To be the second-oldest town in North Carolina and the state’s first capital (however briefly), New Bern, NC has a wealth of activities to keep visitors entertained and engaged.
Things To Do In New Bern NC, there are a plethora of things to see and do, including interesting museums, charming brick streets, and delicious restaurants. New Bern, located at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers, is enthralling from the moment you see the marina or begin strolling down Middle Street.
As a lifelong resident of Eastern North Carolina, I can attest to the virtues of a New Bern vacation at visitor center.
List Of 14 Things To Do In New Bern NC Today
1. Middle Street
In New Bern’s historic center, Middle Street runs for six blocks and is one of the city’s most charming attractions! On Middle Street, you can find everything from trendy boutiques and restaurants to photo-worthy corners at visitor center(the lampposts!).
2. Tryon Palace
Tryon Palace, the first state capital of North Carolina, was built in 1770 on a commission from Royal Governor William Tryon old town. North Carolinians were outraged that their tax dollars were being used to provide opulence for the British Governor performing arts from the moment the building was announced.
The original palace was destroyed in a fire in 1798, so it didn’t even make it into the 19th century. Historic North Carolina can be glimpsed through the newly reconstructed Tryon Palace’s interpretive tour and sprawling gardens today attraction.
The current structure was constructed in 1959 and is decorated with period-appropriate furnishings. Visiting Tryon Palace is one of the best things to do in New Bern, and the tour is well worth it for free things.
Did you know that the formula for Pepsi was developed in a local New Bern pharmacy? Caleb Davis Bradham, a pharmacist, began selling “Brad’s Drink” in his pharmacy in 1893. Pepsi-Cola was renamed in 1898, and the rest, as they say, is history for family fun.
A soda bar/museum/store has been converted into the Birthplace of Pepsi-Cola on the site of the original pharmacy, where Pepsi-Cola was invented in 1903. Even though it’s a relatively small building, it is one of the most well-known New Bern landmarks and is worth the effort for trip ideas!
4. North Carolina History Center
The North Carolina History Center, near Tryon Palace, is enormous, as one might expect given that it covers more than 300 years of New Bern’s history!
Each section of exhibits at the North Carolina History Center is so distinct that it often feels like you’re visiting multiple museums in one visit of historic site.
There are a variety of exhibits at the North Carolina History Center that cover the history of New Bern from a variety of perspectives and time periods, as well as on-site dining options and an easy-to-access location along the river for outdoor recreation.
5. New Bern’s Quirky Bear Statues
When New Bern celebrated its 300th birthday in 2010, several bear statues were commissioned to mark the occasion-and the city now has 80 of the event!
“Bern” means “bear” in the Bernese German dialect of the area where New Bern is located. If you keep your eyes open while visiting New Bern, you’re likely to come across at least a dozen bear statues without even trying.
6. New Bern Civil War Battlefield Park
New Bern fell to the Union on March 14, 1862, and the Union would hold it for the rest of the war from that point on. More than a thousand soldiers are thought to have died in the six-hour-long conflict.
New Bern Civil War Battlefield Park, The site now has a visitor’s center, walking trails, and historical plaques explaining the battle’s significance. The New Bern Historical Society owns and maintains the park, which is open to the public for free.
7. Union Point Park
Union Point Park, which sits at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers, is a local favorite for its fishing pier, scenic river views, open green space, and, of course, bear statues. Union Point Park in New Bern is a lovely place to take a break from sightseeing and enjoy a picnic or a quiet afternoon outdoor activities.
8. New Bern Firemen’s Museum
The New Bern Firemen’s Museum (sometimes referred to as the New Bern Fire Museum) is a great place for kids and adults alike to learn about the history of firefighting in New Bern upcoming events.
The history of firefighting in New Bern, which dates back to the city’s founding as the first chartered fire company in the state, is as long as the city’s. The museum also tells the story of the devastating fire that ravaged New Bern in 1922, destroying more than 1,000 structures.
9. New Bern’s Beautiful Historic Churches
New Bern’s historic core is home to a number of beautiful, shady churches. There are two excellent places to start: Christ Church and the First Baptist Church (both of which you’ll pass on your way to see the best of New Bern special offers).
