Wet sand is perfect for walking days.

Southport North Carolina safe haven

Tino didn’t mind walking on the beach, but as soon as we put him near the water, he was NOT having it. He clawed the sand, wined, and tried to escape. Now we know he’s a not a water dog, and that’s OK. Grumples loves the water! Maybe if we bring them both to the beach, he’ll follow Grumples’s lead; he tends to do that!

Southport North Carolina safe haven Southport North Carolina safe haven

All the seashells were washed up onto shore. When I was a little girl, every time I’d go to a beach, I’d collect hundreds of them. My parents never cared that our car smelled like a sour fish from all the shells on our way home from our weekend trips. The only complaints came from my brother.

Southport North Carolina safe haven

We left the beach and walked down a couple more neighborhoods. I could walk around there all day if we didn’t have to be back. Next time I go down there, it better be for the whole weekend or better yet, the whole week!

Southport North Carolina safe haven

If you looked through trees and bushes, big beautiful southern homes appeared. They had the front porches that wrapped around and the double porches. I probably looked like a creeper, but it was worth the good shot!

Southport North Carolina safe haven

Do you ever picture yourself in a scene?

I could see myself sitting at that picnic table with brunch, friends, and kids playing in the yard. Adults can have dreams too! Call me crazy; I’m used to it.

Southport North Carolina safe haven

We were getting hungry after walking and so we decided to walk down and get some lunch at Fishy Fishy. We looked up on Bring Fido, which restaurants were dog friendly in Southport and the restaurant we had been wanting to try was!

Southport North Carolina safe haven Southport North Carolina safe haven

The put us right at the corner table overlooking the town. Nick ordered a Corona and I ordered my once a month diet coke.

Southport North Carolina safe haven

This was Tino’s first time at a restaurant; he had a lot of first times this weekend. We were a little nervous on how he’d behave, but were incredibly proud with him during the entire meal. The waitress brought out a doggy bowl for him to drink from, we tied him up right nest to us and he never barked or bothered anyone else.

Southport North Carolina safe haven

The ladies behind us loved him. They called him over and we loosened up the leash so that she could pet him. He never jumped up once and let the lady rub his ears. We called I’m back over and he just sat there. How did we get so lucky?

fishy fishy southport north carolina

We wanted to go to Fishy Fishy last time we were in Southport but they were closed. Luckily, they were open this time, allowed dogs, and we were ready to give it a try. Tons of my readers told me to try it out, and thank goodness I listened!

We started out with the two recommended appetizers. Zesty Calamari– which were buttermilk marinated calamari & cherry peppers deep fried with Thai Chili Sauce! Sounds super healthy right? Crab Dip – Baked three cheese crab dip with green onions and toasted french bread.

fishy fishy southport north carolina

I love getting the opinions from my readers on what to order. I don’t know why, but I always feel more connected after trying your recommendations! I’m not a huge calamari person, my parents would always order it and I didn’t care for it much, but maybe I was doing it wrong. This calamari didn’t taste like the calamari I’ve had before. It had more flavor, it was fresh, and crisp! I may be a new fan of it; hopefully the next place I try it at doesn’t send me back to calamari square one.

fishy fishy southport north carolina

Nick orders crab dip almost everywhere we go that has it on the menu. It’s a hit or miss for me; I love crab dip that contains more crab than cream cheese. I also like crab dip that contains real crab, and none of that imitation crab mush. This crab dip passed; it had real crab, mild cheese flavors, and was seasoned to perfection.

fishy fishy southport north carolina

After ordering appetizers like that, I had to go with my choice of a salad. I don’t think getting the fried fish tacos would have been very safe after eating fried calamari and cheesy crab dip on French bread. Maybe next time, guys!

fishy fishy southport north carolina

To carry on with the theme of everything, I ordered the Southport Salad. It came with romaine leaves, Gorgonzola cheese, fried onions, roasted garlic, tomatoes, bacon, and a side of ranch. It was on point!

fishy fishy southport north carolina fishy fishy southport north carolina

I told Tino to jump up so I could take a picture of him with Nick. I bribed him with a piece of bacon, shame on me.

fishy fishy southport north carolina

Nick ordered the Crab cake burger and it came with pan seared crab cake with lettuce, tomato, onion, and remoulade on a roll.

