22 Best & Fun Things to Do in Jacksonville, NC - The Total Travel (2024)

One of the lesser-known destinations to visit within North Carolina is the city of Jacksonville. Here are the top attractions when you visit Jacksonville, NC – from historical sights to delicious coffee shops and more!

Jacksonville is a well-known name since it is home to Camp Lejeune, the most extensive Marine base on the East Coast! There is a lot more to see beyond the base!

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Top 22 Best things to do in Jacksonville, NC

Here are the Top 22 Things to do in jacksonville NC.

22. Milk Road Coffee Shop

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When you visit Jacksonville In Jacksonville, North Carolina you don’t have to travel too far to find your perfect morning cup of coffee! Milk Road Coffee Shop, an established company with a history of veterans, is the ideal spot to enjoy your coffee fix.

It has been in operation since 2016. This trendy coffee shop holds freshly-roasted fresh coffee and mouth-watering, globally-inspired desserts made from regionally grown and seasonal ingredients.

With numerous options, it’s a bit difficult to choose just one. Make sure to try their famous Belgian honey-infused, pearl-sugar-hued liege pancakes, and believe me when I say that you’ll be tempted to begin your day with this tasty treat!

If it’s a sunny day, take your breakfast at the outside seating area, or if you’re short of plenty of time, you can take your favorite coffee in a cup along.

21. Freedom Fountain

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If you drive Downtown towards the New River, you’ll see Freedom Fountain next to City Hall. It is a tribute to all who have served or are currently serving across all branches of our military.

Fifty water jets honor each state, and three flags and fountain jets represent the state, local, and federal governments. On most nights, the fountain is lit with white, red, and Blue as the things to do in jacksonville, nc at night.

20. Beirut Memorial

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Beirut Memorial was the first memorial built in Lejeune Memorial Gardens. Donated by the people from Onslow County, this memorial is the most well-known privately-funded memorial to honor all 273 Marines killed in the Beirut attack on the 23rd of October in 1983.

The 24th Marine Amphibious Unit was created in response to a request from the Lebanese government with the primary goal of being an army of peacekeeping in Lebanon amid the conflict between Muslim and Christian troops. However, an unrelated terrorist attack that destroyed the 8th Marines Headquarters building resulted in 241 deaths.

The words “They came in peace” are inscribed onto the memorial’s wall. They emphasize that Marines were assigned to this dangerous zone to protect the peace. Alongside 273 names, you will also find 3 Marine pilot names inscribed in granite. Three Marine pilots died in Grenada.

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19. 9/11 Memorial Beam

Another significant tribute in the vicinity of that of the Beirut Memorial is the 9/11 Memorial Beam. It was presented to the Beirut Memorial by NYC Police and Firefighters to Marines to show their appreciation for being the “first to go” to Afghanistan at the start of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The first beam was removed from New York City, as numerous towns across the US are now equipped with one. Every year at 8:15 on the 11th of September, A ceremony is held to commemorate the date when the initial Twin Tower was hit.

18. Vietnam Memorial

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Then there’s The Vietnam Memorial, which is the second largest in the country in the United States, second only that of Washington, DC. The entry wall has an emblem to honour every branch of our military, and beyond it is the bridge. Beyond the bridge are a tower, a fountain, and a glass wall.

On the wall, which is in the form of a dome, are the names of the 58,229 veterans who died of those who died during the Vietnam War Era. A circle is placed after some names on the wall to mark the veterans as POW/MIA. An asterisk beside the names of those who died indicates that they have returned to their homes.

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17. Downtown Jacksonville

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A trip to downtown Jacksonville will make you feel the city’s charm, enjoy its long-standing traditions of hospitality, see the historic North Carolina sites, and enjoy a tasty food scene.

The city’s heart is the home of over 17 parks. Some are the most well-known ones like Northeast Creek Park, Big Branch Bike Park, Oakhurst Nature Park and more.

16. Lynnwood Park Zoo

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Lynnwood Park Zoo is an animal park that covers an area that is 10 acres with a beautiful half-acre pond, as well as a crowded picnic area. In 1990, the Zoo was the only one of its type in the region and had over 80 exhibits of animals featuring a wide range of animals – mammals, reptiles, birds, and many more.

The most well-known mammals include zebra and grey wallaby, coatimundi, pygmy goat mara, grivet monkey Java, Rhesus Macaques, and many more. The reptile show includes the American alligator, the corn snake, Burmese the python and the king snake, Eastern box turtle, Blue-tongued Skink savannah monitor, and many more.

The most prominent birds found in the exhibit are the barred Owl and emu, as well as the red-golden pheasant, the hawk, and more.

