February and March I had gotten some time spend back in North Carolina on the coast in New Bern. Before moving to Texas I lived down in Wilmington with my best friend and her husband while I was putting in application after application to airlines. After Hurricane Florence in September the house we had all been living in in Wilmington was in bad shape with mold from water damage and roof damage as well. Mid December they were finally able to move up to New Bern to a home that was far less damaged from the hurricane. so the last couple of times that I have been able to go back “home” they had been showing me around New Bern and the surrounding areas.
Spring break is almost over and though New Bern isn’t a Spring destination it can be a quieter spot to hit up for a family weekend or a couples weekend getaway. Summer will be here in just a few months as well and while you are planning your coastal vacation I hope you’ll think of New Bern, North Carolina.
A good mixture of inlet exploration and coastal leisure
So what to do in New Bern for a weekend away…..
Well if you are anyone like me you’ll start off with breakfast and coffee. Heading into downtown New Bern along Middle Street you’ll come along Baker’s Kitchen Restaurant. After breakfast take a walk along the downtown streets checking out the the boutiques before heading over to the North Carolina History Museum along with the Tryon Mansion.
The Tryon Mansion and History Museum probably took us about a good 1 1/2hours. The gardens around the Tryon Mansion are beautiful to explore and the museum has so much information about New Bern. When the girls and I had gone we had so much fun walking around and exploring the gardens and eating our chocolate picnic.
For the afternoon head out to Atlantic Beach for a few hours of sand and sun. Grab some sandwiches and coffee from Bella’s Cafe in downtown New Bern before your drive. Once in Atlantic beach drive up along the island till you get up towards Fort Macon State Park.
Inside the visitors center you’ll find a small museum and information on the island, settlement and ecology. heading back outside you can take a nature walk that starts behind the visitor center. After the nature walk around the marshes head back to the beach for a stroll and picnic.
I always feel like you can spend hours on the beach and time just seems to elapse by without you even knowing it. Where you think you have only been out there for an hour is really four.
After spending a good amount of time outside walking and playing we like to head back home for naps and to get dinner started. Relaxing and getting cleaned up to head back out in the evenings for an hour or two for beers at The Bruin.
For the second day we head back out to the island but this time taking the opposite direction around the Croaton National Forest towards Swansboro for another nature trail, beach day and for the Pine Knolls Aquarium. For the drive grabbing a coffee from Crema Brew that has just newly opened is a good place to start the day off at. They have very good fresh baked pie made in house.
Once heading into Swansboro we stopped at Cedar Point Trail and hiked around the 1 mile trail. Weaving us around the marshes and back into coastal trees. There is a lot to look at and is quite picturesque. Have fun taking as many as pictures as your heart desires. Once we finished the trail we headed out to Emerald Isle beach to collect more sand dollars and seashells.
Eventually we made our way up towards North Carolina Pine Knolls Aquarium. The pricing was $12 dollars for adults and we were able to spend a good amount of time. This aquarium we learned a lot more about North Carolina’s rivers and the animals and plants that live in and around. There were river otters that we got to watch playing and we even got to watch the sharks and other big fish during feeding. For the little ones there is a play area in the back and for the older children is an area to learn about the sea turtles and how to conserve and protect them.
With the trail, beach and aquarium you’ll get plenty of day in exploring. Spending as much or as little at each place. There are of course plenty of beach towns to walk through and explore, though we always tend to head back to New Bern for dinner and to cap the night off back downtown in New Bern at either Bruin or Prohibition for a drink or two.
We also like to stop at Famous Baking Company at least a couple times per visit for treats and most likely a second coffee. Fresh baked bread, cookies, cupcakes, cakes. They have just about everything you can think of for a sweet tooth.
Well I hope that you will enjoy your weekend getaway to New Bern just as much as I have enjoyed all of my visits ‘home’.
Anyone, reading this from New Bern or the surrounding area have I missed anything? Any place I should check out for my next visit?