Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in New Bern, NC

  • Published 2022/05/17

One cannot possibly question the beauty of New Bern, home to the stunning Trent and Neuse Rivers.

The charming city is one of the oldest in North Carolina, making it an excellent destination for history buffs.

Apart from its historical significance, New Bern also boasts breathtaking natural attractions, excellent food, and awe-inspiring works of art.

This city is a place you can enjoy with the entire family.

Ready to start planning your visit?

Here are the best things to do in New Bern, North Carolina:

Go Hiking at Latham-Whitehurst Nature Park

Flowers at Latham-Whitehurst Nature Park

Charles Wayne Lytton /

Latham-Whitehurst Nature Park is one of the best nature parks in New Bern that are easily accessible to the public.

Tourists flock to this park located on the eastern side of the city.

The main reason is the variety of adventures this park provides.

Columbine flower at Latham-Whitehurst Nature Park

Charles Wayne Lytton /

Whether you’re interested in running or hiking, Latham-Whitehurst Nature Park is an ideal spot to add to your itinerary.

With access to the great Broad Creek, the park also offers kayaking and fishing options.

Take a Stroll around Downtown New Bern

Drawbridge in Downtown, New Bern

Jason Schronce /

The downtown part of any American city is often one of the best places to experience the local culture.

It’s usually home to all the best things that the city has to offer.

Aerial view of Downtown New Bern

Kyle J Little /

Pay a quick visit to downtown Bern, and you will not be disappointed.

The area is lively, and crowds often accumulate around the different restaurants and shops around dusk.

Downtown is also one of the best places to watch the sunset.

Street clock at Downtown New Bern

Ron Miguel from North Carolina, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fall in Love with Stunning Works of Art at Carolina Creations

A shop that locals advise visitors not to miss out on, Carolina Creations is located downtown.

The amazing art gallery is filled with the best of the lot.

Home to a lot of modern and contemporary art, the gallery attracts a lot of visitors.

You can find the most beautiful works of art here.

From jewelry to painted ceramics and glass paintings, Carolina Creations has it all.

The best part?

Carolina Creations showcases the work of talented local artists.

Shop for Fresh Goods at New Bern Farmers Market

Loaves of fresh breads at New Bern Farmers Market

Charles Wayne Lytton /

Are you looking for some fresh goodies to brighten up your day?

The New Bern Farmers Market is a great place to shop for farm-fresh greens and fruits.

Fresh lettuce at New Bern Farmers Market

Charles Wayne Lytton /

The baked goods are worth trying out, too.

Want to buy some souvenirs at an affordable price?

The New Bern Farmers Market has a section filled with locally made arts and crafts.

Teacups for sale at New Bern Farmers Market

Charles Wayne Lytton /

Take a Walk through History at the New Bern Academy Museum

Side facade of New Bern Academy Museum


No place in New Bern has more facts about the city’s heritage than the New Bern Academy Museum.

The building itself has quite a historic past, too.

Exterior of New Bern Academy Museum

Tradewinds, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It was once a hospital for the victims of the Civil War.

The museum does an incredible job of telling the story of its rough yet rich past.

It contains many fascinating Civil War artifacts.

Visit the Vast Tryon Palace

Entrance gate of Tryon Palace

Jeffrey M. Frank /

New Bern is a place of history, and they do their very best to preserve it.

Once upon a time, Tryon Palace was a building of historical significance.

Vine arch pathway at Tryon Palace

Zack Frank /

In the old days, the colonial officers called Tryon Palace their home.

It is still now an important building, as the governor of New Bern resides here.

The beautiful garden of Tryon Palace

Jill Lang /

Before Tryon Palace, there were no permanent State Capitols in North Carolina.

You can still explore the palace’s grounds, gardens, and buildings.

A water fountain at Tryon Palace

Zack Frank /

Explore the North Carolina History Center

Tryon Palace and the North Carolina History Center kind of come hand in hand.

There are different exhibits within the North Carolina History Center.

The best part about this center is that they tell the accurate stories of all the heroes who made New Bern the flourishing city it is today.

The North Carolina History Center holds the title of the greenest building in the state.

Tour the New Bern Battlefield Park

Flags on the grounds of New Bern Battlefield Park

Tradewinds, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Did you know a part of the Civil War was fought in New Bern?

That explains all the city’s museums filled with facts about the Civil War.

Two-thirds of the war took place in the New Bern Battlefield Park.

Walking trail of New Bern Battlefield Park

Fredlyfish4, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The park is beautifully maintained by the city government.

You can take your pick from a lot of tours that will take you around the entire battlefield.

They’ll teach you a lot more about the place’s history, too.

The park authorities aim to preserve the park and keep it park just as it was during the war.

Explore New Bern on a Cruise

Cruise in New Bern


Do you love the water?

New Bern might be the perfect destination for you, because there are two amazing rivers here.

With the presence of two rivers comes a lot of enjoyment options.

You can sit along the harbor and enjoy a blissful day in front of the river.

The sunsets are amazing here, and you can easily spend an evening on the waterfront and just take in the views.

If you are looking for something more, there are a lot of companies that provide cruising options.

They take you on a cruise for almost two hours.

While gliding against the river, they show you the entire city and some of its most notable spots.

You can also hire a boat and go exploring for yourself.

Treat Your Sweet Tooth to Ice Cream at a Cow-Themed Cafe

The Cow Cafe is a cute, quirky a place entirely decorated with a cow-themed design.

Don’t let the name or the design bother you, as it’s filled with delicious treats.

