Top 15 Things To Do In Elizabeth City, North Carolina

things to do in elizabeth city north carolina
Anne Marie
Anne Marie 
| 7 min read

Elizabeth City, North Carolina, is nicknamed the Harbor of Hospitality. After you visit this bustling waterfront town, it’s easy to see how it got this name. Elizabeth City is centered around the water: located in the Historic Albemarle region of northeastern North Carolina, the city is full of waterways including the large Pasquotank River and its many offshoots. The balance of land and water has shaped the city, and much of the culture and activities are based around it. The hospitality of the city comes from its historical southern charm. Elizabeth has antiquated buildings that feel straight out of the past. It is rich in history as well as culture, and there are lots of museums and attractions to help visitors learn about the city’s origins. Its hotels and Airbnb vacation rentals are plenty as well. If you’re looking for a destination that is equally rich in culture, natural beauty, and outdoor activities, look no further: simply read on to discover all the things to do in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

1. Take a stroll on the Elizabeth City Aviation Trail

Orville Wilbur Wright
Source: Photo by user unattributed used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Elizabeth City is a city of importance in the history of flight. When Wilbur Wright first arrived in North Carolina, he traveled through Elizabeth City on his way to Kitty Hawk, where several years later man would fly for the first time. When you walk along the Elizabeth City Aviation Trail, you can follow in the footsteps of the Wright brothers and see the places they went in the city and shopped for supplies to build the first airplane. The tour is self-guided and is a nice way to see downtown Elizabeth City as well as learn about its history.

Elizabeth City Aviation Trail

Address: 501 S. Water Street Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Website: Elizabeth City Aviation Trail

Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset

Price: Free

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2. Lay out a picnic spread in Charles Creek Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Charles Creek Park is a lovely waterfront space near downtown Elizabeth City. The park is easily accessible from the center of town and it is right across the bridge from the Museum of the Albemarle. The proximity to the water makes this a serene place to have a picnic, and you can add to your spread by barbecuing on the public grills. In addition to picnicking, Charles Creek Park is a great place for sports and games on the volleyball court, and you can also launch a boat for a ride on the water.

Charles Creek Park

Address: 719 Riverside Ave, Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Website: Charles Creek Park

Opening hours: Sunrise - sunset (daily)

Price: Free

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3. Catch a racing event at Dixieland Speedway

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Dixieland Speedway is the place to spend a thrilling night out! You’ll be enthralled by the speed at which cars round the 3/8 mile (0.6 km) dirt track. Dixieland has five divisions of racing on Friday nights, making this a family-friendly alternative to weekend nightlife. Cars aren’t the only vehicles to race on this track: you can also see go-karts and motorcycles zoom around the oval! Enjoy refreshments like beer, soft drinks, and snacks while you cheer on your favorite racer.

Dixieland Speedway

Address: 1520 Northside Rd, Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Website: Dixieland Speedway

Opening hours: Gates open 5pm Friday nights

Price: 10 USD

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4. Explore the Downtown Waterfront Market

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Outdoor markets are always a fun way to explore handmade crafts, eat local foods, and hear live music. Elizabeth City’s Downtown Waterfront Market has all this and more. The weekly market features dozens of vendors selling everything from purses and wallets to dog treats. Check out the farmers’ booths for fresh produce, Ghost Harbor Brewing for local beers, and Simmons Pottery for beautiful dishware. Munch on some kettle corn while exploring the booths and listening to live music, all in Elizabeth City’s gorgeous waterfront district.

Downtown Waterfront Market

Address: Mariners’ Wharf Park, S Water St, Elizabeth City, NC 27909, USA

Website: Downtown Waterfront Market

Opening hours: Sat: 9am - 1pm

Price: Free

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5. Go golfing at Knobbs Creek Par 3 Golf Course

Bukit Golf Course
Source: Photo by user Benoit Mortgat used under CC BY-SA 2.0

This nine-hole golf, par three golf course with lots of traps and greens offers a fun challenge to new and seasoned golfers alike. There are special rates for seniors and a youth membership program, so both young and old can enjoy the course. With options to play just 9 holes or play two rounds for a total of 18, this is a great option whether you have just a little time or all day. The course has Champion Bermuda greens and even hosts several championships per year, so you will be playing as the pros do.

