30 Incredible Things to Do in New Bern NC (2024)

Looking for exciting things to do in New Bern, NC? Visit historic center and go to bookstores. We’ve compiled a list of the visitor’s favorite things in the historic center that will make your visit unforgettable for history buffs. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, or food lover, this charming city’s historic center has favorite things for everyone’s location to go.

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From exploring the historic Tryon Palace and strolling along the scenic waterfront to indulging in delicious Southern cuisine and discovering local art galleries, New Bern offers a diverse range of experiences, attractions, and favorite things to do. Get ready to immerse yourself in the rich culture, heritage, and attractions of this vibrant city.

So buckle up as we take you on a journey through the best attractions to do in New Bern. Scroll down for reviews of our top picks and get ready to create lasting memories during your visit!

1. Accommodation and Relaxation:

1. Stay at The Aerie

If you’re looking for a memorable stay in New Bern, NC, The Aerie is the perfect choice to read. This charming bed and breakfast offers a unique experience that combines comfort with Southern hospitality.

Located in the heart of downtown New Bern, The Aerie provides easy access to all the attractions and activities this historic city has to offer. From exploring Tryon Palace and its beautiful gardens to strolling along the waterfront or visiting local art galleries, there’s something for everyone just steps away from your doorstep.

The Aerie boasts beautifully appointed rooms with elegant decor, modern amenities, and a reading area. Each room is designed with your comfort in mind, ensuring a restful night’s sleep after a day of adventure. Wake up refreshed and enjoy a delicious homemade breakfast prepared by friendly staff members who are always ready to assist you with any questions or recommendations.

What sets The Aerie apart is its personalized service, attention to detail, and read. Whether it’s arranging special requests or providing insider tips on hidden gems in New Bern, the staff goes above and beyond to make your stay truly exceptional.

Guests rave about the warm atmosphere at The Aerie, often describing it as a home away from home. With only seven rooms available, you can expect an intimate setting where you can relax and unwind without feeling crowded or overwhelmed.

2. Relax at Atlantic Beach

If you’re in the mood for some relaxation, a visit to Atlantic Beach is a must when exploring New Bern, NC. This beautiful coastal destination offers a serene and peaceful atmosphere that will help you unwind and recharge.

  • Tranquil Setting: With its pristine sandy shores and crystal-clear waters, Atlantic Beach provides the perfect backdrop for a day of relaxation. Whether you prefer lounging on the beach or taking a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, this idyllic setting will transport you to a state of tranquility.

  • Water Activities: If you’re looking for more than just sunbathing, Atlantic Beach has plenty of water activities to keep you entertained. From swimming and paddleboarding to kayaking and jet skiing, there’s something for everyone. Dive into the refreshing ocean waves or explore the vibrant marine life through snorkeling or scuba diving adventures.
  • Spectacular Sunsets: As evening approaches, don’t miss out on witnessing one of nature’s most breathtaking displays – an Atlantic Beach sunset. Find a cozy spot on the sand or grab a seat at one of the waterfront restaurants as hues of orange, pink, and purple paint the sky in an awe-inspiring panorama.
  • Local Cuisine: After your day of relaxation by the beach, indulge in some delicious local cuisine at one of Atlantic Beach’s charming seaside eateries. Savor fresh seafood dishes like shrimp boils or crab cakes while enjoying picturesque views of the coastline.

Whether it’s unwinding by lounging on soft sands or engaging in thrilling water activities like swimming and snorkeling – visiting Atlantic Beach offers an escape from everyday stressors. Immerse yourself in its tranquil ambiance while basking under stunning sunsets that are sure to leave lasting memories.

3. Enjoy a Picnic at Kidsville Playground

Kidsville Playground in New Bern, NC is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic with your family. This vibrant and well-maintained playground offers plenty of green space and picnic tables for you to relax and savor a delicious meal while your kids have a blast playing.

Here are some reasons why enjoying a picnic at Kidsville Playground should be on your list of things to do in New Bern:

  1. Beautiful Surroundings: The playground is nestled within Lawson Creek Park, providing picturesque views of the creek and lush greenery. It’s an idyllic setting that adds to the enjoyment of your outdoor dining experience.

  1. Ample Seating Options: You’ll find numerous picnic tables scattered throughout the park, ensuring that you can easily find a comfortable spot for your family. Whether you prefer shaded areas or open spaces, there’s something for everyone.
  2. Family-Friendly Amenities: In addition to the picnic area, Kidsville Playground boasts various amenities that cater specifically to families. There are restrooms nearby, making it convenient for little ones who may need quick bathroom breaks during playtime.
  3. Playground Fun: While you’re picnicking, your children will have endless entertainment exploring the playground’s exciting features like slides, climbing structures, swings, and more! They can burn off energy while you enjoy some relaxation time.
  4. Community Atmosphere: Kidsville Playground attracts families from all over New Bern, creating a warm community atmosphere where kids can make new friends while parents socialize.

So pack up some sandwiches and snacks before heading out to Kidsville Playground in New Bern! It’s an affordable way to spend quality time with loved ones amidst nature while keeping everyone entertained.

2. Cultural and Historical Exploration:

1. Attend Annual Events in New Bern

New Bern is known for its vibrant community and lively annual events that attract both locals and tourists alike. Here are some of the must-attend events in this charming North Carolina city:

  1. Neuse River Bridge Run: Lace up your running shoes for this exciting event held every March. The Neuse River Bridge Run offers a variety of race distances, from a 5K to a half marathon, allowing participants of all fitness levels to join in on the fun.

