As always, make sure you bring a camera to capture moments that you can revisit when you get back home.
Miscellaneous: If you forget to research your trip or you just need a useful map, head to the Cape Fear Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau-Visitors Information Center.
The building is a Queen Anne style courthouse dating back to 1892. It's located on the corner of 3rd and Princess Streets. Open Monday through Friday between 8:30 and 5pm; Saturday, 9am-4pm; Sunday, 1pm-4pm.
(there's another information point at the end of Market Street by the river)
Luggage and bags: beach materials!! We have wonderful beaches. Kite flying is a blast at the southern end, I have past many hours there with friends. Also a lot of great camping, so a tent couldn't hurt if you have the room.