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Cheap Things to Do in Eastern NC

Cheap Things to Do in Eastern NC

Cheap Things to Do in Eastern NC

Just because your budget is tight doesn't mean you can't get out and do some things. There are free or inexpensive activities everywhere if you know where to look. Perhaps that's what brings you here.

So, here's a list of some great cheap things to do on this side of North Carolina.

Outdoor Adventures

There are 41 state parks and 10 national parks spread out across the state. Many of those are spread along the coastline. Each one has unique features, but more likely than not, you will always have some sort of hiking trails and places to picnic.

It costs nothing to go for a stroll and packing a lunch can be better than eating at a restaurant. Who needs to be stuck indoors looking at other people when you can be out in the wilderness observing nature? Better yet, most state parks in North Carolina are free!

In addition to free parks and 322 miles of coastline, here are some of our favorite budget-friendly spots:

Fayetteville Rose Garden

Lynn Anderson once sang, "I bet your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden." She may not have, but the city of Fayetteville did. Back in the 70s, a local community college wanted to make something beautiful for the citizens to share.

Within the grounds are over 1,000 rose bushes. This is a great place to get your creative juices flowing, since there are plenty of places to sit. Grab a notepad, pencil, and prepare to use the scent to fuel your next drawing session. Come at the right time and you can hear a Rose Talk from a professional horticulturalist.

Carolina Beach State Park

In Wilmington, you can find a great spot that has both beaches and trails. Before you set off, stop by the visitor center and pick up a map. Carolina Beach State Park is a culmination of nine miles of places to walk or ride a bike. The area is relatively flat, making it an easy jot for any activity level.

You can fish, camp, swim, or take a hike. The park also comes with marina access. Be sure to keep an eye out for the plants. They aren't all what they seem. You might just spot a Venus flytrap.

Mike's Farm

Why not do something that's fun and beneficial for everyone? What we know now as Mike's Farm was actually started back right after WWII. Young newlyweds, Lucille and Jess Lowe bought a plot of land near where she grew up and started a farm.

Although a variety of things have been produced from these grounds, they now focus on a number of produce and Christmas trees. If you'd like some of the juicy strawberries or carvable pumpkins, they have a Pickin' Patch.

What else can you find at Mike's?

  • Education
  • Petting Zone
  • Gift Shop
  • Bakery
  • Restaurant
  • Holiday Light Show

Indoor Exploration

North Carolina has no shortage of things to do out in the wild blue yonder. Sometimes the weather does not agree, however. So, let's go inside for a different bit of fun.

North Carolina Maritime Museum

If you're interested in all things maritime, this will be a wonderful place to spend your day. Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, and 12 to 5 pm on Sunday, the museum is located in Beaufort and is free. Making the trip will be worth it, as there are not one but actually two separate buildings to visit. The other across the street is called the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center. Between the two buildings, you can find:

  • Blackbeard artifacts
  • Sea monsters
  • Fishing fun
  • Echolocation
  • Surfing
  • Heart of a whale

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Speaking of maritime, why not visit a similar type of relic from history in person? Permission to construct a lighthouse in Cape Hatteras was given in 1794. Rough Atlantic waters were the reason it became a priority, even though the build did not begin for another five years.

The first light was on in 1803 using whale oil. Since then, due to the eroding seashore, the lighthouse has been moved four times. Where it's at now should be sustainable for quite some time but better see it now just in case.

There are 200 steps to the top and occasionally construction keeps guests from going up. Be sure to check ahead. Children 12 and under can get in for $4 and adults for $8.

Aurora Fossil Museum

This may be one of the coolest places in the state. Not only is there a museum and an annual fossil festival, but there is also a park where you can go look for fossils! This place really does have it all. Admission is free and the hours of operation during spring and summer are from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, Tuesday through Sunday.

Collections include:

  • Vertebrate Fossils
    • Shark
    • Stingray
    • Cetacean
  • Invertebrates
  • Native American Artifacts
  • Rocks and Minerals
ENC Explorer
Author: ENC Explorer

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