11 Wonderful Things to Do in Pinehurst (Golf and More!)

Last Updated on October 12, 2021

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Pinehurst, North Carolina sits in the center of golf country, with nearly 40 courses within 20 miles of the Moore County town. A round on the area’s pristine greens, or just some time spent admiring them from a distance, is one of the best things to do in Pinehurst.

Beyond those award-winning courses, though, we know there are plenty of fun attractions that deserve the spotlight. That’s why we created this guide—to cover the best of Pinehurst and its surroundings for all travelers.

We feature shopping, food, and outdoor fun in Pinehurst and elsewhere in Moore County.

Here’s how we’ve organized the guide, so you can find specific activities:

  • History of Pinehurst
  • Annual Events
  • Year-Round Things to Do in Pinehurst (Golf, Shopping, Food, and More!)
  • Nearby Things to Do (Southern Pines, Carthage, and Weymouth Woods)

You can scroll ahead for events and year-round things to do in Pinehurst or continue reading about its interesting history.

You can also find these things to do in Pinehurst in our NC Travel Map. This post is part of our series on Moore County and more of our favorite places to visit in Central North Carolina.

History of Pinehurst

Things to Do in Pinehurst NC

The history of Pinehurst starts with James Walker Tufts, a Boston businessman most notably known for forming the American Soda Fountain Company.

In 1895, Tufts purchased 6,000 acres of land that had previously housed pines, but long before, had been clearcut for turpentine and building materials.

With his newly purchased land, he wanted to build a health resort for middle-class Americans. Tufts envisioned a village with New England-style buildings, brick walkways, and year-round greenery.

Tufts contacted Fredrick Law Olmsted, the Central Park and Biltmore Estate designer, to plan the Village. He also hired Donald Ross to develop four of Pinehurst’s golf courses.

In 1901, Pinehurst held the first North & South Men’s Championship and the Pinehurst Golf Club was established in 1903. This solidified Pinehurst’s place as one of the best golf destinations in America.

Some of the world’s best golfers have played at Pinehurst. Another fun fact is that major tournaments have been held here, starting with the 1936 PGA Championship. Interestingly, Pinehurst hosted the US Open and US Women’s Open Championships in back-to-back weeks in 2014.

That was the first time in history these tournaments were played in the same year, on the same course.

It’s easy to say that Tufts plan succeeded and went beyond all expectations. His family owned the town as a privately held resort for many years after his death in 1902.

By the time of his passing, Pinehurst hosted cottages, hotels, stores, and wonderfully curated grounds for all to enjoy throughout the year. A corporation was formed in 1920, reorganizing the ownership of Pinehurst in the form of shareholders.

In 1960, they sold the resort to Diamondhead Corporation, which continued to expand the property. The Village of Pinehurst became an incorporated municipality in 1980.

You can learn about this history and more at the Tufts Archives, which we’ll mention in our section covering year-round things to do in Pinehurst.

Before we share them, here are a few Pinehurst events that belong on your annual calendar.

Annual Events in Pinehurst

Things to do in Pinehurst Downtown

Before we cover things to do in Pinehurst at any time, here are the best annual events in town:

  • June and July: The North & South Amateur is a longstanding tradition in Pinehurst, contested each year since 1902.
  • August: Each year, Shakespeare in the Pines puts on free admission Shakespeare productions at Tufts Park.
  • September: A couple of great September events in Pinehurst are worth mentioning. The Pinehurst Barbecue Festival brings together NC Barbecue, both Eastern- and Lexington-style, in one place. Eats, Beats, and Brews is a fun food truck rodeo held at the Village Arboretum.
  • October: The Holly Arts & Crafts Festival brings together more than 100 local hand-crafters, including woodworkers, glass blowers, and more. Pinehurst businesses participate, too, offering sales and specials. Pinehurst’s Oktoberfest is a wonderful afternoon and evening event that begins with a couple of hours set aside for the kids (Kinderfest). Traditional Oktoberfest events begin afterward, with music, food, and drinks on hand.
  • December: Contested each year since 1947, the Donald Ross Junior Championship invites more than 200 high school boys and girls to compete for the title. A Parent-Child competition for the contestants also takes place after the tournament.

Year-Round Things to Do in Pinehurst

Those annual events are certainly worth putting down on your calendar. Here are some things to do in Pinehurst (and nearby) throughout the year!

Pinehurst Resort

Things to do in Pinehurst Resort

Pinehurst Resort is why the area is known as the Home of American Golf. Visiting this iconic place is one of the best things to do in Pinehurst, and golf is certainly a popular activity here.

The resort has hosted several prestigious golf tournaments, including U.S. Open Championships, U.S. Women’s Open, PGA Championship, and the Ryder Cup.