fishy fishy southport north carolina

I love crab, but I’ve never been a crab cake person. Now, I couldn’t put a picture up of a meal without trying it and so I had a bite. The crab cake was crisp, flavorful, and pretty darn good. Nick said it was one of the best tasting crab cakes he’s ever had. I liked it as well, but still wouldn’t order it as my first option. Nick said if you like crab cakes, he’d definitely recommend this to you! Their sweet potato fries were a whole new story…hot, crisp, and juicy! One of the worst things is when your sweet potato fries come out cold at a restaurant. I can really respect restaurant that are on their sweet potato game.

fishy fishy southport north carolina

It was time to head out after lunch, and I was bummed I had to leave. Just a little taste of Southport really made my week. It’s a place to relax, a place to think, and a place to reflect on life. When I’m there, all my stresses disappear and the beauty of what life is supposed to be about hits me. Southport is my safe haven.


  • hilary

    Your photos are beautiful. Are you a photographer part time?

    Reply to hilary
  • Judy

    I wanted to thank you for this fantastic read!

    Reply to Judy
  • Jenn @ The Rebel Chick

    I’m loving these photos! I spend a lot of time in Western NC visiting family, but I’ve never been to the coast. I’ll have to add South Port on my list of places to go!

    Reply to Jenn @ The Rebel Chick
  • Kayla

    Nice post – you really captured the essence of that area. Well done! You may want to remove the photograph of the children with your dog, unless you have a signed release (it’s kind of an unwritten code of ethics for bloggers). That being said, you are really a talented photographer.

    Reply to Kayla
  • Madison Johnson

    I LOVE Southport but have only been a few times bc of how far away we live. Thanks for the pics! Helps me feel like I’m back there!

    Reply to Madison Johnson
  • Erin @ Brownie Bites Blog

    That sounds like such a fun fun day! Your appetizers looked soooo tasty! Now I’m hungry. 🙂

    Reply to Erin @ Brownie Bites Blog
  • Sara

    I love Southport! You should check out Four Legs Good. It’s a locally owned pet store there, and it’s wonderful! Also, there’s a little restaurant a few doors down from there called Baked With Love. It’s a sandwich/soup/salad place that’s delicious! Although, I’m pretty sure both places are closed on Sundays…. Haha! Definitely next time! 🙂

    Reply to Sara
  • Rio

    Your Southport posts always make my day! Even though I live in the UK it’s definitely on my list of places to visit in the future! x

    Reply to Rio
  • AJ

    Hey Taralynn! Love your blog! Just a heads up…a couple of your paragraphs repeat themselves in this blog post.
    That being said, LOVE this post! I always thought if I could live anywhere else it would be Washington state. But you certainly make the south more appealing! Every post is filled with something new, something pretty, something charming that makes me want to be in the south!
    Thanks for your posts! Always fun to read!

    Reply to AJ
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That was so weird! Not sure why my post did that! Thanks for the heads up. & thank you for the kind words! Washington state is absolutely beautiful so I don’t blame you!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kerri McGrail

    Gosh I would absolutely love to live in an adorable little town like this! I can see why you love it so much! I hope I can move down south sometime in my life!

    Reply to Kerri McGrail
  • May

    i’ve always been a HUGE person crab! i love eat with a pink of salt, you should try it! then, of course, always go buy your taste buds! all the best!

    Reply to May
  • Abbey

    This post makes me so happy!! This summer I am coming from California to North Carolina to spend it with my husband who is stationed at Fort Bragg. I am so excited to check out this cute little town! Thanks for the awesome restaurant suggestions! 🙂

    Reply to Abbey
  • Jennifer

    Southport is my hometown! I have lived here my whole life and I love it so much! Fishy Fishy is one of my favorites…the food, the views…the sunsets are amazing! If you didn’t try the fudge at the taffy shop, you should next time you visit. I wish I could have met you while you were here! I love your blog and you are so inspiring! Maybe next time 🙂 I am glad you had a great trip!

