Based on a calibrated coastal plane estuary plume model, ideal model hindcasts of estuary plumes are used to describe the evolution of the plume pattern in response to river discharge and local wind forcing by selecting a typical partially mixed estuary (the Cape Fear River Estuary or CFRE). With the help of an existing calibrated plume model, as described by Xia et al. (2007), simulations were conducted using different parameters to evaluate the plume behavior type and its change associated with the variation of wind forcing and river discharge. The simulations indicate that relatively moderate winds can mechanically reverse the flow direction of the plume. Downwelling favorably wind will pin the plume to the coasts while the upwelling plume could induce plume from the left side to right side in the application to CFRE. It was found that six major types of plumes may occur in the estuary and in the corresponding coastal ocean. To better understand these plumes in the CFRE and other similar river estuary systems, we also investigated how the plumes transition from one type to another. Results showed that wind direction, wind speed, and sometimes river discharge contribute to plume transitions.