Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Kernersville, NC

  • Published 2022/01/07

Down North Carolina lies the little town of Kernersville, a place that may lack the big city sizzle but doesn’t suffer a lack of charm.

Its appeal emanates from its solid devotion to its rich history and heritage.

From this history, the town builds up present attractions such as parks for hikers and cyclists and skate rinks for the adventurous.

In 1756, an Irishman called Caleb Story settled the Kernersville site.

As the town grew, it attracted attention from wealthy pioneers.

William Dobson finally bought the land in 1770, after which it got the name “Dobson’s Crossroads.”

So, the town grew even bigger, earning its first famous moment when Dobson’s tavern served breakfast to George Washington on June 2, 1791.

However, the town got its name from Joseph Kerner, who bought the land in 1817.

He continued to run the tavern, and the town received a new name: “Kerner’s Crossroads.”

His children, two sons and a daughter, inherited the property. In 1873, the railroad arrived in town, which incorporated into “Kernersville.”

Do you want to know more about Kernersville, NC?

Here’s a list of the best things to do in town:

Get Lost in the Strangeness of Körner’s Folly

Exterior View of Körner’s Folly

Nils Skudra, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1880, Jule Körner might not have known that he would build the most popular tourist attraction in Kernersville.

He finished construction on his house, now called Körner’s Folly, thanks to its strange exterior design and overly decorated interior, among other eccentric elements.

When you reach the 6,000-square-foot house, you’ll see tall and narrow windows spaced irregularly.

Interior View of Körner’s Folly

Nils Skudra, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The shingled, cross-gabled roofs are high, accentuating the weirdness of the façade.

This house owes its unique design to Körner’s imagination, for he was an artist, working as a photographer, and a painter of signs and portraits.

Under the pseudonym Reuben Rink, he also designed successful signs and ads for the Blackwell Tobacco Company, makers of the popular Bull Durham brand of smoking tobacco.

Exterior View of Körner’s Folly

Pubdog, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When Körner died, people used the house as a funeral home, an architect’s office, and an antique shop.

Today, the Körner’s Folly Foundation runs the house, dedicated to preserving and restoring it for future generations.

Visit Körner’s Folly at 413 S Main St., Kernersville, NC 27284.

Bring Your Kids to the Fourth of July Park

Fourth of July Park

Ruthjojo /

Your kids will surely enjoy jumping around at Kernersville’s Fourth of July Park.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that adults won’t have a good time.

While your kids play, you can grill some burgers at the designated areas or play sports with your friends at the courts.

You have 17 acres of the parking area to work with, so play!

Fourth of July Park

Ruthjojo /

This place gets its name from the Fourth of July Committee, a group of equestrians who celebrate every Independence Day at the park.

Today, the park hosts various major town events, such as the Honeybee Festival, marathons, and the Fourth of July Fireworks Show.

Don’t worry if your kids need wheelchairs.

The park’s playground is completely wheelchair-accessible so that they can play with other kids to their heart’s content.

Likewise, the playground has a new swing, rock climbing walls, several slides, and wheelchair-accessible swings.

Visit the Fourth of July Park at 702 W Mountain St., Kernersville, NC 27284.

Learn Local History at the Kernersville Museum

In 2013, Kernersville and the Kernersville Historic Preservation Society agreed to establish a new Kernersville Museum.

They decided to house the museum at the 1800s Bellamy House, after a generous donation from John and Bobbie Wolfe.

Today, locals and visitors alike can visit and check out the exhibits telling the town’s story and its role in American history.

For example, you can check out the “Faces and Places of Kernersville” exhibit, which features the notable people and places in Kernersville from the early 1900s onward.

You can also go outside to see the museum’s first outdoor exhibit, the Tobacco Barn.

Since tobacco is a crucial Kernersville industry, it’s only right for the museum to teach people about tobacco culture and its role in farming.

Visit the Kernersville Museum at 127 W Mountain St., Kernersville, NC 27284.

Study Railroad History at the Historic Train Depot

Historic Train Depot

Angela H Burgess /

The year 1873 was momentous for the town of Kernersville because that was when the North Carolina Railroad arrived.

Upon its arrival, the town quickly built the train depot, still standing as an important Kernersville historical landmark.