Knobbs Creek Par 3 Golf Course

Address: 200 E Ward St, Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Website: Knobbs Creek Par 3 Golf Course

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 6 USD

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6. Discover the history of North Carolina at Museum of the Albemarle

Museum of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City, NC
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ajsanjua used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Albemarle is a unique kind of place, made up of half land and half water. Elizabeth City and its surroundings are part of the Albemarle, and the balance of land and water has shaped the city and its ways of life. This beautiful museum has exhibits exploring the history and culture of the Albemarle Region. The museum also has the Jackson House, a small wooden house dating back to 1755, a preserved example of how settlers lived before the United States was even a country!

Museum of the Albemarle

Address: 501 S Water St, Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Website: Museum of the Albemarle

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 5pm

Price: Free

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7. Admire the collection of artwork at the Arts of the Albemarle

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Arts of the Albemarle is a non-profit organization committed to enriching the community through a diverse range of arts. The organization represents several counties but it is based in Elizabeth City. Local kids can partake of the arts by performing and creating themselves through the AoA School of the arts, an after-school program that introduces students to a wide array of arts. The community can also appreciate art by taking in a performance at the Maguire Theater or visiting the Jacquelin Jenkins Gallery. This gallery displays pieces by over 250 artists, photographers, and craftsmen.

Arts of the Albemarle

Address: 516 E Main St, Elizabeth City, NC 27909, USA

Website: Arts of the Albemarle

Opening hours: Tues - Sat: 10am - 5pm

Price: Depends on event

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8. Keep your kids occupied at Port Discover

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Another way to get your kids involved in learning is at Port Discover. This hands-on science center teaches kids all about science through interactive, fun-filled activities. Kids can participate in make and take programs, where they make a science-themed art project and can bring it home. There are also exhibits like flight simulators and boat races on a water table that adults will enjoy too.

Port Discover

Address: 611 E Main St, Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Website: Port Discover

Opening hours: Thur - Sat: 10am - 4pm

Price: 5 USD

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9. Have a fun-filled day at Morgan's Corner Proving Grounds

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The whole family will enjoy a visit to Morgan’s Corner Proving Grounds. This motocross park is an awesome place to both watch races and try it out yourself. There is a peewee/intermediate track for kids and beginners, and a pro/skilled track for those who are more advanced. You can also watch the Mud Bog events, where trucks come from all around to drive through the sludge!

Morgan's Corner Proving Grounds

Address: 1046 Morgans Corner Rd, Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Website: Morgan’s Corner Proving Grounds

Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 10am - 4pm

Price: 20 USD

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10. Waterfront dining at Paradiso Roma Ristorante

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Loaded Baked Potato Pizza: Alfredo, Mozzarella, Bacon, Homemade Chips, Chives, Ricotta, Parmesan

Posted by Paradiso Roma Ristorante on Friday, August 6, 2021

Elizabeth City has a stunning waterfront which is the perfect place to enjoy a meal while watching the sunset! One of your best options for waterside dining is Paradiso Roma Ristorante. This Italian restaurant features dishes made from handmade pasta as well as pizza, seafood, and salads. They also do brunch on the weekends, and the location is the perfect place for your next Instagram picture!

Paradiso Roma Ristorante

Address: 35 Camden Causeway, Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Website: Paradiso Roma Ristorante

Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 11am - 9pm

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11. Enjoy a beer at Ghost Harbor Brewing Company

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Elizabeth City’s local brewery is Ghost Harbor Brewing Company. The brewery gives a nod to the city’s waterfront roots with brews and a logo that are inspired by the sea. Even the interior of the brewery tasting room looks like an old seaside tavern or below the deck of a pirate ship. Beer options rotate depending on what they are brewing, but they often include pale ales, sours, and stouts. You can get 6-ounce (177 ml) or 32-ounce (946 ml) glasses, or a flight of four 4-ounce (118 ml) glasses if you want to try a few!

