As the largest Military installation in the world, it’s no wonder that Fort Bragg is home to tens of thousands of Military personnel and civilians. This 163,000-acre North Carolina Army base puts visitors and residents just west of Fayetteville, positioned in perfect proximity to both beaches and mountains. Looking for things to do? From crowd favorites to hidden gems, check out our list of things to do near Fort Bragg.
1. Cape Fear Botanical Garden
Dubbed an urban oasis, Cape Fear Botanical Garden offers visitors a slew of recreational activities and educational programs.
Discover hundreds of local plants and wildlife as you make your way through winding paths of lush gardens. Once you’ve taken in the beauty of the natural world, visit the playground, pose for a photo at the gazebo, or treat yourself to a gift at the souvenir shop. This isn’t just a spring and summer destination, either. Many visitors prefer to walk through the gardens during the holidays when trees and vegetation are covered in twinkling lights.
Check out their events calendar and sign up for Yoga in the Garden, Wellness Wednesdays, or a trip on the Garden Railway.
2. Cameo Art House Theatre
Cameo Art House Theatre is ideal for those in search of an alternative cinematic experience. Featuring a solid lineup of indie moves, an intimate small-crowd experience, and beer, wine, and snacks, this luxury theatre makes a perfect spot for a date or family outing.
The venue also hosts live concerts and special events for those who wouldn’t consider themselves movie buffs. If you live in Fort Bragg or near Fayetteville, consider joining as a member for admission perks and special gifts.
3. Cape Fear River Trail
Walk, jog, or cycle along paths dotted with majestic trees, unique wildlife, and riverside views at Cape Fear River Trail. Featuring a 700-foot boardwalk, rustic wooden bridges, and informative boards with details about the flora and fauna, this Fayetteville trail is the ultimate outdoor playground.
You’ll be exposed to more than 700 species of plants and trees, and nearly 150 species of birds. Pro tip: The 5.3-mile trail does not loop back! Make sure you arrange transportation at the other end unless you’re looking to hike or bike 10+ miles.
4. Fascinate-U Children’s Museum
Located in a historic building in downtown Fayetteville, Fascinate-U Children’s Museum offers your tiny humans hours of hands-on, educational opportunities. The museum features dozens of mini stations where kids can let their imaginations run wild and explore through creative role playing and manipulation.
Exhibits are organized like a small city, featuring stations such as a post office, bakery, police station, and farm. Whether young visitors are learning how to operate a cash register, sort mail, or call emergency services, Fascinate-U Children’s Museum makes a perfect day activity for MilSpouse mamas and their kids.
5. Airborne and Special Operations Museum
Interested in learning more about the history of the Military’s Airborne and Special Operations branch? The Airborne and Special Operations Museum covers everything you’d ever want to know.
Embark on a self-guided tour through the main gallery where you’ll learn about the history of Airborne and Special Operations soldiers from 1940 through present day. In addition to the main gallery, the museum offers visitors a temporary gallery, motion-simulated ride, four-story theater, and gift shop. Museum admission is free and tickets for the motion simulator ride are $8.50.
6. Veterans Park
Another historic downtown staple, Veterans Park pays homage to all of the North Carolina servicemembers, past and present, regardless of Military branch.
Located next to the parking area for the Airborne and Special Operations Museum, this free indoor/outdoor tribute features exhibits about Military history and heritage, monuments honoring the fallen, and rich information about North Carolina’s role in each war.
7. Auman Vineyards
Family owned and operated, this urban farm in west Cumberland County is the epitome of local charm. Auman Vineyards invites patrons to pick their own fresh grapes — not just any grapes, either — these are North Carolina’s state fruit, the scuppernong grape!
This is also a great place for kids to learn about grape growing and bee keeping. Having grown muscadines and scuppernong grapes since 1968, the owners often give visitors a farming history lesson throughout the tour.
8. Gillis Hill Farm
Fayetteville has a reputation for being a tight-knit farming community. That’s we why had to add Gillis Hill Farm to our list of things to do near Fort Bragg.
Run by eight generations of farmers in the Gillis family dating back to 1700, visitors to this local gem can learn about the history and evolution of farming practices on a self-guided tour. You can also pick strawberries, pet and feed animals, and stroll through a corn maze. If you happen to visit Gillis Hill Farm between April and October, snag some of their delicious homemade ice cream.
9. Cape Fear River Boat Rides
Cape Fear River Boat Rides offers 2-, 4-, or 8-hour boat rides along the scenic waterfront. Gather a group of friends and meet licensed U.S. Coast Guard local, Freddie Mims, at Riverside Marine at Campbellton Landing to start your journey.
If you’re looking to go at sunrise or sunset, Freddie is likely to accommodate. An added bonus? Groups of 10 or more can take advantage of their group discounts!
10. Fayetteville Area Transportation and History Museum
Located at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, the Fayetteville Area Transportation and History Museum showcases the history of Fayetteville and the contributions of local personalities throughout the years.
From the history of steamboat travel to a replica of a 1950s gas station, this Fayetteville attraction will take you on a journey through time as you wander solo or join a tour led by a local volunteer.
Whether you dive into the rich history of Fayetteville or sail along the Cape Fear River, there’s no shortage of things to do near Fort Bragg. Take advantage of all that this North Carolina Military installation has to offer!
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She’s our current representative at Fort Bragg. Connect with her for more insights about the area.
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