The menu is boasts an excellent range of sandwiches and milkshakes.

What most people come here for is their ice cream.

There are over 40 delicious homemade flavors for you to try.

Go on a Historical Tour of New Bern

New Bern is a city of culture, and the locals like to preserve the city’s heritage and history.

What they like to do more is let people know how proud they are of their history.

Being the battleground of one of the biggest battles during the Civil War, New Bern has a lot of places to explore.

One of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in New Bern’s history is by booking a historical tour with a local tour operator.

By joining a tour, you’ll have an expert guide take you to the most historically significant places in the city and share the interesting stories behind each of them.

In this way, you can get to know the city in the best way possible.

Check Out the New Bern Firemen’s Museum

The New Bern Firemen’s Museum is for all the brave hearts who have worked for the welfare of the city, protected it innumerable times, and have even given their lives while saving others.

New Bern is the home of the oldest company of firefighters, and this museum also happens to be a memorial to that.

The museum opened its doors to the public back in 1955.

The great fire of 1922 and its impact on the firefighters and local people are portrayed beautifully in this museum.

Admire the Local Churches

Exterior of Christ Episcopal Church

David Byron Keener /

New Bern has some of the most breathtaking churches in North Carolina.

Not only are these churches quite old, but they also have interesting stories behind them.

Exterior of the First Baptist Church

Tradewinds, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Christ Episcopal Church and the First Baptist Church are two of the oldest and most important ones in New Bern.

The buildings are beautiful and date back to the 1700s, making them even more appealing to the eyes.

Entrance doors of First Baptist Church

David Byron Keener /

Enjoy Water Activities at Creekside Park

The calm waters of Creekside Park

Charles Wayne Lytton /

Creekside Park, initially inaugurated in 1997, covers a total area of 111 acres.

As the largest urban park in the city, it provides several opportunities for both land and water leisure. Creekside

Park is a lovely place to spend the day with your significant other, friends, or family.

Visiting this park is a great way to enjoy various nature-based activities in New Bern.

It has three playgrounds for kids of all ages, rental facilities for special events, and a variety of sports courts for enjoyable games.

This magnificent waterfront park is the perfect place to spend time with your traveling companions and participate in many enjoyable activities.

As you teach your children fishing or kayaking and canoeing, have a fun experience on the glistening lake.

In addition, you may play sports games like soccer or volleyball, watch your kids having a great time at the enormous park’s playground and picnic, and so on.

See Beautiful Horses at the Shackleford Banks

Wild horse at Shackleford Banks

John Wijsman /

Shackleford Banks is an island in the Cape Lookout National Seashore.

The most notable things about this island are its pristine location, amazing views, and the wild horses that run free here.

Make a trip to Shackleford Banks if you want to see wild horses in their natural habitat.

Four wild horses at Shackleford Banks

Rob Byron /

The horses will remind you of how magical and strong these creatures truly are.

According to local stories, these horses are the descendants of horses that were almost left to die after the tragic Spanish fleet incident.

Take a look around, watch the horses, and have a nice time.

A pony walking on wildflowers at Shackleford Banks

Tony Gatlin /

Bring Your Kids to Kidsville Playground

Seth West Parrot Park is where you’ll discover Kidsville Playground.

It’s a fantastic and enormous play area for children of all ages. Let your feet rest while still keeping your children amused and engaged.

If you’re looking for a beautiful place to play, this is the one for you.

This wooden playscape has slides, climbing places, a jungle gym, swings, and many more things.

Sports courts, picnic areas, and well-maintained bathrooms are among the other amenities available at this park.

Kidsville Playground is the perfect place to relax with your children.

You may sit on a bench and read a book or play with them as they swing or climb the wooden constructions.

Playing a basketball, baseball, or tennis game or going on a picnic are all great options for a fun day out.

Spend a Relaxing Day at Lawson Creek Park

Trees on the waters of Lawson Creek Park

Charles Wayne Lytton /

Located quite close to Tryon Park with some excellent views of the Trent River, Lawson Creek Park is a nice, laid-back place to hang out.

There are a lot of trails along with some picnic areas.

If you want to go on a hike or sit down and have a picnic with your friends, this park is a pretty awesome place to visit.

Learn More about the City with New Bern Tours

Guided tours of New Bern, North Carolina, are offered by New Bern Tours.

As a company founded in 1994, New Bern Tours provides visitors with various transportation options, including trolleys and motor buses, and knowledgeable, enthusiastic tour guides.

Travelers may take in the city’s historical landmarks, museums, galleries, and the gorgeous Neuse and Trent Rivers from public parks.

A variety of options, such as boat cruises, vintage trolley excursions of the downtown area, and walking tours, may be tailored to your specific needs.

Reservations for lodging and dining can also be made through New Bern Tours.

Indulge in Sweet Treats at Bear City Fudge Company

For those who prefer a sweeter treat, the Bear City Fudge Company is the place to go for fudge, pralines, and handcrafted ice cream.

The Bear City Fudge Company was founded in 2003.

It is located in the center of the downtown area on Middle Street.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with a wide variety of treats.

From Southern pralines, fudge, truffles, caramels, and a variety of ice cream flavors, your young companions and your inner kid will have a lot of fun tasting them!

Final Thoughts

Many fun and relaxing activities await you in this riverbank city, including museum tours, wildlife excursions, and art gallery viewings.

Get to know some of the top things to see and do in New Bern while making lasting experiences with your friends.

New Bern, North Carolina, is a great place to get away from big cities and crowded tourist attractions.

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