Fayetteville at a Glance
The term “all American” comes to life in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where tour groups will discover the essential role this place played in the country’s history.
When a city’s namesake is a Revolutionary War hero, it’s bound to have some incredible stories of American freedom and patriotism. Fayetteville is overflowing with them. The first city to be named after Marquis de Lafayette, Fayetteville was first settled in 1739 by Scottish immigrants. It became a center of government and commerce thanks to its inland port location and continued to play a key role during some of America’s most defining moments, earning it the moniker of America’s Hometown. Its importance in the country’s past is on display throughout the area, with hundreds of significant structures preserved throughout nine designated historic districts.
Groups visiting Fayetteville will not only discover its rich history, but also experience its modern amenities, including contemporary eateries, a thriving entertainment scene and beautiful countryside. From outdoor adventures to military history to artistic festivals, Fayetteville has something for everyone, no matter your group’s interests. Here are just a few things you can experience on a group trip to Fayetteville.
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Fayetteville Heritage Trails and Historic Sites
Fayetteville and Cumberland County are steeped in history. One of the best ways to experience it all is on a Heritage Trail drive. There are over 750 miles of themed driving trails in the area, covering topics of all kinds. Discover Fayetteville’s immigrant past on the Gaelic Beginnings Trail, which highlights the area’s original Scottish settlers; or enjoy a theatrical performance and browse visual art at one of Fayetteville’s galleries on the Patri-Arts & Gardens Trail. There’s a trail for everyone, including antique enthusiasts, history buffs, culinary connoisseurs and architecture admirers.
Several of the trails stop at Fayetteville’s most noteworthy historic sites. Fort Bragg is one of them. While it was founded as Camp Bragg back in the World War I era, this site played a key role in military action decades before that. It was influential during the American Revolution and the Civil War, and there are several monuments throughout the grounds that pay tribute to those moments in history. Today, Fort Bragg is the world’s largest airborne facility, housing more than 56,000 personnel, and is also home to the Army’s famed Golden Knights parachute team. Groups can tour the grounds on a self-guided drive or sign up for the Fort Bragg Experience (advance reservations required).
At the Museum of Cape Fear Historical Complex, groups can learn the history of southeastern North Carolina from its earliest occupants to present day. There are two floors of exhibits telling over 400 years of history. On the grounds groups will also find Arsenal Park, which houses the remains of the Fayetteville Arsenal that was destroyed in the Civil War; and the 1897 Poe House, the home of the Poe family in the early decades of the 20th century.
Get a glimpse of 17th and 18th century architecture at Heritage Square, made up of the Sandford House and Baker-Haigh-Nimocks House. The properties served many purposes over the years, acting as a home, a bank, barracks during the Civil War and now as the Women’s Club of Fayetteville. Guided tours are available for groups with advance reservations.
Things to Do in Fayetteville
It’s clear by now that Fayetteville has a proud military culture. One of the best places to see the story of the Armed Forces unfold is at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum. Opened in 2000, the museum honors the feats of the airborne and special operations troops from the early days of the Parachute Test Platoon to the ongoing war on terrorism. There are several other military-focused museums in Fayetteville, including the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum, John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum and Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry Armory and Museum.
After a day of military history, groups can pay their respects to the brave men and women who served the country at the North Carolina Veterans Park. Located in downtown Fayetteville, the park is the first state park dedicated to military veterans from all branches of the Armed Services.
Fayetteville is brimming with outdoor adventures. Nature lovers cannot miss the Cape Fear Botanical Garden, located about two miles from downtown Fayetteville. The 80-acre garden, founded in 1989, flourishes with stunning plant displays, including Camellia, Daylily and Shade Gardens, the Butterfly Stroll and the Children’s Garden. Groups can take a walk on the scenic river trail or enjoy a guided tour of the gardens.
Those looking for an active morning can pound the pavement along the Cape Fear River Trail. The path is used by walkers, runners and cyclists, and winds more than five miles through gorgeous trees and wildlife with great views of the river. There’s also a 700-foot boardwalk through the marsh and wetlands near Clark Park that groups can explore.
For those in your group who are young at heart, head to Defy Fayetteville, an indoor trampoline park. The 40,000-square-foot facility has over 35 trampolines, an open jump area, extreme dodgeball, foam pits, a trapeze, a rock wall, warped wall and ninja obstacle course. There’s really no end to the fun groups can have here.
If you want to keep the action outside, try Zipquest Waterfall and Treetop Adventure. This unique attraction allows visitors to experience the nature of Fayetteville in a whole new way. The two-and-a-half-hour course tells a story of nature and adventure, letting guests zip through the woods while learning about the flora and fauna around Carver’s Falls. But don’t be fooled, this zipline isn’t only about education. There are plenty of fast lines that are sure to get your heart pumping.
Fayetteville Culinary Scene
Fayetteville’s food scene is nothing short of spectacular. The diverse eateries offer a range of places to dine and are sure to satisfy all palates and preferences. Many locations cater well to groups, making it easy for everyone to enjoy meals together.
