Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Lenoir, NC

  • Published 2022/01/09

If you’re fed up with the usual travel destinations recommended online, maybe this is the best time to dig deeper and look for hidden gems.

Most of the time, these hidden gems are far-flung towns and cities that are very close to nature.

To skip from the usual trendy travel destinations, you can head to North Carolina’s Lenoir.

This city is nestled on the Blue Ridge Mountains’ foothills, making it a perfect weekend getaway destination with yourself or with your family.

At first glance, Lenoir might not have that many things to do.

However, this city, North Carolina’s former ‘furniture-making capital,’ has much great stuff waiting for you to discover.

Before High Point took over, Lenoir, part of Caldwell County, was once the state’s furniture-making capital.

The city still produces top-caliber and export-quality furniture pieces worldwide, and this industry remains the top business for locals.

This city is a wonderful place to embark on an exciting outdoor adventure wherein you’ll visit parks, museums, art galleries, historical and cultural sites.

Its laid-back appeal will erase all your city stress while enjoying a calming, slow-paced life.

If you’re planning to catch some fresh air, enjoy nature, and learn some interesting history, you should consider visiting this city.

So, read on to learn the 15 best things to do in Lenoir, NC.

Drive Down the Memory Lane at the Fort Defiance

Fort Defiance

Gingo Scott /

Your Lenoir travel adventure won’t be complete without visiting the city’s historical sites and landmarks.

Fort Defiance mainly focuses on the historical significance of Major General William Lenoir’s home, built back in 1792.

This place in the city gives you a wonderful historical experience by learning and witnessing how General Lenoir’s family went with their daily lives back in the 18th century.

Fort Defiance

Gingo Scott /

The house has a cool collection of more than 300 historical artifacts, memorabilia, and furniture pieces from the Lenoir family.

Touring around the house and its open space lets you feel how people in the 18th century United States lived.

You can also proceed to its cemetery adjacent to the house.

It is where the remains of the Lenoir family are being laid to rest.

Stretch Your Muscles at the Lenoir Greenway

This pedestrian greenway stretches for about nine miles covering most of the neighborhoods in the city.

The Lenoir Greenway is highly recommended by locals and those who have already visited it because of its safe and peaceful atmosphere where you can jog, bike, or hike.

It’s also one of Lenoir’s best places to breathe fresh air or perhaps engage in other activities.

If you feel like exercising while visiting Lenoir, you must bring your gym clothes and some comfortable shoes and head to Lenoir Greenway.

Furthermore, mind your surroundings and be courteous with fellow hikers and joggers using the greenway.

Stroll at the T.H. Broyhill Walking Park

This 20-acre park in the city is a wonderful place for a morning or an afternoon stroll and to discover its beautiful botanical garden, wildlife sanctuary, and lakes.

The vast ground of the T.H Broyhill Walking Park is a nice place to relax and pass the time.

You’ll spot several animals in this park that will make your visit extra exciting.

You will come across animals as you stroll in this park situated at Lakewood Circle, such as foxes, fish, turtles, ducks, geese, and birds.

Learn Something Cool at the Tuttle Educational State Forest

The Tuttle Educational State Forest is nestled on the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, wherein kids and even parents can engage in fun-filled activities with nature.

The entire state forest covers more than 160 acres formerly owned by the Judson family in 1956 but was deeded to the Tuttle Forest Foundations.

Today, this state forest located along Playmore Beach Rd serves as a nice outdoor destination for the entire family, wherein tons of cool outdoor activities with nature awaits them.

They can join different guided tours in the forest that mainly focus on visitors’ recreation and education.

It’s a technically living outdoor classroom where you can engage in different outdoor activities while your guide teaches you about many things relevant to the state forest.

Learn Interesting History at the Caldwell Historical Museum

This local museum in Lenoir offers its visitors the chance to learn the history of Caldwell County and the city itself.

Regardless of whether you’re a history buff, this museum is filled with an interesting collection of artifacts, documents, wares, and amazing exhibits worthy of your time.

Some of the Caldwell Historical Museum’s displays date back from the pre-1760s era of the Native Americans, while some are from the Civil War and the Railroad eras.

You should take your time learning about the exhibits you visit in the museum if you’re very intrigued to learn about Caldwell County’s past.

You will come across unique things like military equipment, old clothing, old medical tools, old devices, etc.

The Caldwell Historical Museum is situated along Vaiden Street.

Climb the Hibriten Mountain

View of Hibriten Mountain in Lenoir, North Carolina

Cbfisher, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Hibriten Mountain in Lenoir is on the tip of the Brushy Mountain Range.

It is well-known for locals for its lights that brightly shine during the holiday season.

It has a star-shaped lighted structure at the top of the mountain displayed during Christmas, while on Easter, they replaced it with a lighted cross that is both so huge you can see it for miles.

However, the Hibriten Mountain is more than just a beacon for the city’s holiday lights; it’s also a wonderful place to explore.

Hibriten Mountain has 2,239 feet, while its prominence is 859 feet.

You can climb the mountain and visit the Hibriten High School, which was built in 1966 to symbolize the importance of the area in the city.

Reaching the top of this mountain provides you an eagle’s eye view of the entire Lenoir city and the Grandfather Mountain’s northern area, while you can also try hang-gliding there.

If you include this mountain on your itinerary, it’s located along Playmore Beach Rd.

Drink Fine Wine at the Twisted Vine Winery

The Twisted Vine Winery in the city is known for its excellently handcrafted traditional wines.

You will surely drool over this winery’s tasting room if you’re a lowkey wine connoisseur.

You can taste their specialties at their tasting room: summer Sangria, Twister Summer, and Southern Heat.

