You’re going to find that there are always plenty of things to do in Goldsboro and that this isn’t your average Eastern North Carolina town.
It’s got a small-town feel but this place packs a punch in the arts, history, and food. And honestly, these are just the start of what you’ll find here.
Sprinkle in annual events and some awesome outdoor fun you can discover here and around Wayne County, and you’ve got a winner any weekend of the year. That’s why we think this area worthy of a day trip from the Triangle and also why it makes our NC Bucket List.
This post is part of our series on all the awesome places to visit in North Carolina. We originally created it on October 18, 2018. It has been maintained and updated, as of October 31, 2019.
Things to Do in Goldsboro NC and Wayne County for a Weekend
Learn About Goldsboro and Wayne County
Where else in the world do you know that celebrates ringing in the new year by dropping a pickle? Goldsboro’s neighbor Mount Olive, the city with the best pickles, does!
The Mount Olive Pickle Company is a big dill (hardy har har) and not only does the town of Goldsboro celebrate by dropping a pickle, but they also host the NC Pickle Festival every year! It’s such a big dill (I’ll be here all week!) that we included this event on our NC Bucket List!
Wayne County is also the third-largest agriculture producer in North Carolina! From poultry, pickles, pigs, and a myriad of other products, Wayne county can be thanked for keeping food local and people fed!
Those three Ps are such a big deal, we covered them and more in our ode to the Four Ps of Goldsboro.
Before we share what to do in Goldsboro during any weekend, here are some specific events happening downtown and throughout the area that we keep tabs on!
Also during April is another festival dedicated to one of Goldsboro’s 4 Ps. Occurring every other year, Wings over Wayne brings hundreds of thousands of people to the largest free airshow in North Carolina.
Celebrating for 10 days in October for over 70 years, the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair is an annual event that brings people across the county together to laugh and make memories. With a midway with more than 48 rides and games, entertainment, and exhibits, this is an annual tradition not to be missed!
The TASTE of Wayne is an annual event showcasing Goldsboro and Wayne County restaurants and food purveyors. Proceeds go to The United Way of Wayne County.
November‘s full moon is known as the Beaver or Frosty Moon, so Goldsboro celebrates the celestial wanings with a Beaver Moon Bike Ride! Bring a friend and set off on Stoney Creek North Mountain Bike Trails with this fun annual event.
Solemnly swear you are up to no good and prepare your broomsticks! The US Quidditch Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship is held in November at The Bryan Multi-Sport Complex. Admission to the event is free and open to everyone, including muggles.
Kick-off the holidays in Wayne county with Downtown Lights Up! Free horse-drawn trolley rides, hot cocoa, kid’s crafts, and a special visit by Santa ushers in the Christmas season.
In December, you can say goodbye to a year of fun and usher in a new one with a giant pickle! The Mt. Olive Pickle Drop is a family-friendly event that brings everyone together to ring in the new year a little early (7pm) so even the tiny tots can celebrate!
Things to Do in Goldsboro and Wayne County EVERY Weekend
Now, it’s time to get into things to do in Goldsboro and Wayne County EVERY weekend. These’ll help, whether you’re staying for a weekend or living here and need a refresher.
Stay Somewhere Cozy
If you’re looking for hotels in Goldsboro, Plum Tree Gardens is a highly rated bed and breakfast that’ll get you close to Downtown. There are more places to stay just a couple of miles away between Royall Avenue and Highway 70.
Hampton Inn has saved the day on many occasions and we enjoyed the one in Goldsboro. Guests have access to the outdoor pool that nicely compliments the other things we love about Hampton Inns, including funny signs, free breakfast, and comfy rooms.
Need to see more hotels in Goldsboro NC? Check here for the best prices and availability before you book!
Hang Out Downtown
The newly revitalized Downtown Historic District is the best place to start when arriving in Goldsboro. With local art installation, adorable locally-owned shops and restaurants, and plenty of free parking- downtown Goldsboro is an enjoyable play
Shopping in Downtown Goldsboro
Downtown also has some fun shops run by locals, including Carolina Pine Country Store which has one of the largest Magnolia Home collections in North Carolina. Another adorable store that sells the most delicious homemade barbecue sauce is The Picket Fence. They also carry home decor and beer bread that is to die for!
Shop with a cause at Cry Freedom Missions. This corner store is a non-profit organization fighting to end sex trafficking. Not only do the proceeds of any sales go to rescuing local Wayne County victims, but many of the goods inside the store are made by those victims.
Working together with Wayne Pregnancy Center, Cry Freedom Missions has something for everyone from jewelry, bags, to even a sweet treat.
Make it a spa day
Skin Therapy Day Spa is located in Downtown Goldsboro and is a full-service day spa for all of your relaxation and beauty needs. Everything from facials to oh-so-relaxing massages, Beth and her staff truly believe that you can feel and look better by loving your skin.
Learn About the Arts
While you’re hanging out downtown, walk around and scope out the art installations throughout Center Street and around. The cool mural that commemorates the African American Music Trail was our favorite, but there’s even more fun artsy stuff going on in Goldsboro.
Most of it is managed by The Arts Council of Wayne County and you should keep tabs on them for news of new exhibitions, performances and more.
