Home to world-famous barbecue, championship-winning NASCAR drivers, and award-winning wineries, Lexington, North Carolina is one of America's hidden gems. It has plenty of things for visitors to see and do, including lesser-known attractions like historical museums and memorials, local art galleries, and a beautiful park with a 140-foot-long cave where pioneer Daniel Boone is said to have hid out during his early years here. Of course, you'll need to make time for a meal at one of the city's famous barbecue joints, but true barbecue aficionados should also try to be here for the annual Barbecue Festival in April.

1. Childress Vineyards

Childress Vineyards
© Childress Vineyards

Owned by the famous NASCAR entrepreneur Richard Childress, Childress Vineyards is one of the biggest wineries in the beautiful Yadkin Valley, and it boasts a state-of-the-art winery building modeled after a Tuscan villa. Their award-winning portfolio includes everything from classic reds and whites to sparkling wines and dessert wines, and some of the wines are made entirely with grapes grown in the winery's own 72-acre vineyard. Tours and tastings are offered all throughout the year, and visitors can often enjoy live music performances during the spring and fall. There's also an on-site bistro, which is open seven days a week.

1000 Childress Vineyards Rd, Lexington, NC 27295, Phone: 336-236-9463

2. Boone's Cave Park, Lexington, North Carolina

Boone's Cave Park, Lexington, North Carolina
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Named in honor of Daniel Boone, an iconic American pioneer who moved to the area in 1751, Boone's Cave Park is a peaceful 120-acre property on the banks of the Yadkin River. Amenities in the park are limited, but there are six miles of well-maintained hiking trails, and visitors are welcome to picnic and fish in the river. Brave visitors who don't mind crawling on their hands and knees can also explore the park's 140-foot-long cave, which is believed to have been Boone's hideout. If you'd like to spend the night, several primitive campsites are available to visitors by reservation.

3552 Boones Cave Rd, Lexington, NC 27295, Phone: 336-752-2322

3. High Rock Lake

High Rock Lake
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Tranquility and adventure converge at High Rock Lake, North Carolina’s second-largest lake. The lake, which was built in 1929, is impressive with a total size of 15,180 acres and a shoreline that is 365 miles long. All of this makes it perfect for individuals who are looking to enjoy an active and outdoor lifestyle whether for a few days or a few weeks. Participate in year-round water-based recreational activities like jet skiing, kayaking, canoeing, or even fishing. Meanwhile, those who want to enjoy hiking, nature tours, or bird watching, can make their way to the nearby Eagle Point Nature Preserve which features great trails to explore. Also, nearby High Rock Lake is the Dan Nicholas Park, which gives the lake’s visitors access to cool experiences like a gem mine and campgrounds. Phone: 704-637-5526

4. North Carolina Vietnam Veterans Memorial

North Carolina Vietnam Veterans Memorial
© Leonard's Creek Chapter NSDAR

Located in a rest area just off the I-85, the North Carolina Vietnam Veterans Memorial was erected to commemorate the brave soldiers who were lost in the Vietnam War. A walkway leads from the parking lot to the monument, which is made entirely out of North Carolina red brick, and a plaque on the wall names each and every one of the more than 1,600 North Carolinians who lost their life in the war. The monument is also surrounded with beautiful evergreen trees that were planted in memory of all the Americans who lost their lives in the conflict.

I-85 Mile Marker 100, Lexington, NC

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5. Barbecue Festival, Lexington, North Carolina

Barbecue Festival, Lexington, North Carolina
© Barbecue Festival

Lexington is fondly referred to as the "Barbecue Capital of the World", so it's no surprise that the annual Barbecue Festival is one of the city's most popular events. It has been taking place every October since 1984, and although it started out as a relatively humble affair with only a few vendors, it has grown into an enormous celebration that sprawls across ten downtown blocks. Dozens of local restaurants and out-of-state vendors set up food stalls, but there are plenty of other attractions as well, including live music, a lumberjack competition, and family-friendly carnival rides.

100 Smokehouse Ln, Lexington, NC 27295, Phone: 336-249-9814

6. RCR Museum & Gift Shop, Lexington, North Carolina

RCR Museum & Gift Shop, Lexington, North Carolina
© RCR Museum & Gift Shop

Part of the Richard Childress Racing campus, the RCR Museum & Gift Shop offers a behind-the-scenes look at the history of some of the most famous teams and drivers in NASCAR history. The museum exhibits cover topics like Richard Childress’ early days as a NASCAR driver and the fame achieved by Dale Earnhardt and his No. 3 team, and the educational displays are supplemented by an incredible collection of cars that includes the Daytona 500 winning car driven by Dale Earnhardt. Visitors are welcome Tuesday through Saturday, and tickets must be purchased to enter the museum.

