33 Things to Do in North Carolina in July

Last Updated on August 3, 2021

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If you plan to visit Western NC, please check beforehand to see if the area is safe following the recent flooding. Officials have closed some sections of Pisgah National Forest (including Forest Heritage Scenic Byway and Blue Ridge Parkway stops) to keep visitors out of danger. Please respect signage and local guidance.

July in North Carolina is when many people come to enjoy the beach, 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. With a mix of patriotic celebrations, food, drink, and music festivals, and much more, there are plenty of things to do in North Carolina in July!

In case you’re looking for specific July events in NC or something else this month, here’s how we’ve organized this guide:

  • 20 Fourth of July Events in North Carolina (from July 1-4)
  • 13 More Things to Do in North Carolina in July

Events are ordered by starting date within these two categories and alphabetized by the city when events simultaneously occur. Also, if you’d like to add to our July Events guide and represent a tourism bureau, destination marketing organization, or PR agency, please contact us.

More than a few of these things to do in North Carolina in July (along with June and August) appear in our guide to Summer in North Carolina, too! This post is part of our series of monthly and seasonal events.

Independence Day and Fourth of July Events in NC

Independence Concert and Fireworks, Fayetteville (July 1)

The first of our things to do in North Carolina in July comes courtesy of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra. They’ll celebrate Independence Day with a free concert in Festival Park.

Following a series of patriotic and popular songs, fireworks will close out the evening. Gates open at 6:00 pm and the concert starts at 8:00 pm.

NC 4th of July Festival, Southport and Oak Island (July 1 to 4)

Things to Do in North Carolina in July

The North Carolina Fourth of July Festival has commemorated our nation’s independence since 1792 (then known as the “Festival of Free Men”) and shows no signs of slowing down. For 2021, events will be held in Southport and Oak Island and a calendar is available here.

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 (July 2)

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 (July 2-5)

Things to Do in North Carolina in July Lake Junaluska Independence Day Celebrations

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. 

July Fourth Celebration, Blowing Rock (July 3)

Downtown Blowing Rock’s July Fourth Celebration starts at 10:00 am with a parade along Main St. Local families, musicians, organizations, and characters participate in the patriotic procession, which makes this one of the best Independence Day parades!

Staying for the weekend? We’ve got you covered if you’re looking for things to do in Blowing Rock, as well as its must-eat restaurants.

Majesty Over Water, Cullowhee (July 3)

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. 

Festival for the Eno, Durham (July 3-4)

things to do in July Festival for the Eno

Durham’s Festival for the Eno mixes a family-friendly celebration with education and fundraising for the Eno River Association.

40-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.

Independence Day Celebration, Surf City (July 3)

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!

Family Fun Fourth of July Parade and Festival, Banner Elk (July 4)

The Fourth of July Parade and Festival in Banner Elk is 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. 

Fireworks Show, Kill Devil Hills (July 4)

The Town of Kill Devil Hills will host 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. 

Fireworks Spectacular, Nags Head (July 4)

Outer Banks NC Nags Head Beach Image

Just over the bridge from Manteo, the Outer Banks 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. 

By the way, we’ve created guides on restaurants in the area and things to do in the Outer Banks.

Fourth of July Celebration, Fort Bragg (July 4)

Fort Bragg’s Main Post Parade Field will host its annual day-long Fourth of July Celebration.

Food and drinks, music headlined by Foreigner, parachute-fall demos, and the events popular flag ceremony serve as the perfect lead-in. Of course, the epic fireworks show finishes the evening. 

Fourth of July Celebration, Lincolnton (July 4)

Lincolnton’s Fourth of July Celebration starts with a parade at 8:30 pm, followed by a 9:30 pm Fireworks Show at Lincolnton High School Stadium. All are invited to join the fun! 

Fourth of July Celebration, Wilmington (July 4)

The City of Wilmington’s Fourth of July Celebration will light up the city over the Cape Fear River. Before they start at 9:05 pm, you can hang out in Downtown Wilmington, grab some food, and make sure you’ve got a good spot to take in the fireworks. 