The railway line connected Greensboro and Winston-Salem, while the Kernersville residents raised $10,000 to add a four-mile track that allowed the railroad to pass through town.

Historic Train Depot

The Beehive Design Co /

Today, the Historic Train Depot in Kernersville is the second-oldest railroad building in Western North Carolina.

Another Kerner, Richard, earned the honor of being the town’s first freight and passenger agent and telegrapher and express agent.

The Kernersville Museum Foundation relocated the depot to its current address to the corner of Bodenhamer Street to preserve the building.

Visit the Historic Train Depot at 104 E Bodenhamer St., Kernersville, NC 27284.

Spend the Day at Triad Park

This time, for the adults, Kernersville’s Triad Park offers plenty of outdoor activities.

You can bring your friends and play sand volleyball at any of the seven courts or play a horseshoe round at any of the nine pits.

You can follow the asphalt path system designed for a comfortable and pleasant stroll if you like walking.

You can also hop on your skates or bikes and travel along the trails.

Otherwise, you can enjoy a calm afternoon waiting for a bite on the small fishing pond.

While you fish, you can let your kids play at the kids’ playgrounds.

You can bring them to the rock-climbing playground if you have more adventurous kids.

Visit Triad Park at 9652 West Market St., Kernersville, NC 27284.

Check Out the Isaac Harrison McKaughan House

Front View of Isaac Harrison McKaughan House

Pubdog, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As Kernersville began blooming as a town, the rich landowner Isaac Harrison McKaughan decided to build his house, which has become one of Kernersville’s major historical sites.

He had already owned several tracts of land, with his total land holdings reaching 477.

When McKaughan built the house, he chose the trendy brick Italianate plan, ending up with a house shaped like a letter T.

Today, the McKaughan house remains so well-preserved that it’s one of the most intact Italianate houses in the town.

You’ll find the house still has its detailed Italianate exterior, featuring the ornamental porch brackets and a bracketed cornice.

The house also looks the same as it did in the 19th century, save for some room conversions.

However, the house’s original heart pine flooring has stayed, along with the tongue-in-groove ceilings and the standing seam tin roof.

The National Register of Historic Places listed the house in its record in 1988.

Today, private owners occupy the Isaac Harrison McKaughan House, but you can still pass by and admire this piece of Kernersville history.

Be a Cowboy at Gold Leaf Training

Are you dreaming of being a cowboy? Just go to the town of Kernersville, look for the Gold Leaf Training grounds, and make your horseback riding dreams come true!

The training grounds will teach you the basics of riding a horse while also letting you get to know some of the horses in its stable.

Once you’ve learned the ropes, you can go out on a horse to explore a trail, where you can see all the wonderful sights Kernersville has to offer.

Otherwise, you can stay on the Gold Leaf grounds.

It’s a perfect place for children who love animals and adults who want to enjoy another side to Kernersville.

Honor Fallen Heroes at the Carolina Field of Honor

Carolina Field of Honor

Tom Burgess /

During your trip to Triad Park, you might want to take a moment of your time to remember the soldiers who gave their lives in defense of the United States.

You’ll find the Carolina Field of Honor memorial inside the park.

This memorial honors the proud young men from the Triad, which has produced service members for generations.

Carolina Field of Honor

Tom Burgess /

Today, the Triad is home to over 150,000 veterans, the highest number of veterans in North Carolina.

Today, guests visit the Carolina Field of Honor to pay respects to the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

You can visit the field to take a recreational retreat.

Otherwise, you can join other families who honor those who serve through events and ceremonies.

Find the Kernersville Brick Markers

You don’t need to go far for a fun day out in Kernersville.

For example, you can spend an entire day checking out each of the town’s three unique brick markers.

You can find the first marker at the Town Hall.

Then, the second is at the South Main Trellis, while the third is at the Historic Train Depot.

Once you find a marker, etch a special name or a date on the brick, and it will stay there in perpetuity.

You’ll go back home knowing that you’ve made a mark on history, however small, during your trip to Kernersville.

Drop by the Historic First Baptist Church

Front View of Historic First Baptist Church

Ceh2624, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Another historic building you can visit in Kernersville is the First Baptist Church, constructed from 1915 to 1916.

The church is a two-story cross-gabled brick building, incorporating elements from the Gothic Revival and the Tudor Revival architectural styles.

