We’re continually on the hunt for experiences that add richness to our lives. In the spirit of the revival of road trips, we are proud to feature a monthly section featuring destinations within driving distance of Charleston. We feel that our smart and savvy readers will find these trips interesting and entertaining.

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Five and a half hours Southeast of Charleston brings you to one of the most patriotic places in America.  Fayetteville, North Carolina is home to the nation’s largest military installation, Fort Bragg, and the 82nd Airborne. It is a place with a deep-rooted history, local and ethnic cuisine, and military support. I think you are going to be pleasantly surprised by this Cape Fear River city.

Where to Stay in Fayetteville

My top pick is the TownePlace Suites at Cross Creek. Enjoy a spacious suite with a full kitchen, separate living room space, and comfortable beds. TownePlace Suites offers free breakfast, an outdoor swimming pool, and is pet-friendly. Prices run a little over $100 per night at this Marriott property.

Nearby, a Hampton Inn & Suites and Candlewood Suites offer basically the same amenities under a different hotel name. There are many budget-friendly accommodations in the area to choose from.

Where to Dine in Fayetteville

Fayetteville is home to 200,000 people, so rest assured the food scene is one worth exploring. Luigi’s Restaurant serves spectacular Italian dishes and has a wine list featuring as many international bottles as domestic. Don’t miss the Calamari; the whole town raves about it.

Mash House Restaurant & Brewing Company is a fun place to watch sporting events, have a good cold beer, feast on traditional American dishes (like Crab Dip or Poutine), and enjoy a hearty dinner of Jambalaya or Shrimp & Grits.

For a more exotic offering, Sherefe (pronounced Share-a-fay) serves delicious Middle-Eastern fare and some of the best desserts in Fayetteville. Start with the Mediterranean Delight appetizer platter followed by the Mediterranean Feast, which includes a sampling of nearly everything on the menu and is enough for two people to share.

Scrub Oaks is an upscale restaurant meets sports bar-eatery. Stop by this fun neighborhood spot for cocktails, appetizers, or a casual meal. Scrub Oaks hosts many events, including Trivia Tuesdays and elegant wine dinners.

What to Do on Your Weekend Trip to Fayetteville

Enjoy the outdoors in Fayetteville. Located on the Cape Fear River, there are plenty of trails to explore and several outdoor opportunities, such as ziplining at ZipQuest Waterfall and Treetop Adventure. Take a stroll around Carvers Creek State Park, stopping at the Long Valley Farm to see the 1937 winter agricultural farm estate of James Rockefeller, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Dive into military history, with an emphasis on US Army and special operations, at the state-of-the-art Airborne & Special Ops Museum (ASOMF). Ride the Pitch, Roll, and Yaw Vista-Dome Motion Simulator and experience how it feels to deploy through extreme weather and land conditions through special military performances on a wild ride. It is so much fun! Adjacent to ASOMF is the NC Veterans Park. This large outdoor park has a photo-worthy arch for each brand of the service and soil from every county in North Carolina. Don’t miss the moving Memorial Dog Tag Wall and chandelier inside that is comprised of more than 30,000 tags. Across the road, the Freedom Memorial Park honors locals who lost their lives in battle.

At the 82nd Airborne Museum, you can learn the history of their involvement in military operations from World War I to modern day times (War on Global Terrorism). Outside, the Airborne Airpark contains almost every aircraft paratroopers have jumped from since World War II.

Check out more than 2,000 plants and flowers in themed gardens at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden, totaling over 777 acres. Be sure to admire the wildflowers, Camellia gardens, and take the butterfly stroll. The Cape Fear Botanical Garden also has a special children’s area and a beautiful gazebo for photo-ops.

A great rainy day activity in Fayetteville is to visit the Cross Creek Mall, with 65 stores including Build-A-Bear and H&M clothing store. The retro-restored Cameo Art House Theatre is another fun way to spend time indoors watching an independent, foreign, or classic films. Enjoy cookies, popcorn, candy, beer, wine, teas, and more at this killer concession stand, open to the public as well.

Kids will love the new Defy Fayetteville trampoline park featuring more than 25 trampolines plus a Ninja obstacle course and stunt fall activity involving foam pits.

Spend some time in Downtown Fayetteville. In its earlier days, it was the hub of commerce but has recently been revitalized. Stop in local boutiques, antique stores, or restaurants.

Fayetteville: An Introduction Into the American Military and More

Fayetteville, North Carolina is a great place to explore on a road trip. The drive is scenic and many treasures await you. Enjoy an offering in North Carolina that doesn’t get nearly the press it deserves.