Last Updated on January 25, 2023
Last Updated on January 25, 2023
May is a beautiful time to explore and celebrate North Carolina, and one way is through these awesome local events scattered around the state. From the mountains to the sea, there’s plenty to do every weekend this month.
In this guide, we’re going to share events you should check out throughout the month. Here are 20-plus bucket-list-worthy things to do in North Carolina in May, ordered by the starting date and alphabetized by the city when local events simultaneously occur.
Here’s how you can easily jump around to the date that you’re looking for.
- Things to Do in North Carolina in May (TBD)
- May 1-10
- May 11-20
- May 21-30
Read More: Spring in North Carolina
Things to Do in North Carolina in May 2022 (TBD)
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APS Walk for the Animals, Durham (May TBD)
Support our best friends at the Animal Protection Society of Durham’s annual Walk for the Animals. You can participate by fundraising—on your own or with your team—for the roughly 4,000 homeless, abandoned, neglected, or abused animals that APS of Durham cares for each year.
A 1.5-mile walk will commence at Duke University’s East Campus, with festivities including pet contests, raffles, entertainment, food, a kids zone, and more.
Read More: 50+ Awesome Things to Do in Durham
Lil John’s Mountain Music Festival, Snow Camp (May TBD)
In Alamance County, Lil John’s Mountain Music Festival promises three days of amazing bluegrass music in a peaceful farm setting. Held at Cane Creek Campground and RV Park, this late-May event should be a nice Memorial Day weekend getaway.
Hook, Line, & Drinker Festival, Sylva (TBD)
Celebrate North Carolina’s trout fishing capital at the third annual Hook, Line & Drinker Festival! Along the Fly Fishing Trail in Sylva, festival-goers can learn more about the craft, talk to vendors, listen to great music, and eat some delicious food.
Things to Do in North Carolina in May (1-10)
Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance, Pittsboro (May 4-7)
This year marks the 19th year of the Spring Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance, a family-friendly event featuring an eclectic lineup of bands and singer-songwriters, plus crafts, dance workshops, kids activities and food vendors.
BBQ Fest on the Neuse, Kinston (May 5-6)
North Carolina Maritime Museum Wooden Boat Show, Beaufort (May 6)
The longest ongoing wooden boat show in the Southeast occurs every year along the shores of beautiful and historic Beaufort. The 49th annual Wooden Boat Show features small wooden boats, historic vessels, nautical crafts, and demonstrations.
This free event is great for all ages and levels of interest.
Read More: The Best Things to Do in Beaufort
North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival, Huntersville (May 6-7)
Read More: The Best Day Trips from Charlotte
Ham & Yam Festival, Smithfield (May 6)
It’s off the races for the little piggies in Johnston County during the Ham & Yam Festival. Head out to Downtown Smithfield for pig races, vendors, and of course, ham and yams.
This event is filled with fun and entertainment for the whole family.
Read More: The Best Day Trips from Raleigh
Paddle for the Border, South Mills (May 6)
If you’re feeling some watery fun, join up with everyone else who’ll be at the 18th annual Paddle for the Border. Boaters from all over North Carolina and Virginia convene in South Mills to follow the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail.
You can canoe or kayak your way from South Mills, NC to Chesapeake, VA and enjoy the scenic waterways along the way.
Pig in the Park, Goldsboro (May 12-13)
The annual whole hog barbecue competition is a family-friendly event highlighting the history and barbeque traditions of Wayne County. 15 teams will face off in two divisions and the attendees get to taste the results. Pig in the Park feeds over 5,000 festival-goers each year!
Things to Do in North Carolina in May (11-20)
Greensboro Bound (May 18-21)
Greensboro Bound gives back to the community in a variety of ways throughout the year, but its annual festival in May is where everything comes together. This is when you’ll find 60+ authors, poets, and spoken word artists in Gate City for a true celebration of literature.
Hang Gliding Spectacular, Nags Head (May 18-21)
During the 51st annual Hang Gliding Spectacular, professionals and spectators will be at Jockey’s Ridge State Park for four days of competition fun. Admission is free for spectators and prices for competitors range from $60 to $100 for single or combo.
Plein Air Festival, Southport (May 18)
Festivities during Southport’s Plein Air Festival include a painting workshop and art auction. Visits to local galleries, supervised Plein Air for kids (supplies included), and multiple other events headline this festival that’s open to all painters, regardless of level and age.
North Carolina Black Film Festival, Wilmington (May 18-21)
The North Carolina Black Film Festival (NCBFF) celebrates independent films by African American filmmakers. The four-day event is packed with screenings of feature films, shorts, and documentaries at two venues in Wilmington.
Read More: 50+ Awesome Things to Do in Wilmington
WNC Bigfoot Festival (May 19-20)
Marion’s annual WNC Bigfoot Festival 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
Beaufort Music Festival (May 19-20)
The Beaufort Music Festival is a coastal tradition, entertaining people for over 30 years. A variety of vendors, including food and drink, will join the bands playing at Gallants Channel.
North Carolina Spring Home Expo, Fayetteville (May 19-21)
Getting ready to make improvements to your home? The North Carolina Spring Home Expo is the best place for you to get inspiration and meet with the best local and national vendors to make your vision a reality.
Whether it’s landscaping, home décor, or remodeling you’re seeking, there will be vendors to assist you! Parking and admission is free!
Read More: Outstanding Things to Do in Fayetteville
Things to Do in North Carolina in May (20-31)
Atlantic Beach Music Festival, Atlantic Beach (May 20)
Kick off the Atlantic Beach Music Festival with bands, music, and a day of fun! They’ll keep things rolling until just after 6:00 pm along the Boardwalk at the Circle.
Admission to this event is free, but pets and glass containers are prohibited.
Read More: Atlantis Lodge in Atlantic Beach
Yadkin Valley Wine Festival, Elkin (May 20)
Or, you can be extra ambitious and participate in the Yadkin Valley Tour De Vino. Rides measure 30, 31, 52, 71, and 100 miles.
Cheerwine Festival, Salisbury (May 20)
Take in all things cherry-flavored in Salisbury during the annual Cheerwine Festival. Local arts and craft vendors pair up with Cheerwine-inspired food and beer and family-friendly activities galore during this very popular day-long festival.
Carolina Blues Festival, Greensboro (May 20)
Greensboro’s LeBauer Park hosts this year’s Carolina Blues Festival, the longest-running of its kind in the Southeast. Local blues acts will share the stage with bands from around the US and beyond during this rain-or-shine event!
Read More: Awesome Things to Do in Greensboro
ACC Baseball Championship, Durham (May 23-28)
White Squirrel Festival, Brevard (May 26-28)
Have you seen Brevard’s famed white squirrel? Well, even if not, you can celebrate this nutty rodent at the White Squirrel Festival. There’ll be white squirrel tours, live music, and the Squirrel Box Derby.
Together, those fun events should keep you more than entertained while spending time in Transylvania County.
Coca-Cola 600, Concord (May 28)
Ready for These Fun Things to Do in North Carolina in May?
Thanks to all these things to do in North Carolina in May, you’ve got tons of ways to enjoy the state before the heat and humidity of summer truly kicks in.
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!
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