Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on September 28, 2023.
It’s one of our favorite spots for day trips from Raleigh (also, Durham) and in all of Eastern North Carolina at any time of year. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about winter or any of the warmer months.
We love this city and its surroundings and know you will, too. This guide features our favorite things to do in Fayetteville and nearby.
There are more things included and we’ve organized the guide like this:
- Where is Fayetteville? (Location Info and Background)
- Where to Stay
- Annual Events (and Seasonal Things to Do)
- Year-Round Things to Do in Fayetteville
- Where to Eat
- Coffee Shops and Teahouses
- More Fayetteville Travel Guides
You can skip ahead to any of the below sections or continue reading about how you can travel to Fayetteville, too, and things you should know beforehand.
Read More: 100+ Unique Things to Do in North Carolina
Where is Fayetteville? (Location Info and Background)
Before we share the best things to do in Fayetteville, we think you should know a little bit about the city.
- If you look on a map, you’ll see that Fayetteville is located in northwestern Cumberland County, on the western edge of Eastern North Carolina.
- It is also the Cumberland County seat.
- The important Cape Fear River runs through Fayetteville and the city was built along its shores.
- I-95 is one of many prominent roads that run through the Fayetteville area.
- Fayetteville is within an hour’s drive from Raleigh and 1-1/2 hours from Durham and Chapel Hill. The city is also two hours away from Wilmington on the coast and Greensboro in the Piedmont Triad. We’ll share more about popular day trips from Fayetteville shortly.
- Before it was Fayetteville, the area was occupied by Native Americans.
- Settlers arrived in the 1700s and in 1783, the NC State Legislature combined two towns into one, naming it Fayetteville. It was the first town named after the Revolutionary War Hero Marquis de Lafayette.
- Fayetteville was an important city throughout much of North Carolina’s post-colonial history.
- The largest development here, though, was when the US Army established Camp Bragg near the end of World War I. Today, it’s known as Fort Liberty (formerly Fort Bragg) and is a huge economic driver in the area.
- The city continues to grow, but one of the most important things to do in Fayetteville is to remember its history. You can do that by visiting one of its historic districts, touring the US Airborne and Special Operations Museum, or following a cultural heritage trail. We’ll share more about each of these things below.
Read More: 60+ Important Facts About Fayetteville
Where to Stay in Fayetteville
There are a lot of places to stay in Fayetteville, especially big-name hotels. We stayed in the Hilton Garden Inn (4025 Sycamore Dairy Road) west of downtown and the Hampton Inn (2065 Cedar Creek Rd) near I-95 and enjoyed both places.
The MacPherson House (701 Hay St) is a lovely, historic bed and breakfast. Feel like you’re at home away from home with luxurious bedding, home-cooked gourmet breakfasts, and Southern hospitality.
Annual Events (and Seasonal Things to Do)
There are some pretty awesome things to do in Fayetteville during specific times of the year. All of these take place in Fayetteville, except for one that happens in Hope Mills.
- Fayetteville Rose Garden (April until the First Frost): The Fayetteville Rose Garden is a wonderful quick stop. Located on the campus of Fayetteville Technical Community College, you’ll find more than 1,000 rose bushes blooming from April until the first frost.
- Farmers Markets (Multiple Seasonal and Year-Round): There are a few Farmers Markets in Fayetteville and each operates at a different time of year. Of course, there is the year-round City Market at the Museum on Saturday mornings. Dirtbag Ales Farmers Markets run from April through the Sunday before Thanksgiving, with a smaller mini-market during the winter. Finally, the Downtown District Summer Market is a newer addition to downtown, running throughout (you guessed it) summer!
- Gillis Hill Farm (April to October): Family-owned for eight generations, Gillis Hill Farm is Fayetteville’s ultimate agritourism spot! It’s open from April to October, and the farm is well known for fresh, delicious ice cream and pick-your-own seasonal options. You can also tour the farm and take home some amazing produce from Gillis Hill Farm!
- Minor League Baseball (April to September): The Fayetteville Woodpeckers are a perfect addition to the city. Segra Stadium holds nearly 5,300 people and even has picnic-style seating. There’s also a section of rocking chairs for those who really want to chill out in the outfield.
- Splash Pads and Pools (Summer): Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks & Recreation manages 10 splash pads, 46 parks, and four pools, offering endless family-friendly (and FREE) fun in Fayetteville.
