It’s almost time to PCS and you’ve just gotten your orders. The words “Fort Bragg” immediately strike fear in your heart because you’ve heard about Fayetteville and it’s not been good stuff. Fayettenam as it’s known to locals has a bit of a negative reputation both in and out of the state. Some have even gone so far as to call it the “armpit of North Carolina”. But take it from me, there is so much to eat, see and do near Ft. Bragg that you’ll find yourself loving your new home before long.
Besides its military connection, Fayetteville is probably best known for its annual Dogwood Festival. But there is so much more to the city than that!
Places to eat near Ft. Bragg
The Fried Turkey Sandwich Shop: in downtown Fayetteville, this popular lunch spot gets super busy and is known for their deep-fried turkey sandwiches (hey, you are in North Carolina!) Be ready to stand in line, sometimes wrapping around the sidewalk, for one of these bad boys. Try the Turkey Day sandwich with a side of fried okra and the dipping sauce. And then take a nap for the rest of the day.
Taste of West Africa: if you’re in the mood for something more unique, this classic West African restaurant may be just the thing. The healthy authentic West African cuisine is a crowd pleaser and the owners actively give back via their non-profit Loving Hands International.
Huske Hardware House: looking for a casual night out? Try HHH on Friday or Saturday evenings when they have live music and dancing. It’s in a great spot and is part of the original historic downtown Fayetteville. It’s now owned by a few veterans and is a great spot for a drink.
The Twisted Grape: this is another veteran-owned business, but is a bit further out in Cameron rather than in Fayetteville itself. They have really great food, a fantastic selection of beer, wine and liquor and come highly recommended by my husband and his co-workers.
Skibo Road in Fayetteville has quickly become the chain restaurant hub of the city so if you’re looking for something specific, you’ll probably find it there.
Outdoor spots near Ft. Bragg
Fayetteville doesn’t always scream outdoor paradise, but there are plenty of great local spots where you can get back to nature.
Cape Fear Botanical Gardens: The Cape Fear Botanical Gardens are located just minutes away from Ft. Bragg and is a great place! You can spend a few hours exploring the 80 acres of grounds nestled along the Cape Fear River. I’ve been a few times and really enjoy it!
Raven Rock State Park: if you’re looking for a bit more of a challenge, Raven Rock State Park is a great spot in Lillington (located about half an hour from Ft. Bragg) with lots of hiking trails. The easier paths and key lookouts tend to get a bit crowded during peak times so consider going early in the day.
Pinehurst Resort: famous beyond just the Tar Heel state, Pinehurst is quite the destination. Between the cute downtown scene and the gorgeous resort and golf course, there’s a little something for everyone in Pinehurst. Plus, at less than an hour from Ft. Bragg, it’s a great day trip.
Skydive Paraclete XP: if golf and a spa are a little too slow-paced for you, consider testing out the skydiving options in Raeford. Prices are a bit on the high side, but for a once-in-a-lifetime experience like skydiving, it may be worth it.
Zipquest: see nature from a bird’s eye view when you’re ziplining through Carver’s Falls. Ziplining gives kids ages 8 and up a thrill.
Indoor places near Ft. Bragg
Airborne and Special Operations Museum: you cannot come to the home of Special Operations without visiting the Airborne and Special Operations Museum at least once. Admission is free and there is plenty to fill a rainy (or super hot) day.
Cameo Art House Theater: the Cameo is one of the most unique spots near Ft. Bragg. Located in downtown Fayetteville, it was home to one of the city’s first motion picture theaters and now brings a variety of independent films from around the world. What they lack in screens and number of movies showing, they make up for in a fantastic beer and wine selection.
Sports near Ft. Bragg
Fayetteville FireAntz: members of the Southern Professional Hockey League, the FireAntz are a cheap and fun activity. Plus, the team was recently purchased by a Ft. Bragg veteran so the local connection runs strong with the team.
Cape Fear Heroes: if arena football is your thing, you’re in luck because the Cape Fear Heroes have been the hometown team for quite a few years, bringing more than one championship home to Fayetteville. The team is active in their community and is really entertaining.
Fayetteville SwampDogs: take me out to the ballgame and check out the SwampDogs! Another team that’s well ingrained in the community, the SwampDogs are a fun time for the whole family. Even more baseball will be coming to the Ft. Bragg area as the Houston Astros will bring their minor league team to the area soon. A brand new stadium is being built and the area is very excited about it.
There is so much to see, do and eat near Ft. Bragg that you’ll quickly find yourself enjoying your time here. Plus its central location allows you to visit Raleigh-Durham, the beach and the mountains all within a few hours. What’s your favorite spot near Ft. Bragg?