20 Great Things to Do in Southern Pines (Downtown and More!)

Last Updated on October 4, 2021

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Southern Pines is a wonderful town in the Sandhills of North Carolina. While many people might know this area for golf, there are plenty of other fun things to do in Southern Pines beyond its famous courses.

We like to start with either a stroll around downtown or a hike at Weymouth Woods, but there are more than a few options for everyone—especially families.

Our guide will share our favorites that we’ve vetted over many day trips and weekend stays. Hopefully, it will help you plan your next day or weekend out in Southern Pines and its Moore County surroundings.

Here’s how we’ve organized the guide if you’re looking for something specific:

  • About Southern Pines (Location and History)
  • Annual Events in Southern Pines
  • Things to do in Southern Pines
  • Restaurants
  • Breweries
  • Things to do in Southern Pines’ Surroundings

You can scroll ahead to events, year-round things to do in Southern Pines, and any of the other sections below. Or, keep reading for info about the location and history of Southern Pines.

This post is part of our series on Moore County and more of our favorite places to visit in Central North Carolina.

Where is Southern Pines?

Southern Pines is located in Moore County in the Sandhills region of Central North Carolina. Quite a few highways travel through the area, but US-1 is the most popular way to travel down or up to Southern Pines.

The town is within a 1 to 2 hours’ drive from more than a few of our cities, closest to Fayetteville in neighboring Cumberland County.

Southern Pines is perfect for day trips from Raleigh and Durham in the Research Triangle. People in the Piedmont Triad know that it’s also within a fairly short drive from Greensboro and Winston-Salem in the Piedmont Triad.

The area around Southern Pines is dotted with great small towns, but Asheboro (home to the NC Zoo) and Seagrove are a couple of special ones about an hour away.

Our biggest city (Charlotte) and the Port City of Wilmington (home to great beaches!) are a little more than two hours away. But these two places are still within a getaway’s distance if you’re based in Southern Pines.

Southern Pines History

The sandy soil made agriculture and land travel difficult, but all of that changed once the railroad was laid in the mid-nineteenth century.

The ubiquitous pine tree quickly became the agricultural cash crop needed to make the area boom. John T. Patrick bought 675 acres in 1884 and began developing the town that would soon become Southern Pines.

The area was a draw for many who had respiratory issues as the sandy climate made it less humid than the rest of the state.

Downtown Southern Pines is divided by railroad tracks, splitting Broad Street. While the traffic flow may be confusing, remember to yield to traffic crossing the train tracks.

Annual Events in Southern Pines

Before sharing things to do in Southern Pines any time, here are a couple of the town’s best annual events:

  • April: Held each year in downtown Southern Pines, SpringFest is a wonderful day-long event full of food, art, and fun events.
  • September: The Tour de Moore International Bicycle Race is one of the best things to do in Southern Pines during Labor Day. You can watch riders around the county and join if you feel up for either the 28 mile cruise, the 50 mile ramble, or the Classic TdM Century (100 miles)!

Year-Round Things to do in Southern Pines

Walk Around Downtown Southern Pines

Things to Do in Southern Pines Downtown Train Station

Unless we’re heading directly to Weymouth Woods (read below), downtown is the first place we go. After that, we’ll usually park somewhere on Broad St, usually near the Train Station.

One cool feature about downtown is that Broad St is divided by active train tracks. Amtrak’s Silver Service/Palmetto Train runs here, with typically one northbound and southbound per day.

After we park, we’ll walk around at peruse shops like the Country Bookshop, which is our personal favorite. It’s also one of our favorite bookstores in North Carolina.

There are many more shops along either side of Broad St and the side streets of downtown that deserve our support.

Sunrise Theater

250 NW Broad St

Things to do in Southern Pines Sunrise Theater

The Sunrise Theater is another spot downtown that we should all get behind.

This 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization shows new and classic films, and hosts live concerts and other events. The theater hasa both an indoor movie hall as well as an outdoor theater.

We’re not finished with downtown, but we want to share a few more things to do in Southern Pines before we do.  

Weymouth Woods

1024 Fort Bragg Rd

Things to Do in Southern Pines NC

Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve is home to a longleaf pine forest that once covered millions of acres of the southeastern United States. Hike through here, and you might see the red-cockaded woodpecker, pine barrens tree frog, bog spicebush, fox squirrels, and various wildflowers.

Some pine trees here are hundreds of years old, a rarity in the South due to centuries of deforestation. In addition, turpentine and shipbuilding materials are often cited as historical uses for pines.

You can enjoy this NC State Parks-managed preserve any time, as long as no scheduled burns (aka “good fires“) or other necessary maintenance are happening.

