The History of Southport

Southport was founded as the town of Smithville in 1792. Joshua Potts had requested the formation of a town adjacent to Fort Johnston, and the North Carolina General Assembly formed a commission of five men to administer its founding. The town was named after a colonel in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and later governor of North Carolina. Smithville grew as a fishing village and through supporting military activity. Smithville was the county seat of Brunswick County from 1808 to 1977. In an effort to promote the town as a major shipping port, Smithville was renamed Southport in 1887.Smithville Township, in which Southport lies, and other local landmarks, such as the cemetery, retain the Smithville name. The renaming to Southport did not achieve its goal of making the town a major shipping port. Instead Southport became known for its relaxed atmosphere and Victorian era seaside charm.

Water Front

Located where the Cape Fear River meets the Atlantic Ocean, Southport is known for beautiful scenery, a rich maritime history and a peaceful, laid back lifestyle. 

Known as “America’s Happiest Seaside Town,” Southport is rich in quaint shops,  a walkable downtown area and  water front dining & parks.

Picture Perfect

Hollywood has discovered the charm of Southport! Southport has served as the backdrop for many films and TV shows including Crimes of the Heart, Safe Haven, I Know What You Did Last Summer, A Walk To Remember and Under The Dome, among others. 

You’re sure to find many picture perfect spots in the area as well!


Southport is home to the NC Fourth of July Festival. The entire towns gets decked out in red, white and blue for the weeklong event every July.

And the fun doesn’t end in July. There are mutliple festivals and events held throughout the year. There’s always something going on in Southport!

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