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Things To Do In New Bern NC | 15 Amazing Places To Explore

Are you looking for fun things to do in New Bern NC? I have put together a list of 15 fun things to help you out.

The list includes amazing waterfront views, exciting activities, and rich history all combined in one so no matter how long you stay you’ll have a great time.

New Bern North Carolina is situated on the Neuse River and was the states first capital

New Bern is one of North Carolina’s oldest cities and I had the pleasure of spending a holiday there with my friends. We discovered there were so many fun things to do in New Bern Nc and we absolutely loved it.

The city hosts two magnificent rivers that open up numerous possibilities for an amazing coastal experience. With many trails, walking areas but also historical attractions and sites, it’s a special place that everyone should visit.

In truth, it’s an underrated destination when compared to some other waterfront towns. But once I arrived here, I understood why it’s special for so many people.

Are you ready to uncover everything it has to offer? In this guide, we compiled the top things to do during your trip. So, buckle up and enjoy the ride!

breathtaking view Of New Bern Nc

Top 15 Things to Do in New Bern NC

Take a Cruise On The Rivers

How would you like to see the beauty of the waterfront firsthand? Most people that come to New Bern Can’t wait to get out on the water.

I also couldn’t wait to explore the waterfront as my friends were telling me how breathtaking it is. I was positively surprised by the sight.

The town is located at the center of the Twin Rivers – Neuse and Trent Rivers. Therefore, while you’re cruising, you can observe some of the amazing nature near the water as well as wildlife.

The whole journey is peaceful and is perfect for those that want to relax. Luckily, there are many local tour providers that can take you on this journey. You can look them up when you get there.

The captain of the cruise I was on even told us about some notable historical moments associated with the place. So, it was an all-in-one tour and I liked that.

Aside from this, if you want to organize the perfect romantic evening you can do so on the cruise. There’s nothing like watching the sunset over a delicious dinner with your loved one.

The tranquility of the river contributes to the whole atmosphere. Just note that the cruises depart from New Bern’s downtown.

Take a cruise on the river in New Bern

Walk Downtown is Among The Best Things To Do in New Bern NC

Having mentioned downtown, it’s safe to say that it’s one of the more interesting parts of New Bern and the best part of the city to visit.

Downtown is vibrant and bustling with people walking around the streets, giving you a sense of liveliness and lifting your spirits.

Then, there are numerous stores, restaurants, squares, and such that enable you to take a long stroll to explore everything they have to offer.

In case you get hungry while shopping, you can always go and taste the delicious cuisine in one of the amazing restaurants.

Downtown is a beautiful part of the city and to finish the day of, you can catch an amazing view of the sunset in many of the restaurants or from the waterfront.


Hike at Latham-Whitehurst Nature Park


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From the moment I arrive in any city, I look for opportunities to go on an adventure. I prefer to be active and to participate in adrenaline-lifting activities. Latham-Whitehurst Nature Park in New Bern satisfied my expectations and needs.

It’s a place with amazing nature that provides exciting possibilities for all visitors. Whether you prefer hiking, running, or trekking, you’ll find pleasure in the park.

If you’re more into adventure on the water, there are fishing and kayaking options, as well.

What’s more, it’s easily accessible for everyone. Although it was my first time in the city, I had no trouble finding it at once in New Bern’s eastern side.

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Go Back in Time at Tryon Palace (Formerly known as Governor’s Palace)



If you’re a history buff like me, make sure you make a stop at Tryon Palace for an insightful lesson in America’s origins.

Moreover, this wondrous palace was once the home of Governor William Tryon and the members of his family and household. It was completed so long ago – in 1770 – and still holds up splendidly.

The Governor’s Palace is designed in the Georgian style. And a fun fact is that Tryon hired the architect John Haws from London to come to North Carolina and take care of his extravagant new project.

History teaches us that since the US gained its independence, Governor’s Palace was transformed into the general assembly. Also, it has served as the home for governors of North Carolina.

Besides that, it has a symbolic meaning. The Palace represents a reminder of the fact that New Bern was the first capital of the entire state of North Carolina in the Colonial era.

Undeniably, the historic and authentic sights will transport you to another time. Both the grounds and the palace’s interior have an important lesson to teach its visitors regarding North Carolina’s history.

If this piqued your interest, you can find Tryon Palace at the following address 529 S Front St, New Bern, NC 28562.


Visit the Birthplace of Pepsi Cola


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Personally, I’m a fan of rags-to-riches stories and seeing the humble beginnings of brands we know and love today. The Pepsi Store, the birthplace of the worldwide-known soft drink, serves just that – an exciting entrepreneurial story and a deep look inside the company and its history.

To begin with, I was positively surprised that Pepsi originates from New Bern, NC. Then, I found out that it was once known as Brad’s Drink. Later, the pharmacy-produced drink entered the era when it was called Pepsi-Cola.