  1. Swiss Bear Downtown Development Corporation’s ArtWalk: Held on the second Friday of each month from May to December, ArtWalk showcases the talents of local artists. Stroll through downtown New Bern and explore galleries, shops, and restaurants while enjoying live music and art demonstrations.
  2. New Bern Music Fest: This two-day music festival takes place in October and features an impressive lineup of regional musicians performing various genres such as rock, country, blues, jazz, and more. It’s a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant music scene of New Bern.
  3. Historical Homes & Gardens Tour: Step back in time during this annual tour where you can explore beautifully preserved historical homes and gardens throughout New Bern’s historic district. Learn about the rich history behind these architectural gems while admiring their unique charm.
  4. Holiday Flotilla at Union Point Park: Celebrate the holiday season with this festive event held every December along the waterfront at Union Point Park. Watch as boats adorned with dazzling lights sail along the riverfront while enjoying live entertainment and delicious food vendors.

Attending these annual events allows you to experience firsthand what makes New Bern so special – its sense of community, rich history, diverse arts scene, and love for celebration! So mark your calendars because you won’t want to miss out on these memorable experiences when visiting New Bern.

2. Go on an African-American Heritage Tour

If you’re interested in exploring the rich history and culture of New Bern, don’t miss out on the African-American Heritage Tour. This tour offers a unique perspective on the city’s past and highlights the contributions of African-Americans to its development.

  1. Discover significant landmarks: The tour takes you to important historical sites like Tryon Palace, where you can learn about influential figures such as Abraham Galloway, a prominent abolitionist who fought for equal rights during the Civil War.

  1. Learn about local heroes: During the tour, you’ll hear inspiring stories about individuals who made a difference in their community. One example is Harriet Jacobs, an escaped slave who became an influential writer and activist advocating for freedom and women’s rights.
  2. Understand New Bern’s role in history: As one of North Carolina’s oldest towns, New Bern has played a crucial part in shaping America’s story. The African-American Heritage Tour sheds light on how enslaved people contributed to its growth while facing immense challenges.
  3. Explore cultural institutions: The tour includes visits to museums like the Craven Arts Council & Gallery and Attmore-Oliver House Museum. These institutions provide valuable insights into African-American artistry, craftsmanship, and daily life throughout history.

3. Visit the North Carolina History Center

The North Carolina History Center is a must-visit destination in New Bern, NC for history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike. This center offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich heritage of North Carolina through its engaging exhibits and immersive experiences.

One of the highlights of the North Carolina History Center is its interactive exhibits that bring history to life. Step back in time as you explore replicas of historic buildings, such as a colonial print shop and an 1830s-style pharmacy. These meticulously recreated spaces allow visitors to experience what life was like during different periods in history.

For those interested in military history, the center also houses an impressive collection related to the American Civil War. From artifacts and weapons to personal stories and accounts, these exhibits provide a deeper understanding of this pivotal period in American history.

In addition to its exhibits, the North Carolina History Center offers educational programs and events throughout the year. Visitors can participate in hands-on workshops, lectures by historians, or even take guided tours led by knowledgeable experts. These opportunities allow visitors to engage with history on a deeper level while expanding their knowledge about various aspects of North Carolina’s past.

Whether you’re a local looking to learn more about your state’s heritage or a visitor wanting to delve into American history, visiting the North Carolina History Center should be at the top of your list when exploring New Bern.

4. Tour Tryon Palace

If you’re looking for a fascinating historical experience in New Bern, NC, don’t miss the opportunity to tour Tryon Palace. This iconic landmark offers visitors a glimpse into North Carolina’s rich history and provides a deeper understanding of the region’s cultural heritage.

  1. Step Back in Time: As you explore Tryon Palace, you’ll be transported back to the 18th century. The palace was built in 1770 as the first permanent capitol of North Carolina and served as the official residence of Royal Governor William Tryon. Immerse yourself in this beautifully restored Georgian-style mansion and discover what life was like during colonial times.

  1. Stunning Architecture: Marvel at the exquisite architectural details that adorn every corner of Tryon Palace. From its grand entrance hall with its sweeping staircase to its opulent state rooms filled with period furnishings, each room reflects the elegance and sophistication of a bygone era.
  2. Gardens and Grounds: Take a leisurely stroll through the meticulously maintained gardens surrounding Tryon Palace. Designed in traditional English style, these lush gardens feature vibrant flowers, manicured hedges, and serene water features that create an enchanting atmosphere.
  3. Interactive Exhibits: Engage with interactive exhibits throughout your visit that bring history to life for visitors of all ages. Learn about important events such as North Carolina’s role during the American Revolution or participate in hands-on activities that showcase colonial craftsmanship.
  4. Special Events: Keep an eye out for special events held at Tryon Palace throughout the year! From reenactments and living history demonstrations to seasonal festivals, there’s always something exciting happening at this historic site.

5. Discover The Firemen’s Museum

If you’re interested in the rich history of firefighting, a visit to the Firemen’s Museum in New Bern is a must. This unique museum showcases artifacts and exhibits that highlight the bravery and dedication of firefighters throughout the years.

  • Step back in time: Explore the museum’s collection of antique fire engines, some dating back to the late 1800s. These beautifully restored vehicles give you a glimpse into how firefighting has evolved over time.

  • Interactive displays: Engage with interactive displays that allow you to experience what it’s like to be a firefighter. Try on real firefighter gear, climb aboard a fire truck, or test your skills at using a fire hose. It’s an educational and hands-on experience for visitors of all ages.
  • Honoring heroes: Learn about the courageous men and women who have served as firefighters in New Bern and beyond. The museum pays tribute to their sacrifices and showcases their stories through photographs, personal mementos, and historical accounts.
  • Educational opportunities: The Firemen’s Museum offers educational programs for schools and groups, providing valuable insights into fire safety, prevention techniques, and emergency preparedness. These programs aim to raise awareness among children and adults alike about the importance of fire safety measures.

