20 Things To Do In Fayetteville NC

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Fayetteville, North Carolina, is a city in the Cape Fear region of the state. The Cape Fear River flows through Fayetteville before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean, less than a two-hour drive away. This southernmost portion of North Carolina lies within the coastal plain.

People travel from all over, looking for a beach vacation in an area where they can also explore nature and history. The airport in Fayetteville makes travelling here from far away much easier. This city is only an hour’s drive from Raleigh and less than three hours from Charlotte. Adventure, history, and beauty can all be found on a vacation here, and many activities are family-friendly. Here are the best things to do in Fayetteville.

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Tours and Passes

fayetteville nc
Market House is a combination of market building and town hall. Admiring its architecture is one of the things to do in Fayetteville NC.
  • Let’s Roam Treasure Hunt – Discover the treasures of Fayetteville on this fun app-led scavenger hunt to discover hidden secrets at your own pace.
  • North Carolina GetOutPass – Save money with this pass (valid for 12 months) that offers access to over 50 attractions across North Carolina, including several venues in Fayetteville, such as Black Ops Paintball, bowling, scavenger hunts and walks.

20 Things To Do In Fayetteville NC

1- Explore Fayetteville Downtown Historic District

downtown historic district fayetteville
Exploring the Downtown Historic District is the first thing to do in Fayetteville NC.

Scottish immigrants in the early 1700s settled the city of Fayetteville and their legacy continues to this day.

This cultural heritage is still celebrated and preserved in Fayetteville.

The Fayetteville Downtown Historic District has 113 historic structures, including commercial, residential, government, and civic buildings and churches.

These structures were built from the 1780s through the first half of the 20th century.

Various architectural styles are represented in the historic buildings throughout the city, including Victorian, Federal, Greek Revival, and Colonial Revival.

The Fayetteville Downtown Historic District has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places for over 20 years.

Visitors to the city can follow the Historic Architecture Trail and discover the rich history this city has on display. 

2- Visit The Museum of the Cape Fear

fayetteville map
Looking for a list of things to do in Fayetteville NC? We’ve found 20 to get you started.

The Museum of the Cape Fear is in a historical complex that is also home to the 1897 Poe House and Arsenal Park.

This museum contains four permanent gallery exhibits. One of the exhibits details the history of the Native Americans, who were the region’s first settlers.

Another exhibit discusses the early exploration of the area by Europeans and their first settlements.

Details about the Civil War and the effects of the war on this region comprise the third exhibit.

The history of the textile industry in the area is the fourth permanent exhibit.

In addition to the permanent gallery exhibits, the museum also features temporary exhibits that change every few months.

Open Tuesday through Sunday, entry is free but donations are accepted.

The Museum of the Cape Fear is at 801 Arsenal Ave, Fayetteville, NC 28305.

3- See The Exhibits At 1897 Poe House

The 1897 Poe House is a historic building in Fayetteville built in 1897 by the local businessman Edgar Allen Poe (no relation to the famous poet).

Poe was the affluent owner of a brick company.

Visitors to this museum can take a guided tour through the rooms and see what life was like during this period when so much was changing in the country.

Exhibits display information about women’s suffrage, the history of African Americans during this time, how children lived, and the myriad social, technological, and economic changes that the country, especially North Carolina, was experiencing.

Tours are available Tuesday through Sunday, and visitors must sign up for a tour at the Museum of the Cape Fear in advance.

While the guided tour is free, donations of $2 per adult and $1 per child are accepted. The 1897 Poe House is at 206 Bradford Ave, Fayetteville, NC 28305.

4- Wander Around Arsenal Park

Arsenal Park is in the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex.

The Fayetteville Arsenal, one of five arsenals commissioned after the War of 1812, was supposed to be an important part of the defence of the United States after its completion.

However, the Civil War broke out, and North Carolina seceded only three years after the arsenal was built.

The Confederacy took over and produced rifles and ammunition to fight Union soldiers.

The arsenal was eventually destroyed in 1865 by General Sherman. Visitors to this historical site will find the ruins of the arsenal, as well as detailed Civil War trail markers that tell its story.

Arsenal Park is at 215 Myrover St, Fayetteville, NC, 28305.

