By Carla Olivo, USMC Spouse

Time Magazine has declared Fayetteville, North Carolina as ‘America’s Most Pro-Military Town.’ It is also a city with a mix of rich history and lots of southern hospitality! Many spots around Fayetteville celebrate the military service of America’s men and woman. Those stationed at nearby Fort Bragg get to experience this vibrant, historical city up close.

Enjoy our list of amazing things to do in Fayetteville NC.

#1 Smith Lake Recreation Center

If you enjoy camping as well as other outdoor activities, the tranquil setting of Smith Lake in the midst of North Carolina’s long-leaf pine tree forest is the place for you. You can camp or rent a rustic cabin through Fort Bragg’s MWR program. Outdoor and recreational equipment such as bounce houses, campers, and kayaks are also available for rent. However, pets and hunting are not allowed. All cabins are air-conditioned/heated, but you must supply your own sheets, blankets, pillows, and towels.

#2 82nd War Memorial Museum

The 82nd War Memorial Museum and outdoor Airplane Park on Post is a favorite with the kids who love looking at retired planes, helicopters, and tanks up close. You can find this hidden gem off of Ardennes Street on post.


Indoor Skydiving at Paraclete XP Indoor Skydiving will fill the bill! Located in Raeford, a short drive south of Fayetteville, this unique facility also has a few different chain restaurants nearby to enjoy after your skydiving experience.

#4 Cape Fear River Boat Rides

Experience the beauty and natural history of the Cape Fear region during a narrated nature cruise along scenic coastal rivers. This one is a favorite on our list of things to do in Fayetteville NC. Two, four, and eight-hour cruises start at Riverside Marine at Campbellton Landing. Prices vary depending on the size of the group. Military discounts, and children 12 and under are free.


The Dogwood Festival is a highlight of the spring in downtown Fayetteville.  On the fourth weekend in April the community comes together to enjoy free concerts, food, a street fair, and art exhibits.


Floating Shanti is the newest and coolest holistic health and wellness business to join the Fayetteville community. This veteran-owned business provides massage therapy, reflexology, Reiki, yoga, and float therapy. Unfortunately, couples are not allowed to float together, but this place will surely help you both relax.  They are open until 10 pm Thursday-Monday.


Our list of amazing things to do in Fayetteville NC would not be complete without the Coliseum. The Harlem Globetrotters and Fayetteville ComicCon are just two of the many popular events held at the Crown Coliseum. Concerts, sporting events, and much more scheduled throughout the year in Fayetteville make this venue a must attend.

#8 1897 Poe House

Yes, …it was built in the year 1897, and it was the home of the Poe family. Edgar Allan Poe was born in Fayetteville. On a visit to the Poe house, you can learn about life in the first decades of the twentieth century and the changes that defined this era. Tours highlight women’s roles, African American history, children’s roles, and technological, economic, and social changes in southern North Carolina.

#9 Celebrate the Army

The U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum is a free museum located downtown Fayetteville. This museum is donation only and provides a unique look at the US military’s Airborne and Special Operations groups throughout many eras in U.S. history.

#10 The Theatre!

Don’t miss the recently restored Cameo Art House! Billed as an ‘alternative’ art house experience in Fayetteville, the Cameo Art House shows a range of films including new releases as well as classics, and art house films.