15 Best Things to Do in Southern Pines, NC

Southern Pines, NC
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The unassuming town of Southern Pines, North Carolina, harbors lots of hidden wonders that only the most curious travelers would discover.

This was the scenario back in the day when affluent Northerners from New England found the land and saw its beauty.

So, they turned it into a winter health resort where they could unwind and forget all their worries.

They also brought their sophisticated tastes and hobbies, leading to an equestrian culture still present today.

In addition, the community has thriving performance and visual arts scenes, thanks to the talented folks living in town.

So if you’re looking for outdoor adventures, human talent, and fun recreational activities, why not take a chance and check out this charming destination?

Here are the 15 best things to do in Southern Pines, NC:

Trek the Trails of Weymouth Woods - Sandhills Nature Preserve

Dried leaves framing the trails of weymouth woods nature preserve.
bobistraveling, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On the southernmost end of town lies one of the most visited attractions, the tranquil Weymouth Woods - Sandhills Nature Preserve.

It spans 195 acres of vast woodlands, meadows, and the murmuring James Creek flowing right in the middle.

The state park’s main feature is the long-leaf pine forests, covering the slopes and valleys.

Tall, green trees lined up on a sunny day.
bobistraveling, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to the sparse understory of these forests, there’s excellent visibility for birdwatching and wildlife encounters.

So keep an eye out for rare species like red-cockaded woodpeckers and Pine Barrens tree frogs.

James Creek is another ecological wonder, with acidic and tannin-stained waters that make it a blackwater creek.

Because of these characteristics, it’s become home to the rare mud sunfish and the sandhills chub, only found in the Sandhills region.

Skinny trees with dried grass.
bobistraveling, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Play a Few Rounds at Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club

Many people regard the Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen area as a golfing paradise on this side of the country.

In Southern Pines alone, there are a couple of beautiful courses visited by professionals and beginners alike.

One of these is the magnificent Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club, located near the historic downtown.

It’s an internationally recognized golf course with picturesque fields and manicured fairways.

You’ll find 18 holes on a challenging layout that will test your course management skills.

And if you’re looking for a base during your Southern Pines tour, the inn offers cozy accommodations for your weary body.

See the Wonders of Creation Museum

Some might find the wondrous Creation Museum unsettling, but most would feel curiosity when visiting it.

Set in a Christian bookstore, this facility houses taxidermied animals, antique tools, and other unusual artifacts.

It’s part of the owner’s mission to promote the “Genesis account of creation,” so evolution is out of the question.

Whether you believe in these ideas or not, it’s still a fascinating experience to see all animals in North Carolina in one place—at least, the ones that can be legally hunted and preserved.

These include deer heads, wolves and canine specimens, and fur-bearing trout—a legendary creature that supposedly lives in the cold lakes of the US.

The museum houses more than 200 animals, so take your time and see the preserved specimens up close.

Go Restaurant Hopping Downtown

Shops and restaurants at Downtown district of Southern Pines
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The historic downtown district of Southern Pines also doubles as its commercial center, so you’re going to find lots of businesses in the section.

Broad Street, in particular, contains the most restaurants in town.

So if you want to sample the comforting Southern Cuisine of North Carolina, then head over to this area.

Southern Prime Steakhouse has a more dramatic and sophisticated approach to food, with a menu of premium beef cuts and bottles of fine wine.

Sunrise movie theatre building with cars parked in front.
Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you have a sweet tooth, visit the brick-walled building of Betsy’s Crepes and choose from their selection of tasty sweets.

There’s also Beefeaters, a casual hangout place offering delicious entrees and an enormous salad bar.

To cap off your Southern Pines tour, grab a glass of cold and refreshing beer at the Hatchet Brewing Company.

Paddle a Kayak at Reservoir Park

Located on the outskirts of Southern Pines’ city proper, the grand Reservoir Park is one of the premier attractions in town.

It’s a large green space covering 165 acres, and there’s a reservoir in the middle serving as the main geographical feature.

Surrounding this body of water are forests and trails that run for more than 12 miles.

