Jacksonville is one of North Carolina’s most underrated tourist destinations. These are the best things to do in Jacksonville NC, ranging from historical attractions to delicious coffee shops and everything in between!
Jacksonville is a well-known name because it is home to Camp Lejeune, the largest Marine base on the East Coast! But there’s a lot more to see than the base!
If you’re planning a trip to Jacksonville, NC, we hope this guide comes in handy! Did we overlook any fantastic Jacksonville landmarks? Tell us in the comments!
List Of 12 Things To Do In Jacksonville NC Today
1. In Jacksonville, visit a Coffee Shop.
When in Jacksonville, you don’t have to travel far to find the perfect cup of coffee! The Milk Road Coffee Shop, a veteran-owned business, is the ideal location for a caffeine fix here in Jacksonville North Carolina.
This hip coffee shop, which has been open since 2016, serves freshly roasted specialty coffee as well as globally inspired, delectable pastries made with seasonal and local ingredients.
It’s difficult to choose just one option when there are so many to choose from. Order their must-try Belgian pearl sugar-topped liege waffles, and trust me, you’ll want to eat them every morning !
Enjoy your breakfast outside on a sunny day, or if you don’t have much time, take your delicious grab-and-go coffee with you at mcas new river.
Jacksonville North Carolina 28540 4240 Gum Branch Rd
2. Downtown Brewing
Are you looking for delicious coffee in Jacksonville? If so, you should put Brewed Downtown on your bucket list. This small cafe is ideal for starting your day with a hot cup of coffee at Carolina beach.
This mom-and-pop shop has been serving gourmet coffee, non-coffee specialty items, and homemade breakfast, lunch, and dinner since 2012. A welcoming atmosphere, friendly staff, and personalized service will make you feel at home away from home at Carolina beach.
To best meet your needs, the coffee shop offers dine-in, take-out, and a full-service drive-through window.
They also provide catering services for meetings, private parties, bridal or baby showers, allowing you to commemorate a significant milestone in style.
Suites Jacksonville, NC 28540, 1000 New Bridge St
3. Investigate the Lejeune Memorial Gardens.
Visit the Lejeune Memorial Gardens, which honors veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the nation’s freedom and died while serving in the United States military topsail island.
The Jacksonville landmark is home to a number of beautiful memorials, including the Montford Point Marine Memorial, the Beirut Memorial, the Onslow Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the 9/11 Memorial Beam in honor of the victims of the World Trade Center attack (we’ll go over a few more below!).
The Eagle Globe and Anchor statue, the world’s largest 3D symbol of the US Marine Corps, is located in a reflective pool at the entrance to the future Museum of the Marine.
As part of the Lejeune Memorial Gardens Master Plan, the Park includes space for future memorials, most notably the Corpsmen Memorial at South Carolina.
Jacksonville, NC 28540, 109 Montford Landing Rd
4. Visit the Beirut Memorial to pay your respects.
The first memorial built in Lejeune Memorial Gardens was the Beirut Memorial. This memorial, which was donated by the citizens of Onslow County, is the largest privately-funded military memorial that honors the 273 Marines who died in the Beirut bombing on October 23, 1983.
The Lebanese government requested the formation of the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit, with the primary goal of serving as a peacekeeping force in Lebanon between conflicting Muslim and Christian troops at new bridge street.
A non-Lebanese terrorist attack on the 8th Marines Headquarters building, on the other hand, resulted in 241 casualties. The words “They Came in Peace” are engraved on the memorial’s walls, emphasizing that Marines were sent as peacekeepers to this dangerous zone not for fun things.
In addition to the 273 names, there are three Marine pilot names engraved in granite who died in Grenada also called as surf city.
911 Lejeune Boulevard, Jacksonville, NC 28540
5. Have Ocean Views at Splash by the Sea
Splash by the Sea at North Topsail Beach is the place to go if you want to dine with your sweetheart (and it’s a nice little getaway from Jacksonville)! This restaurant’s location is ideal for dining with a view in a romantic setting here at onslow beach.
The restaurant is located within Villa Capriani Resort and features both indoor and outdoor seating areas with stunning views of the ocean, as well as the Villa complex and pools.
They have a diverse menu that includes pizza, soups, salads, main courses, and delectable desserts. Just keep in mind that tables at the entrance are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis at atlantic beach.
North Topsail Beach, NC 28460, 790 New River Inlet Rd
6. The 9/11 Memorial Beam honors bravery.
Another impressive statue commemorating one of the most tragic events in American history is the 9/11 Memorial Beam. The memorial, which is located between the Beirut Memorial and the Entry Wall to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, includes a beam from the Twin Towers that was brought by New York police and firefighters and presented to the first troops fighting the war on terror at Jacksonville landing.
The annual Patriot Day Observance is held near the memorial to remember those who died in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, as well as those who continue to fight against the crimes today. This public event begins at 8:15 a.m., the exact time when the Twin Towers were first attacked.