At the Pepsi Store, you can enjoy the famous fountain bar where you can fill in a glass of soda. If you want to leave with a little something to remind you of this experience, there is a place that sells official Pepsi merchandise.

What’s more, this is the place where you can marvel at the evolution of the Pepsi bottles – from the original ones to the latest ones.

Pepsi Store is home to the Pepsi Family Center, too. Further, it represents a museum that offers an interactive experience for the whole family. It will take you back in time in late 1835.

The OG Pepsi Store works every day of the week during the entire year. You can find it at 256 Middle St, New Bern, NC 28560.


Learn Something New at New Bern Firemen’s Museum


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If you’re visiting New Bern NC with kids, this museum is a super cool place for them to have fun and at the same time pay tribute to some real-life heroes – firefighters.

The New Bern Fire Company was the first fire company on the territory of the entire state. This is one of the things you’ll learn about more at the museum, including the state’s relationship and history with fires.

As I mentioned, children will have plenty of fun doing cool and educational activities. One of the highlights for me was talking to the fire horse called Fred.

Of course, not everything is fun and games in this museum. People can check out the section for the Great Fire of 1922 and learn invaluable lessons from that horrible fire that left thousands of people without their homes in New Bern.

Furthermore, the museum offers private tours. However, if you wish to get one, you have to schedule beforehand.

New Bern Firemen’s Museum is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 10 AM to 3 PM. Visit it at this address 420 Broad St, New Bern, NC 28560.

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Visit Craven Arts Council & Gallery Bank of the Arts

History and arts… These are two of my favorite things that I always make sure to see more of when I visit a destination for the first time.

And as its motto says, the Craven Arts Council & Gallery is just the right place that nurtures thriving art, joy, and cultural experiences.

If you have some spare time in the afternoon while visiting New Bern, stop by this art gallery and admire some of the finest artworks in the region. Various exhibitions and galleries on a variety of themes are displayed regularly.

What I specifically love about this arts council/gallery is the auction. If you want to take a piece of art with you to remind you of your amazing time in New Bern, this is a perfect chance.

You can also bid on weekly auctions, which makes for a super fun experience. Make sure to check the website for specific information and when auctions are organized.

Keep in mind that the opening hours are from 10 am to 5 pm from Tuesday Through to Saturday. The gallery is closed on Sunday and Monday so plan your stay accordingly if you wish to visit.

The gallery is located at 317 Middle St, New Bern, NC 28560.


Discover the Beauties of Union Point Park


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Holidays and having a great time are so much more than shopping, running from one museum to the next, and eating out. Sometimes, all it takes is a place to unwind and take it all in. Union Point Part provided that for me.

New Bern natives are lucky to have this green paradise and lovely piece of nature. Sprawled across six acres, it’s located near the meeting point of Trent River and Neuse River.

Whether you like jogging, strolling, or simply sitting down on a bench and relaxing, you can do it all to release the stress of vacationing.

What’s more, there are many playgrounds for kids, a pier for fishing and launching kayaks and other vessels.

You can even enjoy some fresh and delicious barbecue. That’s right – the park is filled with picnic tables and grills where you can enjoy a wonderful meal by the water and the peaceful sights.

You can find this park for chilling out at 210 E Front St, New Bern, NC 28560.


Shop at the Farmer’s Market

New Bern Nc farmers Market

The Farmers Market is rightfully on the list of the best things to do in New Bern NC due to its organic products and the freshness that it offers.

I guarantee that you can’t leave without at least a few bags of greens and sweets.

I still remember the wonderful smell and taste of the products I purchased. Aside from fruits and vegetables, the market sells sweet treats for those that really like to eat them. Also, you can find baked goods that are simply amazing.

But the market is not all about food. You can purchase some handmade souvenirs, crafts, and art at affordable prices.

You should just dedicate your time to discovering everything this place has to offer and open your wallet to buy all the things you like.

If you planning to visit the market the address is 421 S Front St, New Bern, NC 28560.

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Eat at Cow Cafe


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Yes, you read that right. New Bern has its own Cow Cafe that offers a unique eating experience to all visitors. Located in the heart of the historic part of New Bern, it serves different types of meals.

Some of the popular items on the menu include sandwiches, milkshakes, and ice creams. In fact, the cafe is known for having more than 40 ice creams that are homemade.

Another detail worth mentioning is the cow-themed appearance and design. As you surely guessed from the name, the cafe looks cute with all the special decorations that remind visitors of a farm and cows.

It was this that made it really interesting to me. And I had a delicious lunch there, in-between walks to the other attractions in New Bern.

If you want to visit it and grab a meal there, you can find it at the address 319 Middle St, New Bern, NC 28560.


