13 Weird Things To Do in North Carolina

Weird Things to do in North Carolina: See the mermaids at Fort Fisher

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Being stationed at Fort Liberty led us to some of our greatest adventures. We had a lot of fun and found plenty of weird things to do in North Carolina!

We try to do as much as we can at each duty station since we don’t know if we’ll ever get the chance to visit that area again. It’s a personal goal of mine to find unique experiences that aren’t necessarily available anywhere else. And North Carolina had a lot to offer!

In 3 years, we marked tons of items off of our Fort Liberty and North Carolina Bucket List, but didn’t even come close to finishing the whole thing!

Here are 13 weird things to do in North Carolina that we’ll remember for years to come!

See the Mermaids at Fort Fisher

One of our favorite adventures in North Carolina was seeing the mermaids at Fort Fisher!

Once a year, the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher hosts the Weeki Wachee Mermaid Show. These world-famous mermaids are women who don their mermaid tails and swim in the aquarium’s 235,000-gallon tank alongside sharks, rays, and sea turtles.

It’s truly a sight to see!

I saw the mermaids at their home in Spring Hill, Florida when I was a kid and I’m so glad I got to take my girls to see them!

Weird Things to do in North Carolina: See the mermaids at Fort Fisher
(The girls couldn’t believe it was a real-live mermaid!)

Go to the Dive-In Theater

For this quirky, offbeat adventure we didn’t even have to leave Fort Liberty.

The MWR hosted a dive-in theater at one of the pools on post and it was so much fun! We swam, ate popcorn, and watched The Little Mermaid.

A swimming pool and a movie? My girls were in heaven!

This is such a cool idea and I don’t know why more organizations don’t use it as a fundraiser.

Slide Down a Waterfall

We made all of our magical forest dreams come true when we slid down a waterfall in the Blue Ridge Mountains!

Sliding Rock is one of the most exciting ways to cool off in North Carolina! You don’t want to miss this weird adventure while you’re stationed at Fort Liberty. (You can read all about our experience at Sliding Rock here.)

One of many trips down Sliding Rock in the Pisgah National Forest of North Carolina.
(Lainey going down the coolest natural water slide ever!)

Learn How to Ice Skate from a Hockey Player

After watching our first hockey game ever, the girls got the chance to skate with some of the Fayetteville Marksmen players.

Lainey figured it out pretty quickly and left her little sister clinging to the wall. One of the players saw Lyvi struggling and not only helped her for several laps around the rink but taught her enough that she was able to skate on her own before we left!

Weird things to do in NC: learn to ice skate from a hockey player
(Lyvi was smitten with him before the night was over!)

Visit a Rockefeller’s Winter Retreat

We were lucky enough to live right down the road from Carver’s Creek State Park. This beautiful wooded park is home to Long Valley Farm, which was the winter retreat of James Stillman Rockefeller.

The park offers hiking, biking, fishing, and picnicking and it’s free! The girls and I would go for walks there regularly, as it’s one of three easy hikes in the area.

It’s easy to see why the Rockefellers would want to use this quiet and peaceful area as their serene winter getaway.

Weird things to do in North Carolina: visit a Rockefeller's winter retreat.
(Long Valley Farm is such a beautiful property!)

Experience the Real-Life Mayberry

The Andy Griffith Show’s picturesque and friendly southern setting was based on his real-life hometown of Mount Airy in North Carolina.

You can visit the real-life Mayberry only 2 hours away from Fort Liberty! This was one of the most unique adventures that we had and something that you can only experience in North Carolina. (Here are 5 Things To Do in Mount Airy.)

Wally's Service Station in Mayberry!
(Outside of Wally’s Service Station in Mayberry!)

See the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers

Another one of the weird things to do in North Carolina is to see the world’s largest chest of drawers.

The furniture capital of the world is High Point, North Carolina. And you can’t drive past without checking out the giant chest of drawers!

Weird things to do in North Carolina: see the world's largest chest of drawers
(The world’s largest chest of drawers!)

Find Wild Venus Flytraps

Wild Venus Flytraps can only be found within a 70-mile radius of Wilmington, North Carolina. And the crazy plant lady in me couldn’t leave the state without seeing them!

Admittedly, they are not easy to find. However, they are worth a drive to the beautiful Atlantic coast for another offbeat adventure. (This guide on How to Find Venus Flytraps at Carolina Beach State Park will help you find them on your first visit. We had to go twice before we found them!)

How to find Venus Flytraps at Carolina Beach State Park.
(The only natural habitat in the world for Venus Flytraps is in North Carolina!)

Go Sledding Down Sand Dunes

Sledding down the dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park was one of our favorite weird things to do in North Carolina.

There aren’t many places in our country where you can sled down sand dunes, so don’t miss it while you’re in the Tarheel State. Our trip to the Outer Banks was a lot of fun, but this was at the top of the list! (You can read more about our sand sledding experience here.)

Sand sledding at Jockey's Ridge was the most fun we had in the Outer Banks! | Finding Mandee
(Sledding down these dunes was the highlight of their day!)

Watch Knights Jousting at a Renaissance Faire

Another one of the best things to do at Fort Liberty happens right on post! The MWR hosts an annual Renaissance Faire at Smith Lake and it is a lot of fun!

We spent the day watching wizards do magic tricks, sword fighting, eating roasted turkey legs, and we even saw a real jousting tournament. You don’t want to miss this offbeat adventure!

Weird things to do in North Carolina: watch some jousting at a Renaissance Faire.
(This is the knight that won the jousting tournament.)

Visit a Chocolate Factory

We visited a real-life chocolate factory in Raleigh!

It wasn’t quite as exciting as Willy Wonka and we didn’t spot a single Oompa Loompa, but we still enjoyed watching the chocolate being made right in front of us at the Videri Chocolate Factory.

Plus, we left with a box full of delicious goodies!

Weird things to do in North Carolina: go to a chocolate factory
(It smelled so good before we even walked in!)

Go to the Chinese Lantern Festival

An unusual festival that we’ve never experienced anywhere else was the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival in Cary.

This attraction opens up around Christmastime every year and it’s like seeing Christmas lights, but even better! The girls loved seeing all the different characters and the interesting acts that took place on the stage. It was a unique experience that we’ll never forget!

The big red heart at the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival.
elaborate Chinese lantern tower in North Carolina light display
Weird Things to do in North Carolina: go to the Chinese lantern festival
(We took lots of pictures!)

See the Oldest Living Longleaf Pine

Hidden among the 900 acres of forest at the Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve in Southern Pines is the oldest longleaf pine in the world!

According to researchers at the University of North Carolina, this ancient tree is over 480 years old.

In addition to looking for the famous tree, you can wander the short hiking trails and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Small wooden walkway at Weymouth Woods in North Carolina.
(Weymouth Woods is such a beautiful place to go for a walk.)

I hope this list of weird things to do in North Carolina helps you get out and enjoy this beautiful state!

There are so many interesting memories to be made!

You can find 11 more offbeat adventures in North Carolina in this post.

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