Jacksonville, North Carolina 28540
7. Investigate Downtown Jacksonville
A trip to downtown Jacksonville will allow you to experience the city’s charm, appreciate its rich hospitality traditions, see historic North Carolina sites, and immerse yourself in a delectable food scene. More than 17 parks are located in the city’s core, including well-known ones such as Northeast Creek Park, Big Branch Bike Park, Oakhurst Nature Park, and others.
The Freedom Fountain, which honors those who served their country while in Onslow County, should be your first stop. Visit Pelletier House, Jacksonville’s oldest house, built in 1850, to learn more about the city’s history of.
Another must-see site is Lejeune Memorial Gardens, which includes the Beirut memorial, 9/11 Memorial Beam, Montford Point Marine Memorial, and Vietnam Veterans Memorial, all of which honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country’s freedom.
8. Breakfast is served at the Kettle Diner.
Start your day at Kettle Diner, a local favorite known for its delectable homemade breakfast. Friendly service and a cozy, homey atmosphere will set the tone for the rest of the day. This small restaurant also offers a variety of affordable local lunch and dinner options.
Make sure to try some must-order kettle specialties like pot roast and chicken-fried steak, as well as Italian specialties like catfish fillet and fried jumbo shrimp, which are simply delicious!
Don’t forget to finish with some homemade dessert, and you’ll definitely stop in here on your next trip to Jacksonville.
300 Marine Boulevard, Jacksonville, NC 28540
9. Walton’s Distillery serves moonshine.
Walton’s Distillery, located just 15 minutes west of downtown, offers a true taste of the area’s signature spirits. To create the most unique and delicious moonshine in the region, they combine local moonshine traditions with current best practices of Kentucky distilleries.
After a sip of Junior Walton’s Premium Select, E.M. Walton’s Premium Salted Caramel, Junior Walton’s Authentic Carolina Moonshine, or other must-try flavors, you will undoubtedly taste and immerse yourself in history.
If you want to see the moonshine and whiskey-making processes and appreciate all the blends, there are tours every 30 minutes Monday through Saturday.
261 Ben Williams Rd, Jacksonville, North Carolina 28540
10. Take a Tour with Marsh Cruises
Marsh Cruises’ thrilling family adventures will leave you with unforgettable memories. It provides a variety of affordable options for admiring the stunning Crystal Coast at its best.
Their 25-foot Byrider Skiff is ideal for exploring maritime forests, salt marshes, and sandbars with hidden treasures, and will reward you with one-of-a-kind ocean scenery you’ve never seen before.
Sunset or Scenic Cruises provides an exclusive guided tour around the alluring coastal waters of Swansboro, the Emerald Isles, Bogue Inlet, Bear Island, and Hammocks Beach State Park, allowing you to witness the most breathtaking sunset views.
11. Take a walk through Sturgeon City Park.
Immerse yourself in a tranquil getaway at Sturgeon City Park, one of Jacksonville’s many treasures. This is a great place for family gatherings and picnics because it has covered picnic tables and charcoal grills.
You can let the kids run around the playground while you go fishing in the nearby river. This 14-acre park is surrounded by lush greenery and rolling hills, with a few boardwalk paths ideal for relaxing strolls.
Paved walking trails allow you to admire the rich flora and fauna while taking in the scenery. A floating kayak/canoe launch pad at the end of the boardwalk allows you to kayak and enjoy the calm waters.
12. Visit Emerald Isle for the Day
A day trip to Emerald Isle is ideal for family fun adventures! For thrilling water adventures, visit AB Watersports, which rents jet skis, kayaks, pontoon boats, and paddleboards to enjoy the Crystal Coast’s isolated waterways.
Get wet and wild at Salty Pirate Water Park or learn about history at Fort Macon State Park. Your Emerald Isle vacation will not be complete unless you visit Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier to enjoy the stunning views and a little fishing.
Escape the hustle and bustle in the tranquil setting of Hammock Beach State Park, or soak up laid-back vibes while sunbathing on Emerald Isle Beach. After a long day of exploring the beautiful Emerald Isle, refuel at the Trading Post, which serves some of the best dishes in town.
FAQs about Things To Do In Jacksonville NC
Is it worthwhile to visit Jacksonville, North Carolina?
This place has it all: a plethora of military history memorials, outdoor fun, incredible food, and so much more. I can’t wait to return to this amazing coastal spot, and I hope you can, too, soon! What are your favorite places to visit in Jacksonville?
Is there a downtown in Jacksonville, North Carolina?
Five parks are located along Wilson Bay and the New River in downtown Jacksonville. Visitors will find public access to the water, places to walk and ride bikes, picnic and outdoor gathering areas, trails, greenways, and festival events.
Is it safe to walk around downtown Jacksonville, North Carolina?
According to FBI crime statistics, Jacksonville is not one of the safest cities in America. In comparison to the rest of North Carolina, Jacksonville has a higher crime rate than 62 percent of the state’s cities and towns of all sizes.
Is there a beach in Jacksonville, North Carolina?
Jacksonville is right next to North Carolina’s pristine Crystal Coast, which stretches 86 miles between the New River and the Cape Lookout National Seashore.