Visiting this museum not only gives you an appreciation for firefighters’ vital role but also provides an opportunity to support their ongoing efforts. The admission fees help fund local fire departments’ initiatives aimed at improving equipment, training facilities, and community outreach programs.

6. Visit Historic Churches in New Bern

New Bern is home to several historic churches that offer a glimpse into the city’s rich history and architectural beauty. Exploring these churches can be a fascinating experience for both history enthusiasts and those interested in religious heritage. Here are some key points about visiting historic churches in New Bern:

  1. Christ Episcopal ChurchBuilt-in 1750, Christ Episcopal Church is one of the oldest churches in North Carolina. Its stunning Georgian architecture and beautiful stained glass windows make it a must-visit attraction.
  2. First Baptist Church: Established in 1809, First Baptist Church boasts an impressive Greek Revival-style building with towering columns and intricate details. The church has played a significant role in the community’s spiritual life for over two centuries.
  3. Centenary United Methodist Church: With its Gothic Revival architecture, Centenary United Methodist Church stands as an iconic landmark in New Bern. The church was constructed after the devastating fire of 1922 destroyed its predecessor.
  4. Temple B’nai Sholem: Temple B’nai Sholem is one of the few remaining examples of Moorish Revival-style synagogues in America’s South. It showcases unique architectural elements like horseshoe arches, decorative tiles, and ornate woodwork.

Visiting these historic churches allows you to appreciate their architectural grandeur while learning about their historical significance within New Bern’s community fabric.

7. Explore New Bern Battlefield Park

New Bern Battlefield Park is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. This park offers a unique blend of historical significance and natural beauty, making it an ideal spot to explore in New Bern, NC.

  1. Rich Historical Significance: Step back in time as you wander through the grounds of New Bern Battlefield Park. This site played a crucial role during the Civil War Battle of New Bern in 1862. You can discover remnants of fortifications, trenches, and interpretive signs that provide insights into the battle’s events.

  1. Scenic Trails: Lace up your hiking boots and embark on one of the scenic trails within the park. The well-maintained paths wind through lush greenery, offering picturesque views along the way. As you stroll through this serene setting, take a moment to appreciate nature’s tranquility.
  2. Educational Opportunities: Immerse yourself in history by participating in educational programs offered at New Bern Battlefield Park. From guided tours to living history demonstrations, these experiences bring the past to life while providing valuable insights into this significant period in American history.
  3. Picnic Areas: Enjoy a leisurely picnic surrounded by nature’s beauty at one of the designated picnic areas within the park. Gather with family or friends and savor delicious food while relishing breathtaking views – an excellent way to spend quality time outdoors.

5.Stunning Waterfront Views: A visit to New Bern Battlefield Park wouldn’t be complete without taking in its stunning waterfront views along Brices Creek! Marvel at picturesque landscapes as you soak up peaceful moments near these calm waters.

8. Visit The Birthplace of Pepsi

If you’re a fan of the iconic soda, a visit to New Bern, NC wouldn’t be complete without stopping by the birthplace of Pepsi. Here are some interesting facts and reasons why this should be on your list of things to do:

  1. Historical Significance: The pharmacy where Caleb Bradham first concocted the recipe for Pepsi-Cola in 1893 still stands today. This historic site offers a glimpse into the origins of one of the world’s most beloved soft drinks.
  2. Guided Tours: Take a guided tour through the recreated soda fountain and learn about how Pepsi-Cola evolved over time. Knowledgeable guides will share intriguing stories about its creation and growth as well as its impact on popular culture.
  3. Interactive Exhibits: Immerse yourself in interactive exhibits that showcase vintage advertisements, memorabilia, and artifacts from throughout Pepsi’s history. You’ll get to see how marketing strategies have changed over time while gaining insight into the brand’s enduring legacy.
  4. Taste Testing: No visit is complete without sampling different variations of Pepsi products from around the world at their tasting bar. From classic flavors to unique regional twists, it’s an opportunity to discover new favorites or simply enjoy old ones.
  5. Gift Shop: Before leaving, make sure to stop by the gift shop where you can find exclusive merchandise like retro-inspired clothing, collectibles, and limited-edition items that celebrate all things Pepsi.

Visiting The Birthplace of Pepsi allows you to step back in time and experience firsthand how this globally recognized beverage came into existence. It’s an educational yet enjoyable outing suitable for all ages!

9. Explore Union Point Park

Union Point Park is a must-visit destination in New Bern, NC. Situated on the banks of the Neuse and Trent Rivers, this beautiful park offers a range of activities for visitors of all ages. Here are some highlights to look forward to:

  1. Scenic Waterfront Views: Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of North Carolina as you take in breathtaking views of the rivers from Union Point Park. The serene atmosphere makes it an ideal spot for relaxation and contemplation.
  2. Picnic Areas: Pack a delicious lunch or grab takeout from one of the nearby eateries and enjoy a picnic at one of Union Point Park’s designated picnic areas. Spend quality time with family or friends while surrounded by lush greenery.

  1. Walking Trails: Lace up your walking shoes and explore the park’s well-maintained trails that wind through picturesque landscapes. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or an invigorating hike, there’s something for everyone here.
  2. Water Activities: If you’re feeling adventurous, consider renting kayaks or paddleboards to navigate the calm waters surrounding Union Point Park. It’s an excellent opportunity to get closer to nature and have fun on the water.
  3. Fishing Opportunities: Anglers will appreciate the fishing pier located within Union Point Park, offering easy access to prime fishing spots along both rivers. Cast your line and try your luck catching freshwater fish species native to North Carolina.
  4. Events and Festivals: Throughout the year, Union Point Park hosts various events and festivals that showcase local talent, culture, music, food, and more! Keep an eye on their event calendar so you don’t miss out on any exciting happenings during your visit.