    Reply to Jennifer
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Aww you are so lucky! Maybe one day I’ll have a place there 🙂 Everyone is so nice and friendly in Southport! I went to the taffy shop but didn’t try the fudge, I’ll try it next time I’m down there! (which will be soon) 🙂 Maybe we can grab a coffee at the Moore Street Market!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Jennifer

        Awesome! E-mail me a heads up next time you are going to be down and I’d be glad to show you around! BTW, you have been an inspiration for me to lose weight 🙂 Thyroid issues and 3 kids (including twins) makes it hard, but I have lost 13 lbs and counting! I don’t have far to go to get where I want to be…but I can say that I have tried some of your recipes and they are great! I LOVE the chocolate blueberry banana cupcakes with peanut butter whipped frosting. PB2 mixed with lite cool whip also makes for an AMAZING fruit dip! Thanks for sharing your blog with others like me!

        Reply to Jennifer
  • Jaime

    Okay. I’m dying. Tino is so cute and you are doing so great with training him young. In love with everything about this post and your blog lately. Loveeee

    Reply to Jaime
  • Liz

    Living in a town like that would be fabulous!! I have 4 little one’s (ages 4 and under) and they would be in absolute heaven. I could totally take a weekend of the kids running around the spacious back/front yards, BBQing with friends, opening up a few bottles of wine…ahhhhhhhh. We live in the Bay Area and so for the same price we’d pay for a beautiful home there, we’ve got a “luxurious” 2bed/1bath, 850 sq ft home. Haha! I love the Bay and have lived here all my life, but I’d love to sweep up all my family and move. We do have AMAZING crab dip in SF though!!

    Reply to Liz
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I’m jealous. I’ve NEVER been to california and it’s on my bucket list. I’m sure there is so much to do there, but like you said, very pricey!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • katelyn

    You always have a way that makes me feel like as I am right there with you !!! Beautiful trip 🙂

    Reply to katelyn
  • Megan M

    A few other movies were filmed in Southport as well! In fact, Fishy Fishy was a filming location for I Know What You Did Last Summer, which filmed a lot of scenes in the area. A Walk To Remember and Summer Catch were also filmed in the area, but then again Wilmington is actually a filming location for a lot of shows/movies that you might not realize! I’m a NC native and I went to college in Wilmington so I have a lot of random knowledge about the area. 😛 But for real, if you have the opportunity to explore more of the NC coast you totally should; I may be partial but it’s one of my favorite places!

    Reply to Megan M
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Yup! They have the list of movies filmed there in the community center! Dawsons creek was also filmed there:) I plan on touring as much as the coast as I can 🙂

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kristin C

    It’s beautiful over there. I’ve been to the aquarium over there several times, but I’ve never explored the actual town. It looks so amazing. I’m dying to go!

    Reply to Kristin C
  • Emily

    I love reading about your adventures! I’m from NC and I absolutely love Southport. If you ever have a chance, try taking the ferry from Southport to Bald Head Island (for a day or for a weekend or as long as you can!) It is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I’ve ever seen. They don’t even allow cars on the island, everyone drives golf carts and it’s just so amazing.

    Reply to Emily
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you Emily!

      Nick’s mom keeps telling us to take the Ferry over to Bald Head Island; I’ll do that next time we’re there! What part of NC are you from!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Emily

        I’m sure you’ll love it!! I’m from Greensboro and I went to school at UNCW in Wilmington. I love the NC coast! 🙂

        Reply to Emily
  • Chelsea Benner

    Nicholas Sparks movie, Safe Haven was filmed there!

    Reply to Chelsea Benner
  • Cassandra

    I know what you mean about your senses being more heightened if you block one out! Its really interesting what you say about turning down your music to read street numbers, because we had a Study Talk where they told us that the area of our brain which deals with language is impaired if we listen to music with lyrics in it while reading. You seem to have picked this up naturally, which is cool (I’m a psychology student!). Some times the things we learn to do intuitively show that we naturally understand the way our brains work 🙂

    Reply to Cassandra
  • Julie @ Run Away Freckles

    That looks so lovely. I wish I lived in the south. Also, what an awesome salad!

    Reply to Julie @ Run Away Freckles
  • MJ

    Did Nick get a new dog? I thought the new dog he adopted had BRIGHT blue eyes, but the dog’s eyes look brown here.

    Reply to MJ
  • Luciana

    Hey taralynn! What camera do you take your pictures with? I would like to take pictures like those!

    Reply to Luciana
  • Linda @ The Fitty

    The fact that most of the town closes on sunday is kind of like the town’s in Europe that closes for one. hour in the afternoon so everyone can sleep…I guess their main meal there is lunch.

