Fayetteville & Cumberland County, North Carolina
Long known for its proximity to Fort Bragg, Fayetteville NC and its Cumberland County surroundings remain high among our favorite places to visit in North Carolina. And if you’re seeking the perfect day trip spot from Raleigh and elsewhere in the Triangle or Triad, keep reading.
We’ve spent more than a few weekends hanging out in Fayetteville and elsewhere in Cumberland County. Our guide has you covered with things to do, places to stay, and more if you decide to do the same.
Prior to the European settlement of the Cumberland County area, successive cultures of Native Americans inhabited it. A group of Highland Scots are the first recognized European group to have settled the region, starting around 1730 by Highland Scots.
The Colonial Legislature parsed it out of Bladen County in 1754 to form Cumberland County. Its name is attributed to Prince William, son of King George II and officially recognized as Duke of Cumberland.
What we know today as Fayetteville was originally the community Cross Creek and Campbellton, the first county seat. After the Revolutionary War, the two combined and became Fayetteville, the first North American place named for Marquis de Lafayette.
Today, numerous cities, counties, streets, and other places throughout the world. bear his name. We’ve included that tidbit and a few more in this post covering facts about North Carolina.
Growth and Fires
From then, Fayetteville became the largest and most important city in Cumberland County. Trade along the Cape Fear River among textile and sawmill operators greatly benefited Fayetteville. It was North Carolina’s largest inland town throughout much of the early 1800s.
The early and more fortunate era of Fayetteville came to an end in 1831 when a fire destroyed much of the city. Miraculously, nobody died in the fire. One interesting note is that this event indirectly led to a fire months later in Raleigh.
Prior to the Civil War, Fayetteville hosted a military armory on Haymount. That building transformed into a Confederate gun factory. General Sherman and his Union Troops paid a visit to the armory near the end of the war and burned much of Fayetteville in turn.
Post-Civil War, Camp and Fort Bragg
After the war, Fayetteville experience a period of slow growth. In the 1890s, Railroad lines eventually made their way through the area and led to a renewed economic boost.
Of course, the biggest move for the area happened near the end of World War I. The US Army established Camp Bragg, which housed Pope Field’s artillery and planes. It would eventually earn a new designation as Fort Bragg.
During World War II, Fort Bragg was called upon to become the largest Army training site. Its importance during WWII and the Korean and Vietnam wars led to a huge boom in Fayetteville’s population. That’s led to multiple industries coming to the area, making Cumberland County an important hub of commerce.
Things to Do in Fayetteville NC and Cumberland County Today
And if you live in Fayetteville today or decide to visit, you’ll agree with us that there are plenty of things to do here and elsewhere in Cumberland County (especially for kids). Whether you like breweries, great food, exploring outdoor spots like Cape Fear Botanical Garden, and museums like the Airborne and Special Ops, it’s filled with places that belong on your NC Bucket List.
We love visiting the area for these things, but also more. Fayetteville is also a fun place to visit during Christmas and the rest of winter, but we think you’d enjoy a weekend in Fayetteville any time of year.
Fayetteville NC Area-Focused Articles
For everything else, take a look through our collection of guides dedicated to Fayetteville and its surroundings. We hope you enjoy your time in this awesome part of our state.
Cumberland County Towns and Communities Surrounding Fayetteville NC
Eastover to Fort Bragg
- Eastover: Until its incorporation in 2007, it was known as Eastover Township. Before that, the town was originally named Flea Hill. Like a few other towns and communities that we’ll mention, Dunn Road (US 301) runs through it. There, you’ll find a variety of locally owned businesses.
- Falcon: Cumberland and Sampson counties share Falcon, which is primarily known for Falcon Tabernacle. That building is where two religious denominations merged to form the Pentecostal Holiness Church. It’s currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Fort Bragg: As we mentioned earlier, Fort Bragg is responsible for much of Fayetteville’s growth. It’s our nation’s largest military installation and with 50,000-plus active-duty troops and staff, the world’s largest by population. Hoke, Harnett, and Moore counties also claim parts of Fort Bragg within their borders.
Godwin to Linden
- Godwin: US 301 runs parallel to I-95 as it passes through Godwin, one of the smaller communities found in Cumberland County. Many of these towns share a wonderful sense of community, and the Godwin Presbyterian Church’s annual homecoming each October offers a hard-to-top example of that.
- Hope Mills: Our thoughts of Hope Mills first turn to Dirtbag Ales right off I-95 (Exit 41), but there are tons more things going on here. The town hosts a series of events throughout the year, including a Memorial Day Ceremony, 4th of July Festivities, Gallberry Corn Maze (September to November), and various Christmas celebrations in December.
- Linden: NC 217 cuts through Linden north from Erwin before merging with US 401. The town sits on the northern edge of the Cumberland-Harnett County line. Leaders originally founded it as a proposed residential and commercial hub, with Little River Academy driving its initial growth. Today, roughly 130 people live in Linden.
Spring Lake to Wade
- Spring Lake: Proximity to Fayetteville and Fort Bragg has treated Spring Lake well over the years. Many folks also know it for Carvers Creek State Park, though there are plenty of more ways to get outside in this town. Spring Lake’s Sandhills Sankofa Festival in April and September’s Renaissance Faire are a couple of awesome events that happen here each year.
- Stedman: Before it was Stedman, the town was known as Blockersville and eventually Blockers. Just over 1,000 people call Stedman “home” today. Annual events include a “Party in the Park” each May and a fall “Farmer’s Day.”
- Wade: This is another town you’ll drive through if you opt for US 301. Wade sits just south of the Cape Fear River and is home to more than 500 people. Old Bluff Presbyterian Church in town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Searching for Something Specific?
We look forward to sharing more experiences as we continue exploring all there is to do in Fayetteville NC.
If you’re looking for something specific, you can search for it here, too.
You can also visit our Facebook Group and ask a question there. Either way, we’ll be happy to help you find your way when exploring Fayetteville.