My wife and I are freelance writers who chose to move from San Francisco to Wilmington 10+ years ago and have never looked back. We love the beach and the river; the ocean is 85 degrees in summer. If you've never been here before, you're in for a treat.
Downtown Wilmington is a very hip, happening place. There are two dozen great restaurants and a dozen live music venues within five blocks (yet our property is extremely quiet). It's got the third largest historical district in the southeast (after Charleston and Savannah) and for our money, the nicest. It's great to be able to go out at night in the summer when Wilmington is hopping and not have to worry about finding a parking spot or driving home.