NOTE: We are not advocating mass travel during this time, but we do want to continue to support the incredible businesses and destinations that make North Carolina so amazing. In the meantime, we encourage you to virtually travel through our articles and plan your visits for when it is safe to do get out there. Finally, while we do work hard to keep our posts updated, some activities and places may not be accessible at this time.
Spring Things to Do in North Carolina Travel Guide Featured Image

Enjoying Spring in North Carolina: 20+ Things to Do, Local Events, and More

While we are firm believers that you can travel through North Carolina any time of the year, but we sure do love the growth and greenery that happens during spring! Flowers start to bloom, the days get warmer, and the whole state begins to buzz with festivals and events.

So if you’re trying to figure out your weekends in March or April, and May, here are some awesome spring things to do in North Carolina.

This post is part of our series on seasonal events in North Carolina, many of which appear in our NC bucket list.

20+ Spring Things to Do in North Carolina

BBQ Festivals

Spring in North Carolina Barbecue Image

Regardless of which side you stand with, NC Barbecue is worth celebrating! Take in the smoky goodness during April’s Pig in the Park in Goldsboro.

And don’t forget about May‘s BBQ Fest on the Neuse in Kinston, where you’ll find amazing eats and fun in an awesome small town.

Hungry for more barbecue talk? Check out our conversation with KCBS legend Jerry Stephenson of Redneck BBQ Lab, as part of our People of NC series.

Local Food and Wine Festivals

Eat, drink, and taste Carolina! With the warmer weather, all of North Carolina’s cities start showcasing the piece of the state’s awesome food scene!

Here are a few annual spring events happening around the state, from the mountains to the sea:

NC Pickle Fest

We swear a pickle festival is something you have to experience at least once in your lifetime. And North Carolina is home to the best!

Hosted by none other than Mt. Olive Pickle Company, April’s NC Pickle Fest is a big dill! We promise you’ll have a good time!

Art in Bloom

North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh literally explodes with life during the annual exhibit, “Art in Bloom”.

Over four days in March, the museum features 50 floral interpretations and draws thousands of visitors. It’s an experience that can’t be missed and a big part of why this is one of North Carolina’s best museums!

We also think it’s a great way to enjoy weekends and date nights in Raleigh.

MerleFest

Considered to be one of the premier music festivals in the country, MerleFest showcases “traditional plus” music in memory of late Eddy Merle Watson, son of the North Carolina music legend Doc Watson.

Musical performances mix traditional Appalachian/bluegrass with whatever else Merle felt like listening to. The April 2020 lineup in Wilkesboro includes names like The Willie Nelson & Family, Alison Krauss, and Melissa Etheridge.

We interviewed B Townes, also known as the Merlefest, and you can read about it here!

Looking for more music in North Carolina? Don’t forget about Greensboro’s Carolina Blues Festival (May), too! Check back for more as we’ll keep updating here!

Farmer’s Markets

Carrboro NC Farmers Market Image

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 we start to feel alive again. Pick up some local cheeses or a fresh bouquet and support your local North Carolina farmers.

North Carolina Farm Fresh, on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, put together this nice directory of our state’s farmer’s markets.

North Carolina Rice Festival

Did you know that North Carolina is home to some pretty incredible rice, called “Carolina Gold?” It got that name because this West African-originated rice was the largest export and wealth producer in the 1800s.

Rice so amazing that it’s sought after by many culinary geniuses to this day! Carolina Gold is celebrated each year in Leland during the North Carolina Rice Festival in March.

Botanical Gardens

With beautiful gardens across North Carolina, we can assure that there is always something in bloom!

Whether you’re basking in cherry blossoms at Sarah P. Duke Gardens, wandering the paths of Cape Fear Botanical Garden in Fayetteville, exploring Biltmore Estate’s beautiful flowers, or scoping out azaleas at the WRAL Gardens in Raleigh, we guarantee that spring is a beautiful time to be in NC!

NC Azalea Festival

Speaking of azaleas, head down to Wilmington for a true celebration of the South with the NC Azalea Festival. 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 either, as big names like Hank Williams Jr. hit the stage. Watch as the Southern belles make their way to the annual garden party and enjoy the festivities!

NC Beer Month

Spring in North Carolina Beer Month Image
Twin Leaf in Asheville is one great place to start exploring NC Beer!

What better way to celebrate North Carolina than to hop through some of their signature craft breweries! From prohibition to popping the alcohol limit, North Carolinians have made huge changes in how we drink and savor our beer.

NC Beer Month is in April and we’ve compiled our favorite North Carolina breweries you have to check out then and throughout the year! Some go-to cities for beer include Asheville in Western North Carolina, Charlotte, Raleigh, and Durham in Central NC, and Fayetteville in the East.

Got a favorite beer city to share? Let us know in the comments!

North Carolina Craft Beer & Breweries discusses the many breweries that you’ll find when traveling through North Carolina. 

Wings over Wayne

Wings over Wayne is a free air show that occurs every two years in April (coming in 2021). In collaboration with Goldsboro’s Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the best of US Aviation attend breathtaking performances.

Check out fighter jets on the ground or in the air for enthusiasts of all ages!

We included Seymour Johnson AFB as part of our homage to the Four Ps of Goldsboro. What are the other three?

Opening Day Baseball

Minor League Baseball North Carolina Image
Head to Kinston and watch the Down East Wood Ducks!

There’s no better way 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 11 Minor League Baseball teams.

Whether you’re hanging with Wool E. Bull at DBAP in Durham, getting Knighted in Charlotte, or being a Tourist in Asheville, there’s always a game going on.

Another fun spring event happening in North Carolina is the ACC Baseball Championship. In 2020, it’s being held at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte!

What’s Your First Pick?

So what are you doing first during spring in North Carolina? There’s so much to do all throughout North Carolina in March, April, and May and we only scratched the surface on what there is to do.

Is there anything that you would add? We look forward to hearing from you and can’t wait to enjoy these spring things to do in North Carolina ourselves!

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