11 Offbeat Adventures Near Fort Liberty, North Carolina

The Raleigh Market is a cheap and fun date day idea.

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Our years in North Carolina were some of the best we’ve had since my husband joined the Army 13 years ago! There were so many fun things to do near Fort Liberty, North Carolina!

It was the first duty station that I made a bucket list for and it really helped us get out and explore this beautiful state. The Fort Liberty and North Carolina Bucket List was full of interesting places to go and fun things to do for our whole family.

But we had the most fun checking off the quirky and unusual attractions! (You can find 13 More Weird Things To Do in North Carolina here in this post.)

Here are 11 offbeat adventures we had while we were stationed at Fort Liberty.

Glamping in a Yurt

Camping in a yurt or ‘glamping’ was high on my bucket list! After seeing so many gorgeous pictures online of influencers living their best in the woods in these cool structures, I knew I had to try it.

We went glamping in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and had the best time!

You definitely should venture outside of North Carolina when looking for adventures during your time at Fort Liberty. It won’t disappoint!

yurt at Shenandoah Crossing in Gordonsville, VA
yurt camping at Shenandoah Crossing in Gordonsville, VA
(One of our favorite offbeat Fort Liberty adventures ever!)

Lunch at the Old Lucky Strike Factory

Another offbeat adventure we had at Fort Liberty was having lunch and looking around the Old Lucky Strike factory in Durham. (It’s actually named the American Tobacco Campus.)

That’s right, we ate lunch and wandered around an old cigarette factory!

I’m not a smoker and never have been, but I couldn’t resist seeing the home of this iconic American brand that lasted from 1871 to 2006.

Unfortunately, we visited in 2020 when things were just starting to open back up after Covid, so we were only allowed in a restaurant (the Mellow Mushroom). But in these healthier and happier times, you can watch the Durham Bulls play baseball, see a concert, host an event, and shop at this unusual venue.

The old Lucky Strike water tower at the American Tobacco Campus.
The old Lucky Strike smokestack at the American Tobacco Campus.
(Such an unusual place to have lunch and go shopping.)

Visit Stepps Hillcrest Orchard

I know this is commonplace for a lot of people, but for this Florida girl, picking my own apples was just way too cool!

We also went on a hayride, played games, shot an apple cannon, and tried some delicious apple treats. It was the perfect way to spend a fall afternoon when camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The girls loved it and I’m so glad that they were able to have this experience!

(If you can’t make the drive to the mountains, here are 6 Pick-Your-Own Apple Orchards Near Fort Liberty.)

The apples at Stepp's Hillcrest Orchard are HUGE! One of the fun offbeat adventures to have in North Carolina.
(Apple pickin’ at Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard.)

Find Kilroy in Washington D.C

We took a couple of trips to Washington D.C. while we were stationed at Fort Liberty. Heff was sent TDY to Fort Lee and we were able to visit him several times!

One of the coolest things we did on these trips was find Kilroy!

Lucky for you, I wrote a whole post about where to find him, so you don’t wear your feet out walking all over the place like we did!

Kilroy engraving at the WWII Memorial in the National Mall.
(This iconic little dude is hiding in Washington D.C.!)

Hike to Otter Falls

Another offbeat adventure we had while we were stationed in North Carolina was hiking to Otter Falls.

Western North Carolina is known as the ‘Land of Waterfalls’ and you shouldn’t visit the mountains without seeing at least one! The easiest one to get to is Looking Glass Falls, but if you don’t mind a hike, check out Otter Falls instead.

We did this hike during our trip to Sugar Mountain. Otter Falls was much less crowded since it’s not part of the National Forest or one of the state parks, and it’s absolutely breathtaking!

Things to do in Sugar Mountain: Take a hike to see Otter Falls.
(Otter Falls is stunning!)

Tour the USS North Carolina

Admittedly, the USS North Carolina was not our first experience with a battleship. The girls and I toured the USS Alabama in Mobile as part of our first deployment bucket list. But the kids couldn’t wait for their daddy to see a big battleship too!

Since we visited after the start of Covid, we couldn’t go below deck, but we still had a great time exploring the upper levels of the ship and of course, playing with the guns!

Pretending to shoot the guns on the ship.
(Playing with the guns!)
A rainy day on the USS North Carolina.
(It was a rainy day, but the battleship was still fun!)

Ride a Mountain Coaster

Fort Liberty is 6-ish hours from Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg in Tennessee. If you’ve never been to the Smoky Mountains, you should take the opportunity while stationed at Fort Liberty!

We spent a jam-packed weekend in Pigeon Forge with family. One of the coolest things we did there was take a ride on a mountain coaster! The girls liked it so much that we did it 3 times!

View on a mountain roller coaster in Pigeon Forge, TN.
(View from the coaster while headed up the mountain.)

See Pedro at South of the Border

On our many drives from Fort Liberty to Florida to see our families, we passed South of the Border. An iconic roadside attraction from the 1960s.

Though it’s far from its prime, there are still plenty of fun things to do at South of the Border. And it’s one of those offbeat adventures that offers tons of cute photo ops!

Girls posing with Pedro statue at South of the Border roadside attraction in South Carolina.
(Don’t miss a picture with Pedro!)

Find Quirky Things in Fayetteville

You can find offbeat adventures close to Fort Liberty in Fayetteville. Several quirky things are hiding around the city. Including a blob-turned-whale, a mini Eiffel Tower, and a ghost tower.

This just proves that you don’t have to drive a long way or pay a lot of money just to have an adventure. (Check out these 5 Quirky Things to Look For in Fayetteville, North Carolina.)

Quirky things to look for in Fayetteville #1: the mini Eiffel Tower.
(The mini Eiffel Tower in Fayetteville.)

Shop at the Raleigh Market

One of our best days in North Carolina was spent poking around the flea market in Raleigh.

Every weekend since the 1970s, the Raleigh Market has welcomed shoppers in the historic N.C State Fairgrounds. On Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, rain or shine, you can wander the grounds looking for treasures from more than 500 vendors.

If you’ve been around the blog very long, then you know that both Heff and I love a good flea market and this was one of the best ones that we’ve been to. If you’re stationed at Fort Liberty, you won’t regret driving up to Raleigh to check this one out!

The Raleigh Market is a cheap and fun date day idea. One of the fun offbeat adventures to have at Fort Liberty.
(Some of the colorful finds at the Raleigh Market.)

Pick Fruit at Millstone Creek Orchards

I know that I already talked about one orchard, but it’s located roughly 4 hours away from Fort Liberty. However, Millstone Creek Orchards is only an hour away from post.

Plus, you can visit the orchard nearly year-round to pick apples, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, grapes, flowers, pumpkins, gourds, and pecans!

We went in September to pick apples and had a great time. The girls loved the hayride, picking apples (especially with the apple pickers to help reach up high in the trees), sipping apple cider slushies, and playing on the playground.

This pick-your-own farm/orchard is one of the offbeat adventures that you don’t want to miss when you’re stationed at Fort Liberty.

(We had a great day at these beautiful orchards.)

Our years stationed at Fort Liberty were some of the best we’ve had in this military journey. A lot of that was due to our willingness to get out and explore the beautiful state of North Carolina and parts of Virginia, Washington D.C., and South Carolina.

It’s such a beautiful area, filled with fun attractions, history, natural beauty, and all of these unusual offbeat adventures!

Don’t miss out on them during your time there!

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