July in North Carolina is when many people come to enjoy the outdoors in our state, especially around Independence Day. It’s also our hottest month, which means visitors and residents need some ways to cool off while still enjoying travel around North Carolina.
So that’s why you’ll find some of the year’s best local events during this month. So with a mix of patriotic celebrations, food, drink, and music festivals, and much more, we’ve come up with 43 things to do in North Carolina in July for you.
And just like the other monthly roundups we’ve created, events are ordered by starting date and alphabetized by city when events simultaneously occur.
This post is part of our series of monthly and seasonal events. We originally created it on June 26, 2019. It has been maintained and updated, as of October 16, 2019.
Things to Do in North Carolina in July
Independence Concert and Fireworks, Fayetteville
First up, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, which celebrates Independence Day with a free concert in Festival Park. Following a series of patriotic and popular songs, fireworks will close out the evening.
Beach Day, Oak Island
Southeast Old Threshers Reunion, Denton
The 49th annual Southeast Old Threshers Reunion returns to Denton, filled with fun on the ground and above. Tractor pulls, music, and train and even helicopter rides headline this Davidson County extravaganza.
Majesty Over Water, Cullowhee
As if you need another reason to visit Jackson County, Lake Glenville’s “Majesty Over Water” is back for its yearly Fourth of July celebration. Many folks will be watching this early commemoration from their boats, which you can rent and enjoy beyond this celebration.
North Carolina Fourth of July Festival, Southport
The North Carolina Fourth of July Festival in Southport has commemorated our nation’s independence since 1792 (then known as the “Festival of Free Men”) and shows no signs of slowing down.
Along with fireworks, visitors can attend a reading of the Declaration of Independence. You can explore 100-plus arts and crafts booths, enjoy festival food, and much more.
Independence Day Fireworks by the Sea and Boardwalk Music, Carolina Beach
The Carolina Beach Boardwalk is the place to be thanks to its Independence Day Fireworks by the Sea. There’ll be live music followed by fireworks in a truly beautiful setting.
And if you arrive early, you’ll have a nice spot at the gazebo. If not, just bring some beach chairs so you can watch the Polar Bear Blues Band in style.
Independence Day Celebrations, Lake Junaluska
Head out to Lake Junaluska for their two-day Independence Day Celebration. Three music concerts, a July Fourth Parade, a barbecue picnic, and more. It will all be there, ready and waiting for you to come and commemorate our nation’s birthday.
Independence Day Celebration, Surf City
Head to Soundside Park at Surf City for their annual Independence Day Celebration. Held each year on July 3, this is a great way to kick off festivities, with music, food, and much more in one of our favorite coastal towns!
Knockerball of July, Archdale
Head 15 minutes southwest of Greensboro to Archdale for “Knockerball of July.” You’ll be able to play knockerball (of course!), but also take part in archery, a 43-foot obstacle course, and more exciting fun.
Family Fun Fourth of July Parade and Festival, Banner Elk
Banner Elk’s Fourth of July Parade and Festival are even better when you bring a blanket or chairs. That way, you’ll have a comfy seat to watch concerts, eat festival food, and more.
Oh, and the kids can join watermelon eating and duck races.
Festival for the Eno, Durham
July 4 and July 6
Durham’s 40th Annual Festival for the Eno mixes a family-friendly celebration with education and fundraising for the Eno River Association.
70-plus bands playing on five stages will accompany delicious food, an awesome collection of artists, and more.
The festival will be held at West Point on the Eno, one of our favorite places to enjoy the outdoors in Durham. We also included this extravaganza in our guide to kid-friendly events in North Carolina.
Fourth of July Celebration, Fort Bragg
Fort Bragg’s Main Post Parade Field will host its annual day-long Fourth of July Celebration.
Food and drinks, music, parachute-fall demos, and the events popular flag ceremony serve as the perfect lead-in. Of course, the epic fireworks show finishes the evening.
Freedom Festival, Jacksonville
Before the fireworks kick off in Jacksonville, the 36th Annual Freedom Festival will take over Onslow County Pines Park. Pony rides, a petting zoo, and more fun will be waiting for the kids, with music, vendors, and food there for everyone to enjoy.