- Carter Blueberry Farm (Mid-June to August): Family-owned and operated for over 40 years, Carter Blueberry Farm is a 6-acre oasis for blueberry picking in North Carolina! The 3500 blueberry plants at this farm are ripe for the picking and the memories you make will last a lifetime. Bring your own bucket and fill up for only $1.79 per pound. Now, that’s a steal of a deal!
- Gallbery Corn Maze (September to November): If you’re looking for the perfect place to pick pumpkins and enjoy fall in Fayetteville, then Gallberry Corn Maze in Hope Mills is exactly what you’re looking for! Open mid-September through early November, this place has a massive six acres of corn mazes, hayride, tube slides, and even pig racing!
- Minor League Hockey (October to April): Many folks might remember the Cape Fear FireAntz and they’re still playing hockey at Crown Coliseum as the Fayetteville Marksmen. As part of the NC-based Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL), the Marksmen play between October and April, making their games one of the most fun things to do in Fayetteville during fall and winter.
- Christmas Lights Displays (November to January): The holiday season heats up in Fayetteville, with some of North Carolina’s best Christmas lights displays at Cape Fear Botanical Garden and Sweet Valley Ranch.
Read More: Christmas in Fayetteville
Year-Round Things to Do in Fayetteville
You don’t have to worry about your calendar when adding one of these year-round things to do in Fayetteville to your itinerary. Many of these attractions are located in Fayetteville, with some in surrounding Cumberland County towns.
1897 Poe House
206 Bradford Ave, Fayetteville
At the 1897 Poe House, you can tour the homes owned by one of the most affluent families of Fayetteville in the early 20th century! Named for the year it was constructed, the Poe House was owned by Josephine and Edgar Allan Poe.
Not to be confused with the famous author, E A Poe was a successful businessman, politician, and civic leader in Cumberland County.
Tours highlight women’s and children’s roles in the house, African American history, and the technological, economic, and social changes that occurred in North Carolina while the Poes were in residence.
Axes & X’s Axe Throwing Range
Started by an active-duty soldier and his wife in 2018, Axes & X’s is a mobile ax-throwing operation and one of the most fun outdoor things to do in Fayetteville! Follow their calendar and Facebook Page, so you can keep track of where you can land your next bullseye!
Babe Ruth Historic Marker
Babe Ruth Sign, Fayetteville
Did you know that Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run in Fayetteville? Shortly after signing with the Baltimore Orioles (then a Minor League club), the Great Bambino launched a 400-foot homer during an exhibition game at the Cape Fear Fairgrounds Park.
The ballpark is long gone but you can still see the historic marker that commemorates this momentous event. It’s located in front of the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Division of Highways’ Division Six Office in Fayetteville.
Black Ops Paintball
2112 River Rd, Fayetteville
Just 15 minutes off of I-95, Black Ops Paintball is where you can truly embrace that adrenaline rush! The 400-acre park was opened by combat veterans in 2012 and continues to offer excellent paintball and airsoft fields.
Paintball and Airsoft have been rated safer to play than golf, and everyone ages 4 and up can play in the woods, in their hyper ball field, or inside the 27,000-square-foot Airsoft Arena. Black Ops also has gear for rent, so you don’t have to bring your own!
Visit throughout the year but make sure you visit in October. Then, Black Ops also hosts a zombie hayride and haunted house.
Cape Fear Botanical Garden
536 N Eastern Blvd, Fayetteville
We mentioned Cape Fear Botanical Garden in our “Events” section but want you to know that this is one of our favorite things to do in Fayetteville throughout the year.
It sits just two miles from downtown between the Cape Fear River and Cross Creek. At this wonderful space, you have 80 acres of greenery to explore.
Its variety of curated gardens are worthy of visiting throughout the year, though spring is probably the best time. Whether you’re looking to escape to a flowery oasis or check out one of the special events, Cape Fear Botanical Garden is the perfect spot to connect with nature.
Bonus Tip: When visiting with children, don’t forget to stop by their Visitors Services and check out a FREE Themed Backpack. With options for all ages, you can choose one that focuses on trees and flowers, bird watching, or searching for insects.
Read More: Botanical Gardens in North Carolina
Cape Fear River Trail
Sherman Drive, Fayetteville
Whether you’re looking to bike, walk, or even scoot, the Cape Fear River Trail is an excellent place to go. This 10-foot wide paved path extends for about 5.3 miles.
Shrouded with trees, wildlife, and even a covered bridge, we think this will be one of your favorite things to do in Fayetteville.
