15 Best Things to Do in New Bern, NC

15 Best Things to Do in New Bern, NC

Home to two beautiful rivers- one cannot actually question the gracefulness of New Bern. One of the oldest cities of North Carolina, New Bern is filled with emotional American history.

The spots being historically significant offer to be the best tourist attractions too! These are the top 15 things to do in New Bern.

Go hiking at Latham-Whitehurst Nature Park

Flowers at Latham-Whitehurst Nature Park
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We’d like to officially welcome you to the splendid New Bern with a lot of adventure options. Whenever tourists visit a new location, the first thing that comes to their mind is- ‘What are some of the best nature spots around here?’

Okay, we hear you! And, so we are taking you to a very exotic location first that will be a slice of heaven for all the adventure junkies in our group. Welcome to the Latham-Whitehurst Nature Park!

One of the best nature parks in New Bern that is easily accessible to the public is the Latham-Whitehurst Nature Park. Being located on the eastern side of New Bern, tourists flock to this park on the very first day of their trip.

The main reason is the variety of adventure this park provides. Be like running, hiking, or even trekking- Latham-Whitehurst Nature Park is a place for all of you.

Having some of the premium views of the great Broad Cree, the park also offers kayaking or fishing options. So, get ready for this journey is about to begin.

Take a stroll around Downtown New Bern

Drawbridge in Downtown, New Bern
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We have mentioned this many times, and we’d like to repeat again that the Downtown part of any American city is the best part of the city. Why? Well, it got all the best things that the city has to offer- all lined up on each side.

So, what are you waiting for? After you are done hiking across the public park- try to pay a quick visit to the Downtown, and trust us, you will not be disappointed.

The downtown of New Bern is lively with a lot of crowds that get accumulated around the different restaurants and shops around dusk.

The sunset is lovely too offering some good views of the waterfront! If you are hungry, grab a bite to eat first!

Pop into Carolina Creations

As we mentioned earlier that downtown is the haven of different quirky things, we knew what we were talking about.

So, without any further ado- we’d like to introduce you to the gorgeous Caroline Creations!

A shop that locals advise not to miss out on- Caroline Creations is located in Downtown itself. The amazing art gallery is filled with the best of the lot.

Being home to a lot of modern as well as contemporary art- the gallery attracts a lot of people. You can find the most beautiful stuff here. Be it jewelry, painted ceramics, or glass paintings- Caroline Creations has it all. And, the best part? It features all of the local talents!

Shop a bit at New Bern Farmers Market

Loaves of fresh breads at New Bern Farmers Market
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Are you looking for some fresh goodies to brighten up your day? We all know how people feel about organic things, so we decided to take you all to the root of freshness- the Farmer’s Market of New Bern.

Before we tell you all about the farm-produced fresh greens and fruits- we would like to highlight mainly the fact that the sweet treats here are in fact made for all those with a sweet tooth.

Also, the baked items are lovely. Want to buy some souvenirs at an affordable price? Farmer’s Market has a section that is filled with art and craft made by the locals as well!

Learn about the history at New Bern Academy Museum

New Bern Academy Museum
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Are you done eating the fresh goodies of the farmer’s market? Now with a filled stomach and a happy mood, we shall introduce you to the history of New Bern.

So, yes, welcome to the New Bern Academy Museum. No place in New Bern has more facts about the heritage of the city than the New Bern Academy Museum.

Did you know that the building the museum is now built was once a hospital for the victims of the Civil War? Yes, the building has had quite a historic past too.

The museum does an awesome job in telling the story of its rough yet rich past to the tourists as well as the locals. It contains many facts and artifacts straight from the period of the Civil War.

Check out the Tryon Palace

Tryon Palace
Jeffrey M. Frank / Shutterstock.com 

Jumping from the memories of the Civil War, we go straight to another one of the most historic places in New Bern. You might have guessed by now that New Bern is a place of history and they try their very best to maintain that rich history.

The Tryon Palace was once upon a time a building of historic significance. It is still now an important building for the governor of New Bern to reside here. But, in the old days- the colonial officers called the Tryon Palace their home.

There’s another interesting thing to this- Before the Tryon Palace, there were no permanent State Capitols in all of North Carolina. You can still explore the grounds, gardens, and buildings here.

Explore the North Carolina History Center

The Tryon Palace and the North Carolina History Center kind of come hand in hand. Many people suggest exploring the North Carolina History Center before the Tryon Palace, but it is actually not a big deal around which order you follow.