Fireworks Show, Kill Devil Hills
The Town of Kill Devil Hills has brought in Pennsylvania-based Pyrotechnico to run their Fireworks Show from the Avalon Fishing Pier (MP 6).
Residents and visitors can enjoy the show from anywhere on the surrounding beach. Just bring a blanket and arrive early because this show will be a popular one.
Independence Day 1850 at Island Farm, Manteo
And in one of the more unique tributes, Mateo’s Independence Day 1850 is an antebellum-style celebration of the Fourth. A musket-fire commemoration is accompanied by games and a reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Fireworks Spectacular, Nags Head
Just over the bridge from Manteo, the Town of Nags Head Fireworks Spectacular will be held at the Nags Head Fishing Pier (MP 11.5). Visitors who park west of US 158/S Croatan Highway are advised to use extreme caution when crossing the busy highway.
Ocean City Jazz Fest, North Topsail Beach
North Topsail Beach’s Ocean City Jazz Festival kicks off for its 10th year on July 4 and continues with various events, a gospel concert and brunch, and more.
For those unfamiliar with the Ocean City community’s history, it was once the only place where African Americans could purchase coastal property in North Carolina.
It’s since been designated as a historical site on the Jacksonville-Onslow County African American Trail and this festival commemorates its place in history.
Fourth of July Fireworks, Sylva
Downtown Sylva’s sky will light up with Fourth of July Fireworks shot from the Sunrise Park district. Live music, food, and more fun will accompany this awesome celebration in Jackson County.
Fourth of July Celebration, Wilmington
The City of Wilmington’s Fourth of July Celebration will light up the city over the Cape Fear River. Before that, you can hang out in Downtown Wilmington, grab some food, and make sure you’ve got a good spot to take in the fireworks.
Fireworks Extravaganza On the Green, Cashiers
Independence Day fun continues in Jackson County with Fireworks Extravaganza On the Green in Cashiers. There’ll be food, music, and dancing, and admission is free with a donation to the Cashiers Community Fireworks Fund.
July Fourth Celebration, Blowing Rock
Downtown Blowing Rock’s July Fourth Celebration starts with a dance held in Memorial Park on July 5. A long and fun day starts the next morning, with fireworks being set off from the Blowing Rock Country Club rounding things out.
Festival of the Arts, Asheville
Pack Square Park will host the Downtown Asheville Festival of the Arts. At the third edition of this event, the work of painters, potters, glass blowers and more will be featured in one of Asheville’s most beautiful public parks.
Stepping into the Craft, Seagrove
July 6, 13, 20, and 27
“Stepping into the Craft” will be held each Saturday in July, with events happening around the Seagrove Pottery Community. Visitors can attend various hands-on activities or sit back and watch demonstrations by some of the area’s most talented potters.
Highland Games, Grandfather Mountain
Grandfather Mountain will go full-on tartan again during the 58th annual Highland Games. The four-day event is known as “America’s grandest games,” thanks to the beautiful setting that’s reminiscent of Scotland.
Mountain Wildlife Days, Sapphire
Sapphire Valley Resort will start its annual Mountain Wildlife Days, with free Friday Hikes. On Saturday, attendees will enjoy a full day of educational, interactive “animal sharing” with the North Georgia Zoo.
Wright Kite Festival, Kill Devil Hills
The 41st Annual Wright Kite Festival will take over the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Once things kick off, you’ll find a kite-filled sky have a chance to partake in kite flying lessons and a kite-making station.
Celebrate Liberty Festival, Liberty
The Town of Liberty’s “Celebrate Liberty Festival” is the last Independence Day-related event we’ll mention here. The Randolph County town will fill up with food, vendors, live music, a kids zone, and more.
Destination SunFest, Raleigh
Dorothea Dix Park’s master plan completion will be celebrated with Destination SunFest. Visitors are invited to the Raleigh park’s sunflower field (which we love!), a Ferris wheel, carousel, food, and more during this free event’s first iteration.
For more about this awesome place, check our post about Raleigh sunflowers here!
Cantaloupe Festival, Ridgeway
For the first of a few fruity things to do in North Carolina in July, drive north on US 1/158 through Warren County for Ridgeway’s Annual Cantaloupe Festival. Put on by the Ridgeway Historical Society, you’ll find cantaloupes, festival food, kid-friendly fun, and much more.