Pro-tip: Start at Clark Park (see below) and enjoy the Nature Center first!
Carvers Creek State Park
Long Valley Farm Access: 995 McCloskey Rd, Fayetteville
Sandhills Access: 2505 Long Valley Rd, Spring Lake
The Long Valley Farm Access leads to the former historic retreat of the Rockefeller family. Two hiking trails there follow the farm’s former roads and pass a 100-acre millpond.
At the Sandhills Access, stroll along the Longleaf Pine Trail and stop off at the pond, which is about a mile from the parking lot.
Note: Closed-toe shoes are recommended and please do not veer off the trail.
The Climbing Place
436 W Russell St, Fayetteville
The Climbing Place offers 20,000 square feet of climbing, with plenty of rope and rock options for all skill levels. It is also perfect for birthday parties or groups.
Join The Climbing Place for Friday night Family nights for deals on gear rentals and free pizza!
Cultural Heritage Trails
Fayetteville is filled with Culture Heritage Trails, so all you have to do is pick one to follow! With 750 miles of themed driving trails, you can get to know the ins and out of Cumberland county.
- African-American Heritage and Black History
- Civil War history
- Fish and Gaming
- Gaelic Beginnings
- Historic Architecture
Deep Creek ATV Park
2601 Slocomb Rd, Linden
The 2,500 acres of Deep Creek ATV Park will keep the adrenaline pumping. This is the place to relax for a weekend of camping between sessions of off-road ATV and dirt bike riding on first-class trails and facilities.
We might be bold but will say it anyway. Deep Creek ATV Park is the ultimate outdoor activity in Fayetteville!
361 Westwood Shopping Center, Fayetteville
At Defy, you can be bold and fearless! This extreme air sports park offers all the thrills while remaining one of the best indoor things to do in Fayetteville.
Try your aerial skills out on the silks, jump until you’re exhausted, or take your chance at the ninja obstacle course. Defy’s foam pit is great for younger kids, too!
Downtown Fayetteville Shopping
Downtown Fayetteville has some beautiful and unique shops to make browsing up and down Hay Street a lot of fun!
- A Bit of Carolina (306 Hay St) curates the best North Carolina gift baskets. They are truly a wonderful gift for anyone who loves North Carolina!
- As book lovers, one of our first things to do in Fayetteville is to stop in at City Center Gallery & Books (112 Hay St). They have a great kids’ books section in the book, some rare local history finds, and art from creators based in the area.
- Giggle and fall in love with the veteran-owned and millennial-aimed Pressed (120 Hay St).
- Want to flex your creative side? Make your own candles at Hummingbird Candle Co (240 Hay St) at a hosted workshop.
- Design a t-shirt from start to finish at Yellow Crayons (214 Rowan St).
Honestly, just walking through all of these amazing shops is just one of our favorite things to do in Fayetteville!
Fascinate-U Children’s Museum
116 Green St, Fayetteville
Take a tour through Fayetteville’s hands-on “mini-city” at Fascinate-U Children’s Museum. Here, kids (and adults, too) can learn through play and by manipulating the prepared environment around them.
With exhibits staged to reflect real-life situations, children can interact with materials in the museum’s Fire Station, Post Office, and Army Fort!
Fayetteville Transportation and Local History Museum
325 Franklin Street, Fayetteville
The Fayetteville Area Transportation Museum downtown is also the site of the weekly farmers market. Step inside this building and learn about Fayetteville from pre-history to the early 20th century.
The museum sits inside the restored 1890 Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad Depot, with two floors of exhibits.
Tip: Ask about the museum’s Downtown Walking Tour!
There are 30 incredible fishing holes throughout Cumberland County, so bring your reel and tackle box for some angling!
Popular spots on this trail include Lake Rim Park, the Cape Fear River, and the family-owned Cedar Creek Fish Farm.
Fort Liberty Clay Target Center
651 East Manchester Rd, Spring Lake
The Clay Target Center is the largest shotgun shooting facility in North Carolina! Located right outside of Fort Liberty, it is perfect for all levels, from beginners to experts.
Rentals are available if you didn’t bring your own and the on-site experts offer hands-on instruction and support.
RV facilities are also on the property, so You can also make a weekend (or longer) out of your Clay Target Center experience.
Fun Fun Fun
4670 Cumberland Rd, Fayetteville
More than 100 games await at Fun Fun Fun, including laser tag, miniature golf, and batting cages! Make sure you grab an all-access pass for an affordable afternoon of games, laughs, and some family-friendly competition!