Join ranger-led hikes, and don’t forget to stop by the visitors center, which features exhibits of the longleaf forest, flora and fauna, and the park’s history.

We love Weymouth Woods so much that we’ve featured it among the best things to do in North Carolina!  

Weymouth Center for the Arts

555 East Connecticut Ave

Things to Do in Southern Pines NC Weymouth Center for the Arts

The Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities started as the home of James and Katharine Boyd and is now a cultural center dedicated to conserving the remaining 26-acre estate.

It serves as a natural preserve and park and includes the formal gardens and the longleaf pine forest. In addition, the 9,000 square foot Boyd House serves as a writers residency, a site for poetry readings, dramatic performances, musical concerts, and recitals.

James Boyd’s study is now home to the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, established in 1996. The center is open year-round and even leads to the Boyd Round Timber Tract of Weymouth Woods. 

Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club

1010 Midland Rd

Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club is an internationally renowned golf course just down the road from downtown Southern Pines.

The golf course was built in 1921 by Donald Ross and has hosted many national competitions, including the 2002 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship.

The owners restored the club in 2013, but it remains exactly as it was first built. Today, it is a member- and guests-only course intended for friendly competitions. You can stay on-site at The Inn or in one of their Private Villas. 

Guests can enjoy tee time on the beautiful golf course and multiple dining options, including their terrace and dining room (Pop’s Lounge) or the Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club across the street.

Southern Salt Room

135 E Pennsylvania Ave

Salt therapy is believed to improve health with natural elements. It is also used as a way to relax and relieve stress.

The Southern Salt Room is where you can find all of the above in Southern Pines. Individuals and families come here, with rooms small enough for a private group and a beach-themed room for children.

The Southern Salt Room also offers the largest array of salt products and local Kombucha that you can drink there or take home. 

Eat at These Restaurants in Southern Pines

With so many great restaurants in and around downtown, eating is easily one of the best things to do in Southern Pines. Here are a few of our favorite spots, including a recommendation from our readers and followers.

Betsy’s Crepes

127 SW Broad St

Things to do in Southern Pines Betseys Crepes

We’ve arrived at Betsy’s Crepes by 8 am when they opened, and by the time we’ve been seated, the place has been almost full. Serving up incredible crepes that are both sweet and savory, you can order just about any combination.

Carl once ordered a crepe with peanut butter, Nutella, banana, bacon, egg, and cheese—also known as the Superman! Beyond their tasty crepes, you can enjoy standard breakfast items, sandwiches, and more!

With all these options, it’s no wonder that Betsy’s stays packed with locals and tourists alike.

SoPies

130 W New Hampshire Ave

We haven’t made it to SoPies yet, but so many of our readers and followers on TikTok have told us not to miss it! SoPies serves NY-style pizza by the slice or entire pies so that you can choose between indulgence levels.

Locals rave about it, so you know it’s got to be good! Come back later for our update!

The Ice Cream Parlor

176 NW Broad St

Restaurants in Southern Pines Ice Cream Parlor

The Ice Cream Parlor is next to SoPies at the corner of Broad St and New Hampshire Ave. This place has been a local staple since 1976.

Here, you can enjoy old-fashioned floats, sodas, malts, burgers, and hot dogs. The list of deliciousness goes on, especially when talking about the Parlor’s homemade ice cream flavors.

We’re afraid to say our favorite flavor, so we’ll say “all of them” for now!

The Ice Cream Parlor also offers vegan flavors, fresh lemon and orangeades, and Dog of the Day specials.

Chapman’s Food and Spirits

157 E New Hampshire Ave

Chapman’s Food & Spirits offers American fare with a build your own experience concept. Ran by longtime friends Kitty and Chef Peter, they brought their years of experience and talent to create the casual restaurant that is well-known and loved in Moore County.

Guests can enjoy chef features that rotate and change throughout the week and are offered daily.

Just make sure you order their Cajun Crawfish Fries, which will hopefully never leave the menu. No pressure or anything!

The Sly Fox Pub

795 SW Broad St

Things to do in Southern Pines Sly

The Sly Fox Pub is the place to go for classic British eats with an innovative modern twist. The Sly Fox uses fresh, seasonal ingredients and combines traditional and modern in a relaxed Gastropub environment.

Speaking of “pub,” you’ll find a wide selection of craft beers at the Sly Fox. They offer 16 different brews ranging from local, national, international, and limited batch on tap.

Ashten’s Restaurant

140 E New Hampshire Ave

Ashten’s Restaurant has been offering farm-to-table food in Southern Pines since 1997. The owners’ originally designed the concept of the restaurant to reflect an Old Traditional English manor.