Explore Carolina Creations


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New Bern’s downtown is filled with many interesting and original places and attractions. Carolina Creations is one of them. Everyone that passes through the city should at least check it out and see why it’s so special for themselves.

As a hub for local artists, it collects some amazing artwork and creations. It operates as a gallery where you can find contemporary as well as modern art suitable for all tastes.

Starting from paintings on glass and ceramics to jewelry, it offers many different things available for observation and purchase. Not to mention that this is a way to give support to the local aspiring talents.

The gallery is located at the address 317 Pollock St, New Bern, NC 28560, so if you have time, go and visit it.


Tour the Shackleford Banks

Shackleford Banks horses

Do you like horses? If you answered yes, you will surely enjoy this place. I was amazed to see the glorious wild horses roaming around in their natural habitat. And of course, I filled my camera with photos of them.

Shackleford Banks offers this opportunity and many more. As an island, it boasts marvelous views and many spots to simply relax and unwind, it’s basically just you and the horses.

Wait until you hear that they are special, too. Apparently, their ancestors were the horses that after the incident with the Spanish fleet were nearly left there to die. Such brave creatures.

A friendly note is to check if the weather will be nice before going so that the natural beauty is clearly visible and you can fully enjoy the day.

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Try different outdoor activities at Lawson Creek Park

Another great park alert. New Bern truly has a few of them. Lawson Creek Park is spread across 140 acres of greenery and beautiful nature. Its surroundings are no less special.

With the Trent River on one side and Lawson Creek on the other, visitors have plenty of spots to see and activities to try. No matter if you’re traveling alone or with kids, the park has something for everyone.

For starters, it has multiple trails suitable for hiking and walking. They are accompanied by some nice picnic areas for chilling. Fishing is also a very popular thing to do there.

Mullets and small bass are among the popular fish that you will encounter during your time on the water. The good news is that your little ones can meet them up close, as well.

The address of the park is easy to find – 1309 Country Club Rd, New Bern, NC 28560.


Grab a beer at Brewery99

bartender pours beer into a glass from the tap bar

Looking for the best place to try beer in New Bern after a long walk around the city? Then, you shouldn’t miss Brewery99. It’s a new brewery that became well-known in this part of the state. This is thanks to the high-quality beers it produces.

Let me tell you what learned during my visit there – the owners use locally sourced ingredients to make all their delicious drinks. And business is booming.

While this is the 99th brewery in North Carolina, it’s the first one in the county of Craven. Understandably, the name originates from this fact as well as the originality of the place.

Once you enter, you can smell all the delicious beer they have on offer. Making you want to try as many of them as possible. Personally, I really liked the seasonal beers. Of course, you can taste them all but be careful in case you need to drive back to your hotel room.

You can get to this place by following the address 417 Broad St F, New Bern, NC 28560.


Explore Croatan National Forest

Explore Croatan National Forest

Even though Croatan National Forest isn’t directly in New Bern, it’s nearby. However, the ranger office where you can get informed about everything is in the city.

As you can probably imagine, the forest is magical. Any adventurer that loves being outside, surrounded by tall trees and natural beauties should make time to visit.

I was positively surprised to see that for a forest it was very accessible and easy to move around. For this reason, it provides interesting activities for all ages.

You can go hunting, hiking, biking, and even take a tent and go camping. If you want more excitement you can take a tour and go on All-Terrain Vehicle to explore more of the forest.

On the other side, this place includes lakes, rivers, and creeks for a more relaxing and calm stay. You can rent a boat or canoe and go fishing. Or you can simply swim in the calm and clear waters away from the busy and loud city life. The choice is yours.

In any case, the forest promises unforgettable moments that will spice up your whole trip.


Tips Before You Visit New Bern NC

As you can see, there are so many amazing and beautiful places to explore in New Bern. With so many options available you’ll need to pre-plan your trip so you don’t run out of time.

Still, there are so many things I wish I knew before arriving.

To give you a hand, I will tell you some of them:

  • There are vacation rentals that are in really great condition, so you don’t necessarily need to look for a hotel.
  • Ensure to pack light as you won’t need any winter clothing.
  • If you’re tired of walking, you can move around the city using the local cabs or the CARTS Public Transportation. Still, it’s recommended to walk as much as possible or bike in order to experience the beauty and the spirit of the city. You won’t be sorry.
  • Ensure you bring comfortable walking shoes as you will be doing a lot of walking.


Final Remarks About Things to Do in New Bern NC

Now that we’ve explored what New Bern has to offer, I can say that this is a destination that’s definitely worth visiting in every season of the year.

There is always something to see and do there. So, I warmly recommend it to everyone, no matter the age and whether they travel alone or with friends and family.

I had a great time with my friends and we constantly look back on all the adventures we had in the parks as well as the waterfront.

What is your opinion on the city though? Have you already been there or do you plan to visit it soon? Share your opinions and experiences with us here.

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