There are 13 golf courses within 20 miles of Fayetteville and Cumberland County. The oldest of them is Fort Liberty Stryker Golf Course, open since 1946 and featuring 18 holes over 6,800 yards.
However, the most popular golf course in Cumberland County is Anderson Creek. That 18-hole semi-private golf course in Spring Lake allows for a challenging, quiet day on the green.
As we mentioned, Fayetteville has not forgotten its history. You can learn about it by visiting any of these historic districts in Fayetteville and in surrounding Cumberland County towns.
- Averasboro Battlefield National Register Historic District
- Downtown Fayetteville National Register Historic District
- Haymount National Register Historic District
- Hope Mills National Register Historic District
- Liberty Point National Register Historic District
- Long Valley Farm Historic District
- Market House Square National Register Historic District
- Old Post National Register Historic District on Fort Liberty
- Pope Field Historic District
J Bayard Clark Park & Nature Center
631 Sherman Dr, Fayetteville
We mentioned the Cape Fear River Trail but thought you should know a little more about J Bayard Clark Park. The “Bicycle Man” playground here is perfect for the kids.
The Nature Center has some interesting exhibits and the park also offers special programs!
Read More: Outdoor Attractions in Fayetteville
JP’s Jump Masters
7005 Nexus Ct, Fayetteville
JP’s Jump Masters offers 10,000 square feet of jumping fun! This is a military- and family-run facility with trampolines, foam pits, and a gourmet coffee shop.
And if you need to take a break from the hopping, they have an arcade to help you catch your breath!
Just Claying Around
201 S McPherson Church Rd, Fayetteville
If you’re looking for some creative things to do in Fayetteville, Just Claying Around is the perfect rainy day or indoor activity.
This paint-your-own-pottery studio allows children and adults to create something unique and special. Start by picking out the pottery you want to make, paint it, and watch it come to life!
Lake Rim Park
2214 Tar Kiln Dr, Fayetteville
At Lake Rim Park, you can kayak, fish, and stroll through the wetlands. You can also throw a round of horseshoes, play tennis and volleyball, and join any of their wonderful outreach programs.
Lake Rim also has a Fishing Tackle Loaner Program, where you can rent a rod and reel for 24 hours. This is especially convenient if you forgot your gear or don’t want to bring it along!
Leclair’s General Store
1212 Fort Bragg Rd, Fayetteville
Leclair’s General Store is an awesome place to visit no matter when you come to Fayetteville, though it’s especially awesome during the winter. That’s because you can sip wine or a nitro cold brew while you browse this Haymount District shop.
And if you think it’s just an average general store, think again. This place is carefully and thoughtfully filled with art, antiques, and oddities that make you want to start a Pinterest board.
1400 Belvedere Ave, Fayetteville
Mazarick Park is one of Cumberland County’s best parks. Here, you can play frisbee golf, take a walk or run around the track, and have a get-together at the picnic shelters.
Of course, you can also fish from the pier on Glenville Lake. Boat rentals are available, too, if want to really get on the water.
Omni Family Amusement
3719 Sycamore Dairy Rd, Fayetteville
More than 125 games and rides for a day of family fun are waiting at Omni Family Amusement Center! This place is packed with it all, including a movie theatre, mini-golf, and plenty of fun prizes.
We think this is one of the best family-friendly places to go because there’s nothing better than a day of fun and games!
Paracelete XP Indoor Skydiving
190 Paraclete Dr, Raeford
While Paraclete XP Indoor Skydiving is technically in Raeford, this is the perfect place near Fayetteville to serve that rush of adrenaline.
There are no planes, no parachutes, and it’s even appropriate for children as young as three years old. Now, get your suit on, hop in the vertical chamber, and lean into the rushing wind!
Putt Putt Fun Center
3311 Footbridge Lane, Hope Mills
Start with mini-golf at Putt-Putt Fun Center before moving on to the other options available. They include laser tag, go-karts, bumper cars, and even a water adventure section!
This awesome park in Hope Mills is a great way to spend a day of fun with the family. And if all that wasn’t enough, take a swing in one of their batting cages!
Surge Trampoline Park
3333 N Main St, Hope Mills
Surge Trampoline Park is another spot in Hope Mills that is perfect for children of all ages. Along with bouncing fun, there’s an American Ninja Warrior course and even a toddler-friendly area for little bouncers!
US Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum
100 Bragg Blvd, Fayetteville
Here, you’ll find a tribute to the history of airborne and special operations from the 1940s to current units.
All of this is put together with well-designed, interactive exhibits and memorabilia. Greeting you at the entrance is Iron Mike, the 3,235-pound statue dedicated to all past, present, and future paratroopers.
Another place to visit outside the museum is the bronze statue of Constant Vigilance. That’s the first memorial for K9 soldiers killed in action.
Read More: Things to Do in Fayetteville with Kids
220 Lamon St, Fayetteville
Do not miss Veterans Park’s dog tag chandelier, made of 33,500 tags dedicated to North Carolina veterans. It’s the first park dedicated to military veterans from all branches of the Armed Services, including the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.
5552 Trade St, Hope Mills
The Hope Mills-based Yackalacky Outfitters rents paddleboards, canoes, and kayaks for adventures throughout Cumberland County! This company shuttles their boats all around Fayetteville, offering world-class friendly service from Lake Rim Park to Hope Mills Lake!
ZipQuest Waterfall & Treetop Adventure
533 Carvers Falls Road, Fayetteville
At ZipQuest, you can choose from two courses to swing across the forest like Tarzan! With the Waterfall Expedition, you’ll take eight tree-to-tree zip lines, cross three suspension bridges and three spiral staircases, all with expertly trained professionals.
Where to Eat (Fayetteville Restaurants)
With so many fun things to do in Fayetteville, it’s easy to work up an appetite.
Luckily, there are tons of restaurants to help you out.
Whether you’re talking about the make-your-own Bloody Mary Bar from Circa 1800 (108 Person St) or the most delicious Vietnamese food outside of Hanoi from Grilled Ginger (5052 Yadkin Rd), it’s easy to see that Fayetteville is bursting at the seams with delicious places to eat.
Start light and healthy with Egyptian from Pharaohs Village (2425 Hope Mills Rd), sandwich the day with a sweet or savory pie from Fayetteville Pie Company (253 Westwood Shopping Center), and end with melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork from Fowler’s Southern Gourmet (723 W Rowan St).
Coffee and Tea Houses
Locally-owned coffee and tea houses are scattered throughout Cumberland county and here are a few of our favorites.
- The deep and complex loose leaf pickings at Winterbloom Tea (238 Hay St) are obviously worth sampling, but it’s also a cozy spot with plenty of comfortable seating.
- Vagabond Cafe (108 Hay St) is the go-to for espresso and more distinct Mexican-inspired coffee. They have a brick-and-mortar location on Hay St but they’re also mobile, so keep an eye out in the Fayetteville area!
- Rude Awakening (227 Hay St) makes tasty and pretty coffee drinks. With their latte art printer, you can pick fun IG-worthy sayings to top your vanilla latte.
There are some great breweries in Fayetteville to explore. Here’s a breakdown:
- A Mondo Mash beer flight at The Mash House is a great way to start.
- Dirtbag Ales in Hope Mills offers an all-inclusive experience to with their delicious beers. There’s a dog park, soccer field, playground, and their Sunday Farmer’s Market with yoga and vendors is pretty awesome, too. Don’t forget to see what’s cooking up next door at Napkins!
- Bright Light Brewing Company serves up delicious microbrew beers and serves as a kid- and dog-friendly meeting spot for the community.
- Gaston Brewing Company is about creating memories, enjoying friendships, and kicking back like you would at the lake.
- Heckler Brewing (5780 Ramsey St #110) is the newest Fayetteville brewery, and this place is rocking out with a mix of guest taps and their own creations.
- And then there’s Huske Hardware House, Fayetteville’s oldest BrewPub. Not only has Huske Hardware House been fermenting yeast on Hay Street since 1996, the building, established in 1903, has a long history in Fayetteville.
Ready to Enjoy these Things to Do in Fayetteville?
If you assume Fayetteville is only meant for folks who’ve grown up here or who happen to be stationed at nearby Fort Liberty, think again. This place is full of fun things to do and we look forward to exploring it more. Don’t worry, because we’ll share what we find with you.
If you know the area, what are your favorite things to do in Fayetteville? What else should we do when here?
And if you’ve never been before, which of these activities are you looking forward to enjoying first? You can let us know in the comments section or by email.
Don’t forget to share your adventures in our North Carolina Travel Facebook Group.
Before you do that, though, here are some more Fayetteville travel guides.