236 Industrial Dr, Lexington, NC 27295, Phone: 336-731-3389

7. Junius Lindsay Vineyard, Lexington, North Carolina

Junius Lindsay Vineyard, Lexington, North Carolina
© Junius Lindsay Vineyard

Specializing in Old World style estate-bottled wines, Junius Lindsay Vineyard is a boutique winery with a beautiful open-air tasting room. They proudly produce all their wine using grapes grown in their own vineyard, all of which come from varietals native to France's Rhone Valley. All tastings include a souvenir wine glass to keep, and visitors are welcome to bring their own food if they'd like to have a picnic on the winery grounds.

385 Dr Zimmerman Rd, Lexington, NC 27295, Phone: 336-764-4050

8. Davidson County Historical Museum

Davidson County Historical Museum
© Davidson County Historical Museum

Housed inside a beautiful Greek Revival building that was built in 1858 to serve as the city's courthouse, the Davidson County Historical Museum has a wonderful collection of exhibits designed to educate visitors about the heritage of Davidson County. Most of the exhibits are arranged around different themes, and one of the major highlights is a historical courtroom that looks just as it would have in the 19th century. There's also a room dedicated simply to displaying the most curious items from the museum's collection of historic objects. The museum is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, and there is no admission fee.

2 S Main St, Lexington, NC 27292, Phone: 336-242-2035

9. Barbecue Center Inc, Lexington, North Carolina

Barbecue Center Inc, Lexington, North Carolina
© Barbecue Center Inc

As the oldest barbecue joint in town that still cooks its meat over pits, the Barbecue Center Inc is an ideal place to get a taste of authentic Lexington barbecue. Both sliced and chopped barbecue is available, and they separate the light meat from the dark so customers can order exactly what they like. If you want to end your meal with something sweet, there's also an extensive menu of decadent dipped ice cream cones, sundaes, and homemade pie.

900 N Main St, Lexington, NC 27292, Phone: 336-248-4633

10. Speedy BBQ Incorporated, Lexington, NC

Speedy BBQ Incorporated, Lexington, NC
© Speedy BBQ Incorporated

Another of Lexington's most beloved barbecue joints, Speedy BBQ Incorporated is a family-owned restaurant known for their generous portions and their mouthwatering barbecue sauce. The menu includes a large variety of barbecue plates and sandwiches, and you can choose from classic sides like hushpuppies, coleslaw, and baked beans. Convenient curbside pickup is always available during opening hours, and if you're planning a cookout, the restaurant can provide an entire pork shoulder and some delicious sides.

1317 Winston Rd, Lexington, NC 27295, Phone: 336-248-2092

11. Coach's Neighborhood Grill, Lexington, North Carolina

Coach's Neighborhood Grill, Lexington, North Carolina
© Coach's Neighborhood Grill

Coach's Neighborhood Grill is a franchise that can be found all over North Carolina, and if you're not in the mood for traditional Lexington barbecue, it's one of the city's best places to eat. The menu offers a wide range of appetizers, soups, and sandwiches, and there are approximately a dozen sides to choose from. If you'd rather have something more substantial, you can also order a hearty pasta dish, a burger, or a delicious steak.

51 Plaza Pkwy, Lexington, NC 27292, Phone: 336-843-1806

12. The Bob Timberlake Gallery and Museum

The Bob Timberlake Gallery and Museum
© The Bob Timberlake Gallery and Museum

Situated in the center of the Piedmont Region, the Bob Timberlake Gallery and Museum is a retail store, gallery, and museum all rolled into one which celebrates the exceptional work and career of internationally acclaimed artist and designer, Bob Timberlake. Opened in June of 1997, the gallery and museum are the results of decades of hard work and dedication to art. See the original artwork and personal memorabilia of Bob Timberlake or see gorgeous reproductions up close in the gallery. For connoisseurs of art, you’ll also be able to see the way Mr. Timberlake’s work has evolved through the years as he studied and practiced the many different techniques he is recognized for today.

1714 E Center Street Ext, Lexington, North Carolina 27282, Phone: 336-249-4428

13. Denton Farm Park

Denton Farm Park
© Denton Farm Park

Immerse yourself in the agricultural and industrial history of Denton, North Carolina, at the Denton Farm Park. Owned and operated by the Loflin Family, the Denton Farm Park is home to an incredible 15 restored building such as a blacksmith shop, a plantation house, a charming log cabin, an old-school general store, and even a grist mill and church. That’s not all the Denton Farm Park has to offer though, as it is also the proud side of a full-size steam train that wraps around the park on a jaw-dropping one-and-a-half-mile track. Other draws of the Denton Farm Park include its incredible collection of antique farm machinery, the largest collection of its kind in the American Southeast, and the train rides it conducts on their Handy Dandy Railroad.

