One Hundred Things To Do In And Around Eastern Carolina

By: Chris Mossman
By: Chris Mossman

The next time you’re thinking “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do”, take a look at this list and hopefully you’ll be inspired with a fresh idea.

The next time you’re thinking “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do”, take a look at this list and hopefully you’ll be inspired with a fresh idea. 

Some of these things I’ve tried, some are on my to-do list and others are ideas that people with different interests than mine have told me they enjoyed. 

One more point – I have e-mail links to many of these ideas posted.  Over the next several weeks, I will add more links and may even add a few ideas.

100.  The Aurora Fossil Museum

99. Winterville Watermelon Festival   August 21st-23rd

98. Hike the trails or go fishing at River Park North in Greenville

97. The Country Doctor Museum in Bailey, founded in 1967, is the only medical museum in the nation dedicated to rural physicians who practiced medicine in the South during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The museum collects and preserves the medical instruments and tools of pharmacy used by country doctors as well as their diaries, papers and medical books. The museum is housed in two restored 19th-century physicians’ offices.

96. Take a shuttle to Cape Lookout and/or the Shackleford Banks

95. Go to the I-Max Theatre in Raleigh's Marbles Kids Museum

94. Catch a Wilson Tobs game.  It’s a great old stadium, reminiscent of “The Natural”.  Great ticket prices and a wonderful atmosphere. 

93. Unless you have a real big gas tank, the Charlotte area doesn’t qualify as a one-tank trip, but North Carolina’s premiere amusement park is worth a mention.  Carowinds

92. Play 9 holes at “Terrapin Track” near Washington.  This one is a very unique experience.  Haven’t played it personally but a good friend told me it reminded him of the old Bartles & James commercials except the guys were younger.  252-927-3204

91. Lunch on or near the water in Beaufort.  Try Finz for a good atmosphere and a cost efficient meal. 

90. Discount matinee movies. 

89. Go antiquing.  In Greenville, try Dickenson Ave.  Also Wilson and Downtown New Bern can be productive spots.

88.  Escape the heat and tour the exhibits at the Greenville Museum of Art

87.  Visit North Carolina’s oldest winery, The Duplin Winery in Rose Hill.  Tours run 9a-4p Monday through Saturday. 

86. Catch the racing bug – East Carolina Motor Speedway in Robersonville

85.  Support Eastern Carolina farmers by purchasing fresh local produce from the Pitt County Farmer’s Market or the Farmer’s Market on Front Street in New Bern

84. Head north on a one-tank trip to Colonial Williamsburg

83. OK, while you’re in Williamsburg, stay another day and ride the coasters at Busch Gardens 

82.  CSS Neuse Historic Site in Kinston

81. West Water Park in Kinston

80. Kayaking in the rivers and creeks.  For rentals, try Paddle Pamlico in Oriental. 

79. Carolina Crossroads, perhaps better known as the facility formerly known as The Randy Parton Theatre, has a decent line-up this summer including a classic rock pairing of Styx and Boston.  

78. Catch a classic movie at the Turnage Theatre.  If you haven’t been to the Turnage yet, it’s worth the price of admission to check out the fantastic job they’ve done remodeling this classic jewel. 

77. Graveyard of the Atlantic - Maritime History Museum in Hatteras

76. Tour Tarboro’s National Historic District

75. When summer’s over, it’s time for the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh.  Big crowds and big fun.  Opens October 16th. 

74.  Camping.  I’ll confess that my idea of camping is a Hampton Inn but for those who are more adventurous, you can find some great camping in Eastern Carolina.

73.  The Cowan Museum in Kenansville is a hands-on learning and entertaining experience for all ages. The Cowan Museum is located in the fully restored Kelly-Farrior House (circa 1848). You’ll find over 2,000 artifacts that reflect the heritage of rural North Carolina. 

72. Play 18 holes at the rapidly improving Brook Valley Country Club

71. The old bull isn’t there anymore and the ballpark isn’t falling apart anymore but baseball fans will love an afternoon at Durham Bulls Athletic Park watching the Tampa Bay Rays AAA affiliate.   Kevin Costner makes an appearance on July 4th, not to reprise his role as Crash Davis but to take the stage with his band.  Fireworks follow the concert.  

70. Have you been to any of Greenville’s fine independent restaurants lately?  Beef Barn, Christine’s, Daily Grind and the rest….they all have something you’ll enjoy.  Finelli’s and CPW’s don’t appear to be part of the group but they deserve a shout out as well. 

69. Take a ride on a NC State Ferry

68.  The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro.  

67. Visit Deadwood in Bear Grass described as a family owned and operated Western Theme Park.  Train rides, miniature golf, arcades, a kiddie roller coaster and The Smokehouse Grill.  They’re only open weekends so check their website or call before you go. 