    Reply to Linda @ The Fitty
    • Judith

      It’s called fiesta and most countries stoped that because of the crisis.
      But in Germany, I think also in Austria and maybe Switzerland, stores are always closed on Sundays, not only for an hour. And Tara is right, it’s because of church.

      Reply to Judith
    • Sunday

      I’m not sure where you are writing from, but it’s pretty common for businesses to keep shorter hours or close completely in the US! A lot of places don’t open until noon and close by 5 p.m. And in some states liquor stores stay closed.

      Reply to Sunday
    • Taralynn McNitt

      It’s common in a lot of places! Sunday a day for the lord, family, & relaxin’

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Mystic

    It’s so good that you’re taking Tino out while he’s young! He will be so flexible and adaptable and less scared as he gets older. The best thing you can do to teach him not to pull is very simple: every time he pulls, stop. Just stop walking, stop moving forward, and wait for him to relax and let the leash go slack. Dogs pull because they want to get to something faster. Stopping helps them learn that pulling will not get them faster — in fact, it will cause them to have to stop — so the best way to get somewhere is to walk nicely. Best of luck with Tino!

    Reply to Mystic
  • jess

    Looking for any advice from NC natives?
    Any hot spots for relocating to NC for retirement?
    And what towns are great for young families?
    I know opposite ends of the spectrum, just curious on feedback from pp that live in the state. All advice welcome 🙂

    Reply to jess
    • Heather

      Hi Jess!
      Retirement- head to ANYWHERE in the Outer Banks! Absolutely beautiful and it’s very laid back. But, you must love the beach. The mountains are also a good retirement area, I would say Boone or Blowing Rock.

      The best towns for young families are Clayton (Johnston County)- they have the best schools, or even Apex. Fuquay Varina has been coming in strong, but it’s a one way road in and out of there. It was never a consideration for me. 🙂

      Reply to Heather
  • Deanna

    You should definitely try a crab cake from Maryland 🙂

    Reply to Deanna
  • Emily Weir

    My husband and I are planning to take a trip up to Wilmington this summer, but after these pictures I think a pit stop in Southport might be needed too! NC has so many quaint beach towns…it’s impossible not to want to visit (and then move to) all of them.

    Reply to Emily Weir
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Wilmington is great! It’s about 30 mins from Southport & it’s a must see! I agree about wanting to live in all of them!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Heather

        Wilmington is great! If you are NOT staying in a hotel, here’s a great beach suggestion from an NC native. 😉

        From Wilmington, head to Fort Fisher Aquarium. Its about 20 miles from Wilmington. When you turn left onto Loggerhead Drive, there is a public parking lot on the left (its right before the aquarium). Its free to the public and it’s HUGE. They also have clean restrooms with changing areas, a concession stand, picnic tables with grills, etc. Not alot of people know about it so they will pay $ to park at the beaches in Wilmington where you have to literally walk for miles to a restroom. Plus, if you get too hot, you can always head over to the aquarium or you can come of the parking lot exiting Loggerhead Drive, take a left and take the ferry over to Southport. Have fun! 🙂

        Reply to Heather
        • Emily Weir

          Thanks Heather! We’re hoping to stay in a B&B down by the river so we’ll be needing suggestions for beaches. I’ve only been to Wilmington once and remember having to park and walk for the beach and then sneak into a hotel to use the restroom. A clean, public bathroom is much nicer 🙂

          Reply to Emily Weir
  • Joy

    You should try a prong collar on Santino to help with the pulling 🙂 I used to think they were harmful, but my husband actually put one around his own neck and pulled really hard and it didn’t hurt at all. It mimics how a mother dog would guide them as puppies. I had a 50lb hound dog foster once that I couldn’t walk barely because she pulled horribly and I wasn’t strong enough to hold her back. I put one of these on her and she never pulled again! She walked like a dream and even won 1st place in a training course in her obedience class before being adopted. Petsmart sells some good brands. If you get one, the ones that have a clip like a buckle are better. Good luck with his training, he seems like such a sweetheart!

    Reply to Joy
  • Lacey @ Runs and Roses

    Your pictures are beautiful! I would love love love to visit Southport. Save Haven is one of my favorites 🙂

    Reply to Lacey @ Runs and Roses

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