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If weekend getaways are your favorite way to explore new towns, then add Goldsboro to your list. This list of best things to do in Goldsboro provides a variety to both newcomers and long-time visitors. As the home of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the town already receives many national and international visitors.
Offering Southern Charm in a cool downtown setting, Goldsboro has undergone changes that continue to this day. Looking for a downtown area that is easily walkable? Goldsboro has that in spades. With a slogan like “be more, do more, Seymour,” and billboards touting “We heart jet noise!” the town has embraced its Air Force history and roots. The addition of local breweries will make Goldsboro a destination onto its own.
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Best Things to do in Goldsboro NC
#1 Relax in the Outdoors at Cliffs of the Neuse
240 Park Entrance Road, Seven Springs – Website
Whether looking for a campground (cabins optional), water activities, or just a great place to explore nature, Cliffs of the Neuse State Park should be added to your itinerary. Stretch your legs after your trip by walking around the trails. During summer months, rent a paddleboat or cool off with a lake swim.
#2 Enjoy a Cup of Joe
Coffee aficionados rejoice over your coffee options in downtown Goldsboro! Two very different places offering delicious java and teas.
Labrar Coffee Shop
101 N. Center Street, Goldsboro – Website
Serving Counter Culture Coffee and locally made fresh pastries. Each coffee has a story and the master brewers will explain each tasting note. The laid back atmosphere and quaint setting are sure to satisfy any coffee lover. A great way to start your coffee experience in downtown Goldsboro!
The Gypsy Bean
114 S. Center Street, Goldsboro – Website
Fresh pastries from Farmer and the Dail complement the sweet coffee offerings. Or for those preferring savory options, how about some Great Harvest Bread Company Cheddar and Ham Biscuits to accompany that cup of joe or tea? Prefer to drink it cold? Jazz up your drink with a German Chocolate Cold Brew or several other variations.
#3 Grab Lunch in Downtown Goldsboro
Jay’s Sushi and Burger Bar
108 N. John Street, Goldsboro – Website
What do sushi and burgers have in common? They’re deliciously served at Jay’s Sushi and Burger Bar, that’s what! This is exactly what happens when Korean and American cultures meld together. With its funky garage and laid-back decor, you’ll find a friendly atmosphere where you can also order drinks from the bar. You can’t go wrong with the Kimchi Burger (after all, why not go all the way with the cross-culture!) and the Kimchi fries.
The Ice Storm
116 S. Center Street, Goldsboro – Website
Didn’t expect to find a hip hop locale in downtown Goldsboro? Neither did I, but there it is! Grab a light meal, like a soup and salad (though the buffalo cauliflower bites were so tasty!) and the hot dogs are a hit. But they’re best known for their ice cream. Did you know that they also serve a ginger shot? What’s that? A liquid made out of ginger root supposed to help boost your immune system and who couldn’t use a little help during flu season? And of course, the music will make you want to stay here as long as possible!
#4 Admire Goldsboro Sculptures
Goldsboro’s art collection keeps growing. Rotated annually, the city rents out the art pieces dotting Center Street. Swapped in early October, you’ll currently find a variety of pieces selected by a cross-section of local citizens.
#5 Taste Some Delicious Down East Barbecue
North Carolina’s barbecue comes with its own regional twists, but Goldsboro offers some of the best variety.
Adam’s Downtown Bar-B-Que
120 E. Mulberry Street, Goldsboro – Website
NC eastern barbecue meets Texas barbecue at Adam’s Downtown Barbecue. Fans of brisket will find their sweet spot satisfied at Adam’s BBQ – at either their Roadside location visible to drivers arriving from the west on US-70 or their downtown location. Over the last 10 years, Adam’s has honed their barbecuing to sweet perfection. But don’t miss out on their mac ‘n cheese! Given the variety, freshness, and quality of the food, it is easy to see why Adam’s is such a popular catering choice.
McCall’s Bar-B-Que and Seafood
139 Millers Chapel Road, Goldsboro – Website
Serving meals since 1989, McCall’s is a staple in the Goldsboro community. While you can order individual plates of food, McCall’s is best known for its all-you-can-eat buffet. Help yourself to the best seafood, fried chicken, and pork. Plus unlimited sides! But get here early if you don’t want to miss out on the banana pudding. If you’ve got a big group to feed, McCall’s will happily put together meals to take with you.
