The BEST Fort Bragg and North Carolina Bucket List

The BEST Fort Bragg and North Carolina Bucket List
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“North Carolina is such a beautiful state!”

“It has mountains AND beaches!”

“You’ll get all four seasons!” (It’s a big deal for Floridians.)

seasons in North Carolina

What’s not to love?


But I was not excited to get orders to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In fact, I outright dreaded it.

Fort Bragg is THE largest military installation It stretches into 3 counties, contains many of the Army’s command centers, and maintains 2 separate airfields in conjunction with the Air Force.

We heard bad things about the workload, the traffic, the extra duties, the crime rate, the schools, etc. It seemed that no one had anything good to say about our new duty station.

In a feeble attempt to look on the bright side, I scoured the inter-webs, searching for things to do and places to go while we were stationed at Fort Bragg.

To my surprise, I came up with a long list of things to do just in Fayetteville alone!

As I looked into the surrounding areas, my Fort Bragg and North Carolina Pinterest Board was filled with ideas. I found more than 100 things that I wanted to do during our time at Fort Bragg.

As a result, the Fort Bragg Bucket List was born!

Keep in mind, that all of the items on the bucket list are family-friendly (I have two young kids). And a lot of the nearby items are free or cheap because sometimes the kids and I just need to get out of the house.

Because I am OCD, the list is organized by distance. The closest attractions are at the top and the destinations get further away from Fort Bragg as you go down the list.

The Ultimate Fort Bragg Bucket List

On Post at Fort Bragg/Pope Field

  1. Dive-In Theater at Twin Lions/Tolson Pool
  2. Go ice skating at Cleland Ice & In-line Skating Rink
  3. Look around Memorial Plaza
  4. See movie under the Stars at Smith Lake
  5. See a Golden Knights demonstration
  6. Walk/Hike all of the Fort Bragg Trails
    • Smith Lake 5k Hiking Trail (3.1 miles)
    • All-American Trail (11 miles)
    • Coscom Trail (0.64 miles)
    • Engineer Trail (1.55 miles)
    • Son Tay Trail (2.45 miles)
  7. Watch the airplanes take-off/land at Flightline Park
  8. See a training jump
  9. Do one of the Fun Runs
  10. Go to a Family Fun Day
  11. Go to the Renaissance Faire


  1. Visit the North Carolina Veteran’s Park/Airborne & Special Ops Museum
  2. Go to Zipquest Waterfall & Treetop Adventure
  3. Walk the Cape Fear River Trail
  4. Visit the Fayetteville Rose Garden
  5. Go to the Fascinate-U Children’s Museum
  6. Visit the Cape Fear Botanical Garden
  7. Go to the Climbing Place
  8. Visit the Poe House
  9. Get some ice cream at Gillis Hill Farms
  10. Drive the Historical Marker Trail
  11. Go to Lake Rim Park
  12. Explore downtown Fayetteville & see the Market House
  13. Go to a Marksmen hockey game
  14. See the ghost tower at Arsenal Park
  15. Go to the Cumberland County Fair
  16. Experience the Dogwood Festival
  17. Go to the Dickens Christmas Festival
  18. See the Mini Eiffel Tower
  19. Walk the trails at Arnette Park
  20. Get some grub on Food Truck Wednesday
  21. Go to a trampoline park
  22. Go to Mazarick Park
  23. Take the kids to J. Bayard Clark Park & Nature Center
  24. Go swimming at Chalmer’s Pool
  25. Watch a Woodpecker’s baseball game
  26. Go fishing at Cambellton Landing
  27. Play mini-golf at Omni Family Amusement Center
  28. Cool off at Lake Pines Swim Club
  29. Go to the Bragg Boulevard Flea Market
  30. Complete a Fayetteville Passport

Fort Bragg’s Surrounding Areas

  1. Hawk’s Manor Falconry (Lillington)
  2. Kayak/canoe down the Cape Fear River (Lillington)
  3. Hike up to the Raven Rock Overlook (Lillington)
  4. See the Barnstormer Murals (Cameron)
  5. Shop for antiques in Sanford
  6. Kayak down the Little River (Spring Lake)
  7. See the Devil’s Tramping Ground (Bear Creek)
  8. Go swimming at Tucker Lake (Benson)
  9. Hike at Carver’s Creek State Park (Spring Lake)
  10. Shoot skeet at the Fort Bragg Clay Target Center (Spring Lake)
  11. Visit Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve (Southern Pines)
  12. Feed the friendly giraffe at Aloha Safari Zoo (Cameron)
  13. Take a walk at Reservoir Park (Southern Pines)
  14. Eat some ice cream at Sunni Sky’s (Angier)
  15. Explore the pottery highway in (Cameron/Carthage)
  16. Go swimming at White Lake (White Lake)
  17. Check out the Dirtbag Ales Farmers Market (Hope Mills)
  18. Go swimming at Waldo’s Beach (Hope Mills)

The Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill)

  1. Raleighwood Dinner and Movie (Raleigh)
  2. see the Bennett Place (Durham)
  3. Go to the Chinese Lantern Festival (Raleigh)
  4. Little Princess Tea at Carolina Inn (Chapel Hill)
  5. Visit University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • take a picture of the Old Well
    • see the Forest Theater
    • view the Unsung Founders Memorial
    • see a show at the Moorehead Planetarium
    • take a picture of the Coker Arboretum
  6. Museum of Life and Science (Durham)
  7. Visit the Videri Chocolate Factory (Raleigh)
  8. Ride the carousel at Pullen Park (Raleigh)
  9. Go play at Three Bears Acres (Raleigh)
  10. See Duke University & it’s garden (Durham)
  11. Walk the trails at Eno River State Park (Durham)
  12. American Tobacco Campus (Durham)
  13. visit the JC Raulston Aboretum (Raleigh)
  14. see the sunflowers at Dorthea Dix Park (Raleigh)
  15. visit the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh) 


  1. See Old Salem
  2. Restored Clam Shell gas station
  3. Quarry Park
  4. Find Bath Branch Falls
  5. Get a doughnut at the original Krispy Kreme (259 S. Stratford St.)
  6. Find an Art-O-Mat
  7. Visit the Black Mountain Chocolate Factory
  8. See the West End Historic District


  1. Find wild Venus Flytraps
  2. See the Shag Contest at the Azalea Festival
  3. See the Battleship USS North Carolina
  4. Visit Airlie Gardens
  5. go shopping at the Cotton Exchange
  6. Spend the day at Carolina Beach
  7. Take a stroll along the River Walk
  8. See the mermaids at the NC Aquarium
  9. visit Fort Fisher
  10. Take a ride on the Henrietta III Riverboat


  1. Visit the American Girl Store
  2. Hang out at The Green
  3. Take the kids to Discovery Place
  4. Go to the Children’s Theatre/Imaginon
  5. Visit the Sea Life Aquarium
  6. See the Metalmorphasis sculpture
  7. Carowinds Amusement Park
  8. Go play at Ray’s Splash Planet

Misc. Day Trips

  1. Visit Mayberry (aka Mount Airy)
  2. See the Hunger Games’ District 12 (Hildebran)
  3. See the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers (High Point)
  4. Stop at South of the Border (Dillon, SC)
  5. Happy Hills Alpaca Farm (Monroe)
  6. Swim in the quarry at Carrigan Farms (Mooresville)

The Outer Banks

  1. Sled down Jockey’s Ridge sand dunes
  2. See a lighthouse
  3. Take the Nicholas Sparks Tour
  4. See the wild horses in Corolla
  5. Go camping on the beach
  6. Visit Kitty Hawk and see the Wright Brother’s Memorial
  7. See the Roanoke settlement site 
  8. Drive the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway
  9. Visit the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
  10. Hunt for sea shells/sea glass
  11. Hunt for shark’s teeth at Nag’s Head
  12. See the site of Blackbeard’s last stand on Ocracroke

Western NC & Asheville

  1. See Crabtree Falls
  2. Hike to the top of Grandfather Mountain
  3. Hickory Nut Falls (Last of the Mohicans)
  4. Visit Lake Lure (from the movie Dirty Dancing)
  5. Experience Autumn at Oz
  6. See Looking Glass Falls
  7. Visit Craggy Gardens
  8. Swim at Wintergreen Falls in Dupont State Forest
  9. Swim at Paradise Falls in the Nantahala National Forest
  10. See Linville Gorge/Hunt and Fish Falls
  11. Pick our own apples
  12. Visit the Biltmore Estate
  13. Experience Mystery Hill (Blowing Rock)
  14. Go down sliding rock (Pigsah Forest)
  15. Shop at the original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis

Miscellaneous Things I Would Like to Do While Here

  1. Make a trip to Washington DC
  2. See the fall colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway
  3. Glamping in Shenandoah Valley
  4. Make a trip to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg Tennessee
  5. Take a Space-A trip
  6. See an outdoor drama (Cherokee or Manteo)
  7. Go camping
  8. Complete a NC State Parks Passport
  9. Build a snowman
  10. Take a trip with Amtrak

Wheeewww……that’s a ton of stuff! Do I think I’ll accomplish all of the Fort Bragg Bucket List?


I guess it depends on how long we’re here and how life (and finances) go. I have a feeling there will be things that I never get around to and things that get added on.

At least, I’ll never have a reason to say that we were bored here!

What’s on your Fort Bragg Bucket List?