Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Benson, NC

  • Published 2022/11/26

Benson is a beautiful town in Johnston County, North Carolina.

It’s famous for the biggest festival held in the county called “Mule Days,” which honors the town’s agricultural heritage every fourth Saturday of September.

The celebration includes music, food, rodeos, vendors, carnivals, mule judging, and race events.

Benson town got its name from early settler Alfred Monroe Benson, who, in 1874, purchased the 402-acre tract along the Smithfield-Fayetteville Rd. that started a settlement in the area.

Its current population is 4,103 as of the 2021 census.

This historic town has many to offer its residents and visitors, with captivating parks, special events, dining, and shopping.

Discover the best things to do in Benson, North Carolina!

See the Impressive Display of Lights at Meadow Lights

Witness the marvelous display of lights from the oldest but largest Christmas destination in Benson, North Carolina, which spans more than 30 acres.

Located on Godwin Lake Road, Meadow Lights features more than 8,000 lights.

Kids will love taking pictures with Santa and talking to him, who pays a nightly visit up to December 24th before he returns to the North Pole.

The whole family shouldn’t miss riding the enclosed carousel without getting wet in the rain or burned in the sun.

There are trains that can take any age on board and convey them throughout the acres of fascinating displays.

Discover How Benson Came to Be at Benson Museum of Local History

The Benson Museum of Local History has a trove of exhibits that depict the early days of Benson and how its past made this lovely town it is today.

Situated on W Main St., the museum features a vast collection of artifacts, with themed displays on a miscellany of subjects, including farming, local artists, and military history, to name a few.

Likewise, it provides access to the vast photography collection of the NC Digital Heritage Center, donated by historian Harold Medlin, one of the museum’s founders.

Established in 1987, the Benson Museum of Local History aims to gather, preserve, and showcase items of historical significance associated with the Benson area.

Take the whole family to the museum and learn about its past!

Take Your Dog to a Nice Day Off at Benson Dog Park

Your best friend also deserves to relax and unwind sometimes, and taking them to the Benson Dog Park is one of the best things you can do for your pet.

Those cute little puppies will adore the one-acre loose-leash dog park, which features segregated fenced-in areas for small dogs below 25 pounds and large dogs more than 25 pounds.

Benson Dog Park is almost three acres and features clean-up bags and trash bins, but it’s still best to bring your own because you’ll never know if the park runs out.

You and your dog(s) will be happy to know that there’s free entry and parking.

You’ll find this dog park close to East Main Street and South Walton Drive.

Get Your Heart Racing at the Galot Motorsports Park Speedway

GALOT Motorsports Park is a revolutionary racing facility that offers racing fanatics drag cars, stock cars, and motorcycle events all year round.

The facility features over 9,000 spectator seats and a full-service restaurant onsite, allowing visitors to watch cars racing down the track at full speed.

Located on Dragstrip Road, this awesome motorsport park hosts a bunch of thrilling and family-friendly motorsports events.

Don’t miss catching their extreme monster truck games, car shows, and notable racing events.

If you’re wondering what GALOT stands for, it means, “Get A Load Of This!”

Join the Benson Parks and Recreation Department

Located on N Johnson Street is the Benson Parks and Recreation Department.

The program’s basic concept is to provide the most efficient and varying recreation services to ensure everyone has equal opportunities.

It will help improve each individual’s quality of life through recreation and provide and keep recreational facilities to use by the general public.

The Benson Parks and Recreation Department provide residents with all the opportunity to partake in recreational programs and activities for the full use of department facilities.

Activities offered include fitness, basketball, swimming, basket weaving, cycling, walking, and other various recreational activities.

Spend Your Summer with the Family at Tucker Lake

There is no better place to spend your summer days with the family than Tucker Lake.

Spring water feeds this lake with sandy beaches situated on Allen Crossroads Road.

Tucker Lake is the perfect place for relaxing on the beach, taking a plunge from the 167-foot waterslide, playing beach volleyball, or if you want to have a barbecue party.

This beautiful 30-acre lake features a four-acre shaded picnic area, a jungle gym playground, and soft play water toys, among other facilities.

You may bring rafts, chairs, food, and drinks but not alcoholic beverages and pets.

There are available kayaks, paddle boaåts, and canoes for rental.

Tour the Broadslab Distillery

The Broadslab Distillery never fails to attract visitors with its fine, handcrafted liquor.

This popular distillery provides a genuine experience and a history of alcohol in Benson.

During the one-hour tour, you’ll learn about the all-natural, homegrown, choice products and how they were made by the fifth-generation whiskey maker, Jeremy Norris.

Their best-selling products include Carolina Coast Spiced Rum, Broadslab Legacy Appleshine, Broadslab Legacy Reserve, and Carolina Coast Silver Rum, to name a few.

If you’re a whiskey lover, don’t forget to visit the Broadslab Distillery on State Hwy 50 South and have a taste of their renowned whiskeys.

Explore Black Creek Hill Farms

For a decade, visitors have kept riding and enjoying horses in Black Creek Hill Farms, located on NC-50.

The farm offers riding lessons, pony rides, trail rides, summer camps, birthday parties, horse sales, and much more.

Friendly staff help teaches children and adults alike to ride with confidence and helps them find their dream horse.

At Black Creek Hill Farms, you’ll learn the fundamental skills of grooming and saddling your horse together with basic riding instructions.

Your family will have a wonderful riding experience with horses at the Black Creek Hill Farms.