Within these wooded areas, there are clearings with modern amenities where families can stay.

You can have a picnic, grill meat, and play disc golf with your loved ones.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can trek the trails on foot or on a mountain bike.

The lake is also open for activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing.

However, watercraft with gas engines are not allowed to preserve the pristine state of the reservoir.

Go Horseback Riding at Walthour-Moss Foundation

The beautiful Walthour-Moss Foundation is the most prominent attraction in Southern Pines, covering an area of 4,000 acres.

It’s also one of the least developed ones, with pristine wilderness preserved in honor of William O. “Pappy” Moss, a land preservation advocate who treasured the wilderness.

The unspoiled beauty of this attraction makes it a prime location for outdoor adventures, especially horseback riding.

So while here, expect thundering hooves approaching as you explore the many trails.

It’s also a hotspot for the wildlife native to the Sandhills region, so keep an eye out for rare flora and fauna.

These include colorful wildflowers, fluttering insects, and small mammals scurrying about in the undergrowth.

To improve your chances of seeing these animals, head to the blackwater creek running in the middle of the preserve.

Immerse in History at Shaw House Property

The Shaw House Property is a museum complex managed by the Moore County Historical Association.

Within the location, there are several historic structures that showcase life in the county during the bygone days.

The main building is the Shaw House, built in the 19th century.

It’s been impeccably preserved by the historical association and was included in the National Register of Historic Places 1993.

As you explore the grounds, you’ll also find other structures like a cabin, a corn crib, and a tobacco barn.

These offer a glimpse of an agricultural era that relied on simple technologies and practices—some still being done in the farms near Southern Pines.

Appreciate Literature at Weymouth Center for The Arts & Humanities

Bushes in front of a white colored house.
Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Weymouth Center for The Arts & Humanities is where human talent and creativity in Southern Pines is celebrated.

It was once part of the expansive Weymouth property, purchased by the grandfather of novelist James Boyd to preserve the forests in the area.

That’s why Weymouth Woods - Sandhills Nature Preserve shares names with this center, as the preserve was once part of the large property before it was donated to the local government.

James Boyd built a winter house back in the day, and it now stands as the main building of the Weymouth Center for The Arts & Humanities.

Here, James’ favorite pursuits are preserved and celebrated—literature, music, and nature.

Tours of the home are available, letting you see the beautiful antique furnishings of the interiors and the verdant grounds outside.

The North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame is also located here, with books, memorabilia, and photos of the state’s prolific writers on display.

Have a Fun Family Day at Sandhurst Park

In the neighborhood near Weymouth Woods - Sandhills Nature Preserve lies a smaller green space for the whole family: Sandhurst Park.

This four-acre attraction is a favorite gathering place for the suburban families nearby, and you’re welcome to visit too!

Underneath the thick canopy of trees are modern amenities for everyone to enjoy.

There’s a well-maintained playground with plenty of shading—the perfect place for kids to have fun and socialize.

For those bringing the whole family, you can have a grand cookout in the picnic area, which has grilling stations.

You can also bring your pet as long as they stay on their leash.

But if you simply want a quiet afternoon under the shade, there are plenty of areas where you can lay down a blanket and relax.

Catch a Show at Sunrise Theater

The regal Sunrise Theater serves as the hub for performance art and entertainment in Southern Pines.

With its 40s moviehouse theme, the attraction has a retro vibe complete with neon lights and a marquee.

It’s been recently renovated to accommodate the needs of a contemporary audience, so expect great seating, sounds, and lighting.

With these features, you can watch movies, indie flicks, and arthouse films in relative comfort.

You can also catch live performances like operas and music concerts, showcasing the best of Southern Pines and the nearby towns.

There are only 360 seats, so if you want a guaranteed seat, make sure to book tickets in advance.

Check out their calendar when planning your itinerary so you can see their upcoming shows.

Join a Community Event at Downtown Park

As implied by the name, Downtown Park is located in the bustling center of Southern Pines.

This makes it one of the most accessible attractions in the area, with Creation Museum and several restaurants just a few steps away.