Get a true taste of North Carolina at Fred Chason’s Grandson’s Buffet. This famous buffet serves up Southern specialties, including barbecue, fried chicken, seafood and essential fixings like black-eyed peas and macaroni and cheese.
At Fuller’s Old Fashioned BBQ, you can eat to your heart’s content—or until your belly can’t handle anymore. This local favorite has been serving up the “best soul food” in Fayetteville for over 30 years. Nosh on a plate of hushpuppies, fried catfish and collard greens, and top it all off with a glass of sweet tea.
Dine in a little piece of Fayetteville history. Huske Hardware House Restaurant and Brewery is in the original Huske Hardware store, founded back in 1903. After decades of rotating tenants, the building was transformed into a restaurant, serving some of the best food and drinks in town. Groups can sample British-inspired pub grub and classic American favorites and wash it all down with a pint of craft beer.
Another casual and upbeat dining establishment in Fayetteville is the Carolina Ale House. The restaurant features several big screens for prime sports watching, as well as pool tables and a large bar where groups can gather.
For something a little more upscale, reserve a table for your group at Hilltop House Restaurant. Located in an early 1900s home in the Haymont Historic District, Hilltop House boasts elegant ambiance and delectable new Southern cuisine with a hint of French influence. Groups can sip on one of the varietals from the 50-page wine menu while savoring items like braised short rib, shrimp and grits, and herb-crusted salmon.
Take a break from the museums and historic sites and get your retail fix at some of Fayetteville’s many stores. Choose from several spots to pick up a trinket or two as a memento of your visit.
In historic downtown Fayetteville, there are several antique and boutique shops to browse. Head to City Center Gallery & Books to find an extensive art collection from local talent, as well as an array of used books covering all genres. The Cotton Exchange is where you can find a variety of antiques, vintage pieces and collectible items. Fabulous Finds Boutique is a trendy spot that brings fashions from New York, Las Vegas and Atlanta to the streets of downtown Fayetteville, while Cotton River Outfitters is a small-town store with a wide selection of Southern clothing brands. Pressed: A Creative Space caters to curious folks with a taste for unique items, featuring pieces from independent makers and artisans; and White Trash & Colorful Accessories is a funky downtown shop offering an eclectic selection of vintage coastal and cottage-chic furnishings and colorful decor.
Westwood Shopping Center has been locally owned and operated for more than 40 years and has become the go-to destination for shoppers in Fayetteville. It boasts over 55 businesses, most of them run by small business owners. It’s a place where people can go for a yoga class, to pick up their groceries, shop for new clothes and grab a bite to eat.
For a more traditional shopping experience, head to one of Fayetteville’s many shopping centers. Cross Creek Mall contains 65 stores spread across more than one million square feet of retail space. It is home to favorites like White House/Black Market, Vans, H&M and more.
Accommodations in Fayetteville
At the end of a long day of sightseeing and exploring, groups will want a nice place to rest their head and recharge for the next day. Fayetteville has some 85 properties in the area, ranging from traditional hotels to campgrounds.
Groups can choose to stay at one of the well-known chains, including Quality Inn & Suites, Ramada Plaza, Embassy Suites and Hampton Inn. Most hotels are located within walking distance or a short drive from downtown Fayetteville and area attractions.
If your group is equipped with camping gear or RVs, Fayetteville offers some non-conventional accommodations including Fayetteville RV Resort, Lazy Acres Campground and Spring Valley RV Park.
No matter what kind of accommodations you’re looking for, Fayetteville offers a wide range of options to suit any need and budget.
Fayetteville Travel Tips
You’ve selected Fayetteville for your group trip, now you must plan for the journey. There are several ways to prepare before you arrive in Cumberland County.
Check Current Specials: Be sure to check online for deals and discounts that may be going on during your visit. Groups can find restaurant discounts, merchant coupons and much more. The deals change frequently, so be sure to check often for the latest offers.
Sign Up for the Newsletter: Get up-to-the minute information on events going on in Fayetteville by signing up for the email newsletter.
Download a Map: The Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau offers area maps that can be downloaded from the website. Be sure to have a map of downtown and Fort Bragg before you head out to explore.
Get the visitors guide: You can order a visitors guide online or pick one up at the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. This is a useful resource with loads of information on all area attractions, restaurants, retail stores and more.
Check the weather: Make sure you pack appropriately for all weather conditions. Check the website for average temperatures during your planned visit, and then look a few days prior to arrival for any inclement weather.
Getting to Fayetteville
Located in the heart of North Carolina, Fayetteville is easy to reach from most cities on the East Coast, as well as many others across the country. Situated right off I-95, Fayetteville is within a few hundred miles of New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Raleigh, Charlotte, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Savannah and Orlando.
The Fayetteville Regional Airport is served by American Airlines, Delta Connection and United Airlines. There is frequent daily service to three major airline hubs: Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Atlanta International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.
Groups can also reach Fayetteville by train. Amtrak has four trains stopping daily en route to New York or Miami. Buses are also an option. Greyhound Bus Lines has more than 30 buses that stop in Fayetteville daily, while Megabus offers routes from Atlanta, Columbia, Durham, New York, Richmond, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.