Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on October 20, 2023.
Spring in North Carolina is packed with fun things to do throughout the state, including special holidays, local events, and festivals. This is also when much of the state reopens after colder months.
Plants and trees bloom at botanical gardens and elsewhere (hello, allergies!), the days get warmer, and people (like us!) start venturing outside more often.
There are so many things to do during spring in North Carolina, that we’ve organized activities by category.
Here’s what you’ll find in this guide:
- Spring Holidays (Ordered by Date)
- Events During Spring in North Carolina (Major Events and Things to Do Grouped by Category in ABC Order)
- Spring Sports
Skip ahead to the section you’re seeking or keep reading for fun and important spring holidays.
Whether you’re a new resident, a frequent visitor, or a local, we’re leaving no detail behind. If you live in the Boone area and are wondering, “What are the best things to do near me?” we think this NC travel guide will help you out!
Read More: The NC Bucket List
Spring in North Carolina (Specific Months)
Like everywhere else, spring in North Carolina officially runs from March 20 to June 21, but our guide focuses on the months of March to May. We’ve created some individual guides, which you’ll find here:
Holidays During Spring in North Carolina
These are major holidays recognized either statewide or in select communities during spring in North Carolina.
Spring Break in North Carolina
Spring in North Carolina largely starts with Spring Break, even if it happens before the official start on March 20. Here are a few places and activities we think you should look into for a fun North Carolina Spring Break:
- Our amazing beaches are the perfect spot for your vacation, but keep in mind that some don’t fully reopen for the season until April.
- Still, spots like Holden Beach in Brunswick County and Kure Beach near Wilmington are always on our minds. It’s impossible to leave out the awesome Topsail Island and the Outer Banks, either.
- Of course, don’t count out mountain towns like Boone and Asheville in spring. Like our beaches, some popular Blue Ridge Parkway stops might not reopen until April. The road closures page managed by our National Parks Service is a great resource.
- There are wonderful hiking trails to start your spring in North Carolina adventures from the mountains to the sea. Whether you’re following the white blazes of the lengthy Appalachian Trail or enjoying flatter paths in Central and Eastern North Carolina, there’s a trail here for you.
As you can see, the whole state is one amazing Spring Break destination.
Read More: Weekend Getaways in North Carolina
St Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day is a festive occasion when everyone is encouraged to wear green and have a jolly day. These popular events are always on our minds when the holiday approaches.
- Emerald Isle St. Patrick’s Day Festival (March 11)
- Raleigh St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Raleigh (March 11)
- St. Patrick’s Lo Tide Run in Carolina Beach (March 11)
- Wilmington St. Patrick’s Day Parade (March 11)
- Green River Revival at the Whitewater Center in Charlotte (March 11)
Purim is the first of two Jewish holidays in this guide. Its official days of observance are March 6 to 7, but some events are celebrated later.
- Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Charlotte (TBD)
- Chabad-Lubavitch of Western North Carolina in Asheville (March 6 to 7)
Holi is a “Festival of Colors” celebrating love, new life, and spring! In North Carolina, Holi Festivals and similarly themed events bring visitors from all walks of life.
Here are a few happening throughout spring in NC:
- Holi Festival in Morrisville (March 18)
- NC Holi Festival in Albemarle (TBD)
- Holi Moli at UNC Chapel Hill (TBD)
In 2023, Passover is from April 5 to April 13. While it’s largely celebrated at home, here are some events commemorating this major Jewish holiday:
- Chabad of Asheville (Dates TBD)
- Chabad of Charlotte
- Judea Reform Congregation in Durham (Dates TBD)
- Temple Beth Or in Raleigh
Please bear with us as we continue searching for Passover events this spring in North Carolina (and beyond!). If you know of one we should add to this list, please let us know by email.
Easter is a special holiday that has evolved to mix religious traditions with family-friendly adventures. Sunrise services are held in churches throughout North Carolina.
A prominent one is the Salem Congregation, which will hold its 251th Eastern Sunrise Service in 2023.