7 .Historical Significance: As part of New Bern’s rich history dating back over 300 years, Union Point Park holds cultural significance with its proximity to historic sites like Tryon Palace and the New Bern Firemen’s Museum. Take a moment to appreciate the heritage of this charming city.

10. Visit the Twin Rivers Quilters Guild

If you’re a fan of quilting or simply appreciate the artistry and skill that goes into creating beautiful quilts, a visit to the Twin Rivers Quilters Guild in New Bern, NC is a must. This vibrant community of quilters is dedicated to preserving and promoting the art of quilting while providing support and education for its members.

The guild holds regular meetings where members can come together to share their love for quilting, exchange ideas, and learn new techniques. These meetings often feature guest speakers who are experts in the field, offering valuable insights and inspiration. Workshops are also organized on various topics such as applique, piecing, and longarm quilting.

One of the highlights of visiting the Twin Rivers Quilters Guild is getting to see their stunning quilt exhibitions. The guild hosts several shows throughout the year where members display their intricate creations. From traditional designs to contemporary masterpieces, these exhibitions showcase a wide range of styles and techniques.

Not only does the guild provide opportunities for quilters to connect with like-minded individuals, but it also actively engages with the local community through outreach programs. Members participate in charity projects by making quilts for those in need or organizing fundraisers to support causes they care about.

In addition to being an excellent place for experienced quilters to expand their skills and network with others who share their passion, beginners are warmly welcomed at Twin Rivers Quilters Guild too. Whether you’re just starting out or have been quilting for years, this welcoming community will inspire you with its creativity and dedication.

So if you find yourself in New Bern looking for something unique and inspiring to do during your visit, make sure you stop by the Twin Rivers Quilters Guild. You’ll be amazed by what these talented quilters can create with fabric!

11. Visit the New Bern Historical Society

The New Bern Historical Society is a must-visit attraction for history enthusiasts. Established in 1923, this organization is dedicated to preserving and promoting the rich history of New Bern, North Carolina. Here are some reasons why you should include a visit to the New Bern Historical Society on your itinerary:

  1. Discover fascinating exhibits: The society’s museum showcases an impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits that bring the city’s past to life. From colonial times to the Civil War era, you can explore various periods of history through interactive displays and informative panels.

  1. Learn about influential figures: The historical society provides valuable insights into notable individuals who have shaped New Bern’s heritage. You’ll gain knowledge about famous residents like Pepsi founder Caleb Bradham and renowned author Nicholas Sparks.
  2. Explore historic buildings: Take a guided tour through historic homes managed by the society, such as the Attmore-Oliver House and Stanly House Museum. These beautifully preserved structures offer a glimpse into daily life during different time periods.
  3. Engage in educational programs: The society organizes educational programs for visitors of all ages, including lectures, workshops, and special events throughout the year. These activities provide opportunities to deepen your understanding of local history while having fun.
  4. Support preservation efforts: By visiting or becoming a member of the New Bern Historical Society, you contribute directly to their ongoing preservation initiatives aimed at protecting important landmarks and maintaining historical integrity within the community.
  5. Immerse yourself in local culture: Exploring New Bern’s historical roots allows you to immerse yourself in its unique culture and understand how it has evolved over time.

Visiting the New Bern Historical Society offers an enriching experience that connects you with centuries-old stories from this charming coastal town.

3. Recreational and Outdoor Activities:

1. Take a Walk around Downtown

Exploring downtown New Bern is an absolute must when visiting this charming city. With its picturesque streets and historic buildings, taking a leisurely walk through the heart of town offers a unique glimpse into the area’s rich history and vibrant culture.

  1. Historic Architecture: As you stroll through downtown, you’ll be greeted by stunning examples of historic architecture. From elegant Victorian homes to beautifully restored storefronts, each building tells a story of New Bern’s past. Don’t miss iconic landmarks like Tryon Palace, North Carolina’s first state capitol.
  2. Unique Boutiques and Shops: Downtown New Bern is home to a variety of unique boutiques and shops that cater to all tastes. Whether you’re searching for handmade crafts, local artwork, or stylish clothing, you’ll find it here. Take your time exploring the quaint stores and support local businesses along the way.
  3. Dining Delights: Hungry? Downtown New Bern boasts an array of dining options sure to satisfy any palate. From cozy cafes serving up delicious pastries to upscale restaurants offering mouthwatering seafood dishes, there’s something for everyone here.
  4. Waterfront Views: A walk around downtown wouldn’t be complete without enjoying the scenic views along the waterfront promenade. Take in breathtaking vistas of the Neuse and Trent Rivers as sailboats glide by on their peaceful journeys.
  5. Cultural Attractions: Immerse yourself in art and culture at various galleries and museums scattered throughout downtown New Bern. Explore exhibits showcasing local artists or learn about the city’s maritime heritage at one of its many museums.

Taking a leisurely walk around downtown allows visitors to fully embrace everything that makes New Bern special – from its rich history to its vibrant community spirit.

By experiencing firsthand its architectural wonders, unique shops, delectable dining scene, and cultural attractions while soaking in picturesque waterfront views, you’ll truly understand why taking a stroll through downtown New Bern is an essential part of any visit.

2. Find New Bern Bear Statues

If you’re visiting New Bern, NC, make sure to keep an eye out for the charming and iconic bear statues scattered throughout the city. These whimsical sculptures are part of a public art project called “Bears on Bears,” which showcases over 50 unique bear statues decorated by local artists.

  1. Discover Local Art: The bear statues in New Bern serve as a delightful way to experience the vibrant art scene of the city. Each statue is creatively designed with its own theme and style, reflecting the talent and creativity of local artists.

