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Sunrise over the sand dunes around Corolla Beach in North Carolina

End of Summer Bucketlist: Road Trip the Nicholas Sparks Tour

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Fall in love with the stories all over again. For the Sparkies – or Nicholas Sparks fans –  out there, this quick road trip down the North Carolina coast will be one for the books. Explore the most scenic locations, where you can relive all of your favorite moments from the author’s most iconic stories. From romantic beachside inns to charming churches, we’re sure this tour is going to be the highlight of your entire summer. 

Nostalgic New Bern, North Carolina

It’s easy to see how this scenic, small town swept Sparks off his feet and became the backdrop to many of his novels, including "A Bend in the Road," "The Wedding," and "The Notebook." The best way to get a good feel for the town and learn about the novel-specific landmarks? Head to the Convention & Visitors Center for their specialized Nicholas Sparks guided tour called "A Walk to Remember" – clever, right? Make your way through 15 sites that inspired some of your favorite Sparks novels like the gorgeous Tryon Palace, Centenary United Methodist Church, and the Alfred A. Cunningham Bridge.

Whimsical Wilmington, North Carolina

You may know this quaint, Southern town as the “Hollywood of the East Coast”. Various films and TV shows have been filmed in Wilmington over the years, so it’s no wonder that when a few of Nicholas Sparks’ books made the big screen, they chose here as a charming backdrop. Some key locations to hit while you’re there? Relive "A Walk to Remember" by checking out the house of Jamie Sullivan, played by Mandy Moore, and the church that was Jamie’s father’s. If you’re looking for more information on the sets or the other films made in Wilmington, sign up for a guided tour with the Hollywood Location Walk – locally owned and operated, and customized to your film preferences!

Swoon-Worthy Southport, North Carolina

For your last stop on the trip, make the short drive south until you finally reach Southport. We were all infatuated with the romantic scenery of Sparks’ film "Safe Haven" – long stretches of isolated beaches, sailboats tucked next to rustic marinas, classic colonial-style homes. Walk the old-timey town to see spots like the historic house that belonged to the character Alex, the Old American Fish Co. restaurant where Katie, played by Julianne Hough, waitressed, and Bay Street where many beach area scenes were filmed.

There you have it – 242 miles worth of Nicholas Sparks novels to end your summer on a high note! For more ideas on things to do in {{location_city}}, {{location_state}}, visit the 616 at the Village blog.

616 at The Village

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616 Oberlin Rd Raleigh, NC 27605

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