66. Get some friends together and play 18 holes at ECU’s home course – Ironwood Country Club, just west of Greenville on Highway 43. 

65. Watch ECU’s pre-season practices.  It all starts in early august. 

64. Cape Hatteras Beach.  Dr. Beach ranks the Buxton, NC beach as #8 on his 2008 top ten list.

63.  When you’re beached out in Ocracoke, try the shops and galleries

62. Visit the birthplace of Pepsi in downtown New Bern.  If you’re expecting something similar to the Coca-Cola Experience in Atlanta, your expectations will not be met.  You can however buy some memorabilia and sip an ice-cold Pepsi at the recreated soda fountain. 

61. Play a round of miniature golf or stay inside at the arcade at New Bern’s Swing Zone

60. Belhaven Memorial Museum, Belhaven - Think you’ve seen it all? One visit to the Belhaven Memorial Museum will surely change your mind. This museum is the result of Mrs. Eva Blount Way’s penchant for collecting buttons. 

59. Whirligigs, near Wilson is an amazing collection of “Whirligigs” – large, wooden, wind-driven mechanical windmills – created by local folk artist Volis Simpson. The devices incorporate complex movement and sound and are an integral part of more than 30 works erected on Simpson’s property.

58. The Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly near the intersection of I-95 and Highway 301.  The museum’s goal is to preserve the special history of Eastern North Carolina’s family tobacco farms for future generations.

57. Ayden Collard Festival -September 4 - 6, 2008 The Ayden Collard Festival got its name about 30 years ago when the town decided it needed a festival but couldn’t decide what to call it. The local newspaper held a contest, collards won out over cucumbers, and the rest is history. The festival has all the traditional elements, such as a parade, concerts, foods, arts and crafts, carnival rides, a 5K run/walk and the crowning of the Collard Queen.

56. Treat yourself to a round of golf at The New North River Golf Club in Beaufort

55.  Bike or run on the great new trail system in Jacksonville

54. Sunday in the Park – Greenville’s summer concert series. 

53. Wayne County Museum: Used in World War II as a USO, the museum memorializes Wayne County history with rotating exhibits, a permanent War Between the States exhibit, and a Wall of Fame honoring notable Wayne County natives

52. Explore the White Oak River.  Haywood Landing and the Cedar Point Recreation Area are both good launch points.  Don’t be surprised if you see reptiles….snakes, large turtles and even alligators.

51. Head to downtown Washington for lunch.  Pia’s is my favorite but Down on Main Street is a close second. 

50. For dinner and a cold beverage in New Bern, it’s hard to beat the Chelsea

49. Lynwood Zoo - Jacksonville

48. Play 18 at Innsbrook, the new Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course on the water in Bertie County.

47. Catch your limit on one of the piers in Onslow County

46. Explore the Roanoke River – Bird watching, Bass Fishing, Paddling & Relaxation roanokeriver.com fishibx.com

45.  Buckner Hill Plantation  in Duplin County is one of the largest antebellum plantation houses in North Carolina.  The plantation was featured in the movie “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.”

44. Wimpie’s in Winterville.    I love their guarantee :  “If you're not served in 15 minutes, then you will be served within 25 minutes. Don't get your shorts in a knot. Relax. Bond with your guests or strangers. If you can't shake your anxiety, we will gladly give you directions to the nearest Fast Food Establishment.”  Heck, even if you don’t like seafood, go read their website.  It made me laugh out loud, several times. 

43. The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort  features a shipwreck exhibit and a sport fishing exhibit

42. Swansboro Bicycle Trail is a twenty-five mile loop which begins in Swansboro, crosses the White Oak River to Cape Carteret, then winds through the Croatan National Forest, crosses the river again and returns to Swansboro.

41. Take a walking tour of historic Bath in Beaufort County. 

40. What about tennis?  Have you played lately?  Most cities in Eastern Carolina have fine municipal facilities.  Get out and play!

39. The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum is well worth the trip to scenic Harker’s Island in eastern Carteret County. 

38. Wright Brothers Monument.  I know…it’s just a monument but  take some time to soak in the history surrounding the area and spend the rest of the day on the beach.  You’ll be glad you did.

37. We’re blessed to have a treasure like the Croatan National Forest in our area.

36. Dinner on the water in Morehead City or Atlantic Beach.  Try Chef’s 105 or the Channel Marker.   

35. There’s a new attraction at Myrtle Beach.  The Hard Rock Park opened this summer. CLOSED

34. Fish Hyde County!  The Mainland boasts the 40,000 acre Lake Mattamuskeet and its canals where bass, bream, catfish, white perch, and blue crabs lure the freshwater enthusiast.  The Alligator River, Pungo River, Pamlico Sound and their tributaries bait fishermen with the challenge of hooking speckled and gray trout, flounder, striped bass and tarpon. 