10. Lawson Creek Park
Lawson Creek Park in New Bern, North Carolina, encompasses 140 acres along a peninsula in the Trent River. Whatever your interests, Lawson Creek Park is a great place to get out and explore New Bern’s natural beauty, whether it’s fishing, kayaking, or just walking the park’s perimeter on a nature trail of outdoor adventure.
11. New Bern’s African-American History
If you’re visiting New Bern and want to learn more about the city’s rich Black history, here are some suggestions. There are countless tales to tell about the area’s rich history!
A thriving Black community existed in New Bern long before the Civil War, and their stories and the stories of those who came after them are still told in the city to this day. No matter what kind of tour you want, you can find it all from Queen Street to Tryon Palace and everywhere in between.
12. Croatan National Forest
The Croatan National Forest, located just outside of New Bern and extending to the coast, is a great place to take in the natural beauty of the Inner Banks region.From March to October, the Island Creek Forest Walk Trailhead is one of the best things to do near New Bern!
13. The Next Chapter
It was easy for me to fall in love with The Next Chapter as a self-professed bibliophile! Shop owner Michele Garren-Flye (a local author) owns and operates this cozy shop that focuses on the work of local artists water activities.
As you move from room to room at The Next Chapter, you never quite know what you’re going to find! If you want to visit The Next Chapter, you’ll need to plan ahead because it has limited hours in festivals.
14. Attmore-Oliver House and Gardens
Attmore-Oliver House and Gardens, new Bern’s Attmore-Oliver House, built in 1790, is a stunning example of the city’s colonial style. The house is now the home of the New Bern Historical Society, but you can take a tour by appointment of a portion of it if you’re curious.
Where To Stay In New Bern, NC?
The best places to stay in New Bern? We’ve got you covered. It’s easy to walk to these popular hotels, all of which have excellent reviews and a convenient location near the water.
These hotels are all within walking distance of some of New Bern’s most popular attractions, so you won’t have to worry about driving at botanical garden!
Classic Bed and Breakfast
- Stay at the Hanna House Bed and Breakfast for an authentic southern bed and breakfast experience that you won’t regret! Hanna House is just two blocks from Middle Street, and its rooms are decorated to a high standard.
River Views + A Pool
- Located right on the water, the Doubletree by Hilton New Bern Riverfront is a great option for a waterfront hotel. The Trent River can be seen from your room at the Doubletree and you can walk to Union Point Park in just 5 minutes from there.
- The New Bern Courtyard by Marriott is a great place to stay in New Bern because of its modern rooms and great location along the Neuse River. All of New Bern’s historic center is within walking distance of the Courtyard by Marriott.
Getting Around When Visiting New Bern
Even though New Bern’s downtown core is walkable, you’ll definitely need a car with you when you visit. The Battlefield Park and Croatan National Forest, which are located outside of the city’s historic core, require a car meeting space.
Aside from driving into New Bern, the Coastal Carolina Regional Airport is also located in town, making it easy to fly in at the start of your North Carolina beach vacation.
A few times I’ve flown in and out of there, and the airport is tiny, with only three gates (it ranks up there with Cappadocia, Turkey, and Vilanculos, Mozambique as one of the smallest airports we’ve ever visited), but it does the trick.
If you’re planning a trip to New Bern and will need a rental car, we suggest using Discover Cars to compare rates and rental agreements on hiking.
FAQs Things To Do IN New Bern NC
Is New Bern NC worth visiting?
New Bern, North Carolina’s second-oldest city, was founded in 1710. (after Bath). This has led to numerous historic sites, including beautiful old churches, the town’s first fire station, and more. Tryon Palace, North Carolina’s first permanent capitol, is one of those places.
How far is New Bern NC from the beach?
How to get to Atlantic Beach from New Bern. 37 miles separate New Bern from Atlantic Beach. The average travel time is 53 minutes. The average cost of a gallon of gas along this route is $5. A 100-dollar cab ride will get you from point A to point B.
What is New Bern known for?
This well-liked town is a popular tourist destination because of its close proximity to the stunning Crystal Coast, as well as its natural beauty and historic charm. New Bern, North Carolina, is the second-oldest town in the state and has more than 150 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.
Does New Bern NC have a boardwalk?
Playgrounds, restrooms, and a popular waterfront boardwalk are all available to visitors of all ages at the site, which is adjacent to Bicentennial Park.