That’s why many employees from nearby establishments come here during breaks or after their shifts to unwind.

While it’s not as big as the other attractions, Downtown Park still has ample green space for every visitor.

You can stay on the benches and take in the beautiful, verdant scenery in front of you.

Or you can head to the lit basketball court or tennis courts to play a few matches with friends.

If you plan accordingly, you can catch the many events held at the park, such as Movies in the Park, Autumnfest, and the seasonal farmers market.

Other Things to Do Nearby

After your adventures in Southern Pines, why not visit these other attractions just a few minutes away?

Smell the Flowers at Sandhills Horticultural Gardens

Narrow wooden paved path amidst the lush green trees at Sandhills Horticultural Gardens
Danita Delimont / Shutterstock.com

The colorful Sandhills Horticultural Gardens sits near the borders that Carthage, Pinehurst, and Southern Pines share.

While its official address is in Pinehurst, the place can be quickly reached from Reservoir Park on foot or a car.

It’s part of the Sandhills Community College campus, covering an area of 27 acres.

Japanees style architecture at Sandhills Horticultural Gardens
Danita Delimont / Shutterstock.com

Within the attraction are sections filled with various types of native and imported plants.

You’ll find a succulent garden, vegetable patches, xeriscaped sections, and seasonal gardens with blooming flowers.

There’s also a native wetland trail and English garden-inspired areas that invoke sophistication and luxury.

Wooden doorway at Sandhills Horticultural Gardens
Danita Delimont / Shutterstock.com

Ace a Hole-in-One at Pinehurst Resort

Majestic white building at Pinehurst Resort
Michelle Donahue Hillison / Shutterstock.com

The magnificent Pinehurst Resort is considered the crowning glory of the Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen area.

It’s a world-class attraction famed for the majestic golf courses covering most of the complex.

Since it’s just 12 minutes away from Southern Pines, you can quickly drive to it and see why it’s considered a mecca in the golfing community.

Pinehurst Resort with beautiful plants and lawn
KAD Photo / Shutterstock.com

Since it opened in 1895, it’s hosted some of the most prestigious golfing events in the country, including various US Open championships.

Thanks to the nine golf courses, each with 18 holes, the resort can host a large number of participants and games annually.

Couse No. 2, in particular, is often regarded as one of the best courses in all of the US, with a sophisticated and challenging layout that challenges even the most veteran players.

After your game, you can visit the many recreational and leisure facilities within the resort, such as restaurants, pools, and villas.

Bring the Kids to Cannon Park

Open field at cannon park with columns.
ProfReader, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cannon Park is a tranquil green space in Pinehurst, and it covers a modest 15-acre area.

It’s less than 12 minutes away from Southern Pines, so you can easily visit it if you have spare time.

There are plenty of modern attractions here, including baseball diamonds, a small football field, and picnic shelters.

But the real reason people come to Cannon Park is Camelot Playground.

Stone fountain with water coming out of it.
ProfReader, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hailed as the best Best Park of Moore County, this section has a medieval-themed design that makes it stand out from other parks.

Kids love to play as knights, kings, and princesses on the tiny castle towers, bridges, and wooden boardwalks.

They might never want to leave even after hours of fun!

Brave the Exhibits at Aberdeen Fear Factory

Down south to the vibrant town of Aberdeen lies an attraction that will make your hair rise and skin crawl: Aberdeen Fear Factory.

Considered the largest indoor haunt in North Carolina, this expansive facility has around 25,000 square feet of space in a factory setting.

So bring your whole family or group of friends over for a night of fright and fun!

With the incredible sets, experienced actors, and realistic effects, the attraction creates the perfect spine-chilling experience.

You’ll be running for your life or laughing your heart out while exploring the various exhibits of the haunt.

Final Thoughts

The attractions and activities in Southern Pines make for an excellent destination for outdoor and indoor adventures.

From vast woodlands to downtown green spaces, from old homes to modern theaters, there’s something for everyone here.

Reference this list when planning your itinerary so you won’t miss the top spots!