5- Relax In Cape Fear Botanical Garden

things to do in fayetteville today duck in lake
Enjoying parks and lakes is one of the relaxing things to do in Fayetteville NC.

The Cape Fear Botanical Garden is an 80-acre (32 hectares) place for nature lovers who want to explore the beautifully curated gardens that strive to connect people to the natural world.

A variety of themed gardens are found on the property, including a Children’s Garden, Shade Garden, Butterfly Stroll, and a Heritage Garden.

The Heritage Garden features a homestead and agricultural buildings from the late 1800s.

The Cape Fear River runs along the border of the botanical gardens.

Visitors can explore the forested trails along the river and view it from overlooks.

Many educational activities and events for all ages are hosted throughout the year.

Christmas lights and displays light the gardens during the Holiday of Lights event.

Visitors can wander around in the evenings enjoying hot cocoa, coffee, baked goods, and pictures with Santa or the Grinch.

The Cape Fear Botanical Garden is at 536 N Eastern Blvd, Fayetteville, NC 28301.

6- Walk Along Cape Fear River Trail

things to do in fayetteville north carolina autumn trees flanking the road
Following the Cape Fear River Trail is one of the things to do in Fayetteville NC, for nature lovers.

The Cape Fear River Trail is a paved pathway for walking, running and bicycling. Leashed dogs are allowed on the trail.

This trail follows the Cape Fear River for more than five miles (three kilometers) and is open for use year-round.

The pathway meanders through woodlands and marshes and over wooden bridges, a boardwalk, and a covered bridge.

This trail is considered easy, although one small section may be challenging for people in wheelchairs to negotiate without assistance.

The Cape River Fear Trail is a small part of the East Coast Greenway that will eventually connect to urban trails from Florida to Maine.

Parking is at the southern end at 631 Sherman Dr, Fayetteville, NC 28301, or the northern end at 445 Treetop Dr, Fayetteville, NC 28311.

7- Enjoy Nature At J. Bayard Clark Park and Nature Center

The J. Bayard Clark Park and Nature Center is at the southern end of the Cape Fear River Trail.

This centre contains live animals on display, such as turtles, snakes, and fish.

Educational exhibits provide visitors with information about the native species found in the region.

Three trails wind through the forest, and visitors can take guided interpretive tours with a naturalist, go for a picnic, and see the waterfall.

Pets are permitted on the trails, but they must be leashed.

A primitive campground is available for people who want to stay overnight, but there is no hot water or electricity.

Entry into the nature centre is free. Educational and recreational programs are frequently offered at the centre for various ages.

The J. Bayard Clark Park and Nature Center is at 631 Sherman Dr, Fayetteville, NC 28301.

8- Get An Adrenalin Rush 

The ZipQuest Waterfall and Treetop Adventure is one of the best zipline facilities in the United States, according to USA Today.

A large waterfall called Carver’s Waterfall is located on the property and provides a scenic view for people ziplining on one of the zipline adventures.

Carver’s Creek runs through the forest and offers people peaceful views of nature while exploring the treetop adventure park.

Visitors can choose one of two zipline adventures where people fly through the treetops on an exhilarating ride, walk across suspension bridges, and climb spiral staircases.

The longest zipline is more than 800 feet long (244 meters). Nighttime zipline tours offer visitors a different adventure in the treetops with headlamps.

The ZipQuest Waterfall and Treetop Adventure is at 533 Carvers Falls Road, Fayetteville, NC 28311.

9- Practice Your Climbing Skills

stone mountain state park
Brush up on your rock climbing skills to prepare for a climbing adventure in Stone Mountain State Park.

The Climbing Place is an indoor climbing arena where people of all ages and skill levels can practice scaling rock walls and bouldering.

This climbing gym has rental equipment for visitors without their own and professional staff to help clients safely climb.

The gym is open daily (except Sunday) from 10 AM to 9 PM; no appointment is necessary.

The Climbing Place offers technique classes to help climbers achieve greater skills.

Outdoor trips to Pilot Mountain, Stone Mountain State Park, and Table Rock State Park are occasionally offered.

With 20,000 square feet (1,860 square meters) of climbing space inside the gym, there are plenty of options for visitors looking for a safe adventure.

The Climbing Place is at 436 W Russell St, Fayetteville, NC 28301.