Grady’s Barbeque (pronounced “Gra-dees”)
3096 Arrington Bridge Road, Dudley – Website
Technically, this is just outside of Goldsboro, but it couldn’t have been left off the list (plus it isn’t too far from Heritage Farms General Store, see #12 below). It’s only open Wednesday through Friday from 10 am to 3 pm and Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm. But get here early, especially on the weekends, because when they sell out, they’re done for the day!
#6 Visit Locally Owned Shops in Downtown Goldsboro
From cute women’s clothing boutiques such as Mimi’s Boutique and Fine Gifts, Cosa Bella Boutique, downtown Goldsboro has a little bit of everything. Or grab some home decor from my favorite store on the street — Carolina Pine Country Store.
#7 Tour Seymour Johnson Air Force Base
Whether you or a loved one served aboard Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, experience a public monthly tour. Visitors must register in advance through the Visit Goldsboro office. As the parent of an Airman, it was helpful to go on the tour to understand a little bit more about what life must be like for my son even though he is not stationed at this base. Here is an idea of what to expect during your tour.
#8 Check Out The Murals
Painted by local artists, the murals offer a glimpse into the spirit of Goldsboro. From flags with airplanes to murals celebrating musical heritage and farming tradition, you’ll find it all on Goldsboro’s downtown walls. The featured image on this post shows Goldsboro’s welcoming attitude and inclusivity towards all guests — so come on down y’all!
#9 Sip Some Beers (or Wine!)
With more breweries expecting to open in the near future, Goldsboro will become a beer destination within North Carolina. Here are some spots to consider:
Goldsboro Brew Works
207 North John Street, Goldsboro – Website
Brew Works is expanding to being its own micro craft brewery in 2020, transforming an old gas station into housing a taproom, outdoor beer garden, and a place for live bands to perform. Their current taproom will continue as a bottle shop. With various events and a large game room, this place is a fun place to hang out with a group of friends.
Well Travelled Beer
201 South Center Street, Goldsboro – Website
This Goldsboro bottle shop and bar offer a varied selection of beers and wines. If none of the eight taps appeal to you, staff can quickly chill a can of your favorite brew. Check out their calendar of events on their website for a fun time.
541 Northwest Center Street, Mount Olive – Website
Embracing the whole pickle theme, R&R serves its beer in pickle jars and even pays homage with their Pickletown Lager (pickle optional). R&R encourages you to enjoy life by enjoying time with your friends over a well-crafted beer. They have really thought about their decor and branding — the tables and seats have been put together by the local high school shop students. Their Farmer’s Hours Saison was one of the best I’ve ever tried.
Speaking of Mt. Olive …
#10 Visit The Mount Olive Pickle Company
One Cucumber Boulevard, Mount Olive – Website
Any fans of pickles out there? Open since 1926, Mt. Olive has been a staple business in the community. Serving as a leader in the pickle industry – Mount Olive was the first to offer no sugar added pickles to its line and single-serve packaging. Their dill-lightful gift shop offers pickle-themed souvenirs for your dill-loving family and friends.
True fans will want to visit during the NC Pickle Fest – usually held in April.
#11 Explore With a Specially Designed Tour
Visit Goldsboro loves an opportunity to show off their town, so what better way to do that than with a tour led by their experts? From seasonal tours (like ghost tours in October), monthly Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Tours (offered on the last Thursday of every month), Brews and ‘Cues Tour and BBQ Trail Tasting Tour, there is something for everyone. Check their website for the latest offerings.
#12 Shop For Local Products at Heritage Farms General Store
145 Arrington Bridge Road, Goldsboro – Website
Quality products celebrating the best the area has to offer – that is what Heritage Farms General Store offers its visitors. With a wide variety of Cheshire Pork products on hand and other local assorted food and North Carolina products that celebrate a by-gone era, this general store allows visitors to bring nostalgia home with them. The best part, the ice cream shop in the back of the store makes some of the best milkshakes in the county.
Not tired yet and want more things to do? Check out the best things to do in Goldsboro at night.
Best Things to Do in Goldsboro: Where to Stay
Hampton Inn Hotel by Hilton
905 N. Spence Street, Goldsboro – Website
Hampton Inns always provide a consistently good experience and the Hampton Inn Hotel by Hilton in Goldsboro was no exception. From their comfy rooms to their complimentary breakfast. They say the smallest details are often the most important – upon checking in you’ll be offered a small heated towel with a fresh scent to reinvigorate yourself.
I’d like to thank Visit Goldsboro for sponsoring my visit. As always, my write-ups are an accurate reflection of the experiences I had. This post contains affiliate links, which simply means if you make a booking using one of the links, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.
Annick, The Common Traveler