1072 Cranford Road, Denton, North Carolina 27239, Phone: 336-859-2755

14. Things to Do in Lexington, NC: Elevated Wake Park

Things to Do in Lexington, NC: Elevated Wake Park
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Elevated Wake Park is North Carolina’s first and only full-size cable wakeboarding park. Founded by Morgan Batchelor, a proud Lexington local and avid wakeboarder with years of experience, the Elevated Wake Park is known for its System 2.0 Cable that allows riders to edge out the line and maximize the wake park’s features and obstacles. No matter what your experience level, you’re welcome at this wake park which offers lessons for beginners and camps for individuals looking to up their wakeboarding game. The Elevated Wake Park is also home to an exciting aqua park that is perfect for parties and group activities.

220 Bryant Road, Lexington, North Carolina 27292; Phone: 336-481-9107

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15. Sapona Golf Swim and Tennis Club, Lexington, North Carolina

Sapona Golf Swim and Tennis Club, Lexington, North Carolina
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Spend a day enjoying your choice of sport at the Sapona Golf, Swim, and Tennis Club. This semi-private club was formed in 1968 and is home to an 18-hole, par 71 courses designed by Ed Seay and Ellis Maples. Relaxing and yet challenging, the course will test the mettle of golfers regardless of their experience thanks to rolling hills among other obstacles. After a day out on the course or in the tennis courts, guests can maximize the relaxing swimming pool and cool down with a leisurely swim. Don’t forget to stop by the Sapona Grille while you’re at the club to feast on delightful and mouthwatering meals that are sure to refuel you for another round on the course, on the courts, or in the pool.

439 Beaver Creek Road, Lexington, North Carolina, 27295, Phone: 336-956-6245

16. Lexington Golf Club

Lexington Golf Club
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Enjoy superb amenities and some of the finest golfing that Lexington has to offer at the Lexington Golf Club. Featuring a course that utilizes A1 and A4 bent grass greens, double-row irrigation championship tees, and a lush 419 Bermuda grass fairway, the Lexington Golf Club is easily one of the most sought-after golfing experiences in the state. The course was first built in 1938 by Dugan Aycock, the former president of the Carolinas’ PGA and an accomplished professional golfer. Golfers will have to navigate their way around towering pines and play through challenging elevation changes that are distinct to Davidson County. The golf club recommends that visitors book their tee time ahead of time online and also offers eClub memberships to regulars looking to enjoy specials and regular promotions.

200 Country Club Boulevard, Lexington, North Carolina 27292, Phone: 336-248-3950

17. Things to Do in Lexington, NC: Bull City Ciderworks

Things to Do in Lexington, NC: Bull City Ciderworks
© Bull City Ciderworks

It’s all about great cider and absolutely no bull at Bull City Ciderworks, a cider production facility and bars with four locations around North Carolina. The Lexington branch features sixteen cider taps to choose from, of which there are seven core ciders and nine rotating seasonal ciders. Sample crowd-pleasing staples like the Sweet Carolina, Cherry Tart, Rhize Up, Smooth Hoperator, and Steep South Ciders, or try a seasonal cider like the Crème del Orange, the Cranpappy, or the Resting Peach Face ciders. Though Bull City Ciderworks does offer light snacks like chips and chocolates, guests are more than welcome to bring their own eats to enjoy with their cider. Entertainment is also available at the cider bar in the form of board games, live music, and some gold old cornhole.

599 South Railroad Street, Lexington, North Carolina 27292, Phone: 336-240-9497

18. Cagney’s Kitchen Lexington

Cagney’s Kitchen Lexington
© Cagney’s Kitchen Lexington

Known as “the neighborhood’s best-kept secret”, Cagney’s Kitchen is a North Carolina favorite with nine branches scattered throughout the state. When you’re hungry and just want to tuck into some delicious American food in an easygoing environment, Cagney’s is one of Lexington’s best options. From the breakfast menu, regulars recommend the House Special which has two eggs cooked in any style with your choice between bacon or tenderloin, grits and gravy or hashbrowns, and toast or biscuits. Meanwhile, the dinner menu is packed full of options with a variety of Stromboli, calzones, and pizzas available in addition to subs, sandwiches, and burgers. There are a ton of popular entrees to choose from including the Chopped Sirloin Steak, the Mediterranean marinated beef strips and the Kansas City Steak.

1244 Fairview Drive, Lexington, North Carolina 27292, Phone: 336-300-7960

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