Whether your ideal vacation is full of shopping and museums or hiking and water skiing, you can check everything off your list in beautiful Wilson, NC. The food, festivals, and revitalized downtown area are only part of what makes it “simply wonderful”.
1. Whirligig Park
Yes, you read that right. Whirligigs … they’re a thing and they’re awesome. Downtown, you’ll find Wilson’s Whirligig Park, where you can see 31 huge kinetic structures that move with the wind. See live music or poetry readings in the amphitheater, enjoy a picnic on the lawn, and be sure to stop by the Whirligig Conservation Repair Headquarters to see the whirligigs that are being restored.
2. Wilson Rose Garden
Take a stroll through the All-America accredited Wilson Rose Garden to see over 180 different varieties of roses (bet you didn’t know there are than many varieties). The best time of year to go is May 1 through October 30, when the garden’s more than 1,200 rose plants are in full bloom.
3. Wilson Botanical Gardens
More than 1,000 rose plants aren’t enough, you say? Then, head to the Wilson Botanical Gardens to see all the plants, trees, flowers, and herbs you could ever imagine. Take the kids to the Children’s Secret Garden to play in the tree house and tire swing. Then, learn about carnivorous plants, solar power, and hydroponics in the STEM Garden.
4. Wilson Visitors Center
Take a tour of the beautiful Wilson Visitors Center downtown, built in 1916, where a specialist will teach you all about the city and help you plan an itinerary for your visit. All the fun of a weekend getaway with someone else doing the planning for you? Yes, puuuuhlease.
5. North Carolina Baseball Museum
Barbeque, Wright brothers, college basketball … we take a lot of things seriously in North Carolina, and baseball is one of them. Check out over 3,328 square feet of baseball memorabilia at the North Carolina Baseball Museum. The museum features a “Walk of Fame” dedicated to North Carolina players and is located at the historic Fleming Stadium.
6. The Roundhouse Museum
Learn about Wilson’s history of African-American art and culture at the Oliver Nestus Freeman Roundhouse Museum. Browse exhibits of books, images, and other artifacts inside the museum, and be sure to catch a free concert on the lawn if you visit during the Summer Concert Series. Yep, free.
7. Imagination Station
Plan a visit to the Imagination Station Science & History Museum, where kids (and all you kids-at-heart) can learn about astronomy, physics, animals, bees, and the history of North Carolina. The museum is conveniently located downtown just a block behind the Wilson County Courthouse.
8. Military Hospital Museum
Complete your museum tour with a trip to the Wilson Confederate Military Hospital Museum. The museum is inside an old restored Civil War hospital and is located on the North Carolina Civil War Trail. We won’t tell the kids you’re actually teaching them about history if you don’t.
9. Eyes on Main Street Festival
Each spring, the Eyes on Main Street Festival turns Wilson’s main street into one huge exhibit of large-scale photographs of main streets by photographers from 29 different countries. The festival runs from April to July, so if you’re in Wilson during those months be sure not to miss it! And if you’re not in Wilson during those months, then come on!
10. Golf (because we know you want to)
Wilson is home to a variety of nationally accredited golf facilities, and whether you’re just starting or an old pro, there’s one for everyone. Play an 18-hole course, take lessons, or bring the kids to the Putt-Putt Fun Center.
11. Lakes and Reservoirs
Spend the day in the great outdoors at Lake Wilson or one of the three other reservoirs in the area. Hike, boat, fish, play disc golf, or just relax by the water and soak up some sun (that may be our favorite option).
You won’t find a bigger selection of antique shopping than Wilson’s. With over 25 antique shops in the area, you can find that perfect piece to complete your collection, or window shop to your heart’s content.