Dig into Goldsboro’s History
Into history? Goldsboro was an important railroad junction in the Civil War. Take a stroll through The Battle Of Goldsborough Bridge and you’ll be taken back to December 1862 when Union and Confederate troops fought a bloody skirmish.
As you walk the trail, markers will bring you through the events of that day. As you’ll learn, Union troops burned a crucial bridge and destroyed miles of railroad tracks.
Interestingly, a Union journalist covered the area and time and published it as Kinston, Whitehall and Goldsboro (North Carolina) Expedition, December 1862.
Go Dark with a Ghost Tour
You can learn more about the dark side of that battle, as well as Downtown, and Waynesborough Historical Village via a tour. Thomas Bailey’s Candlelight Tours run the two-hour Ghosts of Goldsborough, which is seriously worth the $10 it takes to book.
You’ll learn about Goldsboro’s history while also discovering some of the darker sides of this otherwise quiet little town. We’ve been on a few ghost tours and if you’re into them, too, please do this one.
For more info, check Visit Goldsboro’s website or call 919.734.7922.
Cliffs of the Neuse State Park
Get outside and enjoy the beautiful scenes of Cliffs of the Neuse State Park. With hiking trails for all levels and a scenic overlook (rare for anywhere away from the mountains), it’s the perfect spot to pack a picnic and enjoy the day. Looking more for getting out on the river?
You can rent a boat, grab a fishing pole, or swim over to the diving platform and cool off! There are also some fantastic primitive cabins and a family-friendly visitors center with educational tools for kids of all ages!
Goldboro Beer and more!
Grab a pint from Goldsboro’s first bottle shop! Well Travelled has a well-stocked assortment of craft beer, wine, and sake for those thirsty for something new!
Another great place to grab some beer and some incredible noms is at Brewmasters! A bottle shop/draft house/pub with food all rolled into one delicious spot, we recommend swinging by and taking the load off with some beer cheese!
Head over to Tobacco and Hops for Goldsboro’s only Tobacconist! Choose your cigar from their 425 square-foot humidor and choose a beer to enjoy alongside your smoke. It’s one of the few places where you can enjoy a quality cigar inside.
Grab Craft Brews in Wayne County
Pop over to R&R Brewing in Mt. Olive, the only craft brewery in Wayne County—for now. They’re a fairly new operation but there’s quite a bit of energy surrounding this place.
You’ll see why when you stop by their chilled-out location on Northwest Center Street. Laze around on a hammock, grab some food from the food truck, and enjoy beer made with locally inspired flavors and ingredients.
We also included R&R in our list of favorite North Carolina breweries. What others do you think we mentioned?
Explore Restaurants in Goldsboro
Goldsboro has some stars in the Eastern North Carolina Barbecue scene, with iconic spots like Grady’s. It’s listed on the NCBS Historic Barbecue Trail and also included in our guide to North Carolina barbecue.
Fairly new to town, the Historic District’s Barrique provides upscale and locally sourced food, 21-day (minimum) barrel-aged cocktails, and an esteemed selection of fine wines.
Whether you order the Angus Steak or the Seafood Risotto with ingredients sourced from Sneads Ferry, everything on the menu at Barrique is will go perfectly with your date night, business meeting, or just any night when you want to eat awesome food in a cool setting.
Jay’s Sushi & Burger Bar mixes specialty sushi rolls with creatively thought-up burger concepts and gets busy, so get there early.
What do you think, though? Where else should one eat in Goldsboro? Stay tuned as we work to create a more comprehensive guide to these awesome restaurants in Goldsboro.
Eat and Shop at Heritage Farms General Store
Grab a milkshake or a root beer float (or both? Nobody’s judging you) at Heritage Farms General Store after walking through the doors of this truly amazing North Carolina shop.
There are so many North Carolina-based products here, including the premier Cheshire pork, tons of BBQ sauces and rubs, and tasty snacks.
They also have tons of souvenir T-shirts and other apparel. Load up on stuff to wear outside and show off your pride for the Tar Heel State.
Use Goldsboro as Your Base
Goldsboro is halfway between Raleigh and Wilmington, making it the perfect base if you want a day in the big city or on the coast. Whether you’re on your way to the beach or coming back, it would be a mistake to not stop in Goldsboro.
Or you can head over to Kinston and check out Mother Earth Brewing or renowned North Carolinian Vivian Howard’s Chef & the Farmer and Boiler Room Oyster Bar. Those are just the start as we found during our weekend there.
What else should a person do if they’d like to see Goldsboro’s surroundings? We’d love to know what you think.
Our Thoughts and Yours, too!
Goldsboro is a town filled with a rich history, incredible food, and amazing people. It is a prime example of exactly what Eastern North Carolina was, is, and where it’s going. From the chopped barbecue to the farmlands, visiting Goldsboro perfectly captures this part of the state.
Based on what we’ve seen, we know even more is on the way. With new art installations, murals, and businesses popping up, Goldsboro is definitely a place worth watching for at least a weekend, if not more.
Special thanks to Goldsboro Wayne Travel & Tourism for providing us with complimentary accommodations, tours, and meals throughout multiple stays. All opinions within this article are our own.