Likewise, the church features a cross-gabled roof and a three-stage tower at the corner entrance.

You’ll also find that the furnishings inside the church are the same as they were back in the early 20th century.

So, if you want to revisit history while reconnecting with your faith, you’d do well to pop in Kernersville’s First Baptist Church.

The National Register of Historic Places also listed it in 1988.

Visit the First Baptist Church at 401 Oakhurst St., Kernersville, NC 27284.

Get a Strike at Countryside Lanes

If you still want more entertainment options in Kernersville, you can visit the Countryside Lanes for a fun bowling night.

Enjoy one of America’s classic pastimes with your friends or the whole family.

The bowling alley also offers shoe rentals, so you don’t need to worry about proper attire.

After a game, grab a tasty meal to fill you up and get you ready for more.

Visit the Countryside Lanes at 1005 Masten Dr., Kernersville, NC.

Go Boating at Kernersville Lake Park

Kernersville Lake Park

Ruthjojo /

Round out your Kernersville trip by going to the Kernersville Lake Park, an excellent spot to spend a sunny afternoon.

What can you do there?

Since it’s along a lake, the park offers great fishing opportunities.

Rent a pedal boat, go on the water, and cast a line.

What could be easier?

Kernersville Lake Park

Ruthjojo /

The park also features signs showcasing the history of Kernersville.

You can stop by each sign while you walk.

If you have kids, you can simply bring them to the playground.

Other than fishing, the park also encourages picnics, so bring your basket with you sometime.

Visit the Kernersville Lake Park at 6408 Old Valley School Road, Kernersville, NC 27284.

Kernersville Lake Park

Ruthjojo /

Grab a Beer at The Brewer’s Kettle

Kernersville is a great place to unwind from the stresses of everyday life because of its parks and landmarks and its beer garden, The Brewer’s Kettle.

If you’re looking to relax after a busy day of fishing or visiting museums, just pop in the bar and enjoy a nice cold glass of top-quality beer and wine.

You can even light up a cigar to celebrate your trip.

If you want to munch on something, The Brewer’s Kettle also has available food trucks every night.

You can also enjoy live music from the comfort of the bar’s outdoor seats.

Visit The Brewer’s Kettle at 308 E Mountain St., Kernersville, NC 27284.

Smell the Flowers at the Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden

Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden

Tom Burgess /

Named after a passionate local horticulturist, the Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden offers a magnificent seven-acre garden filled with unusual but pleasant plantings open to the public.

This garden also fulfills the grand dream of Ciener to build a big garden in the heart of North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad.

Paul Ciener traveled the world to look for beautiful gardens during his life.

He studied each plant and noted the designs of each garden.

His love of horticulture inspired him to give back to his North Carolina community through the garden that shares his name.

Since he died in 1998, the Botanical Garden has grown to its full potential.

It now hosts a Welcome Center, a Horticulture Center, and a five-acre garden space.

Likewise, it is the only public garden between the cities of Raleigh and Charlotte.

What plants will you find at the Ciener Botanical Garden?

The garden aspires to feature over 25 garden areas upon its full completion, including Japanese, Wetland, Greenhouse, and Piedmont Woodland.

Visit the Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden at 215 S Main St., Kernersville, NC 27284.

Try Craft Beer at the Kernersville Brewing Company

In September 2014, the Kernersville Brewing Company began producing craft beers for the residents and guests of Kernersville.

Two years later, in February, they released their first barrel of beer, and they poured their first official glass on St. Patrick’s Day of the same year.

Today, the brewery has become a vital part of the Kernersville community.

After operating in the back of a local restaurant, they have expanded by opening a taproom downtown. They also started installing a ten-barrel brewhouse.

The brewery offers various wines and beers, from New England IPAs to Pilsners and Stouts.

You can visit them at their Main Street Tap Room or drop by their Brewhaus Tasting Room.

You’ll find the Main Street Tap Room at 221N Main St., Kernersville, NC.

Meanwhile, the Brewhaus Tasting Room is at 1031 E Mountain St., Building 312, Suite 104.

Final Thoughts

Kernersville is a place of living history and bountiful nature.

Even a picky tourist will find something to love in this little town, leaving them with unforgettable memories and a filled-up camera roll.

Get away from the big city and book your trip to Kernersville today!

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