Visit Smith’s Nursery and Strawberry Farm

The Smith’s Nursery and Strawberry Farm in Sanders Road is a family-owned and operated farm in McGee’s Crossroads area close to Benson.

The farm grows blueberries, blackberries, greenhouse tomatoes, cantaloupes, strawberries, and pumpkins, among others.

It provides you the opportunity of picking your own berries, such as strawberries and blueberries, in the spring and pumpkins in the summer, including hayrides during fall.

The Smith’s Nursery and Strawberry Farm have a roadside stand selling local produce.

You and your kids will love the ice cream this family-owned farm serves, as they also host seasonal farm tours.

Have Fun at Hexagon Wake Park

If you’re a wakeboard enthusiast, Hexagon Wake Park is the best place for you.

Located on Allens Crossroads Road, this park became stop #2 of the 2012 WWA Triple Crown Championships.

Nestled on Tucker Lake, it features ten units of obstacles, including the Pat Panakos Signature feature.

Hexagon Wake Park must be the most inexpensive and environment-friendly wakeboarding park since it doesn’t require a boat that needs fuel.

Instead, it uses a cable system to pull wakeboarders across the water.

Not only the adults will enjoy wakeboarding, but also the kids.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Benson has a lot to offer for local and foreign visitors with its historic and beautiful sites.

However, you can also explore nearby towns and cities and experience the same warm welcome.

See the best things to do near Benson, North Carolina, below!

Check Out Special Events at Lake Benson Park

The waters of Lake Benson Park

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Lake Benson Park is a 64-acre park offering a huge space for various activities for locals and foreign visitors; it is only 30 minutes away from Benson (22.9 mi) via NC-50 N.

Located on Buffaloe Rd, Garner, the Garner Veterans Memorial nestles inside the park and is where the town’s remarkable events are usually held.

There’s a dog park where your pets (big or small) can play, two playgrounds, and 1.8 miles of walking trails.

Silhouette of a swing at Lake Benson Park

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Don’t forget to bring food and have a get-together at the picnic shelter, accommodating up to 150 people.

You can fish, but you cannot launch any watercraft on the lake, such as a canoe, kayak, boat, or standup paddleboard.

Picnic shelter at Lake Benson Park

Wileydoc /

Learn the Past at Averasboro Battlefield and Museum

Located on NC-82, Dunn, Averasboro Battlefield and Museum allows you to experience its rich history through artifacts, maps, displays, and more.

Discover the Chicora Civil War Cemetery and explore the grounds to learn more about what transpired on the protected ground.

The Battle of Averasboro happened on the 8,000-acre Smithville Plantation across the Cape Fear River, 20 miles northeast of Fayetteville.

It’s just a 17-minute drive (11.2 mi) via US-301 S to the museum, a few monuments, and a visitor center, as well as marked trails that describe the battle that occurred in the area.

Before you leave, there’s a pretty gift shop where you can buy souvenirs for keepsakes or presents to loved ones once you get home.

Explore the Ava Gardner Museum

An American actress, Ava Lavinia Gardner established herself during the 1950s and became a favorite leading lady among actors.

She became one of the generation’s top stars with movies like Pandora and the Flying Dutchman and Show Boat, to name a few.

You’ll find brand new exhibits that display Ava Gardner’s costumes from her five-decade existence in film and TV, including Ava’s Husbands Exhibit and Ava’s Collections Showcase.

Like other visitors, you can show your support for the Ava Gardner Museum by buying exclusive items from their gift shop.

Located on E Market St, Smithfield, visit the gift shop at the Museum, which is open during regular museum hours.

From Benson, the Ava Gardner Museum is just 19 minutes away (16.3 mi) via I-95 N.

Pay a Visit to Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site

A house at Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site

Vanessa Paradis /

On March 19, 1865, the Battle of Bentonville happened and was the Civil War’s final extensive action, wherein a Confederate army mounted a tactical offensive.

This major battle was the only important struggle to conquer Gen. William T. Sherman’s large Union army during its pace across the Carolinas in the spring of 1865.

The public can also access the Harper family cemetery, a confederate mass grave inside the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site, and a tourist trail that leads to a portion of Union XX Corps barricades.

The grounds of Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site

Vanessa Paradis /

You’ll find the battle’s memorabilia displayed in the visitor center, together with an audiovisual program regarding the fray.

Situated on Harper House Rd, Four Oaks, Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site is only 21 minutes away (15.5 mi) from Benton via NC-50 S.

Daytime view of Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site

JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Reconnect with Nature at Animal Sanctuary: Earth-Speak Park

Reconnecting with nature isn’t so bad, especially when you do it at Animal Sanctuary: Earth-Speak Park.

The sanctuary is more than just a traveling zoo or an animal exhibit because it offers onsite education, attachment, and encouragement.

You can enroll your kids and become one of the Animal Junior Zookeepers in their summer camp programs and interact with over 60 species.

This “summer camp” program emphasizes interactive Science education from the beginning, integrating classes, games, crafts, and opportunities to volunteer at the nature center.

Located on Live Oak Rd, Coats, Animal Sanctuary: Earth-Speak Park is only a 12- minute drive (8.7 mi) from Benson via NC-27 W and Baileys Crossroads Rd.

Final Thoughts

When you want to escape the noise, pollution, and stress, get out of town and visit Benson, North Carolina, with your family or friends.

You need some time off and take a breather to feel better.

Pack up your bag and discover the fantastic things to do in Benson, North Carolina.

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