Like all their other variety of wines, each wine has its unique flavor, signature, and delicious hints.

Aside from their specialty wines, the Twisted Vine Winery along Legion Rd has a vast selection of sweets, roses, reds, whites, and ciders.

Browse through Colorful Artworks at the Caldwell Arts Council

The Caldwell Arts Council has played a key role in the city’s local arts community by presenting and promoting local artists’ masterpieces since 1976.

Its exhibit, located in Lenoir’s downtown district, offers visitors five exciting galleries that feature works from local and regional artists.

Their exhibits change monthly to offer other aspiring artists an equal chance to display their artworks.

They change from contemporary to traditional, to sculpture, paintings, and photography depending on their scheduled exhibits every month.

Furthermore, the Caldwell Arts Council has its galleries displayed throughout the year while they regularly have various art events.

You might catch some of their exhibits launching when you visit there.

Buy Souvenirs and Gifts at the Greene’s Trading Post

If you’re looking for the best souvenir and gift shop in Lenoir, head to Greene’s Trading Post, which has been in business since 1971.

This gift shop along Blowing Rock Boulevard is where you’ll find local specialties like candies, apple butter, jams, and handmade gifts.

It’s the best place to buy souvenirs and unique items to take home after your travel adventure in Lenoir.

For the top-notch one-stop shop in Lenoir that has everything nice to buy that you can bring back home, Greene’s Trading Post should be it.

Appreciate Arts at the Western North Carolina Sculpture Park

The Western North Carolina Sculpture Park along Patterson School Drive is dedicated to establishing a connection between the people and the arts through its exciting arts events.

This place is filled with nice galleries, art exhibits, and a chance to interact with the artists featured in this local attraction.

If you’re an art enthusiast, this place offers you the best opportunity to know the city’s creative processes in a friendly and inclusive environment.

Furthermore, the Western North Carolina Sculpture Park has free admission, and it’s open every day, giving you more reasons to visit this place.

Aside from its exhibits and galleries, you can also visit its hiking trails, open fields, and other exciting features.

Learn How to Mold Pots at the Bolick Family Pottery

The Bolick Family Pottery continued its tradition by sharing its craft with the public for six generations.

It is the perfect place to visit to learn a new exciting skill during your Lenoir travel adventure.

This pottery in Lenoir opened in 1973, and it earned the 2018 North Carolina Heritage Award given by the North Carolina Arts Council for its contribution to the city’s arts and heritage.

Meanwhile, they offer pottery classes for those eager to learn this fun and very artistic craft.

Or perhaps, you can buy ready-made pots that you can bring home as souvenirs.

If you’re planning to visit this heritage icon in Lenoir, it’s located along Bolick Road.

Other Things to Do Nearby

You can technically visit all of Lenoir’s attractions within a few days, so if you still have time and energy left, you can proceed to its neighboring towns and cities that offer exciting attractions.

So, here are the best attractions near Lenoir that you must check out:

Make a Splash at the Wilson Creek

Wilson Creek

Serge Skiba /

Wilson Creek is a 15-minute drive northwest of Lenoir.

This natural attraction is located within the Pisgah National Forest in the neighboring town of Collettesville.

It’s a highly-recommended natural attraction to visit near Lenoir because of its beautiful river and untamed wilderness area that calls for an outdoor adventure.

Wilson Creek

Patrick Jennings /

It is your go-to place if you’re looking for an enjoyable outdoor adventure that won’t put a hole in your pocket.

You can do hiking, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and nature viewing at Wilson Creek.

Its river is one of the best places in Colletesville for outdoor activities because of its amazing vistas and rugged terrains.

Aside from outdoor activities, you can also do nature photography to capture the place’s scenic views.

Wilson Creek

Serge Skiba /

Embark in an Outdoor Adventure at the Catawba Meadows Park

Morganton, roughly 16 miles north of Lenoir, leads you to the 230-acre Catawba Meadows Park.

This outdoor space is best known for its exciting activities.

If you feel like playing sports like baseball, sand volleyball, or disc golf, it is the go-to place in Morganton to do all these.

For those who want to relax and hike, Catawba Meadows Park, located along Sanford Drive, has a 2.5-miles of beautiful greenway that you can stroll.

Tour the Mitford Museum

Around six-miles south of Lenoir takes you to the Mitford Museum in Hudson.

It’s popularly known as the hometown of famous author Jan Karon.

This museum focuses on enlightening the visitors about how Karon spent his life at the Hudson School and met her family, which is already its eighth-generation, while enjoying nearby scenic foothills.

It’s also filled with interesting historical facts about North Carolina’s past.

You can also discover and read the famous books Karon wrote, like the Mitford Novels during her heydays, and how it influenced in forming Hudson into a small town.

Have Fun at the Yogi Bears Jellystone Park

Over at Marion, which is 37 miles southwest of Lenoir, will take you to the famous Yogi Bears Jellystone Park.

The Jellystone Park is a vast campground teeming with exciting outdoor activities with nature.

This park in Marion is popular to showcase the famous cartoon character Yogi Bear that also serves as the park’s official theme.

You can bring your kids to this exciting park where they can join different activities, such as swimming, spelunking, arts and crafts, bouncing hay rides, fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding, to name a few.

Final Thoughts

Lenoir is a nice place to visit if you seek a short but memorable excursion.

This city proves that you don’t need to buy expensive plane tickets and book in five-star hotels to make your vacation enjoyable.

So, which of these 15 Lenoir attractions you’re planning to visit first?

Make sure to list all of these attractions on your itinerary if you want an awesome time in Lenoir.

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