Unearthing Jacksonville: Top Things to Do in Jacksonville, North Carolina

Situated in the coastal plains of North Carolina, Jacksonville isn’t just a military hub, thanks to the renowned Camp Lejeune. It’s also a melting pot of cultural, recreational, and historical attractions. If you’re planning a visit or simply want to rediscover this city, here’s your comprehensive guide to the best things to do in Jacksonville, North Carolina.


1. Camp Lejeune: A Peek into Military Life

Undoubtedly the heartbeat of Jacksonville, Camp Lejeune is one of the largest Marine Corps bases in the U.S. While parts of the base are restricted, there are tours available that provide a glimpse into the life of a Marine, showcasing the rich military history of the area.

2. Lejeune Memorial Gardens: Honoring the Brave

A solemn and heartfelt tribute to the heroes of our nation, the gardens are home to several memorials, including the Beirut Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It’s a serene spot to reflect and honor the sacrifices made by many.

3. Onslow County Museum: Dive into Local History

Discover Jacksonville’s rich past and the broader history of Onslow County at this engaging museum. Exhibits range from Native American history to the region’s agricultural past, offering a holistic view of the area’s evolution.


4. Lynnwood Park Zoo: Family Fun Day

North Carolina’s oldest privately operated zoo, Lynnwood offers a chance to get up close with a variety of animals, making it a perfect outing for families.

5. Walton’s Distillery: Taste Local Spirits

For those interested in the craft of distillation, Walton’s offers tours where you can learn about the process, and of course, sample some of their signature spirits.

6. Sturgeon City Environmental Education Center: Nature’s Classroom

What once was a wastewater treatment plant is now an educational center, showcasing the power of environmental restoration. It’s both a learning opportunity and a testament to Jacksonville’s commitment to sustainability.

7. Jacksonville Commons Recreation Complex: Recreation at its Best

Whether you’re into skateboarding, basketball, or just a picnic with the family, this expansive recreational complex offers something for everyone.

8. New River Waterfront Park: Riverside Tranquility

Positioned on the banks of the New River, this park provides stunning views, especially during sunset. It’s a great spot for a leisurely stroll, fishing, or simply soaking in nature’s beauty.

9. Onslow Pines Park: Escape to the Outdoors

A vast space that caters to outdoor enthusiasts, the park offers walking trails, sports facilities, and areas for BBQs and picnics.

10. Local Festivals: Celebrating Jacksonville’s Spirit

Throughout the year, Jacksonville plays host to numerous events and festivals. From the Winterfest to the National Night Out, these events capture the city’s vibrant community spirit and are a must-experience.


Jacksonville, North Carolina, often associated primarily with its military connections, is in fact a treasure trove of diverse experiences. From its historical landmarks to recreational hotspots, the city promises a rich blend of activities for both residents and visitors alike. As you explore Jacksonville, you’ll quickly realize that the city’s charm lies not just in its attractions but in the spirit of its community. So whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or someone seeking relaxation, Jacksonville beckons with open arms, ready to offer experiences that will linger in your memory long after your visit.