15 Best Things to Do in Goldsboro, NC

Goldsboro, NC
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Set in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, Goldsboro is a quaint city with a colorful history, a rich agricultural heritage, and many attractions for the young and the old.

It serves as the county seat of Wayne County, with important landmarks, facilities, and natural parks surrounding it.

As a traditional American city, its people are welcoming and hospitable for all who come to appreciate the old-town charm.

If you visit this place, bring your whole family or your friends!

You’ll have a golden time exploring all that the city has in store.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Goldsboro, NC:

Cruise Neuse River on a Kayak

Little girl in the Neuse River
samray / shutterstock.com

Neuse River is the longest river in North Carolina, and a significant segment of it passes through Goldsboro.

Along its winding path, there are many water activities to do, like fishing and swimming.

But if you want to try a more relaxed way to explore the length of the river, then kayaking is a great choice.

Silhouette along the Neuse River in North Carolina
James R T Bossert / Shutterstock.com 

There are many outdoor outfitters in Goldsboro that can provide equipment like kayaks, vests, and paddles.

Once you’re set, get ready to drift along the smooth waters of Neuse River.

You’ll pass through thick canopies of trees and over shallow rapids, but the overall experience is quite peaceful and relaxing.

You may even spot wildlife, such as beavers, cranes, and freshwater fish.

Tour the Waynesborough Historical Village

Immerse yourself in history by making a stop at the Waynesborough Historical Village.

Also referred to as the Old Waynesborough Park, this site is what’s left of Waynesborough, the original county seat of Wayne County.

There are many old structures within the destination, some of which date all the way back to the 1860s.

Exploring these ancient homes and establishments will bring you to an era when life was simple and peaceful.

If you like that kind of ambiance, then you might even consider holding a special occasion here, as it is open for weddings and other celebrations.

There are also walking trails within the grounds, which bring you to a cypress swamp and nearby forested areas.

Have a Fun Family Day at Herman Park

For a nice family time under the sun, Herman Park is a must-see destination.

The wide, open spaces, green and well-maintained grass, and many play structures make it an ideal spot for a weekend with kids.

During spring and summer, there is a train ride attraction that accepts passengers for just a dollar.

It will take kids (and you too!) to various spots within the park.

For those who want to try some sports, there is a tennis area with four courts.

With the peaceful ambiance, modern amenities, and friendly staff, this park is definitely one of Goldsboro’s underrated attractions.

Shop for Rare Products at Goldsboro Antique Mall

At the Goldsboro Antique Mall, you’ll find unusual and unique items that you won’t find anywhere else.

It’s a haven for those who love pre-owned items that have personality and history.

Here, you’ll find wooden furniture, gorgeous glassware, decorative pottery, specialty tools, classic jewelry, and even vintage cameras.

With more than 30 stalls to explore, the mall contains curiosities, wonders, and knickknacks that you never knew you needed—all at relatively low prices.

And since the store owners are constantly restocking, there’s always something new to find.

You might discover a sought-after treasure that many people have coveted—a truly lucky bargain!

Tour the Wayne County Museum

For history buffs, the Wayne County Museum is a must-add destination to your itinerary.

This Greek Revival building, a marvelous sight in itself, stores and preserves the storied past of Goldsboro and its surrounding area.

The facility has collections and exhibits with artifacts from the Civil War, World War II, and other significant eras in the city’s history.

There are even special events where you can learn about various topics and be entertained at the same time.

Some of these activities are historical reenactments, folk band concerts, and educational conferences.

Explore Cliffs of the Neuse State Park

Cliffs of the Neuse State Park
Fredlyfish4, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Our first stop is one of the most famous locations in Wayne County: Cliffs of Neuse State Park.

With the scenic cliffs overlooking the Neuse River, this site offers the best views for a region that is otherwise flat and level.

You can spend a few days here just exploring all the wonders hidden in every corner.

There are campsites, cabins, and picnic grounds, where you can relax and have fun with your loved ones.

Within the park, a swimming lake that is separate from the river offers ample opportunities for swimming, diving, and boating.

If you’re not up for water activities, then take your time exploring the trails near riverbanks and ancient woodlands.

You might even spot the many species of wildlife inhabiting the area, such as raccoons, foxes, and opossums.

Watch a Soccer Match at The Bryan Multi-Sport Complex

Repurposed from a former airbase, The Bryan Multi-Sport Complex is a spacious attraction with tournament-level facilities.

Within the grassy fields are eight regulation soccer fields that are used by many teams and sports organizations in the region.

It has been listed as one of the top soccer facilities in the US by Connect Sports, and it has maintained this prestigious status ever since.

The hardworking park employees help keep this reputation by keeping the facility in top-notch condition in between games.

So while you’re here, you can expect clean bathrooms, tidy pathways, and well-manicured grass.

Try visiting during a game and join in the competitive spirit of your favorite teams.

Step into History at Goldsboro Bridge Battlefield

The American Civil War was a brutal era, and thankfully we are at a time where we can just revisit the places where fierce battles happened.

One such location is Goldsboro Bridge Battlefield, a once-important Confederate supply line that became the site of a tactical success by the Union.

While visiting the battlefield, you’ll get to retrace the steps of 15,000 soldiers, as they fought a desperate and decisive battle in December 1862.