Easter egg hunts are another holiday tradition, also held throughout the state. Here are a few locations holding them:
- Fuquay-Varina (April 1)
- Cary (Dates TBD)
- Alligator Egg Hunt at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher (Dates TBD)
- Biltmore Estate (April 8 to 9)
- Belmont (April 8)
- Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo (April 8)
Eid al-Fitr is an important Muslim holiday that marks the end of dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan. It falls on April 22, 2023.
We are searching for events related to this momentous day, so stay tuned!
Memorial Day Weekend is a time to remember those who have fallen protecting this wonderful nation.
It is also the unofficial beginning of summer. Since the holiday is in May, we’ll include it in this guide to spring in NC.
- Memorial Day Weekend at Rumbling Bald in Lake Lure (Dates TBD)
- Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord (May 28)
- Memorial Day Celebration at the US Whitewater Center in Charlotte (May 28)
Spring in North Carolina (More Events)
With a few exceptions, like the NC Azalea Festival, Piratefest, and the WNC Bigfoot Festival, these spring events have been grouped into categories.
Arts and Culture Festivals
The arts truly come alive during spring in North Carolina. Here are some fantastic events to check out!
- North Carolina Potters Conference in Asheboro (March 2 to 4)
- Art in Bloom at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh (March 15 to 19)
- Catawba Valley Pottery & Antiques Festival in Hickory (March 24 to 25)
- Rockyfest in Hiddenite (April 22)
- Spring Daze Arts and Crafts Festival at Bond Park in Cary (April 29)
- Spring Folly in Kernersville (May 5 to 7)
- Carolina Beach Street Arts Festival (May 5 to 6)
- North Carolina Maritime Museum Wooden Boat Show in Beaufort (May 6)
- Plein Air Festival in Southport (May 18)
- Artsplosure in Raleigh (Date TBD)
- Orange Street ArtsFest in Wilmington (May 27 to 28)
A visit to one of our amazing botanical gardens is one of the best things to do during spring in North Carolina. This is THE time of year to visit these wonderfully manicured green spaces.
- Biltmore Gardens at Biltmore Estate
- Cape Fear Botanical Garden in Fayetteville
- NC Arboretum in Asheville (also the host of Winter Lights)
- Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham
- WRAL Azalea Gardens in Raleigh
Elvis Tribute Festival
Everything is in bloom and the ground is starting to thaw, which makes a farmer’s market visit one of our favorite spring things to do in North Carolina.
Most have a limited winter market, so spring is when they really start to open up and come alive again. Pick up local cheeses or a fresh bouquet and support your local North Carolina farmers.
On behalf of the Department of Agriculture, North Carolina Farm Fresh put together this nice directory of our state’s farmer’s markets.
Food and Drink Festivals
Regardless of which side you stand with, NC Barbecue is worth celebrating! Whether it’s Eastern-style or Lexington-style, barbecue dominates the lineup of food-forward events during spring in NC:
- North Carolina Rice Festival in Leland (March 2 to 4)
- Bull City Food and Beer Experience in Durham (March 12)
- Birds, Brews & BBQ at Sylvan Heights Bird Park in Scotland Neck (March 18)
- Taste the Beach in The Outer Banks (March 24 to 26, also mentioned in our OBX off-season guide)
- Fremont Daffodil Festival (March 25)
- Blue, Brew, & ‘Que Festival in Kenansville (March 25)
- Newport Pig Cookin’ Contest in Newport (Dates TBD)
- Tacos N Taps Festival in Cary (April 1)
- Cape Fear Craft & Cuisine at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher (April 1)
- Hickory Hops Craft Beer and Music Festival in Hickory (April 15)
- Mebane Dogwood Festival (April 21 to 22)
- Fayetteville Dogwood Festival (April 27 to 30)
- NC Pickle Fest in Mount Olive (April 29)
- SpringFest in Southern Pines (April 29)
- BBQ Fest on the Neuse in Kinston (May 5 to 6)
- Ham and Yam in Smithfield (May 6)
- Pig in the Park in Goldsboro (May 12 to 13)
- Cheerwine Festival in Salisbury (May 20)