15. Montford Point Marine Memorial

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Not to be forgotten, The Montford Point Marine Memorial remembers African-Americans who were trained and separated from white soldiers between and after World War II 1942-49. They were trained in Montford Point at Camp Lejeune until 1949 when President Truman joined the Corps.

As you stroll through, you’ll see an area of star-shaped walls that’s around 20,000. The stars honor the troops that don’t have names since no active rosters can be found. It’s not just that. It is one of the leading areas to explore Black historical events within North Carolina.

Incredibly, The Montford Point Marine Association continues to look for veterans who were in the military from 1942 until 1949. This way, the veterans can present with gold medals from Congress.

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14. Walton’s Distillery

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Enjoy the true flavor of the region’s famous spirit at the Walton’s Distillery, just 15 minutes to the west of Downtown. The spirits they offer are created by blending the local moonshine traditions with the most modern techniques used in Kentuckian distilleries to make the region’s most distinctive and delicious moonshine available.

After tasting junior Walton’s Premium Select, E.M. Walton’s Premium Salted Caramel, Junior Walton’s Original Carolina Moonshine, or any other flavor, you must try that you can be able to taste the past and get absorbed into it. If you’re keen to learn about the moonshine and whiskey-making process and appreciate the various blends, you can join tours that last for 30 minutes Monday through Saturday.

13. Zing Zumm Children’s Museum

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If you’re traveling with kids similar to us, make sure you spend time at the Zing Zumm, the Children’s Museum at Jacksonville (625 New Bridge St). Children aged ten and up are sure to enjoy this museum.

However, we also observe everyone having great fun. Their unstructured and interactive displays let kids have fun without particular needs. Additionally, it’s a wonderful location for children to have fun!

There’s a lot there. They offer everyday items like Molle gear and items from the Vietnam era. You can even buy title tape, dog tags, boots, and more.

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12. Duck’s Grille and Bar

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We ate plenty in the Duck’s Grille and Bar (1207 Gum Branch Rd), and we think it’s a good idea to also stop in for a meal! There are lunch, dinner as well as brunch and late-night menu options.

You’ll have lots of opportunities to sample the menu prepared by their chef. I was a huge fan of their pepper-seared Tuna and their low-country Shrimp and Grits fitted during brunch. When you’ve visited Duck’s, What do you want to call it?

11. Hammocks Beach State Park

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The island is situated on The North Carolina coast. The center of the huge Hammocks Beach State Park is the very well-known Bear Island. The wild, undeveloped, three miles-long barrier island is an ideal spot for weekenders who want to take a stroll along the long, sandy beach between giant old dunes as well as an Atlantic ocean as the best things to do near Jacksonville NC this weekend.

The island is residence to a span of rustic primary campsites, a miniature concession area, and a picnic site. The park is well-organized, with a visitors ‘ center that acts as the main entrance to the island, the main port of ferry service, and kayaks and canoes. You can hire them or go to the island on your canoe or kayak.

They’re the most efficient method to travel through the marshes and the island’s marine forest. It is also home to an exhibition of shorebirds nesting and sea turtles that are threatened.

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10. NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

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The NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is an incredible location, which takes visitors to go “from Mountains to ocean.” There are fifty displays and more additional than 4,000 marine creatures, like sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, and more.

There are frequent schedules for adults and children and live animal encounters in which guests can get a close-up view of the sea turtle, stingray, or horseshow crabs along with other animals is the best fun things to do in Jacksonville nc for adults.

See divers swimming with sharks, as well as other marine creatures that are dangerous. There is also the option of taking part in feeding animals of all kinds and observing native shorebirds and raptors display their antics.

9. Mike’s Farm

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In the town of Beulaville (shared with Onslow as well as Duplin counties), Mike’s Farm puts on dinner shows that are extremely famous for those who haven’t been to one.

We had a blast roaming around, and our toddler enjoyed conversing with the chickens, goats, peaco*cks, and other animals that live on the farm perfect spot for things to do in Jacksonville NC for couples.

Also, there’s a cafe available on site, and I’m eager to return for additional cheese, danish, and jam samples before I buy the most jars the fridge can accommodate.

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8. African-American Heritage Trail

Another thing to include on the list of activities to visit during your time in Jacksonville includes Jacksonville’s African-American Heritage Trail, which you can follow. It is a tribute to the contributions that Onslow County’s African-American community.

Important landmarks on the way essential points along the way are Verona Loop National Cemetery, the mentioned Montford Point Marine Museum, and the Onslow County Museum.

7. Emerald Isle

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A day excursion in the direction of Emerald Isle is the perfect choice for fun with the family! If you want to experience some exciting water activities, go to AB Watersports, which offers jet skis, pontoon boats, kayaks, and paddleboards to explore the pristine waterways of Crystal Coast.

