Best Things to Do in New Bern, NC

Set at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent Rivers in Craven County, New Bern is a riverfront city near the North Carolina coast and is the second-oldest European-American colonial town in North Carolina next to Bath. The city is home to a variety of cultural and historical sites, museums, galleries, urban parks and gardens, and plenty of attractions and entertainment for the whole family. The Tryon Palace complex features a replica of the state's first capitol, the New Bern Firemen’s Museum highlights the Great Fire of 1922, and the North Carolina History Center boasts breathtaking gardens and historic homes. One of New Bern’s top attractions is the drugstore where Pepsi was invented in the 1890s and the Croatan National Forest in the south where visitors can explore the many estuaries and diverse wildlife that reside there. Photo: Jill Lang/Fotolia


»Carolina Creations Fine Art & Contemporary Gallery

Carolina Creations Fine Art & Contemporary Gallery


Carolina Creations is an art gallery overlooking the Neuse River that focuses on artworks from over 300 local and international artists. Owned by Virginia Spencer, Carolina Creations features artworks across an array of mediums, ranging from paintings, drawings, ceramics, sculptures to glass items, jewelry, pewter and bronze pieces, furniture, and home decor. Carolina Creations Fine Art & Contemporary Craft Gallery presents an annual Valentine card sale as well as a benefit for the Craven County School to raise funds for their art programs. Contact: 317 Pollock St, New Bern, NC 28560, Phone: 252-633-4369 Photo: Carolina Creations Fine Art & Contemporary Gallery


»Latham-Whitehurst Nature Park

Latham-Whitehurst Nature Park


Latham-Whitehurst Nature Park is a public nature park located in a quiet eastern section of the town of New Bern and is a popular destination for recreational activities and outdoor adventures, ranging from hiking, biking, and kayaking to fishing and birdwatching. The park boasts a wealth of amenities, including a 2,000-foot boardwalk that winds its way through the park and offers lovely views of wild Broad Creek, an on-site dock with a fishing area, and a canoe and kayak launch. There are more than 16 miles of hiking and biking trails, picnic shelters with tables and benches, and spectacular natural scenery along the banks of Broad Creek. Contact: 1095 Broad Creek Rd, New Bern, NC 28560, Phone: 252-636-6606 Photo: Liran/Fotolia


»New Bern Academy Museum

New Bern Academy Museum


The New Bern Academy Museum is dedicated to the history of New Bern and features an array of outstanding exhibits that tell the rich story of the city. Located in a historic building that was once a schoolhouse dating back to 1809 in the heart of New Bern’s historic residential district, the New Bern Academy Museum served as a hospital during the Civil War and later became a school where classes were given until 1971. Today, the New Bern Academy Museum houses four significant exhibitions that are managed by the staff from the nearby Tryon Palace, including Face to Face: Civil War Sketches & Stories, the Architecture Exhibit, the Civil War Military Occupation Exhibit, and the History of Education Exhibit. The New Bern Academy Museum is open from 12:30 am to 4:30 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Contact: 529 S Front St, New Bern, NC 28562, Phone: 252-639-3524 Photo: New Bern Academy Museum


»New Bern Farmers Market

New Bern Farmers Market


The New Bern Farmers Market is a weekly farmers market that sells a variety of fresh produce, fruit and vegetables, freshly baked bread and sweet treats, handmade arts and crafts, and other specialty items. Established in 1984, the New Bern Farmers Market consists of a diverse group of vendor-members and offers a creative outlet for artisans and producers in the region, who gather to sell their wares ranging from fresh eggs, dairy products, and grass-fed beef to handmade clothing, artworks, and fresh flowers. The only year-round farmers market in the area, the New Bern Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm, while Tuesdays it is open from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm April through December only. Contact: 421 S Front St, New Bern, NC 28560, Phone: 252-633-0043 Photo: eqroy/Fotolia


»New Bern Firemen's Museum

New Bern Firemen's Museum


The New Bern Firemen’s Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of firefighting in New Bern. Established in 1955, the museum tells the story of the oldest fire company in the state and houses an array of hands-on exhibits and an impressive collection of authentic memorabilia. The museum highlights the history of the Atlantic Hook & Ladder Company and the New Bern Steam Fire Engine Company No. 1 and offers a fascinating insight into the Great Fire of 1922, which destroyed more than 1,000 buildings, leaving much of the city in ruins. The New Bern Firemen’s Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Contact: 420 Broad St, New Bern, NC 28560, Phone: 252-636-4087 Photo: New Bern Firemen's Museum