Traditional concepts flow into their food, but with a twist to spice up offerings on their fixed and small plates menus.

Owners Ashley & Quentin call it “Global Cuisine from a Southern Perspective.” 

Visit these Breweries in Southern Pines

You’ll find great beer selections throughout the restaurant scene, but you should stop by these veteran-owned NC breweries while in Southern Pines.

Southern Pines Brewing

565 Air Tool Dr #E & 205 W Pennsylvania Ave

Southern Pines Brewing Company was the first brewery in town and has grown into a couple of locations. Their second sits along W Pennsylvania Ave, around the corner from Broad St.

You’ll probably pass their second location along Pennsylvania Ave if you’re coming from US-1.

The original taproom (Air Tool Dr) is where you can find some test batches of select beers that come out weekly. Southern Pines Brewing also offers hard ciders by the glass and a mix of seasonal and mainstay beers at their second location.

Our verdict? Visit both spots for the full experience!

Hatchet Brewing

490 SW Broad St

Things to do in Southern Pines Hatchet Brewing

We drove by and saw the big Hatchet Brewing sign and knew we had to stop in for a pint. After ordering our first, the bartender told us that someone was buying everyone’s beer. 

Little did we know that this is exactly the vibe that Mike and Greg, the owners of Hatchet, wanted. So along with a great atmosphere, you’ll find quite a few IPAs, but additional options for every kind of beer drinker.

The taproom is great for kids and also dog-friendly. A great selection of board games keeps the atmosphere great for friends, too! 

Ready for These Things to Do in Southern Pines?

We’re huge fans of Southern Pines and love coming here, especially for some ice cream, walks around downtown, and hikes around Weymouth Woods. If you’ve been lucky enough to visit, we’re eager to hear what you have to say about this place.

Let us know either in the comments or by email and keep the conversation going!

Things to Do in Southern Pines’ Surroundings

Nearly all of these things to do in Southern Pines’ surroundings revolve around Pinehurst, except for one (Carthage).

Stay at Pinehurst Resort

Things to do in Pinehurst Resort

A visit to or stay at Pinehurst Resort is fun, even if you’re not into golf. Whether staying in one of the luxurious rooms or putting the green, the resort and neighboring village are a unique experience.

Play at Pinehurst Resort

Things to do in Pinehurst Thistle Dhu

Pinehurst Resort is most known for the nine 18-hole championship golf courses that dot the 2,000 acres.

They have hosted several prestigious golf tournaments, including US Open Championships, the US Women’s Open, the PGA Championship, and the Ryder Cup.

While at the resort, make sure to rent a putter (free!) and play a round of Thistle Dhu. The 18-hole putting course was built for the private residence of James Barber and became the first miniature golf course in America.

Tufts Archives

Things to do in Pinehurst Tufts Archives

While in Pinehurst, you should also check out the Tufts Archives. It’s a history museum in the back of the Given Library and a really cool place to walk through.

The Archives highlight the heritage of the area and artifacts from Pinehurst Village’s founders. It is free to visit, and they also have the original maps of Donald Ross’s courses on display.

Camelot

Things to do in Pinehurst Camelot Playground

If you are looking for some family-friendly things to do in Southern Pines and its neighbors, the Camelot Playground is the place to be!

Located inside of Cannon Park, Camelot is the best playground in Moore County!

The name Camelot is because you’ll notice this wooden playground was designed as a castle. With tons of shade and fun equipment to play on, you’ll see why we love this place.

Sandhills Horticultural Gardens 

Sandhill Horticulture Gardens

The Sandhills Horticultural Gardens is home to a variety of gardens that are all free to visit. 32 acres of gardens here are maintained and designed by the Sandhills Community College.

The first garden to be established was the Ebersole Holly Garden in 1978. There are many more gardens to explore today, including the following:

  • The Rose Garden
  • The Conifer Garden
  • The Sir Walter Raleigh Garden
  • The Atkins Hillside Garden
  • The Fruit & Vegetable Garden
  • The Hackley Woodland Garden
  • The Ambrose Japanese Garden
  • The Desmond Native Wetland Trail Garden

Murals of Carthage

Things to do in Southern Pines Carthage Murals

The beautiful small town of Carthage is the Moore County seat. It’s also dotted with murals and certainly worth a stop while in Southern Pines!

Three murals by Chapel Hill artist Scott Nurkin are all within walking distance of each other. They sit along Monroe St, between Ray St and Marion St.

Several more murals are in the works by other artists soon. If Nurkin’s work looks familiar, you may have seen his wonderful Thelonious Munk mural in Rocky Mount or Nina Simone mural in Tryon.

More Things to Do in Southern Pines (and Moore County)

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