  1. Explore Downtown: Many of these bear statues can be found in downtown New Bern, making it easy to incorporate them into your exploration of the area’s historic streets and charming shops. Take a leisurely stroll through town while admiring these artistic masterpieces.
  2. Great Photo Opportunities: The bear statues offer fantastic photo opportunities that capture both the essence of New Bern and your memorable visit to this picturesque city. Strike a pose next to your favorite sculpture or gather friends for a group shot with these adorable bears.
  3. Interactive Fun: Some of the bear statues are interactive, allowing visitors to engage with them in unique ways. From spinning wheels to hidden surprises, these interactive features add an extra layer of enjoyment as you explore each statue.
  4. Community Engagement: The “Bears on Bears” project has become an integral part of community engagement in New Bern, fostering pride among locals and creating conversations among tourists who stumble upon these delightful installations.

So don’t forget to keep an eye out for these endearing bears during your visit to New Bern! They not only add character to this beautiful city but also provide insight into its thriving arts community.

3. Enjoy Lawson Creek Park

Lawson Creek Park is a must-visit destination in New Bern, NC. This beautiful park offers a variety of activities for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re looking to relax, explore nature, or have some fun with friends and family, Lawson Creek Park has something for you.

Nature Trails and Scenic Views

One of the highlights of Lawson Creek Park is its extensive network of nature trails. These well-maintained paths wind through lush forests and along the picturesque creek, providing an opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. As you stroll along the trails, keep an eye out for local wildlife like birds and turtles that call this park home.

Water Activities

If you love being on the water, Lawson Creek Park won’t disappoint. The park features a boat ramp where you can launch your kayak or canoe and explore the calm waters of Lawson Creek. Fishing enthusiasts will also appreciate the excellent fishing opportunities available here.

Picnic Areas and Playgrounds

Lawson Creek Park is an ideal spot for picnicking with family and friends. The park offers several picnic areas equipped with tables and grills where you can enjoy a delicious outdoor meal amidst tranquil surroundings. For those visiting with kids, there are playgrounds where children can burn off energy while having loads of fun.

Sports Facilities

Sports enthusiasts will be pleased to find various sports facilities at Lawson Creek Park. Basketball courts are available if you want to shoot some hoops with friends or challenge them to a friendly game. There’s also ample space for playing soccer or throwing around a frisbee on open fields.

4. Hike in Croatan National Forest

If you’re a nature lover seeking adventure, hiking in Croatan National Forest is an experience you won’t want to miss. Spanning over 160,000 acres, this pristine forest offers breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife that will leave you in awe.

  1. Trails for all levels: Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, the forest has trails suitable for every skill level. From easy strolls through towering pines to challenging hikes with steep inclines and rugged terrain, there’s something for everyone.
  2. Immerse yourself in nature: As you explore the forest, be prepared to encounter stunning natural beauty at every turn. Marvel at the vibrant colors of wildflowers blooming along the trails or listen to the melodic songs of birds echoing through the trees. Keep your eyes peeled for native wildlife such as white-tailed deer and red foxes that call this place home.

  1. Discover hidden gems: Beyond its scenic beauty, Croatan National Forest is also home to hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Explore enchanting swamps teeming with unique plant life or stumble upon secluded creeks where you can cool off on hot summer days.
  2. Photographer’s paradise: If photography is your passion, this national forest provides endless opportunities to capture stunning shots of nature’s wonders. From panoramic vistas overlooking tranquil lakes to up-close shots of delicate wildflowers, each step presents a new frame-worthy scene.
  3. Educational experience: Hiking in Croatan National Forest isn’t just about enjoying nature; it’s also an educational experience! Learn about different tree species like longleaf pine and live oak while walking amongst them or discover fascinating facts about local ecosystems from interpretive signs along the trails.

So grab your hiking boots and get ready for an unforgettable adventure amidst the untouched beauty of Croatan National Forest!

5. Take a Trip to Jacksonville

Located just a short drive from New Bern, Jacksonville is another must-visit destination in North Carolina. Here are some reasons why you should consider taking a trip to Jacksonville:

  1. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune: As one of the largest Marine Corps bases in the world, Camp Lejeune offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about military history and experience life as a Marine. Explore the onsite museum and take part in guided tours that showcase the base’s rich heritage.
  2. Hammocks Beach State Park: Nature enthusiasts will love exploring Hammocks Beach State Park, which features pristine beaches, hiking trails, and stunning views of the coastal ecosystem. Don’t miss the chance to take a ferry ride to Bear Island, where you can relax on secluded beaches and go kayaking or paddleboarding.
  3. Lynnwood Park Zoo: If you’re traveling with kids or simply have an affinity for animals, make sure to visit Lynnwood Park Zoo. This family-friendly attraction is home to over 80 different species of animals including lions, tigers, monkeys, reptiles, and more.
  4. Riverwalk Crossing Park: Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Riverwalk Crossing Park located downtown by the scenic New River waterfront area. This park offers beautiful views of boats passing by while providing ample space for picnics or outdoor activities.
  5. Onslow County Museum: Immerse yourself in local history at Onslow County Museum where exhibits showcase artifacts dating back centuries that highlight the region’s cultural heritage.
  6. Shopping and Dining Options: Indulge in retail therapy at various shopping centers like Jacksonville Mall or explore local boutiques offering unique finds .  

6. Take The Cedar Island Ferry

If you’re looking for a unique and scenic way to explore the beautiful coastal areas of North Carolina, taking the Cedar Island Ferry is a must-do. Here are some reasons why this ferry ride should be on your itinerary:

  1. Stunning Views: As you sail across the Pamlico Sound, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the water and surrounding landscapes. It’s a great opportunity to snap some Instagram-worthy photos and immerse yourself in nature.