Fourth of July Fireworks, Chapel Hill (July 4)

Head to Chapel Hill‘s Village Green for their Fourth of July Fireworks! Food, live music, face painting for the kids, and plenty of space for a blanket make this event one of the best to celebrate Independence Day!

Fourth of July Fireworks, Sylva (July 4)

Downtown Sylva’s sky will light up with their Fourth of July Fireworks shot from the Sunrise Park district. Live music, food, and more fun will accompany this awesome celebration in Jackson County. 

Freedom Festival, Jacksonville (July 4)

Before the fireworks kick off in Jacksonville, the 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. 

Independence Day 1850 at Island Farm, Manteo (July 4)

And in one of the more unique tributes, Manteo’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. 

July 4th Celebration, Swansboro (July 4)

The July 4th Celebration in Swansboro commences with family-friendly activities all day. Check out live music at the Harry C. Pugliese, Jr Pavilion at Olde Town Square, on the corner of Front and Church streets.

Finally, there will be a spectacular fireworks show over the water for all to see. 

More Things to Do in North Carolina in July

The Fourth is a big deal here but as you’ll see, there are plenty more things to do in North Carolina in July beyond our nation’s biggest celebrations!

Southeast Old Threshers Reunion, Denton (July 1-5)

The 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. 

Ocean City Jazz Fest, Clayton (July 3)

The Ocean City Jazz Festival is typically held on Topsail Island but for 2021, it will be a hybrid-virtual celebration. The Clayton Center will host a limited live audience and the event will be streamed via Facebook and YouTube. 

We’re looking forward to seeing the festival return to Topsail in 2022 but think this is a very nice way to keep it going for this year. 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.  

Stepping into the Craft Saturdays, 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. 

Grandfather Mountain NC

Highland Games, Grandfather Mountain (July 8-12)

Grandfather Mountain will go full-on tartan again during the annual Highland Games. The five-day event is known as “America’s grandest games,” thanks to the beautiful setting that’s reminiscent of Scotland.  

Wright Kite Festival, Kill Devil Hills (July 10-11)

The 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. 

Cantaloupe Festival, Ridgeway (July 10)

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.  

Mountain Wildlife Days, Sapphire (July 16-17)

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 “wild lives” and “wild places.”

Dorothea Dix Park Sunflowers, Raleigh (Mid-to-Late July)

Dorothea Dix Park Raleigh NC Sunflowers Image

While Dorothea Dix Park has postponed Destination SunFest for this year, visitors are still invited to visit this Raleigh park’s sunflower field. This is one of our absolute favorite things to do in North Carolina in July each year.

We’ve made it a tradition and look forward to seeing those beautiful flowers in our favorite Raleigh green space!

Visit Dix Park is one of our favorite things to do in Raleigh!

Fine Arts and Master Crafts Festival, Sugar Mountain (July 16-18)

Sugar Mountain’s Fine Arts and Master Crafts Festival in July will be the first of two juried events, with the second taking place in August.

Vendors will bring their hand-produced photography, jewelry, paintings, and more. 

North Carolina Watermelon Festival, Fair Bluff (July 17-18)

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. 

Wilkes Comic Con, North Wilkesboro (July 17)

Wilkes Comic Con is a convention that brings visitors in from surrounding states and North Carolina for a full day of fun. Run by artists for artists and the community, stop by from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm for comic art, pop culture, and collectibles.

While you’re in the area, check out these great things to do in Wilkes County!

Summertime Brews Festival, Greensboro (July 24)

Summertime Brew Fest Greensboro NC Pig Pounder Image

We head back to Gate City along with breweries from North Carolina and beyond for the 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, here are some of our favorite restaurants in Greensboro.

Brushy Mountain Peach and Heritage Festival, Wilkesboro (July 31)

The last of our things to do in North Carolina in July is traditionally held on the last Saturday of July, and it’s back in 2021. The Brushy Mountain Community Center in Wilkes County will hold its Peach and Heritage Festival and showcase. local artisans, home-grown peaches, and Brushy Mountain’s rich heritage.

Got Things to Do in North Carolina in July 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! 

More Things to Do in North Carolina

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