Ghost Harbor Brewing Company

Address: 606 B East Colonial Ave, Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Website: Ghost Harbor Brewing Company

Opening hours: Wed - Thur: 5pm - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 3pm - 11pm; Sun: 1pm - 7pm

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12. Cycling on the River View Route

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Elizabeth City has so many great options to experience the waterfront. An active way to take in the scenic views is by biking along the River View Route. This winding route goes along the Pasquotank River and it is a total length of 7.2 miles (11.6 km). It passes by two parks as well as the home of Nell Cropsey, a woman who mysteriously disappeared in 1901 and has been a legendary mystery ever since. The route begins and ends at the Visitors Center, where you can also take two other bike routes around town. Don’t have a bike? Don’t worry, you can borrow one for free from the Visitors Center!

River View Route

Address: 501 S Water St, Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Website: River View Route

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 5pm

Price: Free

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13. Paddle down the Sawyer's Creek Trail

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Elizabeth City’s many waterways make it an ideal place for kayaking and fishing. Try paddling down Sawyer’s Creek Trail for a boating adventure while you’re in town. Sawyer Creek is a tributary of the Pasquotank River, and the trail is 3.5 miles (5.6 km) long. A good place to launch your boat is at the Wildlife Boat Ramp on NC Highway 343. Plan about 2 to 3 hours to paddle the whole trail, and then either feast on the fish you’ve caught or go to one of Elizabeth City’s waterfront restaurants for dinner!

Sawyer's Creek Trail

Address: 155 N Carolina Hwy 343 S, Camden, NC 27921

Website: Sawyer’s Creek Trail

Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset (daily)

Price: Free

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14. Dive deeper into history on the Civil War Trail

Phoenix Park Confederate Monument, Waycross
Source: Photo by user Michael Rivera used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Elizabeth City is rich in history, and fortunately has many opportunities to explore the city’s past independently. After you walk along the Aviation Trail, check out the Civil War Trail. Pick up a guide at the Visitors Center which has a helpful map of six Civil War Trail Markers. At each of these spots, you’ll learn a little more about Elizabeth City during the civil war, including real-life accounts of some of the harrowing events that occurred.

Civil War Trail

Address: S Water St Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Website: Civil War Trail

Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset (daily)

Price: Free

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15. Catch a show at the Robinson Auditorium at Elizabeth City State University

Source: Photo by user AdamantlyMike used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

A major institution in Elizabeth City is the state university. This bustling college campus boasts one of Elizabeth City’s best performance venues: the Robinson Auditorium. This spacious auditorium has the capacity for up to 1000 audience members. The most frequent events are campus-based music performances put on by students in the music department.

Robinson Auditorium

Address: 1704 Weeksville Road, Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Website: Robinson Auditorium

Opening hours: Varies depending on performance

Price: Varies depending on performance

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Disembark at the Harbor of Hospitality

Northeastern High School, Elizabeth City, NC
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ajsanjua used under CC BY-SA 3.0

North Carolina is known for its beautiful Outer Banks, the string of barrier islands with stunning sandy beaches and temperate water. However, this beautiful region is quite popular and can get crowded. Consider basing your trip in nearby Elizabeth City for the same southern, nautical charm without the crowds. You can even make a day trip to the nearby Outer Banks and return to Elizabeth City for a quiet, relaxing rest of your trip. Come see why Elizabeth City is known as the Harbor of Hospitality- you will fall in love with it too!

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Anne-Marie, a publishing professional by day, harbors a fervent desire to explore the world whenever she can. Though she hasn't discovered the entire globe yet, her eagerness to learn and write...Read more

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