Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Guilford County, NC

  • Published 2023/06/11

During my visit to Guilford County, I hadn’t anticipated the influx of attractions and activities I got to do.

This urban county lies at the core of the Piedmont Triad region and its predominantly-natural landscapes.

In fact, two of its communities, Greensboro—also its county seat—and High Point, make up this triad.

As the county shines with both historical and cultural influence, I also had a fun time tracing its roots while staying within its present-day modernity.

It got its name after Francis North, who was the first earl of Guilford during its year of establishment in 1771.

It was also a hunting ground of sorts for the Catawba Indians when they settled within the borders.

Now, the county rises with a variety of attractions, including botanical gardens, themed museums and galleries, wineries, and camping sites.

I enumerated all these in detail in the list below of the best things to do in Guilford County, North Carolina, so keep reading.

Roam the Historic Grounds of Mendenhall Homeplace

Facade of the Mendenhall Homeplace

336photog, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located along West Main Street, Mendenhall Homeplace is another historical spot in Guilford County worth checking out.

This museum finds its home within a restored 19th-century homestead.

This quaint place is just what I needed to learn more about the history of Quaker tradespeople.

I loved exploring the walls of the house and finding little trinkets and details here and there of what living was like during that period.

I even got to see an authentic false-bottom wagon in all its historic glory.

Mendenhall Homeplace is along West Main Street, which is within Jamestown.

Foster Your Child’s Learning at Nido & Mariana Qubein Children’s Museum

Nido & Mariana Qubein Children’s Museum is a must-visit if you’re traveling with your family.

This specialty museum offers varying levels of activities and programs geared toward children’s learning development.

But adults can have fun, too!

I came with my little one, and I knew she had a fun time using her imagination in the space area and riding the carousel outside.

There’s also a train section, a water room, and a Lego room, but this is only the tip of the iceberg.

I suggest seeing the place for yourself and discovering the wonders within the corners of this facility.

Nido & Mariana Qubein Children’s Museum is in High Point, specifically on Qubein Avenue.

Learn about the Civil Rights Heritage at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum

Outside view of the International Civil Rights Center & Museum

Mx._Granger, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Want to dive deep into specific events in history?

Then, I suggest dropping by the International Civil Rights Center & Museum.

This Greensboro landmark tells the story of the Civil Rights Movement and the legacy it left for the current generation.

Its variety of exhibits offered an eye-opening adventure for me.

I loved The Battlegrounds exhibit, which had audio and video narratives and a wide selection of artifacts relating to America’s struggle for equal opportunities.

I went on a self-guided tour of the place, just so I can look more closely at the displayed memorabilia.

But the museum also offers guided tours if you prefer a more organized way of visiting every corner of this site.

The International Civil Rights Center & Museum is on South Elm Street.

Enjoy the Creekside Scenery at Cascades Preserve

Cascades Preserve was one of the most memorable stops I’ve encountered in Guilford County.

This 130-acre park is a beauty with its advanced hiking system.

Unlike most trails, this park makes use of the elevation changes of the park’s surroundings, which made for a challenging hike that satisfied my hiking preferences.

The trails were more enchanting with the presence of roots dwindling around the pathways.

They were well-marked, too, so I didn’t have to worry about getting lost or finding my way back.

I also got to relax in the picnic areas and observe the tranquility of the surroundings.

In Kernersville, Cascades Preserve is on Goodwill Church Road.

Feel Inspired by the Art Displayed at Weatherspoon Art Museum

Signage of the Weatherspoon Art Museum

Ptncsu12, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I have never looked at contemporary American art the same way after I visited Weatherspoon Art Museum.

This Greensboro gallery is a facility at the University of North Carolina.

It houses a large collection of both permanent and temporary exhibitions centered on modern art inspired by American culture.

I loved that the minimalistic approach of the interior of the facility helped emphasize the pieces on display.

During my visit, the art installations were marvelous and impressive, and I can’t wait to come by again and see what it has in store for its visitors.

Best of all, this art museum offers free admission!

Weatherspoon Art Museum is off of Spring Garden Street.

Greet Summer Right with a Splash at Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe Water Park

Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe Water Park spans 40 acres of majestic water-based activities.

This water park comes with 40 rides and attractions.

Its collection of pools and slides amazed me, but nothing could ever prepare me for the boost in adrenaline I felt riding the Leisure Lagoon.

I rented a cabana to rest and watch as everyone else had fun after I had mine!

The experience was riveting at best, and I’m sure you and your loved ones will find it just as superior as I did.

Nestled on South Holden Road in Greensboro, Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe Water Park is a good stop for beating the summer heat!

Walk along the Displays and Sculptures at Gateway Gardens

Sculpture of colorful apples at Gateway Gardens

Amanda Reyes /

Greensboro has a stunning list of botanical gardens and outdoor spaces free for everyone to visit.

One of them is the 11-acre Gateway Gardens.

Opened in 2011, this garden is a huge hit among children, and I’ll tell you why.

This interactive garden comes with an array of native flowers and trees alongside modern sculptures and art installations.

View of the Gateway Gardens

Amanda Reyes /

With butterfly seating designs and fruit garden decor, there’s no bland space within this place.

I went for a long, quiet walk among the paved pathways and even took a few photos.

Whether you’re traveling by yourself or with kids, this place is a must-experience!

Gateway Gardens welcomes the public to its grounds on East Gate City Boulevard.

Fruit shaped benches at Gateway Gardens

Amanda Reyes /

Savor a Pint of Lager at Red Oak Brewery

On Konica Drive, Red Oak Brewery stands out with its Bavarian brewing expertise and appeal.