10- Visit The Fayetteville Transportation and Local History Museum

what to do in fayetteville nc city skyline at night
Looking for things to do in Fayetteville? If you’re visiting with families you will have your time filled up.

The Fayetteville Transportation and Local History Museum is in downtown Fayetteville’s historic Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad Depot.

Built in 1890, this museum has two floors containing many artifacts to engage visitors.

The displays tell the region’s story from prehistory through the 20th century.

Some of the most popular rooms in the museum are the model train room and a room with an interactive steamboat.

One of the rooms also contains the recreated office of a station agent.

The annex adjacent to the museum contains vintage cars, aeroplanes, and a recreated gas station from the 1920s.

This museum opens from 10 am to 4 pm (Tuesday to Saturday) at 325 Franklin Street, Fayetteville, NC 28301.

11- Fish At Lake Rim Park

things to do in fayetteville nc waterfowl walking in water
Watching the waterfowl on a lake is a tranquil thing to do in Fayetteville NC.

Lake Rim Park is a free park that is open to the public, offering a variety of activities, including a one-mile trail that winds through the wetlands to Bone Creek, providing a shady place for people to walk or jog. Dogs are permitted, but they must be leashed at all times.

The lake offers an excellent place to fish, see waterfowl, or sit and take in the scenery.

Picnic areas throughout the park can be reserved in advance for a party.

The park also has horseshoe pits, sand volleyball courts, tennis courts, and a playground.

Lake Rim Park provides families with a place to have a peaceful picnic with plenty of space to run around and explore.

Lake Rim Park is at 2214 Tar Kiln Dr, Fayetteville, NC 28304.

12- Learn About War At The US Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum

Visiting the US Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum is one of the interesting things to do in the Fayetteville area.

This museum pays homage to more than 80 years of history surrounding the Army’s Airborne and Special Operations forces.

This museum covers the period from 1940 through the present day.

By using interactive exhibits and recreations, visitors can catch a glimpse of what soldiers experienced during various operations in Normandy, Vietnam, Panama, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

The museum designed exhibits that allow visitors to hear the stories and witness the incredible actions the Army’s Airborne and Special Operations soldiers performed in various conflicts.

They include “Early Airborne,” “World War II,” “Korea and Cold War,” “Vietnam,” “Contingency Operations and Training,” and the “Global War on Terrorism.”

Admission is free, and the museum is open every day except Monday.

The US Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum is at 100 Bragg Blvd, Fayetteville, NC 28301.

13- Take The Kids To JP’s Jump Masters

things to do fayetteville for kids little girl with pony tails jumping on trampoline
If you’re visiting with kids, you’ll find lots of things to do in Fayetteville.

JP’s Jump Masters is a 20,000-square-foot (1,860 square meters) trampoline park that offers a variety of activities, such as trampoline dodgeball, trampoline basketball, and foam pits, in addition to regular trampolines.

This trampoline park has reasonable prices and offers excellent party packages for kids’ birthday parties.

A coffee shop serves gourmet coffees and an indoor/outdoor cafe provides healthy food choices.

An arcade at the park is a cool place for kids to hang out and play when they get tired of jumping.

This trampoline park is an excellent place to go when the weather outside prevents people from enjoying outdoor activities.

JP’s Jump Masters is at 7005 Nexus Ct, Fayetteville, NC 28304.

14- Go Indoor Skydiving

Paraclete XP Indoor Skydiving offers thrill-seekers the opportunity to feel like flying without having to leap out of a plane thousands of feet above the ground.

This indoor skydiving facility contains the largest indoor skydiving wind tunnel in the United States.

This experience is perfect for families, and unlike skydiving, which is only for adults, children as young as three years old can skydive in the indoor wind tunnel.

All participants are trained and expected to wear a jumpsuit, helmet, and goggles.

This facility is open every day, and you can make reservations online.

Paraclete XP Indoor Skydiving is located at 190 Paraclete Dr, Raeford, NC 28376.

15- Have An ATV Adventure 

The Deep Creek ATV Park has nearly 1,000 acres (405 ha) of land containing more than 40 miles (64 km) of groomed, well-maintained trails.

Deep Creek offers the perfect place for off-roading with ATVs or dirt bikes.

