Things To Do in North Carolina: New Bern

Jason Frye
| January 5, 2024 | 1 Minute Read
Aerial view of New Bern buildings and streets iStock


North Carolina History Center

New Bern, founded in 1710, is North Carolina’s second-oldest city, and it’s packed with history. Experience the town and region’s history for yourself with a visit to this center on the grounds of Tryon Palace, which details the area’s storied past from the colonial era to today.

Tryon Palace

Make your next stop the first capitol of the Colony of North Carolina—and New Bern was the first capital of the newly minted state. Built in the 1760s, destroyed by fire in 1798 and rebuilt and reopened to the public in 1959, Tryon Palace (below) retains its historical charm and importance in North Carolina’s story. While you’re here, spend time in the immaculate gardens, which are planted to reflect the aesthetics of the original palace.

Exterior view of entrance to Tryon Palace iStock

A Walk to Remember Tour

There’s more to New Bern than just colonial history. Author Nicholas Sparks set a number of his novels in and around the town, and on this self-guided tour you can visit locations that appear in or inspired scenes in Sparks’ novels A Bend in the Road, The Wedding and The Notebook.

Explore the town.

While you’re strolling the charm-filled downtown streets, you can linger near the historical (and picturesque) churches, stop by New Bern’s many antique shops and pick up a tasteful souvenir from one of the art galleries filled with local works.


Cypress Hall

Sample sensational modern Southern cuisine at this AAA Three Diamond restaurant, a farm-to-table eatery where the duck breast and Carolina gold rice; pork cheeks, grits and collards; and the striped bass with crab and succotash will have you ready to return.

Harry’s Blind Tiger

The contemporary cocktail and dinner menu blends Mediterranean flavors with Southern soul in a casual, energy-filled dining room.

Benjamin Ellis House Bed & Breakfast

Exterior view of the Benjamin Ellis House Bed and Breakfast. The house is white and has large porch. Gretchen & Tracy Du Peza, Innkeepers

Spend the night at this AAA Three Diamond inn (above), where you’ll be in the heart of downtown and enjoy a sumptuous breakfast every morning. The home, built around 1853, combines historical charm and modern comforts to create an ideal stay. But if you prefer to lodge somewhere more modern—or use some hotel rewards points—AAA Three Diamond Courtyard by Marriott New Bern offers a contemporary stay on the waterfront.

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