So, welcome to the North Carolina History Center.

There are different exhibits within the North Carolina History Center, and the best part about this center is that they tell the accurate stories of all the heroes who made New Bern into this flourishing city like it is today.

Also, the North Carolina History Center holds the title of being the greenest building in all of the state.

Pay a visit to the New Bern Battlefield Park

New Bern Battlefield Park
Tradewinds, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Did you know a part of the Civil War was fought here as well? Yes, that explains all the museum filled with facts about the Civil war. However, it was here in the New Bern Battlefield Park that two-thirds of the war was fought.

The park is beautifully maintained by the government of New Bern. This is a heritage place, and there are a lot of tours that can be booked to go on a trip of the entire field. And, the best part is that they let you know a lot more about the history too.

The main motto of the park authorities is to keep the park just as it was during the war. It is a process of them trying to preserve the grounds their older generations fought on and gave their lives!

Go on a cruise in the local rivers

Cruise in New Bern
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Are you in love with waterbodies? Well, New Bern might be the perfect spot for you, because there are not one but two amazing rivers here.

Come on, we should let you go and explore them. With the presence of two rivers- there comes a lot of enjoyment options too.

Now, if you want, you can totally sit along the harbor, and enjoy a blissful day in front of the river. The sunsets are amazing here, so you could easily spend an evening here in the water-front.

But, if you are looking for something more, let us inform you- there are a lot of companies that provide cruising options. They take you on a cruise for almost two hours.

Gliding against the river, they show you the entire city along with all its spots from far away. You can even hire boats, and go boating for yourself!

Visit a cow-themed cafe

New Bern does not many quirky modern things, This is a city of history filled with culture and heritage. But, when we say that we have found a cute place to hang out in the midst of all the history, we are not kidding!

Welcome to Cow Café- a place that has been entirely decorated with a cow-themed design. But, don’t let the name or the design bother you for it a place filled with delicious treats. The menu is filled with good sandwiches and milkshakes!

The best part of the cafe is its ice creams. There are over 40 of them and they are all made at home!

Go on a historic tour

New Bern is a city of culture, The people like to preserve their 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.

And, the history is more than you can imagine. In such a scenario, we suggest that you go on a trip with any local tour operators.

They are the best in guiding you on what to see, and the complete story behind any building of historic significance or any important spot. In this way, you can get to know the city in the best way possible.

Check out the New Bern Firemen’s Museum

Now we have something that is entirely for the brave firefighters of the city of New Bern.

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 away their lives saving others.

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

The museum opened its doors to the public back in 1955. The great fire of 1922, its impact on people, the risk of the firefighters, the destruction- everything is portrayed beautifully in this museum.

Go on a tour of the local churches

Christ Episcopal Church
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Many people mistake New Bern as the oldest town of North Carolina, but it happens to be the second oldest for the first one if Bath. However, that fact does not stop New Bern from having some of the most breath-taking churches in all of North Carolina.

Not only are these churches quite old, but they also have some serious history behind them. The Christ Episcopal Church along with the First Baptist Church are two of the oldest and most important ones.

The buildings are exclusively beautiful. And, they date back to the 1700s which makes them more appealing to the eyes. So, head in with your family on a Sunday, enjoy both the interior as well as the exterior and have a good time.

Go on a tour of the Shackleford Banks

Wild horse at Shackleford Banks
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Let us take you to see some of the amazing animals of New Bern. Are you into horses? Have you grown up with them and feel like they are such majestic creatures?

Do make this trip to Shackleford Banks if you want to see some truly wild horses right in their natural royal habitat. These horses will remind you of the magical strong creature they truly are.

Shackleford Banks is actually an island in the Cape Lookout National Seashore, but the most important thing about this island other than its pristine location and amazing views is the wild horses that run free here.

There is actually a story that says that these horses are the later generations of those horses that were almost left to die after the tragic Spanish fleet incident occurred. Take a look around, watch the horses, and have a nice time!

Visit the Lawson Creek Park

Lawson Creek Park
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If you want a quiet place to sit before you catch your flight back home, then we recommend Lawson Creek Park to you. Located quite close to Tryon Park with some good views of the Trent river, the Lawson Creek Park is indeed a chill place to hangout

There are a lot of trails along with some picnic areas. If you want to go on a hike or just sit down to have a picnic with your friends- Lawson Creek Park is a pretty awesome place to check out.

We bid goodbye for this trip. But, we will meet you again on another day with some other vacation plans. Till then, stay tuned!