»Shackleford Banks Shelling & Wild Horse Expedition

Shackleford Banks Shelling & Wild Horse Expedition



Shackleford Banks Shelling & Wild Horse Expedition offers eco-tours of the pristine Shackleford Banks, the 9-mile-long southernmost barrier island of the Cape Lookout National Seashore, which is home to the famous wild horses of Shackleford Banks. The free-roaming herd of horses is thought to have descended from Spanish horses that were shipwrecked here over 400 years ago and continue to survive as one of the last isolated groups of wild horses in the United States. The beautiful barrier island on which the horses live is an ecological jewel of natural beauty and wind-shaped dunes, which naturalist guides lead visitors around, sharing their knowledge of and passion for the remote islands. Contact: 430 W. Beaufort Road, Beaufort, NC 28516, Phone: 252-504-2628 Photo: Bernd Brueggemann/Fotolia


»Stand Up Outfitters

Stand Up Outfitters


Stand Up Outfitters is a paddler-powered SUP specialty shop that offers a variety of stand-up paddling equipment to buy and rent, along with lessons, workshops, events, and tours. Established in 2011, Stand Up Outfitters is based on the banks of Lawson Creek with a premier waterfront location and easy access to the Neuse and Trent Rivers and blackwater, downwind, and flatwater paddling. Stand Up Outfitters also houses a SUP club with storage facilities for members, a SIC Maui Glide Center, and a fully stocked retail center for stand-up paddling, surfing, skating, and kayaking equipment. Contact: 1305 Country Club Rd, New Bern, NC 28562, Phone: 252-638-3000 Photo: watcherfox/Fotolia


»Trent River Coffee Shop

Trent River Coffee Shop


The Trent River Coffee Shop is a local neighborhood café and coffee shop that serves a variety of freshly baked bread and pastries, sandwiches, and light snacks along with house-roasted coffee and imported loose leaf teas. Housed in a former factory, the unique coffee shop and community gathering spot offers cold milkshakes and Italian cream sodas in the warmer summer months and a host of coffee and warm drinks in the winter months and provides comfortable seating, pet-friendly facilities, and complimentary wireless Internet access. Contact: 208 Craven St, New Bern, NC 28560, Phone: 252-514-2030 Photo: Trent River Coffee Shop


»Tryon Palace

Tryon Palace


Tryon Palace, also known as the Governor's Palace, is an historic building that was once the administrative headquarters and official residence of the colonial governors of North Carolina in the 18th century. Today, the building is known as Tryon Palace and is renowned for being North Carolina’s first permanent state capitol. Surrounded by 16 acres of beautifully manicured gardens and grounds, it represents three centuries of landscape and gardening heritage, which can be seen by visitors on guided tours. Tryon Palace is a state historic site and the magnificent building, annexes, and gardens can be explored Monday through Sunday throughout the year. Contact: 529 S Front St, New Bern, NC 28562, Phone: 800-767-1560 Photo: Zack Frank/Fotolia


»TugBoat Cruises of New Bern

TugBoat Cruises of New Bern


TugBoat Cruises of New Bern provides leisurely tugboat cruises in the local harbor. Hosted by Captain Jim Ward, cruises are customized to suit a variety of needs, from historical and cultural tours to wildlife photography and special celebrations. Located in front of the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in the New Bern Grand Marina on E-dock, tours are operated on tugboat-type boats with professional crew and take in all the sights and sounds of the beautiful Neuse and Trent Rivers and Brice Creek. TugBoat Cruises of New Bern also cater for private occasions such as romantic dinners on the water and one-of-a-kind weddings. Contact: 101 Craven Street, New Bern, NC 28562, Phone: 252-349-3819 Photo: snowgonzales/Fotolia

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»Bear City Fudge Company

Bear City Fudge Company


Bear City Fudge Company is a neighborhood confectionary store that produces and sells a variety of cakes and sweets, including gourmet fudge, pralines, and homemade ice cream. Founded in 2003, Bear City Fudge Company is located along Middle Street in the downtown area and is a prime destination for all things tasty in the heart of the town. Visitors can tuck into a range of colorful goodies ranging from sweet Southern pralines to decadent fudge of all varieties, stunning truffles and caramels, and a selection of mouthwatering flavors of ice cream. Bear City Fudge Company is open all from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, 7 days a week. Contact: 236 Middle St C, New Bern, NC 28560, Phone: 252-636-1360 Photo: Bear City Fudge Company