33. North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores  

32.  The Florida Marlins AA affiliate plays in the far eastern corner of Wake County in Zebulon.  Five County Stadium is a beautiful, semi-luxurious minor league stadium.  Just look for the water tower painted like a baseball as you’re driving west on 264. 

31.  Get a saltwater fishing license and try your luck at one of the piers on the Outer Banks

30. Golf Lessons.  If you don’t think you’re up for playing at one of the courses mentioned, call the club pro and ask for a lesson.  John LaMonica at Ironwood has helped out some of us at WITN but we’re still telling Billy Weaver he needs his lesson.  Nick Eatmon at The Morehead City Country Club is another pro I can recommend. 

29. Why not play tourist in our own area?  Escape for a night to the Sheraton in Atlantic Beach

28.  I haven’t played it yet but I’ve heard some good things about the new golf course in Duplin County – River Landing in Wallace

27. Yes, I love good seafood!  One of my favorites is MJ’s Raw Bar tucked away on Middle Street in downtown New Bern. 

26. Sit out on one of the decks at Backwater Jack’s in Washington with a Shrimp Burger and your favorite cold beverage.  The Fried Oysters are pretty good too!

25. Before or after treating yourself at Backwater Jacks’, burn up some calories or work up an appetite paddling on the Pamlico with a kayak rental from Inner Banks Outfitters, conveniently located next door. 

24. North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island

23. Start your back to school shopping early at the outlets in Smithfield

22. Walk the Charles Kuralt Trail at the Roanoke River Wildlife Refuge (Two miles north of Williamston)

21. Visit Oriental and grab lunch on the water.  Oriental claims to be a village of 875 people and more than 2,700 boats.

20. It’s hard to go the beach without at least checking out the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  It’s $7.00 to climb for adults.  Great view but if you’re not in great shape, it’ll hurt.

19. Try the Beaufort Historic Site.  This two acre complex interprets the town's colonial maritime heritage in nine houses and buildings dating from 1732 to 1859. 

18. Hammocks Beach State Park, located just off the mainland near Swansboro, has become nationally acclaimed as a coastal wildlife nature preserve.

17. ECU Summer Theatre moves to the beautiful Turnage Theatre in Washington. 

16. Celebrate the 4th in style – try Camp LeJeune, Greenville or Washington

15. Another great one-tank trip idea: Tour Wilmington for the day. 

14. Explore the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  It stretches over 70 miles from Nags Head down to Ocracoke.  I’m told there are over 100 public waterfront access points, including free parking, along the shore.

13. The Lost Colony – 71st Anniversary season.  Experience a 423 year-old mystery performed under the stars on Roanoke Island.  Backstage tours are available. 

12. Eat some Eastern Carolina Barbecue.  Favorites include Parker’s in Greenville, Boss Hogs in Washington and Bojangles (yeah, I know they’re best known for chicken – but try the Barbecue sandwich combo).

11. Historic Tryon Palace in North Carolina’s first capital city, New Bern 

10. Have you been to the “Streets at Southpoint” in Durham?  Great chain eats, cool people watching and stores that can burn a hole in your wallet if you choose to do more than window shop.  Nordstrom’s is something special – if money is no object. 

9.  Spend a day in Edenton and ask yourself, “Is this the South’s prettiest small town?”

8. Spend a night under the stars on the grass at the Time Warner Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek.  Toby Keith, Tom Petty, Dave Matthews and more will be playing in Raleigh this summer.

7. Think about all the waterfront property between the Pamlico Sound, the Neuse River Basin, The Crystal Coast, The Outer Banks (both beach and sound side) and Pender County.  My point?  Get a boat and get out and enjoy the water. 

6.  Dr. Beach loves Ocracoke so much he bestowed the “2007 Best Beach Award” to the island.  It’s not easy to get to but I’m told it’s worth the trip.  Nice B&B’s, friendly restaurants, awesome beaches and some of the best fishing on the east coast!

5. Neuseway Nature Center in Kinston is a hidden gem featuring a 52 seat Planetarium, A Health & Science Museum, The Exchange Nature Center and a full-service campground. 

4. Catch the Kinston Indians.  Grainger Stadium is one of a kind and the Indians put on a great show.  And they put a lot of players into the big show including Grady Sizemore, Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez.  New this year: WITN.com's K-Tribe Cam, a live web cam so you can see what's happening at Grainger Stadium.

3.  Spend a day in Emerald Isle.  Surf, Fish at the pier, grab a great lunch and a cold beer.  Or just relax while soaking up the sun.

2.  Ft. Macon State Park in Carteret County

1.  Crank the air conditioning and stay cool in the comfort of your own home.

 OK, you’ve made it through the list.  What have I left out?  Do you have a great idea I haven’t mentioned or a comment about something on the list?  Please share it with us and we’ll add it to the blog.

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