  1. Convenient Transportation: The Cedar Island Ferry provides an efficient mode of transportation between mainland North Carolina and Ocracoke Island or Cape Hatteras. Whether you’re planning a day trip or an extended vacation, this ferry service offers a convenient way to reach these popular destinations.
  2. Relaxing Experience: Sit back, relax, and enjoy the gentle rocking motion of the ferry as it glides through the water. Take in the fresh sea breeze and let all your worries melt away during this tranquil journey.
  3. Chance to Spot Wildlife: Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife sightings during your ferry ride! The waters around Cedar Island are home to various species of birds, including pelicans, herons, and ospreys. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of dolphins swimming alongside the boat.
  4. Opportunity for Day Trips: With regular departures throughout the day, you can easily plan day trips from New Bern using the Cedar Island Ferry. Explore Ocracoke Village with its charming shops and restaurants or visit Cape Hatteras Lighthouse – one of America’s most famous lighthouses.

So don’t miss out on this memorable experience! Hop aboard the Cedar Island Ferry for stunning views, convenient transportation options, relaxation time on deck while spotting wildlife along with exciting opportunities for day trips from New Bern.

7. Kayak or Canoe on the Trent and Neuse Rivers

If you’re looking for an exciting outdoor adventure in New Bern, NC, kayaking or canoeing on the Trent and Neuse Rivers is a must-try activity. These scenic waterways offer a unique perspective of the city’s natural beauty and provide an opportunity to explore its diverse ecosystem.

  1. Explore untouched nature: Paddling along the rivers allows you to immerse yourself in pristine surroundings. As you glide through calm waters, you’ll encounter lush vegetation, beautiful wildlife, and serene landscapes that will take your breath away.
  2. Great for all skill levels: Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or a beginner, kayaking or canoeing on the Trent and Neuse Rivers caters to all skill levels. The calm currents make it easy for beginners to navigate while offering enough excitement for experienced adventurers.
  3. Spot fascinating wildlife: Keep your eyes peeled as you paddle along these rivers because there’s no shortage of wildlife sightings. From graceful herons wading in shallow waters to playful river otters darting among reeds, there are plenty of opportunities to observe animals in their natural habitat.
  4. Fishing enthusiasts’ paradise: If fishing is your passion, bring your gear along! The Trent and Neuse Rivers are renowned for their abundant fish populations including bass, catfish, sunfish, and more. Cast your line from your kayak or canoe and enjoy a relaxing day on the water while waiting for that perfect catch.
  5. Connect with history: As you paddle down these historic rivers, imagine what life was like centuries ago when early settlers relied on them as vital transportation routes. Take time to visit Tryon Palace Historic Sites & Gardens located near the waterfront—a stunning glimpse into North Carolina’s colonial past.

So grab a paddle and embark on an unforgettable journey exploring New Bern’s waterways by kayak or canoe!

8. Take a Bike Tour around the City

If you’re looking for an active and immersive way to explore New Bern, why not hop on a bike and take a tour around the city? Cycling allows you to cover more ground than walking while still enjoying the fresh air and beautiful scenery. Here are some reasons why taking a bike tour in New Bern is worth considering:

  1. Discover hidden gems: By pedaling through the city streets, you’ll have the opportunity to stumble upon charming neighborhoods, local shops, and historic landmarks that may be off the beaten path. You can venture into areas that might not be easily accessible by car or bus.
  2. Enjoy scenic views: As you ride along the waterfront or through picturesque parks, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of rivers, bridges, and lush greenery. The gentle breeze against your face adds an extra element of joy as you soak in the natural beauty surrounding New Bern.
  3. Learn about history: New Bern has a rich history dating back to colonial times. Many bike tours offer guided commentary or audio guides that provide fascinating insights into significant sites like Tryon Palace or Union Point Park. It’s an educational experience that combines exercise with learning.
  4. Flexible routes: Whether you prefer leisurely rides or more challenging trails, there are bike tours available for all skill levels in New Bern. From short excursions around downtown to longer rides exploring nearby countryside areas, there’s something for everyone.
  5. Eco-friendly exploration: Choosing biking over other modes of transportation reduces your carbon footprint while allowing you to engage with your surroundings at a slower pace – perfect for truly experiencing all that New Bern has to offer.

So grab your helmet and get ready for an adventure on two wheels! A bike tour in New Bern promises memorable experiences filled with discovery, beauty, and knowledge.

9. Join a Ghost Tour in Historic Downtown

If you’re looking for a spine-tingling experience in New Bern, joining a ghost tour in the historic downtown area should be at the top of your list. Here’s why:

  1. Discover the haunted history: Embark on an eerie journey through time as knowledgeable guides share chilling tales and legends about the city’s haunted past. Learn about the spirits that are said to roam the streets and buildings of New Bern.
  2. Explore historic landmarks: As you wander through the dimly lit streets, you’ll have the opportunity to explore iconic landmarks with a paranormal twist. Visit places like Cedar Grove Cemetery, where restless souls allegedly linger, or The Attmore-Oliver House, known for its spectral residents.
  3. Hear captivating stories: During your ghost tour, listen to captivating stories that bring New Bern’s haunted history to life. From tragic love stories to unsolved mysteries, these tales will keep you on edge as you walk through atmospheric locations.
  4. Experience paranormal activity: Keep your senses sharp during the tour as there have been reports of unexplained phenomena and encounters with otherworldly entities along certain routes. Who knows? You might just witness something supernatural yourself!
  5. Fun for all ages: Whether you’re a believer in ghosts or simply enjoy hearing spooky stories, this activity is suitable for people of all ages. It can be an exciting family outing or a thrilling adventure with friends.

So if you’re up for some hair-raising excitement and want to delve into New Bern’s haunted past, don’t miss out on joining a ghost tour in historic downtown.