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»Beer Army Burger Company

Beer Army Burger Company


The Beer Army Burger Company is a friendly tavern-style restaurant and craft brewery taproom that serves a menu of 16 rotating draft beers and two house-brews, handcrafted cocktails, and other libations along with a small menu of pub grub such as juicy burgers and chicken wings. The mellow gathering place features a 25-foot solid mahogany bar and comfortable seating where guests can sample some of Coastal Carolina's premier craft beers. The Beer Army Burger Company is open for lunch and dinner, 7 days a week, and hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Contact: 313 Pollock St, New Bern, NC 28560, Phone: 252-288-5814 Photo: Beer Army Burger Company

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»Cruise the Neuse Pontoon Boat Tours

Cruise the Neuse Pontoon Boat Tours


Cruise the Neuse Pontoon Boat Tours offers three daytime cruises and a sunset cruise on the Neuse River. Cruises are provided on a 24-foot pontoon boat that departs from the DoubleTree Hilton in downtown New Bern and cruises up and down the river for a scenic 1 to 1.5-hour trip. Tours are led by expert guides who share their passion for the river and the city with guests, along with the history and essential facts of the area. Cruises pass beautiful historical homes and scenic riverside landscapes en route and guests can bring drinks and snacks to enjoy on the journey. Cruise the Neuse Pontoon Boat Tours also offers sunset cruises, which head due west up the Trent River to catch the sun sinking below the horizon against a backdrop of soft music. Contact: 101 Craven Street, New Bern, NC 28560, USA, Phone: 252-876-7232 Photo: Syda Productions/Fotolia

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»Crystal Coast Lady Cruise

Crystal Coast Lady Cruise


Crystal Coast Lady Cruises offers a variety of cruises, trips, and tours on the Neuse and Trent Rivers in Craven County. Cruises are operated on a 100-foot all-aluminum custom-designed motor yacht called the Crystal Coast Lady, which features a fully enclosed large upper deck and a climate-controlled cabin on the main deck. The boat also boasts two restrooms on each level, two full service bars and serving stations, a well-stocked gallery, a kids’ steering station, plenty of indoor and outdoor seating for up to 265 guests, and state-of-the-art electronics and safety equipment. Cruises and trips include scenic brunch and lunch cruises, family fishing trips, sunset dinner cruises, educational tours, and special events such as weddings. Contact: 600 Front St, Beaufort, NC 28516, Phone: 252-728-8687 Photo: Andrea Berger/Fotolia

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»Cow Cafe

Cow Cafe


Cow Café is a friendly neighborhood café that is decorated in a cow theme and serves a variety of light meals such as gourmet sandwich baskets, freshly prepared salads, healthy wraps, and a selection of sweet treats, desserts, and more than 40 flavors of homemade ice cream. The farm-style dining area is surrounded by murals of farm scenes and features a barnyard play area complete with rocking cows, farm equipment, and tractors to keep the little ones busy, while the front dining room has a “moo choo train” that rides around the room and the exclusive Bovine Boutique, which sells more than 500 different kinds of cow gifts. The Cow Café is open for breakfast, lunch, and early dinner, 7 days a week. Contact: 319 Middle St, New Bern, NC 28560, Phone: 252-672-9269 Photo: Cow Cafe

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»New Bern Tours

New Bern Tours


New Bern Tours offers guided tours of historic New Bern. Founded in 1994, New Bern Tours provides a full fleet of transportation that includes trolleys and motor coaches as well as professional guides who share their knowledge of and passion for North Carolina’s first capital. Journeys through the city include visiting historical homes and buildings, museums, galleries, and urban parks along with soaking up the scenic views of the Neuse and Trent Rivers. Tours can be custom-made for special occasions, and other services are also available such as boat cruises, nostalgic trolley tours through the downtown district, and walking tours. New Bern Tours can also assist visitors with hotel and dinner reservations. Contact: 610 Pollock Street, New Bern, NC 28560, Phone: 800-849-7316 or 252-637-7316 Photo: Jill Lang/Fotolia

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16 Best Things to Do in New Bern, NC