There have been a few places we’ve traveled to that made me go, “Wow. What a great little part of the world.” New Bern, North Carolina definitely makes the list. It’s a small coastal town about four hours east of Charlotte and if you blink, you’ll miss it.
When we decided to take a quick weekend-beach vacation over Memorial Day weekend, I knew our chances of finding a hotel and lesser known beach, were going to be slim-to-none. After hours (not even kidding) of searching Trip Advisor and Google, I finally found New Bern, North Carolina.
We left on a Friday afternoon and checked into our hotel late in the evening. Starting on Saturday, we took one entire day to explore, one day to relax at the beach and the on the way home on Monday, we stopped at Tanger Outlets and did a bit of shopping.
The Firemen’s Museum
Our four-year old, Fisher, is very into being a fireman right now. ‘Very into’ is a subtle understatement, the kid’s obsessed.
We found the Firemen’s Museum that is loaded with tons of New Bern fire department history and memorabilia. For a family of five, museums and other attractions generally cost us a small fortune. I’m proud to say that this little treasure was the only attraction we had to pay for on the entire trip. It was a whopping $12.50 total for all of us. If you have kids who are into fire trucks, Dalmatians and learning about ALL of it, this is a must on your trip list.
Historic Downtown New Bern
We also took a walk through historic downtown New Bern on Saturday mid-day. This sign just stuck out to me. One because I am a shameless Nicholas Sparks fan – his books are my guilty pleasures, and two because it was just so simple and pretty with the trees and scenery.
There is another museum dedicated to all things Pepsi-Cola. New Bern is actually the birth place of Pepsi and nestled into a little corner shop in historic downtown, is a soda fountain and museum. They had cute little Pepsi-themed knickknacks and wall-art. I ended up getting the kids some coloring books and we treated ourselves to some refreshing Pepsi and popcorn while we walked and looked for a place to have lunch.
NOW LET ME TELL YOU about the place we ate lunch. OH MAH GOSH. My husband and I are foodies. We are a match made in heaven; he likes to cook and what do you know? I like to eat! We had perused the Urban Spoon app (available on iOS and Android) and the number one spot that kept popping up was The Cow Cafe.
This was a quirky little place that took the cow theme incredibly seriously. All of their menu items had cow-themed names. They had a Cheesesteak “Moo Bern” basket that was a tough option to pass up. I ended up settling on a cuban sandwich that was to die for and my husband had the Greek Cow platter. The boys all had all-beef hot dogs and played in this fun little farm area with tables set up just for them.
Sunday was Sean’s birthday. He decided he wanted to have an entire day relaxing at the beach, and so we did. New Bern has some beach area but it’s tucked back into a little alcove and we wanted the kids to really experience the ocean.
All of the locals that we talked to recommended Atlantic Beach. It was about an hour drive, but we woke up early Sunday morning and made it there at around 9:00 in the morning. They had public parking (it was paid, but it was $1.00 per hour and we paid for 8 hours – you know, just in case). We managed to snag a spot up front and made the trek to the beach.
Let me insert some advice – if you are going to go to the beach, any beach, get there before 10:00. It’s not too hot, it gives you time to pick prime beach space and get settled in before the crowds start collecting.
We spent the majority of the day there and I managed to gain a pretty nasty sunburn on this one. It was exceptionally windy and I, unfortunately, packed spray sunscreen. The rest of the troupe made it out less pink than I, thankfully, and everyone had a great time.
Overall, the weekend was a huge success. The kids had a blast and we didn’t break the bank. They took away some great memories and so did Sean and I.
There are still more things to do in New Bern that were either closed due to the holiday weekend or that we just didn’t have enough time to squeeze in. We are absolutely planning a trip back to continue our explorations!
So if you ever find yourself in eastern North Carolina, I highly suggest a trip to New Bern. You will be pleasantly surprised with what you find!
As always, if you aren’t following our adventures on social media make sure you click the buttons to do so!
Until next time!