5. Culinary and Local Experiences:

1. Enjoy a River Cruise on the Neuse River

river cruise on the Neuse River is an excellent way to experience the beauty and charm of New Bern, NC. Here are some reasons why you should consider adding this activity to your itinerary:

  1. Scenic Views: During the cruise, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. The Neuse River is known for its tranquil waters and picturesque scenery, making it a perfect setting for a relaxing boat ride.
  2. Historical Significance: As you glide along the river, you’ll pass by historic landmarks that tell the story of New Bern’s rich history. Keep an eye out for Tryon Palace, which served as North Carolina’s first permanent state capitol in 1770.
  3. Wildlife Sightings: The Neuse River is home to diverse wildlife species, including ospreys, herons, turtles, and even dolphins! Nature enthusiasts will have plenty of opportunities to spot these fascinating creatures during their cruise.
  4. Informative Narration: Most river cruises provide informative narration about the area’s history and points of interest along the route. You can learn interesting facts about New Bern while enjoying your scenic journey.
  5. Relaxing Experience: A river cruise offers a peaceful respite from busy city life. Sit back and relax as you soak up nature’s beauty or engage in conversations with fellow passengers.
  6. Photography Opportunities: With stunning vistas at every turn, a river cruise provides ample opportunities for capturing memorable photographs against beautiful backdrops.
  7. Family-Friendly Activity: Whether traveling with kids or grandparents, everyone can enjoy a river cruise together! It’s an activity that appeals to all age groups and allows families to create lasting memories together.

So don’t miss out on this delightful experience when visiting New Bern! Hop aboard a river cruise on the Neuse River and immerse yourself in the natural beauty and history of this charming city.

2. Shop Local in New Bern

Supporting local businesses is not only a great way to find unique and one-of-a-kind items, but it also helps the community thrive. When visiting New Bern, be sure to explore the local shops that offer a wide range of products and experiences.

One popular spot for shopping local in New Bern is the downtown area. Here you’ll find charming boutiques, art galleries, and antique stores that showcase the talent and creativity of local artisans. From handmade jewelry to locally crafted pottery, there’s something for everyone’s taste.

If you’re a book lover, make sure to stop by Mitchell Hardware. This iconic store has been serving the community since 1898 and offers an extensive selection of books along with hardware supplies. It’s a perfect place to browse through shelves filled with literary treasures while soaking up the history of this beloved establishment.

For those looking for fresh produce and homemade goods, don’t miss out on checking out Farmer’s Market Downtown. Open on Saturdays from April through December, this vibrant market features vendors selling everything from fruits and vegetables to baked goods and artisanal crafts.

Craven Arts Council & Gallery is a must-visit destination. This gallery showcases works from talented artists in various mediums such as painting, sculpture, photography, and more. You can even purchase pieces directly from the artists themselves!

Shopping locally not only allows you to discover unique finds but also contributes directly to the livelihoods of small business owners in New Bern. So next time you’re exploring this charming city, be sure to carve out some time for browsing through its delightful array of locally-owned shops.

3. Dine at Waterfront Restaurants

When visiting New Bern, NC, dining at waterfront restaurants is a must-do experience. These establishments offer not only delicious food but also breathtaking views of the Neuse and Trent Rivers. Here are some reasons why you should make it a priority to dine at these waterfront gems:

  1. Scenic Ambiance: Imagine enjoying your meal while overlooking the shimmering waters and picturesque landscapes. Waterfront restaurants in New Bern provide a serene atmosphere that enhances your dining experience.
  2. Fresh Seafood: Being situated on the coast, these restaurants often specialize in serving fresh seafood dishes sourced directly from local fishermen. From succulent shrimp to mouthwatering crab cakes, you can indulge in an array of delectable coastal cuisine.
  3. Local Flavors: In addition to seafood delicacies, waterfront restaurants showcase the unique flavors of North Carolina’s culinary heritage. You’ll find regional favorites like hush puppies, collard greens, and tangy vinegar-based barbecue sauces that will tantalize your taste buds.
  4. Diverse Menus: Whether you’re craving Southern comfort food or international fare with a twist, waterfront eateries have menus that cater to every palate. From juicy steaks to vegetarian options and gluten-free dishes, there’s something for everyone.
  5. Live Entertainment: Some waterfront restaurants feature live entertainment such as local musicians or bands performing soothing tunes as you enjoy your meal by the water’s edge—creating an unforgettable ambiance filled with music and laughter.
  6. Special Occasions: If you’re celebrating a special occasion or looking for a romantic dinner spot, these waterside establishments provide an idyllic setting for memorable moments with loved ones.
  7. Sunset Views: One of the highlights of dining at waterfront restaurants is catching awe-inspiring sunset views over the rivers’ horizon—a perfect backdrop for creating lasting memories.

So next time you visit New Bern, make sure to include dining at waterfront restaurants on your itinerary. Indulge in delicious cuisine, soak up the stunning views, and immerse yourself in the charm of this beautiful coastal town.

4. Explore the New Bern Farmers Market

The New Bern Farmers Market is a must-visit destination for locals and tourists alike. Here are some reasons why you should explore this vibrant market:

  1. Fresh, Local Produce: At the New Bern Farmers Market, you’ll find an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and more. Supporting local farmers not only ensures that you’re getting the highest quality produce but also contributes to the sustainability of the community.
  2. Artisanal Crafts and Goods: In addition to farm-fresh produce, the market offers a wide variety of artisanal crafts and goods. From handmade soaps to unique jewelry pieces, there’s something for everyone at this bustling marketplace.
  3. Delicious Food Vendors: Hungry? The market is home to several food vendors serving up mouthwatering dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty breakfast or a quick snack on-the-go, you won’t be disappointed by the diverse culinary options available.
  4. Live Entertainment: As if browsing through stalls filled with goodies wasn’t enjoyable enough, the New Bern Farmers Market often hosts live entertainment events such as live music performances or cooking demonstrations. It’s an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in local culture while enjoying your shopping experience.
  5. Community Engagement: The market serves as a hub for community engagement where people from all walks of life come together to support local businesses and connect with their neighbors. It’s an ideal place to meet new people who share similar interests and values.
  6. Seasonal Festivities: Throughout the year, special seasonal events take place at the New Bern Farmers Market that adds even more excitement to your visit! From holiday-themed markets to fall festivals celebrating harvest season – there’s always something fun happening here!