Stay overnight at campsites with full hookups and bath houses.

The company also offers many events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and Bounty Holes.

Pets are permitted at this park but must be kept on a leash. Families with children are welcome, and kids aged ten and under are free.

The park is open Tuesday through Sunday most of the year.

The Deep Creek ATV Park is at 2601 Slocomb Rd, Linden, NC 28356.

16- Discover Cultural Heritage Trails

things to do in fayetteville nc city
Wandering around the city is one of the things to do in Fayetteville NC to get your bearings.

Fayetteville has a long, rich history, and the city has created a variety of Cultural Heritage Trails designed to educate the public about the multi-faceted history of the area.

The African-American Heritage Trail looks at the lives led by African-Americans in this area starting in the late 18th century.

The American Independence Trail showcases this region’s important role in the fight for independence.

The Civil War Trail offers a glimpse of the importance of this region to the Confederacy.

The events that occurred here helped lead them to their ultimate defeat.

The Gaelic Beginnings Trail documents the lives of the early Scottish settlers in the area.

Additional Heritage Trails include the Religious Freedom Trail, Lafayette Trail, and the Fish and Game Trail.

17- Hike Carvers Creek State Park

Carvers Creek State Park is just north of Fayetteville in Cumberland County and is a 4,500-acre (1,800 hectares) park that borders Fort Bragg.

Carvers Creek, a tributary of Cape Fear River, meanders through the park.

Long Valley Farm, located on the state park property, was a home that once served as a winter retreat for the Rockefeller family.

Recreational activities are available throughout the year, such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing and picnicking.

Trails wind through the longleaf pine forest, and visitors may see endangered species like the Pine Barrens tree frog and the red-cockaded woodpecker.

Carvers Creek State Park is at 2505 Long Valley Rd, Spring Lake, NC 28390.

18- Play A Game Of Black Ops Paintball

fayetteville things to do
A Black Ops game is one of the fun things to do in Fayetteville.

Black Ops Paintball has a 300-acre (121 hectares) area where people of all ages and skill levels are welcome to play in a safe environment.

The field environments and arenas such as the airsoft field and CQB arena offer players a wide variety of play options, so rounds never get boring.

Gel blasting, a softer version of paintball, is ideal for younger children ages four and above.

In addition to the traditional play, two-day scenarios are sometimes held, creating an entire weekend of fun.

In the fall, the Zombie Paintball Hayride and Haunted House is the perfect way to experience some Halloween thrills.

Black Ops Paintball is at 2112 River Rd, Fayetteville, NC 28312. The North Carolina GetOutPass includes access to Black Ops Paintball.

19- Have A Picnic At Mazarick Park

Mazarick Park contains nearly 80 acres (32 hectares) of recreational space, a disc golf course, tennis courts, a baseball field, and playgrounds.

Amenities at the park include restrooms, grills, picnic tables, and shelter areas that can be reserved in advance.

The Glenville Lake Pier provides an excellent place to cast a line for bass or bluegill for visitors with a state fishing license.

You can rent boats, and the trails provide scenic hikes. Leashed dogs are welcome.

Mazarick Park is at 1400 Belvedere Ave, Fayetteville, NC 28305.

20- Spend The Day At Omni Family Amusement Center

The Omni Family Amusement Center is one of the largest amusement centres in North Carolina, offering more than 100 rides and games that provide hours of entertainment.

A large redemption centre has hundreds of prizes available to lucky winners from the arcade who trade their tickets for prizes.

Omni also offers an indoor black-light miniature golf course, an outdoor miniature golf course and a movie theatre.

This amusement centre is open every day, even when schools are not.

Omni Family Amusement Center is at 3729 Sycamore Dairy Road, Fayetteville, NC 28303.

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Angie Grier is a spicy señora living in central Mexico with a penchant for freelance writing. Having spent most of her adult life writing as a scientist and then as a teacher, she now contributes articles on a wide variety of topics for print and online media. Originally from the US, she has lived in several different states on the US West and East coasts, the Gulf Coast, and the Upper Midwest. These days, when she’s not camping in the woods in a US national park or shopping in Tonalá or eating chilaquiles, she writes a travel blog detailing her life and adventures in Mexico at www.onaroadleadingsomewhere.com.