Be soaked and wild in Salty Pirate Water Park, or dive deep into the history of Fort Macon State Park. It’s a must for any Emerald Isle trip that won’t be complete without a visit to the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier to enjoy the breathtaking landscapes and take a little fishing.

6. Tryon Palace

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Tryon Palace is a lovely Georgian mansion built in 1770 by the royal governor William Tryon as North Carolina’s first capital of the state. It was the former Governor’s Mansion which, with 14 acres of gorgeously designed gardens, is an incredibly popular museum of history with many historic houses and The North Carolina History Center.

The whole complex can be explored with the assistance of trained historians dressed in period attire. Visitors can also take part in engaging live demonstrations of the past. In addition, the North Carolina History Center is the latest addition to the old buildings. It houses the Regional History Museum, rotating touring exhibits, rare objects, and a great waterfront restaurant

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5. Topsail Beach

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Topsail Beach is a retreat for those looking to enjoy an unwinding vacation and embrace the challenge of the hot sun, the ocean and sand.

The town is filled with plenty of things to do that meet the needs of all. It was once a tiny fishing town. Anglers are still able to have fun fishing on Jolly Roger Fishing Pier. Jolly Roger Fishing Pier.

If you’re planning to visit this beach by boat, you can use Marina’s boat ramps during the evening to enjoy the stunning sound the following day. After having a full day on the water, visit the dining and shopping mall and take a skate on Topsail Island Skating Rink, or let your child’s imagination run wild at the Patio Playground.

4. Camp Lejeune

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Jacksonville is the home of the US Marine Corps Camp Lejeune, the biggest Marine base on the US East Coast. With 14 miles of beach and over 80 live-fire ranges, this is the ideal spot where members of the Marine Corps live and train and for tourists to get a taste of military history.

Suppose you’re not among more than 130,000 Marines, sailors, DoD civilians, and families. In that matter, you must proceed to the Camp Lejeune Visitor Center to obtain a DBIDS card or a provisional paper permit for the entry you require to Camp Lejeune.

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3. Croatan National Forest

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Croatan National Forest, one of four national forests in North Carolina, is a real paradise for nature lovers. Inundated by tidal rivers and the Bogue Sound, one million acres are filled with saltwater estuaries, pine forests, Bogs, high swamps, diverse species of wildlife, and a variety of trails for hiking.

People who want to see wildlife can hike on the most well-known 21-mile Neusiok Trail, part of the state-wide 990-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail that was once utilized for Native Americans and early European settlers.

To enjoy the breathtaking scenic views of the coastal and forest, you can hike the Cedar The Point Tideland trail, which runs through salt marshes and has boardwalks and easy gravel trails.

2. Bowlarena Lanes

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It was established in 1955 by an ex-marine corps member; Bowlarena Lanes has steadily increased in size over time to become the family-friendly location it is now. It began as an eight-lane alley along LeJeune Boulevard, then upgraded to a 16-lane lane in 1961.

Bowlarena Lanes was then relocated into its final and third location in 1979. It has a massive 32 lanes. The family-friendly bowling centre is ideal for families and friends to share the company of others, friendly competition, and delicious food and beverages. The center also offers a pro shop to meet everything you need to bowl and an arcade with various fun contests and rewards.

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1. Flip’N Axe

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Flip’N Axe is prepared to host anyone seeking the most memorable “axe-perience”. A veteran-owned and operated business, the indoor axe throwing venue puts safety and experience for customers first. Numerous safety measures and professional one-on-one instruction are in place before every throwing session.

Due to their strict standards for security, Flip’N Axe is also the first indoor family-friendly axe-throwing facility in America. Families with children over ten years old are welcome to test their axe-throwing abilities against the clock. Flip’N Axe is open daily and is located in Jacksonville, one on Blue Creek School Road and the other on Country Club Road.

Is Jacksonville, NC, worth visiting?

Jacksonville, North Carolina, is a fantastic location if you want a laid-back, affordable vacation spot.

What is Jacksonville, NC, famous for?

Jacksonville, the commercial center of Onslow County, is home to MarineCorps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River.

Is there a beach in Jacksonville, NC?

Jacksonville has a perfect beach for anyone, no matter their age. You will find many wonderful beach communities close to Jacksonville, NC.

Is there downtown in Jacksonville, NC?

Five parks are located in downtown Jacksonville along Wilson Bay and New River. You will find public access, places to walk or ride a bicycle, shelters for picnics, and other amenities that visitors to the water can use.


22 Best & Fun Things to Do in Jacksonville, NC - The Total Travel (2024)


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