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Best Things to Do in Eastern North Carolina

Best Things to Do in Eastern North Carolina

Eastern North Carolina is geographically known as the Coastal Plain region of the state. It is usually defined as the region that is east of the Fall Line. It goes all the way to the Atlantic ocean. The region carries 41 counties in the state. It is also known as the Coastal Plain.

Some of its larger cities include:

  • Jacksonville
  • Greenville
  • Wilmington

The State Legislature established organizations to oversee economic development in 1993. They come up with ways to improve the regions they cover. Of these organizations, three serve Eastern North Carolina. They were:

  1. North Carolina East Alliance: This region includes 13 counties that surround the Global TransPark in North Carolina. It works to improve the talent pipeline. This allows for a local workforce that is more comprehensive.
  1. Northeast North Carolina Commission: This region covers 16 counties.
  1. North Carolina's Southeast Commission: This covers assisting 11 counties in ENC

There are few major urban centers in Eastern North Carolina. It is located to the west of the Atlantic and east of Piedmont. The major cities in the area include:

  • Fayetteville. The largest city in the region.
  • Wilmington. This is the second-largest city.
  • Greenville. This is close to the geographic center of the region.

The Museum of the Albemarle

The Museum of the Albemarle promotes the culture and history of the Albemarle Region. It is dedicated to understanding and educating people on the history of North Carolina. It encourages visitors and locals to explore the vast information stored and preserved. It is a great place to learn about North Carolina.

Roanoke Canal Museum and Trail

The Roanoke Canal is almost 200 years old! The museum has a lot of exhibits that show the history of the Roanoke River Valley. Visitors will find information on how the canal was engineered and used as a source of hydroelectric power.

The trail is open every day from the morning to evening.

The Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge

This is in Bertie County. It has a lot of wetlands that are filled with precious fish and wildlife. These include:

  • Waterfowl
  • Anadromous fish
  • Neotropical migrants
  • Shortnose sturgeon
  • White-tailed deer

The refuge has about 214 bird species, with 88 resident species that continue to breed. The largest heron rookery that can be found inland is at the refuge.

While in Bertie county, you might also consider checking out the Cashie River. Paddling down the river is a great activity for the family.

White Lake

This is a town in Bladen County. The town surrounds a gorgeous freshwater lake. You can visit any time of the year. However, in the summer, the town is usually crowded. The view of the lake is quite breathtaking.

Bald Head Island

Historically, this was known as Smith Island. It is a village in Brunswick County and to the east of the Cape Fear River.

You can access the island by ferry or by driving along the beach from Fort Fisher. If driving, you will need a four-wheel drive. Currently, only government officials drive on the beach route.

There are various lighthouses on the island, including:

  • Original Lighthouse
  • Old Baldy
  • Cape Fear Light

The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

The Great Dismal Swamp Refuge covers 112,000 acres of land. It is a significant biological and environmental area.

Some of the activities available for you to enjoy include:

  • Hiking: There are more than 80 miles of trails.
  • Biking
  • Boating and Fishing: Lake Drummond is great for this.
  • Lake Drummond Wildlife Drive Auto Tour
  • Wildlife observation
  • Photography

You can wander along the shoreline while enjoying the ancient cypress trees. 

Hunting is allowed, but only for specific species. It occurs every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday between October 1st and January 1st. The species to hunt include:

  • White-tailed deer
  • Black bear
  • Turkey
  • Squirrel
  • Coyote

Holden Beach

Eastern North Carolina is rich for its beaches. One great example, also known as “ Family beach”, is Holden Beach.

You can carry the usual beach things, like kites, a book, and a picnic blanket. No glass is allowed on the beach for safety reasons. The Holden beach general Store has a lot of what you may need. It also sells little trinkets to carry home.

You may spot some birds hunting for fish. There are sea turtles and, on rare occasions, you can spot dolphins.


Since many visitors flock to the region, eastern North Carolina has a lot of great restaurants. Seafood is the main menu for a lot of them, but you can find different cuisines. A lot of these restaurants have amazing views to accompany your meals. They overlook the water, docks, and natural beauty of North Carolina. Some of the restaurants worth mentioning include:

  1. The Beefmastor Inn: This is an American steakhouse in Wilson. It offers American cuisine. There is adequate seating and parking available.
  1. Chef and the Farmer: This is in Kinston. The restaurant uses local ingredients to create amazing menu options.
  1. The Hen and the Hog: This is in Halifax. The food is southern-inspired and promises a dining experience to remember.
  1. On the Square: This is in Tarboro. It is an intimate and quaint American bistro. The restaurant is famous for its ever-changing menu. It has seasonal options and an incredible wine list.

Eastern North Carolina is known for incredible views, great food, and lots of fun. There are a lot of activities for the whole family to enjoy.

ENC Explorer
Author: ENC Explorer

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