Film festivals are great ways to enjoy spring in North Carolina, especially on days when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Here are a couple that we’re keeping tabs on:
- Full Frame Film Festival in Durham (Paused until further notice)
- RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem (April 13 to 22)
Read More: Movies Filmed in North Carolina
Merlefest is one of the premier music festivals in the country, joined by a few more during spring in North Carolina:
- Dreamville Music Fest in Raleigh (April 1 to 2)
- Hickory Hops Craft Beer and Music Festival (April 15)
- MerleFest in Wilkesboro (April 27 to 30)
- Tuckfest at the US Whitewater Center in Charlotte (April 21 to 23)
- Spring Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance in Pittsboro (May 4 to 7)
- Carolina Blues Festival in Greensboro (May 20)
- Beaufort Music Festival (May 19 to 20)
- Atlantic Beach Music Festival in Atlantic Beach (May 20)
- Lil John’s Mountain Music Festival in Snow Camp (Dates TBD)
Read More: Bands from North Carolina
NC Azalea Festival
Speaking of azaleas, head down to Wilmington for a true celebration of the South with the NC Azalea Festival (April 12 to 16). It’s taken place every April for the past fifty years! Parades, festive galas, historic home tours, and lush gardens await.
Don’t miss out on the concert series for music as local and national acts hit the stage. Watch as the Southern belles make their way to the annual garden party and enjoy the festivities!
Read More: Amazing Beaches near Wilmington
You scallywags aren’t going to want to miss the annual Piratefest on April 15! Hosted along the Tar River in Greenville, this year’s event will have live music, mermaids, sword fighting, and plenty of vendors.
Read More: Kid-Friendly Events in North Carolina
These races will keep your adrenaline pumping during spring in North Carolina:
- US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship in Wrightsville Beach (March 4)
- Assault on Blackrock in Sylva (March 18)
- TarWheel Cycling Event in Elizabeth City (April 15)
- Block House Steeplechase in Columbus (April 15)
- The Quicksilver Waterman Collection Carolina Cup in Wrightsville Beach (April 26 to 30)
- Paddle for the Border at Dismal Swamp State Park in South Mills, Camden County (May 6)
- Hang Gliding Spectacular in Nags Head (May 18-21)
WNC Bigfoot Festival
Marion’s annual WNC Bigfoot Festival (May 19 to 20) is all about the legendary creature that may or may not wander the Northeast US and Marion’s surroundings. This fun festival includes Bigfoot-themed food and souvenirs and an indoor expo area.
Read More: Day Trips from Asheville
We couldn’t share our favorite things to do during spring in North Carolina without featuring sports.
There’s no better way to celebrate spring than with the crack of the bat on opening day in April! Grab a hot dog and a beer over third base and cheer on one of North Carolina’s Minor League Baseball teams.
Another fun spring event happening in North Carolina is the ACC Baseball Championship. In 2023, it’s being held in Durham at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park!
Spring in North Carolina also means our basketball teams are gearing up for tournament runs and hopefully, the Charlotte Hornets are fighting for a playoff spot.
Before the NCAA Tourney begins, there are conference tournaments to settle.
From March 6-10, the Coliseum in Greensboro will host the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament. Women’s games will start on March 6 and the championship will determine the ACC’s automatic entry to the NCAA tourney on March 10.
Ready to Enjoy Spring in North Carolina?
Many of these events require tickets and reservations. If so, please get in touch with them in advance to secure your spot.
We hope you can enjoy at least a few of these events and things to do during spring in North Carolina! There’s so much to do throughout the state, and we can’t wait to keep sharing it all with you.
What are your favorite events during this time of year? Is there anything we should add? Let us know in the comments or by email, and we’ll be happy to take a look.