The Joy Garden Tour, Cashiers
We’ll award the Joy Garden Tour with the prize of most intimate thing to do in North Carolina in July. It’s also the only biannual event this month.
Ticket sales go to the Village Green and gardeners of all levels are welcome to join. A guest speaker event, patron party, and garden vendors are among the many highlights at this Cashiers event.
Fine Arts and Master Crafts Festival, Banner Elk
Banner Elk’s Fine Arts and Master Crafts Festival in July will be the first of two juried events, with the second taking place in August. 90-plus vendors will bring their hand-produced photography, jewelry, paintings, and more to pair with the Fifth Annual Banner Elk DiscDogathon.
North Carolina Watermelon Festival, Fair Bluff
Fair Bluff’s North Carolina Watermelon Festival is the first of two events that celebrate this awesome summer-friendly fruit. The Columbus County town hosts a variety of yummy events, including contests to determine the largest watermelon and most delicious in our state.
The Basketball Tournament, Greensboro
Eight teams filled with professionals will compete in the much-hyped Basketball Tournament’s Greensboro Regional. Likely Hall-of-Famer and former Wake Forest point guard Chris Paul will serve as General Manager of host Team CP3.
Christmas in July, Seagrove
We come back to the US Pottery Capital for their weekend gallery tour known as “Christmas in July.” During this event, you can take a self-guided tour of Seagrove’s downtown galleries, witness kiln openings, craft demonstrations, and watch Mr. and Mrs. Claus visit shops throughout town.
Alleghany County Fiddlers Convention, Sparta
At Sparta’s Alleghany County Fiddlers Convention, bands and individual contestants will again vie for the top prize. They’ll first play-off on Friday, with the top 15 bluegrass and top 15 “old-time” bands coming back for the finals on Saturday.
Summertime Brews Festival, Greensboro
We head back to Gate City along with breweries from North Carolina and beyond for the 15th Annual Summertime Brews Festival. Hundreds of craft beers and music will be waiting for attendees to come, sip, and enjoy this fun event at the Greensboro Coliseum.
And if you’re hungry before and after this event, we created an ever-evolving guide to must-eat restaurants in Greensboro for you.
Appalachian Heritage Festival, Franklin
50 live demonstrations will showcase and feature music, face painting, and more during Franklin’s Appalachian Heritage Festival. This celebration of Appalachia will take you back in time, and there’s even a checker tournament set to kick off at the Macon County Historical Museum.
Local Color, Hillsborough
July 22-August 25
Featured art includes the paintings of Michele Yellin, the mixed metal jewelry of Nell Chandler, and more.
MRG30, Carrboro and Durham
Because Durham-based Merge Records turns 30 in 2019, they’re celebrating with a festival split between Carrboro and Bull City. Superchunk, the Mountain Goats, and dozens of more bands will be in the Triangle celebrating this iconic label’s birthday.
Ashe County Bluegrass & Old Time Fiddlers Convention, Jefferson
Commonly known as the Fiddlers Convention, this year is the 50th for Jefferson and Ashe County to show off its music and heritage. Camping spots are available but will be reserved on a first-come-first-served basis.
GRiZMAS in July, Wilmington
The two-day GRiZMAS sold out last time and the same is expected this year, so grab tickets while you can.
National Black Theatre Festival, Winston-Salem
July 29-August 3
Screen actress Margaret “Shug” Avery and Broadway’s Chester Gregory will co-chair events throughout the festival, making this a can’t miss event in Winston-Salem!
NC Watermelon Festival, Murfreesboro
July 31-Aug 3
And to round things out in July, we couldn’t leave out the NC Watermelon Festival in Murfreesboro. This four-day event serves to honor our troops with a USO Show Troupe.
There will also be music, rides, free watermelon slices, and much more happening.
Got Something to Add?
We hope you’re as excited as we are to check out these things to do in North Carolina in July. Summer is truly an awesome time to be in our state and we look forward to taking you through August as the hottest season nears its end.
Before we head to the next month, we’d love to know which of these events stands out to you? Also is there something we should add to this list? Let us know about it here or via email and we’ll gladly take a look!