There are trails with landmarks and stone monuments, where you can learn more about the events that took place right at that very spot.

In addition, there are live reenactments where actors will play out scenes of battle, complete with horses and guns.

So if you want a piece of American history, this battlefield is a great place to be.

Relax and Play With Your Kids at Stoney Creek Park

Another local favorite in Goldsboro is Stoney Creek Park, adjacent to Stoney Creek.

This scenic outdoor facility has large and spacious grounds, scenic vistas, modern facilities, as well as sports areas.

While you’re here, you’ll find a lot of dogs and their owners roaming the trails and playing on the grassy grounds.

The animal-friendly space is also home to a butterfly garden, with colorful insects from the region and other parts of the country.

For those who want more sporty activities, the park has a challenging 18-hole disc golf course.

Families with kids can have fun picnics under the shady trees and picnic tables scattered all over the park.

The natural play area is also an excellent spot where children can play all day.

Play a Round at One of Goldsboro’s Golf Courses

Goldsboro's mild terrain offers great opportunities for a relaxing round of golf.

Within the city limits, there are facilities that accommodate players of any skill level, from beginners and professionals.

These include the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course, Lane Tree Golf Course, and Walnut Creek Country Club.

For good gameplay, all these courses have modern amenities and friendly employees who work hard to keep the lush grass in excellent shape.

They also have in-house restaurants that serve satisfying dishes as well as golf outfitters where you can rent equipment like carts, clubs, and balls.

Wherever you choose to play, you can expect hospitality from the staff and well-maintained facilities all around.

Enjoy a Thrilling Ride at Busco Beach

At Busco Beach, you’ll ride hard and get dirty!

This premier destination in Goldsboro offers intense power sport rides over a treacherous man-made beach that sits beside Neuse River.

There is a lake in the middle, with the rest of the grounds divided into eight sections that all have varying terrain, routes, and hazards.

While here, you can ride ATVs, go-karts, dirt bikes, jet skis, and other vehicles suited for intense activities.

The experience is an adrenaline rush that isn’t for the faint of heart!

You can also set up camp on one of the designated grounds or rent a cabin so you can stay for a day or two.

If you are a thrill-seeker, then Busco Beach is a must-add destination to your itinerary.

Visit the Local Art Scene at Arts Council of Wayne County

Majesty Rose performing at the Arts Council of Wayne County
Jennifer Vinciguerra, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Arts Council of Wayne County is the go-to destination for all art lovers in Goldsboro.

Of course, visitors are welcome too!

The facility serves as the headquarters of the local art scene in the city, with many activities held all year round.

Most people come to the place to participate in these special events, including community engagements, mural painting, arts and crafts classes, vendor days, and open mikes.

There are also collections and limited exhibits of beautiful works by local artists, so check those out after joining one of the activities.

It’s a great way to support Goldsboro’s thriving art culture!

Find Fresh Produce at Farmers’ Markets

As a mark of the rich agricultural heritage of the city, there are many farmers’ markets held in various locations all over Goldsboro.

These include Goldsboro Mini Farmers Market, YMCA & GoWayneGo Farmer's Market, and Farm Credit Farmers Market.

Whether you’re looking for seasonal fruits, quality vegetables, and other specialty produce, these markets often have all that you need.

Most of the products are sourced from nearby established farms, so you can be assured of freshness and quality.

While here, don’t forget to mingle with the folks!

Southern hospitality will certainly charm you, as though you’re shopping right in your own neighborhood.

Go Restaurant Hopping at the City Center

No trip to Goldsboro would be complete without a visit to the favorite local restaurants downtown.

Whatever you’re craving, whether it’s soulful Southern cuisine or classic American staples, there’s a food establishment ready to cater to you.

McCall's Bar-B-Q & Seafood sources its ingredients from farms around the city and the nearby Atlantic Ocean, offering quality dishes, such as savory barbeques, pulled pork, and Calabash-style seafood.

Another Southern hospitality institution in Goldsboro is Carl & Chelle's Grill Room, which serves hearty dishes, like premium steaks, grilled meats, and delicious burgers that are all cooked to perfection.

For those craving freshly baked bread, specialty sandwiches, fluffy cakes, and other Southern comfort foods, the Great Harvest Bread Company is a great option.

Whichever establishment you choose, you can expect the trademark Goldsboro hospitality that is as golden as the city’s name.

Try Alcoholic Beverages at A Secret Garden Winery

Located at nearby Pikeville, A Secret Garden Winery is a great place for those who appreciate a good drink.

The owners operate a lush vineyard that produces juicy grapes that are then harvested and turned into premium wines.

These red, white, and fruity wines contain no preservatives and sulfates, making them all-natural products made from Southern grape varieties.

If you want a tour of the facility and a sampling of these fine wines, you must book an appointment first.

Otherwise, you can just drop by after touring Goldsboro and bring home a bottle or two.

They are going to be perfect for parties, special celebrations, or a well-deserved drink after a long day.

Final Thoughts

Goldsboro is truly a hidden treasure of North Carolina.

With the city’s rich history, thrilling rides, scenic landscapes, and welcoming community, travelers will surely have a memorable experience.

So for your next getaway, why not plan a weekend in this charming town?

Reference this list to ensure that you have all the great spots in your itinerary.