There are nine 18-hole golf courses, with Pinehurst No. 2 ranked as one of the best in the United States.

Things to do in Pinehurst Pinehurst Resort

Beyond golf, the Pinehurst Resort sits on 2,000 acres of beautifully manicured land. While staying here, you can enjoy spa treatments, views from their wide verandas, and luxurious rooms marked with Southern Charm.

Thistle Dhu at Pinehurst Resort (FREE)

Things to do in Pinehurst Thistle Dhu

If you aren’t much of a golfer but still want to play on the legendary green, then Thistle Dhu is a must. James Barber built Thistle Dhu in his backyard and it would become the first miniature golf course in America.

Today, it’s a free-to-play 18-hole putting course located by the main clubhouse at Pinehurst Resort. Putters can be rented for free from the Cradle short course.

Camelot Playground

90 Woods Rd

Things to do in Pinehurst Camelot Playground

If you are looking for some family-friendly things to do in Pinehurst, check out Camelot Playground! It’s located in Cannon Park and is designed like a castle, made to resemble King Arthur’s “Camelot.” 

What we loved about this playground was the abundance of shade. Camelot is a great place to get the wiggles out, with plenty of spaces for the grown-ups to sit down and cool off!

Pinehurst Brewing

300 Magnolia Rd

Things to do in Pinehurst Brewing

Sitting just outside the main Village, Pinehurst Brewing is located inside a historic steam plant building and is absolutely beautiful inside.

This craft brewery serves up frothy delicious pints and has a full menu specializing in smoked barbecue. Grab a wood-fired pizza, juicy brisket, and the industrial vibes. 

Sandhills Horticultural Gardens

555 Lindbergh Pl

Sandhill Horticulture Gardens

The Sandhills Horticultural Gardens is a hidden gem and one of our favorite things to do in Pinehurst! Free to visit, the Sandhills Horticultural Gardens cover 32 acres and are maintained and designed by students of the Sandhills Community College.

Shopping and More Food in the Village of Pinehurst

Things to do in Pinehurst Shopping

Achieving the vision of James Tufts, the Village of Pinehurst is filled with New England-style architecture and cottage-style homes. Between Magnolia Rd and Dogwood Rd, you’ll find beautiful architecture alongside locally owned businesses.

Stroll the brick sidewalks and find a number of quaint boutiques and gift shops, including Old Sport & Gallery, Sparrows, and more.

You can also find some nice restaurants in this area, but also over at the intersection McCaskill and McIntyre roads. A few great places to eat include Pinehurst Pizza, the Village Cafe, and 1895 Grille.

Tuft’s Archives

95 Cherokee Rd

Things to do in Pinehurst Tufts Archives

Located inside The Given Libary, the Tufts Archives is a local history museum highlighting the founders of the Village. The archives are free to visit and a walk through here is one of the most interesting things to do in Pinehurst!

Inside the Archives, you can view private artifacts, photos, and even the original maps of the Donald Ross course!

Ready for these Fun Things to Do in Pinehurst?

We love these fun things to do in Pinehurst and can’t wait to go back and explore this Sandhills town. If you’re familiar with the area, we’d love to know about your favorite ways to enjoy it.

Share your favorite things to do in Pinehurst in the comments or by email, if you’d like. Either way, we’re eager to hear from you!

Before you do, here are some fun spots in Pinehurst’s neighbors, Southern Pines and Carthage.

More Things to Do Nearby

Here are the best things to do in Pinehurst’s next-door neighbor, including a focus on a couple of other places in and around that wonderful town.

Check out Southern Pines

Southern Pines is just a bit smaller in population than Pinehurst its adorable downtown has a bigger feel. You’ll find plenty of local businesses and we have more than a few favorites.

Many times, we’ll start with a scoop at The Ice Cream Parlor, followed by a pint at Southern Pines Brewing or Hatchet Brewing, and walks through Against the Grain Shoppe and the awesome Country Bookshop!

Weymouth Woods

Things to do in Southern Pines Weymouth Woods

Weymouth Woods is a wonderful NC State Parks site and one of the best outdoor things to do in Pinehurst’s neighbor! Home to the oldest longleaf pines, the trails at this Southern Pines park will lead you through a beautiful landscape.

Join a ranger-led hike to see various wildlife, including the red-cockaded woodpecker, pine barrens, tree frog, bog spicebush, fox squirrels, and wildflowers.

Murals in Carthage

Things to do in Southern Pines Carthage Murals

Carthage is the Moore County seat and a cute town that’s dotted with murals.

Worth a stop when vacationing in Pinehurst, you’ll find three murals by Chapel Hill artist Scott Nurkin are all within walking distance. The Mural Committee has made plans for several more murals soon.

More Things to Do in Moore County

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