So next time you find yourself in New Bern NC., don’t miss out on exploring everything that this lively farmers market has to offer. From fresh produce to artisanal crafts and a vibrant community atmosphere, it’s an experience you won’t want to miss.

4. Arts, Entertainment, and Performances:

1. Participate in a Local Art Class

 If you’re looking to unleash your creativity and immerse yourself in the local art scene, participating in a local art class is a fantastic option. New Bern, NC offers a wide range of art classes that cater to different interests and skill levels.

  1. Expand Your Skill Set: Joining an art class allows you to learn new techniques and expand your artistic skills. Whether you’re interested in painting, drawing, pottery, or sculpture, there’s a class for everyone.
  2. Guidance from Experienced Instructors: The instructors leading these classes are experienced artists themselves who can provide valuable guidance and feedback on your work. They will help you develop your artistic abilities while encouraging self-expression.
  3. Meet Like-Minded Individuals: Art classes provide an excellent opportunity to connect with fellow artists who share similar passions. You’ll have the chance to exchange ideas, gain inspiration from others’ work, and build lasting friendships within the local creative community.
  4. Support Local Artists: By participating in these classes, you directly support local artists who often teach these courses as part of their livelihoods. It’s a great way to contribute to the thriving arts scene in New Bern while honing your own artistic talents.
  5. Explore Different Mediums: Many art classes offer workshops or sessions focusing on specific mediums such as watercolors or ceramics. This gives you the chance to experiment with different materials and discover new mediums that resonate with your artistic style.
  6. Create Personalized Masterpieces: Art classes allow you to create unique pieces of artwork that reflect your individuality and personal vision. With expert guidance at hand, you’ll be able to bring your creative ideas into reality while learning essential techniques along the way.

Participating in a local art class not only helps sharpen your artistic skills but also provides an enriching experience where you can connect with other artists and support the vibrant arts community in New Bern. So, why not sign up for a class and embark on an artistic journey of self-expression?

 2. Attend a Performance at the New Bern Civic Theatre

The New Bern Civic Theatre is a must-visit destination for theater enthusiasts in New Bern, NC. Here’s why attending a performance at this historic venue should be on your list of things to do:

  1. Rich History: The New Bern Civic Theatre has been entertaining audiences since 1968, making it one of the oldest community theaters in North Carolina. With its rich history and commitment to promoting local talent, you can expect top-notch performances that showcase the vibrant arts scene in the area.
  2. Diverse Productions: Whether you’re into musicals, comedies, dramas, or even children’s theater, there’s something for everyone at the New Bern Civic Theatre. They offer a diverse lineup of productions throughout the year that cater to different tastes and age groups.
  3. Talented Cast and Crew: The theater boasts an impressive roster of talented actors, directors, designers, and technicians who bring each production to life with their passion and dedication. From seasoned professionals to emerging talents from the local community, you’ll witness exceptional performances that will leave you captivated.
  4. Intimate Setting: Unlike large-scale theaters where you may feel disconnected from the stage, the New Bern Civic Theatre offers an intimate setting that allows for a more immersive experience. You’ll feel like part of the action as you watch performers up close and personal.
  5. Community Engagement: The theater actively engages with the local community through educational programs and workshops aimed at nurturing young talent and fostering an appreciation for performing arts among all age groups.

Attending a performance at the New Bern Civic Theatre is not only an opportunity to enjoy quality entertainment but also supports local artists and contributes to preserving cultural heritage in this charming city.

Final Remarks

So there you have it, a comprehensive list of things to do in New Bern, NC. From exploring the historic downtown area to enjoying the natural beauty of Union Point Park and Croatan National Forest, there is something for everyone in this charming city. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, New Bern has it all.

Now that you have this list at your fingertips, it’s time to start planning your trip to New Bern. Gather your friends or family, pack your bags, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure. Don’t forget to try the local cuisine, immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene, and take advantage of the numerous events and festivals that take place throughout the year.

New Bern is waiting to be discovered by you. So why wait? Start exploring this hidden gem today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you recommend a unique place to stay in New Bern, NC?

If you’re looking for a unique place to stay in New Bern, I highly recommend The Aerie. It offers breathtaking views of the city and the Neuse River. You’ll feel like you’re staying in a cozy nest while enjoying all the comforts of modern amenities.

What are some must-visit historical sites in New Bern?

New Bern is rich in history! Don’t miss out on visiting Tryon Palace, where you can step back in time and explore North Carolina’s first permanent state capitol. Make sure to visit The Birthplace of Pepsi, where you can learn about the origins of this iconic soft drink.

Are there any outdoor activities available in New Bern?

Absolutely! If you enjoy being outdoors, head over to Union Point Park for beautiful waterfront views and recreational activities such as picnicking or fishing. You can also hike through Croatan National Forest or kayak along the Trent and Neuse Rivers for an adventurous experience.

Where can I find local arts and crafts in New Bern?

For art enthusiasts, exploring the local art scene is a must-do activity. Visit the Twin Rivers Quilters Guild to admire intricate quilts made by talented artisans. You can also participate in a local art class or check out galleries around town that showcase various forms of artistic expression.

Which events should I attend if I want to immerse myself in New Bern’s culture?

To truly immerse yourself in New Bern’s vibrant culture, attending annual events is key! Make sure not to miss Mumfest – an exciting festival featuring live music, delicious food vendors, and arts and crafts exhibits. Another event worth experiencing is ArtWalk Downtown – an evening dedicated to showcasing local artists’ work throughout downtown shops and galleries.

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