This brewery offered a gateway to the old-world simplicity of lager drinking, which was a new concept to me.

Thankfully, I found myself right at home within the four walls of the facility.

I signed up for a tour of the place, including its Tap Room, and it was an absolute dream!

The beer hall is just as immaculate in person as it is in pictures with its modern architecture and cozy, familiar atmosphere.

But if I had to pick a favorite spot, it would be the Biergarten, where I got to savor my Red Oak within its rocky landscapes.

Red Oak Brewery is within Whitsett.

Go Camping at Hagan-Stone Park

People enjoying their day at Hagan-Stone Park

Indy beetle, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pleasant Garden’s Hagan-Stone Park is most notable for its camping sites.

This 409-acre wildlife refuge and park also features multiple hiking trails and open space areas.

There’s also a playground and a pool with a set of lakes within its vicinity.

The vast expanse of nature all around is what made me love and appreciate this park more.

Even with the presence of modern facilities, it never tried to change its natural features, which I had an enjoyable time admiring.

I came to Hagan-Stone Park for the peacefulness, but I stayed for the beauty and full-range amenities.

This park is along Hagan-Stone Park Road.

Learn about African American Heritage at Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum & State Historic Site

Gibsonville’s Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum & State Historic Site is a historical gem that I can’t wait to visit again.

This museum resides within the old Palmer Memorial Institute, which was an outstanding school for remarkable African-American students.

But what I liked most about this museum is its focus on women’s history alongside its central theme of African-American heritage.

I don’t consider myself a history buff but I had a grand time learning about the woman behind the museum’s name, Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown.

The staff members were knowledgeable and accommodating when I visited, which was also a nice bonus.

Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum & State Historic Site is on Burlington Road.

Get Fresh Produce at the Old Mill of Guilford

View of the Old Mill of Guilford

Edd Lange /

The historic Old Mill of Guilford is a one-stop shop for fresh and healthier foods and products.

This grist mill has been around since 1767 and has been providing whole grains for every visiting resident and tourist since then.

From oatmeal and cereal to pancake mixes and cookie dough, I had a grand time exploring my options for a gluten-free and healthier diet.

One of the perks of visiting this place is its historical significance.

Set within a picturesque landscape with a flowing creek, it’s easy for me to envision being back in the time of the 18th century.

The inside of the mill is welcoming and homely, too.

The Old Mill of Guilford is accessible along North Carolina Highway 68 within Oak Ridge.

Spot Wildflowers and Wildlife at Bold Moon Preserve

Bold Moon Preserve in McLeansville is the ideal spot for some nature hiking and discovery.

I know because I’ve been there, and I wasn’t disappointed.

This 20-acre educational site comes with multiple hiking trails lined with informative signages and labels.

So, while you immerse yourself deeper into the woodlands and silence of nature, you’re bringing a piece of useful information with you.

I brought my binoculars with me, too, which proved to be useful for my impromptu wildlife spotting.

But one of my favorite features of this preserve is its vast array of rock outcroppings decorated with the occasional wildflower variety.

Bold Moon Preserve is on Plowfield Road.

Take a Picture of the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers

View of the World's Largest Chest of Drawers

Jstengel /

Nothing screams a unique cultural showcase more than the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers for the Furniture Capital of the World, High Point.

This roadside attraction is worth the nostalgia and eccentricity.

At 32 feet tall, this giant dresser takes inspiration from 19th-century models.

Topping the whole look are two large socks hanging off from the middle drawers.

This attraction was not part of my itinerary, but the sheer novelty of the building caught my attention.

I posed for a few pictures in front of the dresser, and I even climbed one of its legs for a funny shot.

Until now, the spot remains a highlight of my trip across Guilford County.

You can pass by the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers on your ride along North Hamilton Street.

Jam to Live Music while Tasting Quality Wine at Grove Vineyards & Winery

The town of Gibsonville has been a pleasant place for me to explore and learn about the culture of the county it resides in.

One of its attractions, Grove Vineyards & Winery, has been a delight for me.

This winery takes pride in its European-style wine flights and great service to the community since 2002.

The place comes with a tasting room, a stage, and a dock that overlooks a serene lake.

Its accompanying vineyard is a beauty all on its own, too.

I got to secure a ticket to listen to live music with a glass of Merlot during my first visit, and it’s an experience I wish to relive.

Grove Vineyards & Winery on Brooks Bridge Road opens its large collection of wines and beverages for those interested.

Start a Treetop Adventure at Greensboro Science Center

Name board of Greensboro Science Center

Greensboro, NC (@gre…, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When in Greensboro, it’s a must to stop by Greensboro Science Center.

This unique museum serves as both a zoological park and ropes course facility.

Established in 1957, it has a special feature on fossils and dinosaur artifacts that I loved browsing.

The butterfly house is also one of the outdoor exhibits that I hold dear to my heart.

Tortoise at Greensboro Science Center

Amanda Reyes /

There are other animal habitats worth exploring, too, whether on land, under the sea, or up in the air.

But perhaps, if you’re looking for something more interactive and adventurous, I highly suggest trying out the zipline and ropes course at Skywild, which is within the facility.

Greensboro Science Center resides along Lawndale Drive.

Peacocks at Greensboro Science Center

Lillian Wagoner /

Final Thoughts

When it comes to history, culture, and nature discovery, Guilford County is one of the counties within the state that come to my mind.

My trip to this North Carolina county has been anything but boring, and I’m sure it would be the same for you.

How did you find the list of the best things to do in Guilford County, North Carolina?

Do you think you’re ready for an excursion of a lifetime at this county jewel?

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